3Rd Grade Elementary Girls and Real Friendship

Updated on October 20, 2010
C.C. asks from Branson, MO
10 answers

My daughter's best friend never picks her for playdates or to eat with her during lunch when it is her turn to pick the two kids to eat at the special table(8 times this year so far). She never invites my daughter to playdates.

My daughter has picked her every time and invites her to play and go on special outings a couple of times per month with no luck because they have plans, are busy, or will have to wait till that day to see.

The mom works at the school. My daughter has straight A's and receives behavior awards all year long from employees, teachers, and volunteers who "caught her being good." She is shy, not a know it all or pushy type.

The mother tells me how sweet, nice, and caring my child is and how we must get the girls together, but she invites other girls over each weekend. She knows we have playdates most Saturdays and is clear we would love her daughter to come over ANY day she is available. I even offered to pick her up and take her home.
I know better than to confront the mom, even nicely, to ask for an explanation. That creeps people out and puts them on the defensive. Still, I have been encouraging my child to develop other friendships and she really favors this girl. I just worry it is all one-sided.

Would you moms of elementary-aged girls do anything differently? Would you keep agreeing "Yes, she is your best friend." when your child asks you?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

I have a similar situation with my 9 yr old daughter- Every time she invites this friend over- something "comes up" and she can't do it. She even was supposed to have this girl sleep over at our house last year, and on the day of the sleep over, she didn't walk home with my daughter. My dd said it was because the friend had forgotten her note from her mom. So I called and left a message for the mom, letting her know that her daughter was not at our house but the school had sent her on to her day care as usual because she didn't have a note but that we would be willing to come pick her up later.
She called back about an hour later to let me know that her daughter had made plans with other friends at the last minute, so she wasn't going to sleep over. This was the final straw for me. I just told my daughter that her friend was unable to come and then Daddy took her out to a movie. She is still good friends at school with this girl, but I have really encouraged my dd to make new friends and invite them over. We have also put her in girl scouts to get her to meet new girls- that are nice! My dd still asks if she can invite this girl over, but I won't let her- I just tell her we have other plans or ask her to invite someone else over.
Good luck- I would keep encouraging your dd to make new friends and invite them over and just stop inviting the other one.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would just let it go. Keep doing what you're doing. Your daughter might realize this girl isn't really her friend on her own, or she might not. I would encourage other friendships.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Noooo :) Teach her early on the lessons that come with real friendships, like you said it maybe one sided but just make sure that is it. Continue to encourage her to branch out and invite people she would normally not invite but by all means be honest with her so she can get over the disappiontment rather than getting hurt becuase at her age it is not so serious and she will have so many friends to come but she does not know that yet.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

it sounds like you are doing a great job teaching your daughter how to make friends. in time she will be able to compare friends and maybe decide to spend more time with someone you agree is a true "best friend". we get attached to people for many reasons and sometimes it takes a while to figure out that a particular relationship isn't going as well as we think it is. maybe you can help her by telling her stories of your own friendships, pointing out things that you learned to value in friendships. good luck! my mom often told me, " little girls are funny about friendship. one day they are friends, the next day they are enemies, and the next day they forgive eachother and are better friends than ever." i found some truth to that many times.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Burlington on

Hi C.,

Sounds like your daughter's "friend" is the queen bee, and your daughter wants to be among her hive. Her mother is probably aware that her daughter is not interested in your daughter for a friend and is probably not happy about it because she tells you how wonderful your daughter is. She probably encourages her daughter to invite your daughter over, but her daughter probably refuses. She might be embarassed and not know what to do.

No one wants to be the odd one out. But the people who are well-liked in the end are the ones who get along with everyone, not the ones who were the most popular. They are respected by all. Right now the web is full of celebrities who were bullied as youth, but who prevailed. The message they are sending is that life gets better. I was bullied when I was young. I was shunned by the cliquey girls. As an adult, I've had one apologize for shunning me and not understanding why she did it. Another who was mean to me sent me hugs and kisses when I checked up on her to be sure she was ok since no one had heard from her in a while. I am prepared now for any of their anti-social behavior, but forgive them for their cruelty during our youth.

Your daughter isn't quite being bullied outright, she's being rejected. The movie "Mean Girls" is too old for her. I would not agree that this girl is her best friend. I wouldn't say outloud that she's not her best friend though. I think that she's confused and she's looking for clarity from you. I'd probably say, "I think you want her to be your best friend, but I don't know what she's thinking." I'd find a book about what friendship is about. I'd encourage her to be friendly with everyone. The more friends she has, the more desirable she will look toward this other girl and others. She may also be in need of these friends because this other girl may turn the other children against her. I would compliment her on how wonderful she is and how wonderful she is that she wants to be friends with all sorts of people. Accent the positive. I would also let her know that at this age some children think they need to be hurtful to others to feel better about themselves. I'd let her know that this is not what works. The more people feel good about themselves and treat others well, the more people will like them. Some who don't feel good about themselves will be afraid of those who want to make the rules. I'd teach her how to stand up for herself. You can model this behavior yourself.

I don't have girls. My eldest is quiet, sticks with a few friends, but his teacher tells me that he is respected by all because he treats them with respect.

Good luck,

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't think you need to steer clear of her, but I definately wouldn't be telling my daughter this is her "best friend" because that's not how best friends treat each other. Use this as a teaching opportunity with your daughter. Explain to her that 'girl' is a nice person and you want her to be friends, but that it's not necessary for them to be each other's only friend or to only play with each other. If she has done something that caused your daughter pain (her pain, not your pain for her) then you can gently remind her of that when she is upset about 'girl' not coming for playdates etc - and encourage her to invite someone else.

My son has a 'bff' who lives across the street - so we see him a lot. Problem is this boy sees my son as a playmate, but not necessarily bff material. He wrecked my son's birthday party last year and has made him feel bad many times. I've just gently pointed out to him that's not how we treat friends, but I didn't badmouth the boy or discourage the friendship. Over time my son expanded his circle of friends. He still sees and plays with the neighbor boy, but his attitude is a much healthier one of 'if you don't want to play with me that's ok, I'll find someone else' - he doesn't take it so personally anymore.

For what it's worth it sounds like this girl is reaching out to your daughter and trying to protect her at school; which is a very caring thing to do. If your daughter is normally isolated it could be she's lacking social skills the other girls have, maybe this is why playtime is limited to school & church where the play is going to be more structured. I agree you shouldn't confront the mom; but you can speak to the other mom in confidence, thank her for the kindness that her daughter has shown yours, and ask if there is a reason that the girls haven't gotten together outside of school/church.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Mom, not sure how old your daughter is, but I would steer clear of this girl if I were your daugther. If she is in the 4- 5th grade you need to suggest this gir may not be the best friend afterall based on how she treats people, but let your daughterr decide what to do, she's old enough now that she should be handling her own friendships. Encourage your daughter to get together with other girls in addition to this girl. A lot of girls at this age begin to change you will see and especially in middle school and true friends will show themselves as such. Didn't understand why does your daughter asks you who her best friend is, is she a little insecure? Encourage her to be her own person and not worry about being with the "popular" crowd, often these are the students who end up going the wrong way in a few yrs. Is she involed in lots of other extracurricular activities? if not I would suggest this where she will meet lots of other girls with similar interests. Hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

It took my daughter about 2 1/2 years, to realize her "best friendship" was one-sided. Her "best friend" seemed to have a blast playing with her, but it was always us who called, always us doing the inviting. NEVER getting any phone calls or invitations in return. I know for a fact this "best friend" sought out other girls socially, but she never sought out my daughter. It started really bothering me first, and my daughter was quite oblivious for a long time. I just made sure that we talked about how real friends treat each other, and I made sure she was thoughtful to reciprocate invites, call friends back, etc. Finally, I just told her I would not go out of my way for this girl out any longer because she clearly wasn't giving any kind of friendship back. There is sometimes a difference between "fun to play with" and a real friend. "Fun to play with" only goes so far.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Topeka on

I would not get involved. Just say "Uh huh" when your child talks about her being her best friend. Just because she doesn't pick your child to eat with, does not mean she doesn't like her. Maybe she is just trying to extend her friendships beyond your daughter while keeping your daughter as a friend.

They are only in 3rd grade. I would not confront the mother. I would let them work it out on their own. I also would not give my daughter any advice... such as ask her to be at the special table. The other girl may get tired of her asking and being so clingy and feelings would get hurt.

Good Luck =)



answers from Pittsburgh on

Oh yeah-she is a "mean girl". I would steer my daughter clear of this girl if I were you. And her mom is too-make no mistake. For some reason they don't want anything to do with your dd. Its up to you to try to decipher why and do what you can if there is a problem. NOT to get in with this mean girl but to help your daughter with other friendships. So-my guess would be that it has something to do with your daughters perfect record. Maybe they are jealous of this? Maybe your daughter is a bit of a goody goody or a know it all? OR maybe your daughter tries too hard? Does she stalk this other girl? Do the other girls act/dress older than your DD? There are so many things it could be. But if you can't honestly comeup with something don't worry about it. Just help your daughter move on. Help her to pinpoint friends that would be a better fit. Sounds like "church" is a big deal in your area. Switching to another one would be a great idea.
And one more thing...It could be the mom- My son is in the third grade and I have many friends that have girls in their grade. I am always surprised with how involved these moms are with their daughters social lives-its like they are reliving their youth. They gossip about everything worse than their kids. And boy do they PUSH their little girls into "cool" things like cheer. And I know for a fact that they steer their little girls away from kids that they don't deem cool enough b/c I have heard it myself. It is really obnoxious in my opinion and makes me thank God every day for my little boys!!!

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