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How to manage negative influence on my daughter without being unkind

Posted by on Jan. 23, 2014 at 12:36 PM
  • 5 Replies

Hi ladies, I am so stressed about this, and I just know you all will lend some perspective, share some stories, and help me settle down. My DD will be starting high school next year. She knows some kids at the high school, but she did not go to the middle school that feeds into this high school, so she is nervous about making friends.

There is a girl, Cassie, on her softball team (rec league, not school associated) that is something of a wild child, and my DD doesn't care for her. For a little background, Cassie's parents had her skip a grade when she was in 1st or 2nd grade, and are now regretting it. They said she was getting picked on at her school, and all of the trouble she was in was due to her age and being short. They asked their school district to let her repeat 8th grade just so she could catch up age wise to the other kids. When the district said no, they pulled her out of school and repeated 8th grade homeschool/online anyway. So, for the problem.... they like my DD because she is the only one on the team who is still nice to Cassie. So they apparently waited to see where we were sending our DD to high school, and are enrolling Cassie there to have a built in friend. Seriously? It's crazy enough that they have yanked this poor girl around with her education, but picking a school based on my DD?

My DD is super upset about this. She has learned to live with Cassie on the softball team, it is only a few hours a week and she has handled it. We were big on DD being kind to Cassie no matter what, especially because it was only for softball and didn't eek into the rest of our lives. But DD is nervous enough about starting high school, and is worried that Cassie will prevent her from making other friends, or being able to hang out with the kids she already knows at this school. Cassie isn't a terror or anything, but is known for participating in a lot of drama, some social networking issues (not quite bullying, but stirring up trouble), and trying to play girls against each other with secrets and crap. She also tends to be rude to authority figures, has been in detention for swearing at teachers, the softball coach has had to talk to her a bunch, etc. I feel badly talking about a kid like this, but wanted you all to know what we're working with here.

Of course, my DD is a typical kid, not perfect by any stretch. But she has strived to hang out with kids who make better decisions and care about their schoolwork. She is a little afraid of the troublemakers, to be honest. I have always told her "you don't have to be friends with anyone you don't want to be friends with, but you may never be unkind to anyone". Well in this case, it may have backfired a bit! So how do I encourage her to handle this? I don't want her to just tell Cassie to bug off, but I really don't want her to hang around her either. How can she make it clear to Cassie that they may be at the same school, but they will not likely be friends and hang out? I don't want Cassie to be unhappy and have a bad experience at school, so I feel guilty wanting to shake her off. But DD knows enough about her to know that she does not want to be her friend. I don't want DD to be mean, and I want Cassie to be happy as well. Luckily, it is a big school, but there are only 2 lunch periods. If they end up in the same one, I know Cassie will seek DD out (she has already said as much!).  

And yes, I realize that high school isn't for another 8 months!! But DD just found out about Cassie's plans, and is upset now. I was hoping we might be able to plant some seeds during this time before school starts so that DD doesn't have to handle all of this starting on day one of school.

by on Jan. 23, 2014 at 12:36 PM
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by on Jan. 23, 2014 at 12:47 PM
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 It's a big school and unless the Cassie's parents plan on manipulating Cassie's schedule it isn't likely the girls will spend all day together.  They may have lunch or a class together.  Also, it is okay for your daughter to be nice to Cassie and be friendly but not necessarily best friends.  I would encourage your daugther to go about her life as she normally would.  She should be compassionate of others but it is also okay for Cassie to make her own friends that she connects with.  She may seek her out, in the beginning, until she finds her own way.  No one wants to sit alone at lunch.  I have co-workers who like me more than I like happens in real life too.  So, for the lunch thing...if she wants to sit with your daughter and's just lunch and if the girls don't want their words twisted or to be the center of drama...they will have to be wary of what they say publicly.  To be honest, that can happen with any girl...not just Cassie.  I would really encourage your daughter to ask herself how she would feel if she were in Cassie's shoes and really think about that anytime she gets annoyed with her.  I think this is a great character building life lesson for your daughter and let her know you expect her to handle the situation with grace and compassion.  Hopefully, it won't be as bad as she envisions.  Best of luck to both of you!

by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2014 at 1:06 PM

 I can tell you what I did when I started high school.  I had moved to a new school in 7th grade, and wasn't crazy about the kids I'd made friends with (I was painfully shy, and they were basically the only kids who were nice to me, so I just stuck with them so I wouldn't be a loner).  Because I didn't have much in common with them, I wasn't super close to them, but they occasionally invited me to things outside of school, etc. I made a new 'best friend' in 8th grade, who also wasn't crazy about my other friends, and together we decided to do something about the situation.  I had become somewhat friendly with a couple of girls in my PE class in 8th grade, so I called one of them up that summer out of the blue and asked her if my BF and I could sit with them on the first day of Pep Squad Camp (LOL), which was a couple of weeks before school started.  She responded very positively, and mentioned that she was meeting a couple other friends there too, and we could all sit together.  After that, my BF and I pretty much became joined at the hip with that group of girls, and although I was still cordial to my middle school friends, it became obvious very quickly who my 'BFFs' were, and they moved on. 

Maybe you could have your daughter start to invite over some of the kids that she will be going to school with next year, just to hang out, go to the movies, etc.  If she strengthens her friendships with the girls that she enjoys spending time with, then those relationships will be solid by the time school starts, and she will be meeting up with them before school, between classes, and at lunch.  Once Cassie sees that your daughter already has her 'group,' hopefully she will try to develop her own friendships.  Even if she does try to hang out with your daughter, the other friends will be there, which should temper Cassie's behavior. 

Also, though, make sure you advise your daughter to give Cassie a chance.  Some girls mature an amazing amount just before they enter 9th grade (my middle child is a case in point--she was almost unrecognizable from the end of 8th grade to the beginning of 9th), so she may start school and find that Cassie has actually developed into a more pleasant person.  Also, if she ends up in a lunch period with none of her other friends besides Cassie, she may actually be grateful that she has someone to sit with that first day!

Try not to worry...she will get through it!


by Susie on Jan. 23, 2014 at 5:45 PM
Your daughter needs to make her own friends. If she is friends with Cassie fine. If not fine. I can tell you from a Mom of 2 girls that are grads of hs stay out of the drama as much as you can. We moved when our oldest started hs. A new state. She did fine making friends but we moved a lot.
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by Silver Member on Jan. 23, 2014 at 9:20 PM

High school is big and they are always getting up and moving classes. I know my DD has a few tolerating friends but they seem to never end up in more than one class together. She also started a new school where she only knew a few kids from her lacrosse team and she has been able to develop new friends. She still has to play lacrosse with those other kids and maybe a class or two but they all run with their own crowd. Have your child join different groups than this girl to help make new friends. 

by Bronze Member on Jan. 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

I really think you and your dd have no worries. They may not even have any classes together. There may be little time that they run into each other in the hall. They can sit together at lunch to start if they don't sit with other kids they met right away. I think in no time Cassie will find her nitch of friends to hang out with and so will your daughter. It probably did her some good to stay back a year anyway. My son went to middle school almost by himself. The way the boundries are, only 10 kids from his elem school went to his middle school. They were not kids he really cared for. My ds will be in highschool this fall too. He will have to meet new kids, as only about 30% of the kids will go to this highschool. A few of his close friends will go, but i had to remind him about meeting new people, because he may not even see  the middle school friends except at lunch. Dont stress, even if Cassie clings to your daughter at first, they will both find their own nitches.

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