Friends' Hurtful Treatment - Is This Normal Teenage Behavior?

Updated on October 26, 2019
Z.R. asks from Palmerton, PA
12 answers

My DDis 13. When she returned to school after the summer, only one of her close friends, K, was in her homeroom.She had seen a lot of K during the summer and was excited to be in class with her again.. She saved a seat for K. Then another friend of K's, P, arrived. Although there was a seat next to DD, P didn't want to sit with DD and she and K moved to other seats where there was no room for DD. DD was very hurt and now does not join in-class groups with these two, feeling left out. She's got close friends to hang with in recess but feels awkward in class where she doesn't have a buddy. I feel hurt for her but have not given an opinion. Is this a case of "if someone shows you who they are, believe them" or just teenage insensitivity on the part of P and K?

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So What Happened?

Ah, sorry about the details...we are not in US so structure is different. They have all classes with the same homeroom group. What i referred to as Recess is lunch time. DD is involved in lots of activities and usually makes friends easily. I guess this is her first experience with teenage fickleness.

Added: Thanks Moms. Lots of good perspectives...time to forget it and move on. DD has lots of other friends. I am always insisting she be the kind girl and not leave anyone out, so it stung that she was treated so dismissively. But...this happens in middle school and we all survived, so I am going to stop fussing about it.

More Answers



answers from Atlanta on


So much changes over the summer. It appears that K is not strong enough to defend her friendship with your daughter and has chosen P instead.

I would tell my daughter to forge new friendships and press on. Don't give these people free rent in your head. Friendships change. Some people aren't strong enough to stand up for themselves or others. that's on them. NOT YOU.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

ahhh the age of 13....don't you remember it? So concerned about "friends" and what others think of you and the "pack" mentality!?

Tell your daughter that people change and relationships change. I'm sure your marriage has evolved from what it was when you first met and fell in love and got married. You can use that as a guide for her to show her that things change. Some people stick it out. Others don't.

People are in your life for a reason, a season or for life. This K was in for a season and leave it at that.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

It sucks, but it seems that at this age this kind of thing happens. K is not a good friend to your daughter...she'd rather shun her to hang out with P who she obviously likes better. My advice is to talk to your daughter about what being a real friend looks like. Then encourage her to make new friends (who are kind and real). Sometimes we don't have a friend in a class and that is just a fact of life.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

This is kids, and teenagers, specifically. Some will have friends who are not friends of your child and don't want to be friends with your child. Some may speak badly of your kid and influence the friend to stay away, and in some cases, the friend is not willing to pick and choose and makes it clear to both sets of friends while alternating days and groups with which they spend time with. Due to pressure, other times they do make a choice as to who they keep as a friend, and it may not be the one you like. We don't own people, people are free to spend time with whoever they want, it's a tough lesson to learn as a kid. The best thing is for your kid to have plenty of other friends, so if one friend no longer wants to hang out, she has 2 or 3 other friends who do.

Maybe the quiet kid in the class who doesn't have friends would want your daughter as a friend. My daughter made a friend that way. She said the cool and popular friend she had before now wanted to hang out with older kids and kind of gave her the boot, I told her I was sorry and hoped she could manage finding new friends, and she did. She spoke to the girl that no one talked to in her classroom, and now they are close. There are classes where she has no friends, and that is fine. Kids need to learn some independence. You have to let your daughter solve her own friendships and issues. It's fine to give advice, but ultimately, friends, boyfriends, etc., may drift, and we all need to learn to cope with that and move on.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

This is the age of hurt feelings and easily-offended kids. They need to be stronger in their sense of themselves. Your daughter needs to start to learn that she doesn't own K, and it would be just as hurtful for P if she'd had to sit alone. Your daughter should also look around at others who are sitting alone. Maybe there's a potential friend just waiting for her to make the first move. I know she won't want to hear it, but the purpose of education is something other than sitting with her best buddy - especially one who, apparently, isn't. Please encourage your daughter to not push to hang out with someone who doesn't feel they have as much in common. This will be a great lesson for romantic relationships/dating later on. She should seek out people who find her interesting and kind - and that means being interesting and kind herself. That doesn't include moping and feeling kind of desperate because 2 other kids are friends, which might make your daughter appear more high maintenance than other teens want to deal with. Who knows how long that friendship will last anyway? Someone in that classroom is just waiting for someone like your daughter to make the first move, you know? And as a parent, I would urge you not to get overly involved by 13. Kids need to manage their own friendships and learn to navigate choppy waters on their own. Tell her you have confidence that she can rise above this and make good decisions - then let her make them.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

it's a case of mom being too involved in the fairly normal ebbs and flows of teenage friendships. yes, my feelings would have been hurt too, and if this happened to my 13 year olds, they'd feel hurt and slighted.

that doesn't mean it's a terrible thing, or that the other girls are hateful, or that any malice is implied. it sounds like K was more in the mood to hang with P and did so. and if you were K's mother, your advice to her might well have been 'you get to choose which friend you're going to spend homeroom next to.' it's not K's responsibility to smooth your daughter's awkwardness in the classroom.

rather than look at the other girls pejoratively, this is the perfect time for you to work with your own daughter and how to shore up her confidence, and have realistic expectations about how much she owns her friends' attention.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

To be honest middle school aged kids are dicks, to put it mildly. I am sure they are aware of what they did, they just don't care. Your daughter should probably just focus on the friends that treat her right.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Friendships change up a lot in middle school / high school / college.
It's good for your daughter to widen her social circle and it's good for her to learn how to do this now.
There will be plenty of times when she doesn't know anyone in class - she'll have to get to know them and make some new friends.

I've only heard of recess in elementary school.
If they are having it in middle school then this is something new that I've never seen before.
Homeroom lasts just long enough to hear morning announcements.

I was a late bloomer and lost some friends because they were ready for boyfriends a lot earlier than I was.
I didn't really start dating till college - but I missed a lot of the stupid drama that happens with dating in high school - missing it was a good thing.

Everyone goes through some awkward times in middle school as kids begin maturing into young adults.
One way to handle it is to get involved with some school clubs - there are many and there's bound to be one or two that are about something that interests your daughter.
It's a great time to try something new.
Your daughter should have some after school activity too so she makes friends outside of school.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ETAL while it's great you "INSIST" you daughter never leave anyone out, toxic people don't belong in people's lives for a reason. SHE needs to determine WHO belongs in her life. This K chick decided to be friends with P. You CANNOT FORCE friendships.


So glad your daughter shared her feelings with you. What do you do from here? You tell her the "old wives tale"

We have friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
This K chick WAS a friend for a "reason" - your daughter needed to learn that relationships change. Some even end. It happens.

I would tell her that she needs to forgive K for not being strong enough to stand up to P and include her in the group. This is life and she needs to move on. She can take a moment to grieve the loss of a friend. But she can also take the time to remember all the good times they shared.

Now go on and forge new friendships!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think friendships at that age change a lot year to year.

One of my kids has had a very close friend since school started - and even so, some years at school, they were both closer to other pals, but then became closer again a year or two later.

I think it all depends what they are into - interests are a big thing at that age.

Some kids are immature and very impressionable and not great friends either. Some are far more loyal and have integrity at a young age. Maybe K doesn't have the same values as your daughter. Remember, they are 13.

My kids are mostly introverts. They've never been social butterflies. They've had acquaintance friend groups at school and in activities, but a few very close friends - so they take friendships seriously. Some of their pals over the years - not as much, and it's been hard. They learn that it's not the end of the world and to still be a good friend themselves. To recognize good pals. To be a friend to others, etc.

Some of it is definitely the age. Your daughter just needs to be open to meeting some new kids in the class. Focus on others and not these two. It will happen - she'll meet other pals. Sometimes you're in classes at that age where you have no friends in the class to begin with - that has happened to me, and also my kids, and other years, you know a lot more - and it's just how it goes.

K may being pressured by this P and not having the best time of it either - you never know. Not that that's your concern or your daughter's - but sometimes there is more to it than what is going on that you can see. Or to do with just your daughter. Sometimes these dynamics are complicated - teen girls sometimes involve drama.

ETA - Natalie - love your advice.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I have 2 boys that are in public schools ( ages 13 and 12) and honestly I can not imagine them being upset by this. Nor me getting involved in something like this. But I have a daughter that’s 4 so maybe this is coming my way! Lol

My only suggestion is do not make a big deal about it.. brush it off as no big deal and just move on. This is also not a bad treatment your daughter experienced. Maybe these girls were just better friends from before or their moms are friends so girls saw each other... what ever it is.

I think your daughter needs to build up a bit of tolerance ( there will be a lot of things in life that might not go her way.. this is “ light practice” )and you should encourage her. Like you said she makes friends easily so move on. Besides eventually maybe they will all become friends.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Maybe it would help if you included more details about the “structure” of DD’s school day, because at this point I’n having trouble seeing why this matters to DD at all.....

Isn’t “homeroom” just a few minutes long? And, what is “recess” in middle school?

Has DD asked K to get together recently? Can’t they go see a movie on the weekends or something like that?

The way you describe it here, it sounds like DD is being VERY petty, if she herself is emotionally extending this battle beyond homeroom, if she is willing to throw away an entire friendship with K over the fact that K sits next to P for a few minutes each school day. Maybe K does that to appease P so that she can free up the rest of her daily time to see DD!!

2 moms found this helpful
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