How to Deal with a “Bossypants” Girl in the Classroom Excluding My Daughter

Updated on May 21, 2019
V.Y. asks from New York, NY
11 answers

Hi,

My daughter started preschool this past year. She got into the same classroom with a daughter of our acquaintances whom she knew and played a few times with, which I was happy about. However, their daughter already had a best friend from the previous year, whom I will call “bossypants.” They are both one year older (5 years old) than my daughter, both going to kindergarten in the fall while my daughter stays for an extra year of preschool.

So here is the issue: at the recent birthday party, I witnessed “bossypants” gathering other girls (most of the girls in the classroom) around her but was actively excluding my daughter whenever she tried to play with them saying things like “oh no, we have enough players here now,” “can you go play with other kids over there?” etc. also not letting her play with some toys and taking some toys away from her. My daughter would get upset for a minute but she is very sweet, happy, loving and cute girl and she would just happily run around and play with some other kids. Sometimes “bossypant’s” parents would intervene and sometimes I would intervene in a nice way. I noticed the same behavior at the playground the other day too when I happened to be there at the recess to pick my daughter up for her appointment.

I was disappointed the most when I was in the bathroom with my daughter and “bossypants” and our acquaintances’ daughter walked in with their moms but didn’t see us and bossypants said to the girl “you are the only one who plays with her [the name of my daughter]” and I believe she said it loudly twice and neither of the moms said anything to her. My daughter didn’t hear it and I didn’t want to say anything so we said good bye to them and left.”

It’s only 1.5 months left of them being in the same classroom but I want it to be a pleasant experience for my daughter. What should I do? Talk to the teachers but not tell them name of the child, talk to the teacher and tell the name of the child, talk to the mom, arrange a play date. Please give me some ideas.

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R.P.

answers from Tampa on

Well at school I would absolutely mention girls names and tell teacher the issues. I would also avoid that girl.

That would annoy the living daylights out of me.. but I also know I am an overprotective mom.. lol.. social skills are actually learned this way .. 4 kids later I learned not to overreact ( in public!!) lol

Try not to stress... it’s another month or so! Good luck!

More Answers

D.B.

answers from Boston on

This unpleasantness is your awakening to the reality that kids don't always do or say nice things. They're preschoolers, they're learning, their finding a balance (way too slowly, I know) between dependence on adults and a small amount of autonomy. In fact, I'd suggest you be very careful about labels like "Miss Bossypants" and so on. That doesn't help, and your attitude will be picked up, no matter how subtle or guarded you think you are, by your daughter.

What you do is strengthen your daughter. In age-appropriate ways, you let her know that other people's acceptance does not define her. Whether it's a 5 year old, a 10 y.o., a boyfriend, a teacher, a boss, even a stranger in a store or on a subway....there will always be people who are blunt, thoughtless, mean or horrible. You will be doing this, in some fashion for 15-20 years. Maybe longer. What this kid is doing is not what determines your daughter's view of herself.

You can mention it to the teacher by asking how they recommend you deal with these situations - when to intervene, when to let it go, etc. We cannot protect our kids from hurt. Nor should we. We have to give them the tools to deal with this sort of thing, but I can assure you that you will be absolutely miserable if you let every slight set you off.

Ans while your description of your daughter is what I would expect - we all see our children's gloriously good points - it's really good to admit that your child is not, and will not always be, sweet and delightful and thoughtful. In fact, you don't know what she may already have said to these other kids. Stay open to all possibilities, and start learning the very hard parenting lesson that we can't buffer our children from everything.

5 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

It doesn't really sound like a "problem" because your daughter is perfectly happy to play with other children. Honestly why would you even want your daughter to play with a "bossypants" girl anyway?
If your DAUGHTER becomes upset then it's time to give the teacher a heads up. But if she is content playing with nicer children then why focus on this girl at all? No need to see her outside of preschool and certainly no need to set up a play date with a girl who, for whatever reason, doesn't want to play with your daughter!

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I would not encourage a playdate with 'BP'. I have a friend going through this with her daughter in grade 5. I don't get it. It's like saying be friends with the kid who is being mean to you. It's encouraging your kid to be a doormat. So I wouldn't.

I would mention to the teacher if your daughter feels the effects. If she doesn't - let it go. Just encourage her other friendships.

Sometimes we moms notice this stuff FAR more than our kids do. I notice it more I know.

There will always be a BP you will find in every class and group.

Your daughter is challenging this girl's friendships.

Her mom doesn't see anything wrong with it because her kid is happy. She will step in if she sees her being rude, but she's not thinking of your daughter.

I would just encourage your daughter to be herself, empower her, and find 'true' friends who aren't all caught up in it, and will stay true to her. Just one pal who will stick by her (have playdates outside of school) is the way to go (in my experience) :)

Good luck

*Personal experience - I used to take one of mine over to friend's home for coffee dates with my pals. We'd bring our young daughters. One girl (a year older than my youngest) would exclude mine and say similar things. She didn't care for my kid - no idea why. The thing is, kids don't have to like each other and it sometimes makes it worse to force it. I also don't think kids have to put up with it so we just didn't go any more. It's just awkward waiting for moms to intervene. I would say "Oh well that's not very kind (Lucy) isn't sharing with you, or not letting you in the playroom". You can only do that so much.

I just taught my daughter we don't do that to guests or other children, and that was the lesson we took away from it. When we played with the rest of the kiddos - she had fun. I didn't say the kid was awful - I just focused on the behavior.

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C.C.

answers from New York on

First of all, labeling a five-year-old who is a complete stranger to you as "bossypants" is giving way too much power and significance to the actions of a very young child. I'll call her "BP" as a name for describing my thoughts here.

Take a step back and look at what is really going on: from everything you describe, it sounds like BP sees your daughter as a threat!!

BP formed a friendship with your acquaintance's daughter over the previous year(s) when they were in school together. Then this year, your daughter arrived and shook things up!!

BP herself recognizes that your acquaintance's daughter is friendly with (plays with) your daughter. BP tries to steer her away by telling her that she is "the ONLY person" who plays with your daughter.

I'm not at all surprised that BP pushes your daughter away. BP is fighting every way she can to protect her friendship with your acquaintance's daughter.

Just be happy for your daughter's connection to your acquaintance's daughter and support your daughter in meeting other children to be friendly with. Why in the world would you want to force a connection to BP?!

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R.K.

answers from Boston on

As a former preschool teacher, I think it would be fine if you spoke to the preschool teacher. A professional will always appreciate a "heads-up". Ask her for a few moments, then explain what you have seen (not how you feel about it) and that you have not seen your daughter bothered by it. Express that you just want the teacher to keep an eye out for the rest of year. It's not wrong to mention the other child's name, it actually can be helpful. Expect to hear how your daughter is handling social interactions in class. Do not expect the teacher to say anything about the other child. Interesting, children often behave very differently in structured preschool settings, so speak your peace and then follow your daughter's lead, ignoring any social slights.

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

For a moment I saw 'bossypants' and thought you were talking about someone I work with! At any rate, this person I work with was probably the same way when she was five and they don't always grow out of it or learn a loving lesson on trying to treat other people decently So far you sound like you have done all the appropriate things and your daughter sounds like she is happy playing with other children. As many of us adults have learned to do when someone is cold, distant, bossy, snotty, rude or another sad personality trait...we enjoy other people and try our darndest best to ignore them. There are billions of 'bossy pants' on earth. They will be in every class, every playground, every library and afterschool program. And I can only say that you are teaching your daughter the best right now and that is enjoying the circumstances she is in and liking lots of other people. I originally thought perhaps one of those ideas above would work, but with this short amount of time left I am not so sure. Parents don't want to hear that their beloved child is considered rude, teachers may not even notice at this time of year with all that is going on or spend the time observing it and arranging a play date with a child who is definitely not on my list of potential life friendships didn't seem to work. I think you need not do anything but keep enjoying your child.

2 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

this is a very very common dynamic among children.

it's also very very common for the moms to refer to their own kids as sweet, happy, loving and cute and other people's kids as bossypants.

your daughter is barely even registering this issue. she gets over her upset in a minute.

be like your daughter.

khairete
S.

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C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

Some kids (it always seems to be girls) have a really hard time with social interactions...they want to control their friends and they tell them they can't play with so and so. I have seen this so many times! My daughter is now finishing up 3rd grade and I notice that one little girl who was very much like this is finally growing out of it...fingers crossed. My daughter started really noticing in 2nd grade and I told her no one can tell others who they can and cannot be friends with and to play with other kids for now. My advice is to not take this personally...the bossy little girl is a pain, sure, but just encourage your daughter to play with other girls. Invite another girl over to play. Focus on the good friendships.

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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I guess it's possible that I viewed other kids this way when my kids were little, but it was so long ago now that the only reaction I have to your question is being annoyed that a little 5 year old is being called names by a grownup.

It seems like your daughter is handling this just fine. This will hardly be the most difficult thing she ever has to deal with, and you will not be able to control every situation she finds herself in. Unless she is being outright bullied (which this is not), you need to keep out of it trust that your daughter can endure a little adversity. It is healthy and important for our children to learn to handle adversity, so they can enter adulthood as happy and competent human beings.

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T.H.

answers from Dallas on

It's heartbreaking to see your child in this position, I totally get it. I think speaking to the teacher is definitely warranted and of course tell them the child's name because they will need to be aware of the interactions between them.

The good news is they are both going to K and you won't have this issue next year. The bad news...this is just one of many situations like this your child will be in. It totally and absolutely sucks that this girl drama starts in preschool but it does. My daughter is in 5th and there's drama all the time every year, and it gets both harder and easier in different ways.

It doesn't sound like your daughter is terribly affected at this point, so let it go but keep in tune with it. I encourage you to teach your daughter that these situations are only beginning and to take the higher road approach. Find friends that are nice...and talk specifically about what "real" friends or "good" friends look like.

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