Help with 15 Year Old Daughter Being Picked on by Former "Friends"

Updated on May 21, 2012
A.R. asks from Kansas City, MO
9 answers

I could really use some advice about something I feel like I can't talk to about with anyone. I feel like I can't talk to my mom friends who know the girls my daughter has a problem with as I don't want to be perceived as trash talking teenage girls. Here is the story: my daughter is a varsity cheerleader at a large high school, one of only three freshman on a squad of 18 girls. The problem is with the other two freshman on the squad. These two girls grew up with her in our neighborhood since kindergarten, and all three were friends until middle school, until the two became part of the "cool" crowd, which my daughter wasn't. Although this obviously bothered my daughter at the time, she is generally a happy confident girl and soon moved on to other friends. Now that they are all on the same cheer squad, however, she faces these girls every day and they treat her like she is dirt.. What is worse is we are all in a carpool together as the mothers and I have all known each other also for years. While they are fake "nice" in the car together, at practice and at school, they barely acknowledge my daughter, talk about their birthday parties and outings they do without her, and generally make her feel miserable. One of the girls even "tweets" mean spirited (anonymous) tweets about my daughter occasionally that she sees on her twitter that she knows are about her. Cheerleaders spend a lot of time together-- squad bonding sleepovers and outings and long practices --especially over the summer during competitiion season and I am dreading this for my daughter. She was so excited to make varsity as a freshman and now she comes home quiet and reserved and sad alot. She is friendly with the other girls on the squad and have been invited to sweet 16 parties, etc., I know she is not a social outcast that these girls make her feel. I've been debating having a heart to heart with one of the moms I'm closer to who is less "mean" (not the tweeter) and just ask if she knows if something has happened between the girls that I'm not aware. But I'm worried this will backfire. (My daughter thinks this girl is nicer and says they are somewhat "friends" when the other girl is not around. She also says she doesn't want to quit the carpool or make it a "big deal". My daughter has no other friend problems, she is well liked at school and is even friends with some of the girls these girls are friends with, and many of the boys as well. Yet she is excluded anytime there is a get together with this group of kids (most who went to her elementary) and I wonder if it is because of these two girls. In general this is a group of "good" kids, not into partying, making good grades, etc. I know in middle school my daughter said they thought she was a "nerd" as she was in honors classes and the band. But seriously, this rep at 11 &12 is sticking with a 15 year old in high school? Its crazy and I'm sick of worrying about it and seeing my daughter sad. It makes me want her to quit cheerleading, which she has worked so hard to be a part of. She does not want to quit she is an amazing tumbler and loves to be able to use her skills performing at cheer. In the meanwhile, I tell her to keep her head up and don't react to them, but really I feel like she is smart and athletic and sweet and she doesn't need to put up with this b.s. I have another high school daughter on sports teams and she has never had these problems with "teammates"! Any ideas on how to deal with this?

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So What Happened?

She is not asking for my help in intervening. She is a strong girl and tends to just soldier on through adversity. I just can tell this really bothers her and it makes me mad most of all as we've known these girls since kindergarten! I have thought about talking to the cheer coaches, although at the first meeting they made a big deal about saying they don't like dealing with "drama" and were hoping this would be a drama free year -- so I'm not sure that is encouraging or discouraging!

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answers from Chicago on

I like the idea of talking to the coach. Also, could they be jealous of her? Would it be worth inviting the "not so mean" girl over to hang out this summer? I would invite her with her mom and see how it goes. Also, I would spend most of the energy having her bond with girls outside of this circle. Have a ton of get togethers this summer with girls who are nice. Thank goodness she has other supports. She will make it through this! She sounds like such a successful kid. I hate "mean girl"!

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answers from Biloxi on

High school is fraught with danger. I really never understand why it is touted "as the best years of your life". Crimminey - it is the worst.

I have a son your daughter's age - just finished 10th - and he has discovered that friendships move and shift throughout elementary, middle, and high for no apparent reason. I keep an open line of communication with him, encourage him to invite those kids who he is friends over, and encourage him to continue to be polite to those who have moved on to other friendships. I do not intervene in his relationships expect to talk to him.

At this age, to have mom talk to the other kids, or parents, coaches, etc. may well cause more harm than good. It seems that at a far younger age this the trend is to let kids work it out on their own - despite the fact that do not have the skills to do so. So, you need to ensure that your daughter has the skills to work it out. And she sounds like a strong young girl who knows herself - so half the battle won there.

Do help her build other strong friendship by setting up summer activities with other girls, have a summer time BBQ and invite everyone she hangs out with and then some, etc.

Ditch the Twitter account - I mean really, in this case avoidance of the nasty grams may be the way to go. If the mean girls know they can not get to her that way, most likely they will stop using that medium. If she has a FB account - monitor it to ensure they are not cyber bullying her - if they do, then you have a case to take to a higher authority.

But basically, keep doing what you are doing. Be there for her and continue to mold her into the strong woman that she will become.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

If she doesn't want you to intervene and isn't withdrawing from this or other social situations, they you should stay out of it.

It sounds like she's a very smart and driven young woman, who rightfully understands that responding to their bad behavior only prolongs or worsens the problem. That's not to say she should let them treat her badly, but she can choose to rise above their behavior and not pay any attention to it.

Remind her (and remember yourself) that teenagers (especially girls) go through competitive phases and jealousy is an ugly trait. Even if people in their circle of friends don't see this behavior as petty jealousy, your daughter knows the truth -- that she's done nothing wrong, nor does she deserve this behavior -- and if she simply ignores their exclusions and finds her own friends to hang with, she'll be fine.

Just because they've known each other since kindergarten doesn't mean they'll be friends forever.

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answers from Minneapolis on

Well, this may be one of the tougher years in terms of friends on the cheer squad. You said there are 3 freshman girls. Groups of 3 girls = drama. I'll bet in the upcoming years the numbers of girls in her grade on the squad increases, things will get better for her. I would say that yes, it is unfortunate that these girls she has known a long time and are together on the squad with aren't really nice friends, but there isn't really anything you can do about that. I think we tend to idealize our child's friends they have known since kindergarten as special, but it doesn't mean those old elementary school playmates become true friends. I wouldn't bring it up to the other parents because I really don't believe that is going to make the girls like her any more, and will almost certainly make them think even less of your DD. If your DD doesn't want to quit the carpool, don't for now. Next year I would break from it, but make up a reason that doesn't have to do with the girls' dynamic. Encourage your DD to be a little friendlier and reach out to the other girls who are a little older than her on the squad. She may find out that close friends don't always have to be in the exact same grade as you if you share the same interests. She is a smart girl to keep taking the high road around the other girls, a smart girl to avoid the drama. I would also encourage her to drop the twitter account if it causes her more trouble than it's worth. If you see her down and sad, encourage her to make some plans with a friend outside of cheer squad. Encourage her to stick with it if she enjoys the activity. Everything may shift in the next fews years for the better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Can you talk to the cheer coaches? Are they aware of how the two girls are treating her?

If you make the coaches aware of this, they may be able to spot it and talk to them without bringing you into this......

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Life is crazy when you are a teenager.
You can give her advice if she asks for it.
Just let her know what you would do if you were in her position.
Somehow I think she will survive this, she wanted to be a cheerleader and all the drama and chaos goes with it.
Been there done it. It creates character no matter what happens.

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answers from Los Angeles on

if it was me i would call a get together with the parents. yes both. only because what one child may not say the other will. come at it sympatheticly. say your concerned that the girls are growing apart and you want to know if you missed a falling out.
now i see this as very different then the percieved good kids your projecting them as. theres something going on that shouldnt be at these ''get togethers'' and theres a reason behind them leaving your daughter at.
if you cant get to the bottom of the situation or the parents react poorly i would stop the carpool. because this will only further your childs hardship.

your daughter sounds strong to be able to handle this. but something will break and its not going to be good. the stress isnt worth it. the coaches dont want to deal with outside drama.
i marched with the band as a color gaurd and we were not allowed to bring drama into practice preformaces etc. it was left at the door when you went to practice.



answers from New York on

Other than seeming sad, has she expressed anything else to you? Does she want you to intervene?



answers from Columbus on

I'm not sure that there is much you can do. But I would suggest finding a way out of the carpool--a face-saving way for your daughter (take the blame because you "need to work" or whatever). That at least will mean a little less exposure to them.

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