14 answers

My 4 Year Old Is Having Trouble Making Friends.

I have a 4 year old daughter who is very friendly and loves the company of other children big and small. She goes to school during the day, Dance class Monday nights and the Park on Tuesday nights. So she is around children quite a bit now. Yesterday at dance class she was playing with a little girl who she danced with last year and her mom and I take them out to dinner sometimes, they have been friends for a year or more. Well these 2 other little girls walked over and pointed at my daughter and said "we are not your friend, we don't like you" Then started playing with the other little girl. My daughter didn't know what to say or do. She just walked away with tears in her eyes and then asked me "Why don't they like me? Im a fun girl" As a mother it broke my heart. I didn't know what to say to her, luckly dance class was about to start so it took the focus off that and on to dance. She has never been mean or rude to these children, what do I do as a mom? Do I let her fight her own battles or do I step in and tell the other children to play nice? Another situation happened last week at the park, there were 3 little girls running aroung playing freeze tag, my daughter asked if she could play too and they just acted as if they didn't hear her. She kept trying to run and play along but they just ran right past her. These children were a bit older but it doesn't make rejection any easier for my child. I did the only thing I knew to do... I played freeze tag with her, we had our own little game. But she couldn't understand why the kids didn't want to play with her. Kids are so mean. I am not sure how she is doing in school with friends, but I have a meeting with her teacher next week to see how she is doing in there. Any advice??? Thanks

What can I do next?

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Hi J. - I think this is very common at this age. I have a son who is 5 - and a similar thing happened w/his friends at the playground (last year) - one of the boys told him he couldn't play so he came crying to me (my heart was broken for him) - so I told him to tell those boys "Too bad, I AM going to play - get over it!" and in fact, I took him over to where his friends were and said (nicely), "ok boys, we are all going to play together - Kristian is playing too." And they were all happy and played just fine together. I think kids are just testing their boundaries - they don't really know what they are saying - or what the consequences will be. One thing that I tell my son is to treat other people like he would like to be treated (especially when he's beating up on his baby brother - lol) I hope that helps.

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really not sure what to tell you . Just stay involved and talk with the girls parents

Unfortunately that is what she is going to have to deal with the rest of her life. Children are mean. My daughter is only 3 yrs old but she constantly tells me everyday that someone is not her friend anymore, she doesn't like them or they were mean to her. Then the next day they are her friend again. She tells her sister she doesn't like her and she is not her friend. Of course I always correct her and tell her that is not a nice thing to say. If I had been in your situation I would have told the girls that that is not nice to say to someone else and I would have asked the other kids if my daughter could play too. It may be that they were so involved with playing that they did not hear her ask. At 4 yrs old you want to stay involved but you also need to let her make her own friends too. It might be that somedays she will be the one saying I don't want to play with her. Just teach her what is right and move on. You always want to defend your kids. It breaks my heart when someone says something mean to my kids or they say someone hurt them. It is hard to stand back but sometimes you have to.

its not your daughter! My 3 1/2 yr old gets that at the park and at mcdonalds play place too. she will be all nice and friendly, ask them to play with her or her with them and they look right through her. I found that once i knew she has friends at school, it didnt break my heart as much when the strangers were, well frankly little bitches!! Luckly at school she seems to be popular as it is a very small school.
let me know if you want to try and get the girls together! we live in east orlando by semoran and old cheney!

I'm so sorry this happened to your daughter. If its any consolation this behavior is not gender specific. It has happened to my son too. Good luck.


Oh the joys of peers!
At such a young age, it ought not be this way, but unfortunately, too many have already learned to reject others.
It takes a village to raise a child. That being said, it is certainly ok to step in and stand up for your little one, as long as it is done with tact. You can approach the group of girls and say, my daughter is such a good friend to others, do you girls mind if she plays along with you? It sure would be a very sweet thing to do if you would be her friends and play with her.
Of course, there is no guarantee, but being approached by an adult kind of softens the response of a child and places a new perspective on things.
Girls tend to limit their friendships because they are more possessive and fear losing the friend that they have.
Just let your daughter know that there is nothing wrong with her, but that the other little girls just haven't learned how to include everyone yet. Tell her it may take them some more time, but eventually, they will see how kind she is and they will warm up to her.
Take Care,
T. (mom of 2 girls and 2 boys)

Sometimes I find the best advice comes from childrens literature. I have a three year old daughter who just LOVES Berenstein Bears (much like her mother before her haha). Recently we have been reading "The Berenstein Bears and the In-crowd" which adresses this very issue. A new girl in school takes the attention of all the kids, but she develops a special dislike for sister bear and without any apparent reason. Sisters friends leave her to go with this new girl...sister is heart broken at first. Mama feels a lot like you and tries to get her new clothes...but when sister puts them on she realizes she is who she is and she likes herself just that way! Then her and her one friend left sign up for a contest that leaves "queenie" a little tied up and brings sister her friends back. I like this book because it shows that you are who you are and that is someone to be proud of ALWAYS even when other people don't treat you this way. It shows that doing your OWN thing and loving it is the BEST way to triumph over the "Queenie's" of the world because after all children that have to make others feel bad must feel bad themselves...why stoop to their level or give them even another thought? I hope this helps a little...it's all i've got :) Good Luck!

As a former teacher, I would have had to say something to the little girls in the dance class. At the park, I would have asked the girls if my daughter could play. If they ignored me, I would have played with my little girl too, as you did.

Kids can be mean, but it is truly the parents fault for not teaching them manners & respecting others.

I definitely would mention it to the dance teacher to make sure during class the girls do not continue to be mean. Also, I would never let my young child (4) fight her own battles -- way too little.

I know it is difficult. I'm having problems connecting with the moms of my children's school friends, but it always makes it easier if moms try to connect with the moms of other kids. Then the kids could play.

Also, please remember. A mean little kid one day -- could be a nice kid the next day. Children need to learn appropriate behavior. I would stay close during dance class & try to model and encourage friendly behavior with those girls & their moms -- who are not doing their jobs as parents.

Kids are strange like that............my 4 year old is the same way.....very outgoing, sometimes she has problems with other girls who are not as outgoing (like at the park). At school she seems to get along with everyone, but when I try to talk with the other moms about getting them together outside school, they take my number and then never call........I find it quite strange here in Florida...I have lived here for 2 years and have two young children so I am at parks and playgroups alot and haven't been able to make a single friend here.............I too am very outgoing. I think you are doing fine.........I had a similar experience where the girls across the street a bit older than my daughter had a birthday party with a very visible jumpy castle and did not invite my daughter....now they are not even really "friends" they have played together a few times but nothing major, but I have to say the parents were wrong in this case because they live right across the street and are our neighbors and the party was outside!! Obviously my daughter was very upset and I tried to explain the situation the best I could but the sadness was there...................... I think once you meet with her school and make sure nothing crazy is going on, just explain to her that some kids/people are mean and try to move on to the next................All the best to you!

I am in Wellington, where are you? Maybe we could get our kids together?!

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