Friends at School and My Stuff

Updated on March 07, 2012
S.E. asks from Landenberg, PA
22 answers

OK My daughter does not make friends easily and she finally has a friend that she gets along with. This girl comes from a good family that we like. But, lately she has turned into quite the nasty piece of work at school. Now, my daughter brought home one of my spoons that she took to school for her lunch tht this girl bent totally in two.

I know I take a risk sending in my kitchen spoons, but I trusted my daughter not to lose it, it never occurred to me her friend would damage it! My daughter was very upset, apparently this girl has been smashing her plastic spoons and bending evreyone's metal spoons. The other kids all think it is cool so she is not going to stop just because my daughter asks her to. Do I make mention of it to her parents or is that too risky to my daughters struggling social life?

I know she knows she has two difficult choices: stand up to the girl or walk away from the friendship, but this is very hard to do at 11.

What can I do next?

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answers from Lynchburg on

Hi S.-

I would have my daughter merely use the utensils that the caf makes available. I am sure a 'caf staff' person will catch on an address it eventually.

But, I have to ask, even if your daughter is struggling to make THIS the kind of friend you would wish for for her? If your daughter has asked this girl to stop...and she has not...I would be discussing what a 'good' friend is all about.

Best luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

If your daughter asked her not to do something, and she did and continues to, even though it upsets your daughter she is not being a very good friend.

Send your daughter with plastic spoons from now on. If the girl continues to be inconsiderate of your daughters property and wishes, encourage your daughter to distance herself.

In my opinion, its better to have no friends than bad friends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

The spoon situation is secondary. Even if the girl stops there will be some other behavior or problem down the road. Your daughter has to decide, on her own, if she wants to be friends with this girl.
Talk to her about it without judging or telling her what to do. Give suggestions and ideas, not directions and really listen to what your girl says.
This friendship may not last but your daughter can learn a lot and grow from whatever happens in this relationship. When the next friend comes along (there will be others, promise:) she'll have more social experience and be able to navigate the crazy world of tween friends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I'd notify the teacher and let him/her handle this since this is going on at school. Destroying someone else's property, no matter how large or small, should be addressed. That girl just wants attention. I'd encourage your daughter to take notice of the good kids, not just the cool ones. But I wouldn't let your daughter off the hook. If she choses to spend time with someone who bends her spoons, she needs to know that she, your daughter, is the one who is going to get in trouble for allowing someone to destroy your (you) property. Besides the issue of making friends, your daughter needs to learn to respect her mother's things.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Rockford on

I actually had to look to see where you are from...your daughter sounds so much like my son, who will be 12 tomorrow. He doesn't make friends easily and while he is tall, well built and strong, he is quiet and just wants to be liked, so he doesn't stand up for himself much and lets people treat him at lunch...his "friend" smashes his chips every day and he thinks its funny...and I'm "forbidden" from saying anything! LOL! I am going to lunch at school w/ him tomorrow and he told me if I think I am going to say anything to his friend, I can stay home! :) Which is ok, that means he wants to deal w/ it...

As for the bending spoons or breaking plastic ones...not ok. May or not be bullying...sounds like showing off, but still isn't very nice. IMO, your daughter needs to be ok w/ telling this girl to knock it off and not be afraid of losing the friendship...but I know how much easier said than done that is, since my son is the same way. Would rather be "picked on and joked w/" than stand up to a friend and risk them not liking him. Don't say anything to the parents...if anything, mention it to the teacher so the lunch aides can keep an eye out.

GRRR....why does this have to be so hard!!!!! Hang in there...hope this doesn't keep up all year!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Eh, I don't necessarily believe this is bullying. This girl is showing off. You said everyone thinks it's cool. This is a tough age and everyone, including the friend, is trying to fit in. Your daughter has three choices, move, speak up, or sit there and allow this girl to take her things.
Personally, I would discourage this friendship. Is your daughter involved in extracurricular activities? If not, she needs to get involved with girls outside of school. There is girls scouts, youth groups at church, sports, clubs, etc. It is extremely important for girls to find their niche and have a group of friends who share similar interests. Having one friend is dangerous esp. for girls who struggle socially because they will often become manipulated by the friend. They will begin to hear "If you don't do this or that, I won't be your friend." She needs for you to gently push her to get involved in something that will build her confidence and help her grow socially.

Oh, and stick with plastic spoons.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Doesn't the cafeteria have utensils? I would have her use those.

I would also talk to the school about the other girls behavior. Have them watch during lunch...there should be staff in there during lunch!!!

it's sad when your kids finally finds someone and they are turning out to be not so nice. I'm sorry!! If you get along with the parents and talk to them frequently - I would make mention of it. Did you know what Jane did in school yesterday? She took Jill's spoon and bent it in half! Oh my!!!

She can stand up. If she is shy - or has trouble standing up for herself - I would strongly suggest Tae Kwon Do. It does help with self-esteem and other things kids struggle with !!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

It is hard but she needs to learn to stand up for what she believes in. If she feels her friend is wrong then she needs to say something. If she is still acting like a jerk then why would she want to be friends with her. Also, I'd notify the teacher and have the teacher notify the parents because this girl is beig destructive and influencing others that it's ok. I'd give your daughter lines to say as well, "Friends aren't mean to eacher. Friends don't break other friends things" and so on.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Lunch time is a funny time. Right after Halloween, I would put one candy in my daughters lunch box. She didn't eat it b/c the kids at the table were giving her a hard time because of it - telling her she couldn't have it blah, blah, blah and she actually ASKED me NOT to put candy in her lunch. Of course, I told her to tell those other kids that if her M. put a candy in her lunch she can eat it. Well, easy for an adult to say, but hard for an adolescent to stand up to all that. I didn't put anymore candy in her lunch.

I buy cheap plastic spoons from the dollar store, then she gets to pick her color too, instead of just white. Don't put your daughter in an awkward social situation of having to stand up to another student because you want to pack real utensils in her lunch box. It's not fair to her.

I think you have a third option, actually. Put 2 plastic spoons in her lunch box - plastic spoons are not expensive. When the girl breaks one your daughter can whip out another one and say "ha!" She will probably get a good laugh out of the kids at her lunch table by "outsmarting" the spoon breaker, and the other kids may see her as fun and playing along. It sounds like your daughter may be on the serious side (like mine sometimes) since she was very upset (probably b/c she thought you would be mad your spoon was broken) and the other kids thought it was funny to have their spoons broken. The girl will probably break that one too because it seems like her personality and she's getting a lot of attention from this behavior.

I don't think your daughter is being singled out or specifically mistreated by this girl - since she is doing it to all the other kids at the table too. If it's really bothering your daughter, pack a lunch that doesn't require utensils until it passes. And it will. Be happy your daughter isn't sitting at a table by herself watching the kids having fun with the spoons. Other tables probably think they are having a great time at lunch.

You say she is being a nasty piece of work at school. Are there other things she is doing specifically to your daughter or other kids? While spoon breaking is rude and inconsiderate, not sure it deserves the "nasty piece of work" label. If she is beginning to treat her badly across the board, then that's a different story.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Put two plastic spoons in her lunch every day. O. for her and O. for her friend. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dothan on

Well to begin with, it doesn't matter if your daughter or her friend come from what you consider to be a 'good' family. Why are you concerned over a spoon? If you sent it to school you ALWAYZ run the risk that it WILL be thrown away, lost, given away, stolen, or far as the 'cool' thing, I doubt many other parents are sending metal spoons to school, when I pack a lunch for kidz I have plastic utensils that can be disposed of it's just something that you have to do, kidz do ALL sorts of weird things (remember when your DH thought it was cool to smash an aluminum can with only one hand??? I can still do that, I actually showed my kidz that I could when they thought it was 'cool'). How do you know that your daughter isn't trying to 'smash' spoons? I related in a previous post that you would be amazed & dismayed @ the things your kidz do in the lunchroom @ school! The 'lunch ladies' & teachers can't watch 100 kidz all of the time & kidz are just generally disgustingly weird around one another & food as a rule!

Get over it, this is such a MINOR concern!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

i would say something to either the teacher or whoever is there at lunch.. if this grl does this to other kids as well someone at the school should b made aware

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I'd talk with her about what friendship is and what friends do and don't do. Is this girl really her friend if she destroys your daughter's things when she is asked not to? I think at the end of the day, you need to empower your daughter to not be bullied by her "friends". Even good families produce bad kids or kids change.

It sounds like the girl is either mean or has found something that gains her attention and will do it until it gets old.

I would no longer send my good spoons with my child. She can either use plastic from home or plastic that the school provides. One of the consequences of not doing more (talking to the teacher, telling the friend to knock it off) is that she shouldn't take your good spoons.

When SS was about that age and continued to be a friend to a kid who we no longer liked (he stole from SS), we laid down rules for visiting. We said the kid couldn't come here and SS didn't take his wallet or anything important to the kid's house. SS figured it out on his own after a while, but after having to confront the mother about her son's theft of SS's belongings, we felt we had to draw a line for our own family. The kid could not be trusted. We did get involved because SS didn't know what to do and was over his head. We also knew the mom from when the boys were in elementary school and we'd even taken the kid on vacation one year. It's hard when kid friendships change. I'll warn you now - middle school girl friendships are volatile. Expect more to change than stay the same. They form alliances, and like/dislike each other based on the weather. SD's "best friend" is now her biggest enemy. Don't get caught in the drama.

If you see the family regularly, and you are close with them, you might say, " I realize that kids do weird things, but this spoon thing is getting out of hand. Do you know that your daughter is bending people's spoons at lunch?" See where it goes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It's a spoon - get over it! If it's that big of a deal, don't send her with things that require silverware.

I would stick with the plastic and let's face it, she can't get the spoon unless your daughter gives it to her, so maybe your daughter should tell her she can have the spoon after she's done eating. I'm not seeing a big deal here.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Where are the teachers who are supposed to be supervising lunch? Have your daughter report this destructive behavior - it's not healthy for this other girl, who is crying out for help. Don't go to the girl's parents, unless you just comment that you are frustrated that you can't send utensils to school because there's a nasty trend of destroying things. Use the school administration. If your daughter won't report it, then you must do so, and perhaps the lunchtime supervisors can just ease on over to that table to watch what's going on. If the girl hides it, she knows she's in the wrong. I don't think the other kids really think it's cool - sometimes they are just as afraid as your daughter, and they laugh to cover up their nervousness. The other option is to give your daughter some lunch options that don't require utensils, and the girl will get tired of it.

Additional thought - what this girl is doing is actually a form of bullying, and most schools have an anti-bullying policy. Allowing it to continue is wrong.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree that this is a form of bullying. I would almost bet that this girl is destroying other kids' utensils -- and who knows what else -- and though they may all "think it's cool," they more likely are saying that because they fear standing up to this kid, and they want to placate her.

Go to the school and ask what level of supervision is or isn't going on at lunchtime. Is there an adult monitor in the room during the entire lunch period? Teachers no longer sit in on lunches but most schools have some form of adult supervision, however minimal. I would inform the school that you are aware a child in this class is destroying items your child is bringing in at lunchtime and you want to know why the adult supervision is not better. That may goad them into checking it out. If your daughter is one of several kids to whom this girl is doing this, the kid will not necessarily know that it's your daughter who told what's happening, or you who called the school. (And I would not just call -- schools can easily fob off phone calls. I would go in person and say you want to see the administrative person in charge of the cafeteria. Tell them you'll be checking back in with them within one week of your visit, too.)

You need to give your daughter, meanwhile, many more tools to deal with this specific kid and with other children in general -- both friends and foes. I'm not sure why she doesn't make friends easily; you don't mention if she's just shy, or doesn't have the same interests/activities as most of her classmates, or if there are other reasons. But she could use some good kids' books about standing up to bullies and about making friends. Talk to the children's librarian at your local library and especially to the school librarian. I'd do it without your daughter there, and check out some good fiction as well as nonfiction books about dealing with bullies, making friends, and/or feeling socially awkward.

You also could talk to the school counselor and ask if he or she will meet with your daughter a few times and work with her on whatever she needs like social skills. The counselor can frame it as "lunch with the counselor" like it's a privilege or whatever. This is what the counselor is there for. Helping your girl deal with this now, before middle school, is important.

Also, go to the American Girl web site and check out their excellent "A Smart Girl's Guide to..." series of books. They have one on "A Smart Girl's Guide to Friendship" that may be helpful and many of their other books could be good for her too. These are exactly right for her age and give girls a lot of specific thiings to say in certain situations, and help girls think through what a real friend is and is not.

Finally, is your daughter in activities outside school? If shes' trying to make all her friends through school and is running up against cliques or bullies, consider finding activities for her outside school. Girl Scouts is excellent and any good leader will ensure that all kids are accepted and treated well in the troop. If your child is interested in art, find an art class at the community center or an art center; if she likes books, there are kids' book clubs often run by the local libraries; if she likes to move but isn't sporty, try a dance class (be sure to get a low-pressue dance studio and not one where the emphasis is on being on a competitive dance team etc.). Just some ideas to maybe get her outside the school circle if she isn't already.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

It happened at school, so I would call the teacher. Honestly, elementary lunch rooms are a nightmare, but there's no reason to allow this behavior to continue. I would try to distance yourself a little so that the friendship isn't destroyed, but at the same time your daughter has the right to seek-out respectful friends and this child is not being a good friend to her. Explain the situation to the teacher and problem-solve a solution together.

When I was working as an AP at an elementary school, I recall more than one occassion when I would "pop in" to the lunchroom or the playground unannounced to make sure that the child was aware that I was aware of a situation... stops it pretty quickly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I would send her with plastic spoons or tell her to use the utensils in the cafeteria. I wouldn't say anything to the parents because to me, this classifies as kid's stuff, which I don't get involved with.

Now, as for the friend, I would tell my daughter that a friend doesn't break your stuff, and friendships aren't supposed to make you feel bad. Her social life is really going suffer if she doesn't stand up for herself and stop people from treating her and her things badly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Don't send anything to school with your DD that you will be upset if it gets damaged, broken, or lost. Kids do stupid stuff in the name of playing. Plastic spoons are cheap. You could buy a box and send 2 in her lunch every day, so she can give one to her friend to "play" with. Or you could just stop packing foods that require utensils for awhile. That's what I would probably do. Or let your DD use the school's plastic silverware. Evidently, the peer group is not yet annoyed with her antics, but eventually it will get old. They are 11, not 5. Let the kids figure it out. Or at some point the cafeteria staff will reprimand her. Keep the valuables at home at it should be a school/peer issue, not a parent issue. I would not call her parents over this. Yes I think it probably would do more harm than good for your DD's social life to get involved at this point.



answers from Harrisburg on

I just had a similar experience. I would talk to the teachers first. And then they should help your daughter tell the girl "no thank you". My son doesn't make friends easy either and he had a kid picking on him. My son started not wanting to go to school and cry. I finally got it out of him, that another kid was picking on him. The teachers put my son and the other kid together and helped my son stand up for himself. Hope this helps.


answers from San Francisco on

Ugh, this kind of behavior is so annoying!
The girl is showing off. Is this the worst thing she's ever done to your daughter? If yes, I'd just let it go, it was just a spoon.
If it's a pattern where this girl is constantly trying to dominate your daughter, take/destroy her stuff,etc. then talk to her (your daughter.) Teach her how to talk to the girl and stand up for herself. I wouldn't get the other parents or teacher involved unless it is or becomes an ongoing problem that your daughter is unable to solve herself.
Oh, and don't send things to school that you hold dear or will miss. Things will get lost, misplaced or stolen, even under the care of the most responsible kids!


answers from Austin on

Tell your exact feeling to the teacher. YEP THIS IS COMING FROM ME as I am usually TOTALLY against tattling. Teachers can run interference better than parents as they know both students.

Moms, this is so NOT about spoons. This girl from a 'good home' is acting badly.

BTW, what constitutes a 'good home'?

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