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Navigating neighborhood not-quite friends.

Long story short - on our block there are several kids around the same age. They play together almost daily. My DD and the other girl her age have been friends since they were 2. They are both almost 7 now. This year the girls were in the same class. Through various comments and chats in the "how's your day" category it became apparent that DD and this girl we'll call Jane (because it's not her name. LOL!) don't really interact at lunch or playground time. In fact, the teacher didn't even realize they were friends. Ok. Whatever. At first not even a 2nd thought.

However, it came up again that DD and Jane don't play at recess. DD said a bit sadly, "I want to play with her but she always tells me "Go away. I don't want to play to with you. I'm playing with my friend now. I can see you at home." DD asked why they couldn't all play together as she was friendly with the other girl too and she was told by Jane again to "go away." I've heard Jane act like this with other kids so I know DD isn't exaggerating - or at least enough to change the meat of the story.

One time when DD had another friend over, Jane came to the door to see if DD could come over to play I told her "I'm sorry, honey, she has company." and Jane replied with "But I have no one to play with!" She stood there pouting. DD heard her and invited her to join her and her friend inside. Yes, I'd rather she be that way, but in light of this recent discussion my mama-bear kicks in and wants to say "umm, no."

Often when they are playing together Jane will get very bossy. I've heard her say "Barbies are stupid. I can't believe you would play with something that dumb." Or "No, it's my turn. You can't have these." DD will push back and frankly, DD can be bossy and snippy too in her own right. When i hear it, I correct her - I will tell her "If you can't be nice, you're friend is leaving. Got it?" I've also told Jane she can either start being nicer or she can leave. Actually first I say "Just because you don't like something, Jane, doesn't mean it's stupid. We all have our own opinions on what's a good and not good toy." 2nd time I tell her to be nice or go home. Yes, I am the popular mom on the block.

To me, as the adult looking on, I see a child that's just using a convenient peer who is accessible when she's got no one else but quick to ditch her when she thinks "something better' is available. Jane does not typically play well with more than one child at a time, which is part of the issue.

DD has started giving us a hard time about being out for "too long" and not home. She'll say "But Jane asked if i would come over and play today." I have told her that I am not living my life based on Jane's social calendar and we'll get home when we get home. Just as an FYI leading into this....

The question in this? Oh, right. :) How would you handle this neighborhood pairing? would you let the girls play as long as they were asking to and just mediate as needed? would you start disallowing the friendship? Would you discourage time together? I'll tell yu what we've done after you start answering. LOL!


Asked by Anonymous at 2:34 PM on Jun. 16, 2011 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (3)
  • At 7 I think she can understand that some people are not good for her, I would explain that to her on a 7 yo level.

    Answer by yesmaam at 2:43 PM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Honestly- this all sounds pretty normal to me...
    Just wait until middle school- kids are teens and I still get "how long will we be gone?"

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 4:25 PM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Yesmaam - we have and she doesn't see it quite that way at this point. We're not mean. I just talk about what a good friend does and doesn't do. Then I ask if she thinks Jane is a "good friend."

    charlotsomtimes - I'm a Brownie leader (well now we're Brownies) with a troop of 19 girls. Not another one in that group behaves the way Jane does and it's not just at troop meetings. These girls see each other socially to. I don't think the extent of the way she behaves is completely normal. She is bossy and bratty - not always, but often. I get tired of hearing her put down not just my DD but the other kids in the neighborhood that play together.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 4:28 PM on Jun. 16, 2011