How to manage negative influence on my daughter without being unkind
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.