Keeping Peace in the Neighborhood...

Updated on June 06, 2013
J.J. asks from Lancaster, NY
17 answers

My dd had a friend over yesterday, they baked cupcakes and had a bake sale in our yard. They had a load of fun and made $40. The friend's mother actually asked if she could stay the day at our house because her day care was closed that day.

Two other neighborhood girls from my dd's grade (one lives across the street) came by and pointed at their bake sale and said "ha ha stupid!" )
These are girls my daughter plays with, but when the two of them are together, they get mean. I pretty much told my dd she can't play with them anymore because they aren't being true friends. There's also a lot of nastiness on the bus so I'm going to drive her to school next year.

I think they were jealous that my dd had a different friend over and that they were having so much fun. I really want to keep peace in the neighborhood, but I wonder if their mothers know how nasty their kids are (both the other girls have "nannies" during the day since the moms work) We've all had a good relationship in the past, but the girls are all 10 and they're starting to determine their "pecking order" by pairing up and excluding others.

Do I just leave the situation alone? Talk to the other mothers to try to keep peace in the neighborhood? Just ignore the nasty girls and avoid them (which is sometimes hard since both live so close)

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the input. These two neighborhood girls are very underhanded about their nastiness. Their most recent incident at the bake sale was more overt, but usually, they whisper things and exclude my dd by doing things like telling her to "save a seat" on the bus, then they purposefully sit somewhere else so my dd has to sit by herself. They want to exclude my dd, but get mad when she plays with someone else.

Honestly, I think my dd has the upper hand right now, because the girl across the street doesn't have many friends and if she and the other neighbor girl get in a fight she'll have nobody. My dd has a wide social circle which is why I'd prefer she discontinue her friendship with these bratty girls. I'd rather not have her ride the bus because these girls sort of have a "captive audience" with little supervision. Frankly it's easier for me to drive her and she can sleep later in the morning.

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answers from New York on

Stay out of it and do not drive her to school next year or she will never learn to navigate the whole friend thing. Can't protect her, this is all part of life,

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

Whenever possible I talk directly to the kids. No scolding or blaming, but talking. I also find humor at this age goes a long way. Believe it or not, it's us adults who tend to make these things worse, not the kids, and when you can jump in, in a fun way, 9 out of 10 times, the issue can be repaired. It's when the other parent and their child feels attacked that things go south.

So if it happens again, find a funny/humorous was to talk with the girls.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

1. I don't agree that you should tell her not to play with the other girls. Mentor her about toxic friendships, and what real friends look like...but let the choice be hers. This is a learning opportunity.

2. I think you should allow her to ride the bus. She doesn't have to get involved with the nastiness. Another learning opportunity here that shouldn't be wasted.

3. Pairing up and excluding others is normal. It's called "triangling." We all do this. We can't just avoid others, we have to learn to deal with them. Mentor your daughter, but don't get involved. She needs to learn with whom she should spend her time, or not. She can't do that if you do it all for her.

This is life-lesson stuff. I highly recommend that you utilize it now to avoid bigger dramas in the future.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

This kind of thing is going to happen more and more, especially as the girls go into middle school. Not allowing your daughter to play with them doesn't teach her how to deal with it, so that actually hurts her more than it helps her.
I would just keep talking to your daughter about appropriate behavior and what it means to be a good friend. When these girls say or do something mean, ask your daughter questions, what did you say? do you think that was very nice? etc. That's how she learns.
I have two teenage girls so I have PLENTY of experience with this. You need to keep in mind that not all "mean girls" stay mean. Sometimes they just experiment and try this behavior on, so to speak. It can be a power trip at a time when girls begin to feel powerless (especially as their bodies start changing.) I've seen plenty of girls go through this phase and come out just fine.
Don't talk to the other mothers unless the situation escalates to true bullying. In the mean time, keep talking to your daughter and giving her the tools and advice she needs to navigate herself socially.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I think you're trying too hard to make sure your daughter never encounters any kind of meanie, bully or adversity.
Let her decide to play with them or not.
I'd also let her ride the bus.
Instead of shielding her from the mean girls and forbidding them as playmates, empower her to recognize bullying or friendship and how to respond to both situations.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

I'd leave it alone and only give your daughter the verbal tools to deal with bratty girls. We all have to learn how to deal with women and it starts when we are little girls. Avoiding mean girls will not give her the skills she will need later. This is your chance to teach her to be a strong leader and for you to see what kind of character she may be developing so you can feed it.
And unless something super catastrophic happens you shouldnt bring the other mothers into it... at age 10 all the daughters are mini representatives of their parenting dont you think?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If the kids are 10, they need to develop some verbal skills in dealing with things like this. One thing your daughter could do is invite the other 2 to participate: "We had so much fun and we made money to spend on XYZ. Want to join forces next time and see what we can accomplish together?"

She can also decide she doesn't need to be friends with everyone. I think that taking the kids to school to avoid the problems has some merit, but it also increases the separation between neighborhood kids and may make things worse. But that depends on how nasty the stuff on the bus is and how regular.

Schools have anti-bullying programs to address these types of issues. I'd make sure the bus stuff is reported so that the school knows what's brewing before it explodes.

You can prevent your daughter from playing with certain kids, but if you want to have peace in the neighborhood at the same time, the whole situation needs to be addressed or at least de-fused. You can't go to the mothers and say "Your daughters are causing problems" because it's too accusatory. You don't really know what all these kids say to each other when adults aren't listening, so it's possible these other girls have a story to tell about your daughter too.

I'd also check on any cell phone texts messages, emails, and Facebook connections to see what else it out there. Get all over your daughter if she's participating, let her know that stuff on the internet stays there forever, and if there's a way to talk to the mothers about the collective problem you ALL have, that might be a start. Express it as "I'm so worried about the overall social climate, kids excluding others, and some of the catty remarks that get thrown back and forth on the bus and elsewhere among girls our kids' ages. What have you seen? What do you worry about? What can we do?" I think this has a lot less to do with nannies and working moms than with the way we socialize our kids - so that's how I'd approach it. If you turn working moms against at home moms, you get a mommy war, and that's what the kids will emulate.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with the poster that said use this as as a mentoring opportunity. Your daughter will need to learn skills to deal with these kind of kids throughout her schooling.

I have and am currently experiencing similar situation in my neighborhood. Dont' bother telling the mother - I did and she refused to address it with her daughter and acted as if her daughter would never do such a thing.

I teach my daughter the difference between real friends, acquaintances and people who not good friends and have taught her to choose people that treat her well. At 11 for the most part, she is able to distinguish between these different types of relationship. - Not to say that we don't still have issues occasionally.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My older daughter started getting very badly bullied in 4th grade. We spent lots of time talking about each encounter. The focus was always on empowering her to deal with mean people, to learn to separate her own self worth from what other people said and to learn to calm her own feelings when people were mean. We spoke to teachers and others about it so she was never in this all alone, but my focus was always on helping her manage in a world that is not always nice.

It was a hard year. For both of us. But this year, 7th grade meanness has kicked it up to nuclear level and many girls are really struggling. My daughter has the reputation for being cool and calm and everybody likes her because she just does not engage with bullies or mean people. She will call them out on it if they are bullying some one else and blow them off if it is at her. Best of all, she actually said she was glad she got bullied in 4th grade because the drama of 7th grade does not bother her. What that means is she can deal now, and best of all, she knows it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

ish. Mean Girls. they are just so ubiquitous.
and interestingly, even Nice Girls take occasional trips down Mean Girl Alley.
for starters, i wouldn't dictate to my daughter who her friends may be. i'd certainly have the conversations about boundaries, selectiveness and how to determine what being a friend entails. but then i'd allow her to explore it in her life and make her own decisions, which includes making her own mistakes.
i'm not sure how talking to the other mothers will keep peace in the neighborhood. it's a rare mother who responds with thanks and positive energy to being told 'your daughter is mean and a bully', even when it's couched in courteous terms. what you'll probably get back is a recitation, perhaps imaginary but perhaps not, of how often your daughter was mean to their girls. will you welcome that?
your girl probably can't totally avoid the nasty girls. that's okay. i'll bet the nasty ones are nice sometimes. it's great life learning for your daughter to discern when it's fine to hang out with one or both of them, and when it's time to say 'i don't have to take it when you speak to me that way. i'm outta here.'

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Nasty girls. Ugh, gotta love it!

My daughter has kids like this in her school, and I'm teaching her to ignore them, don't let them get to her, stay with the nice crowd, etc. I can't go to bat for her everytime someone says or does something mean. For one I don't have time, and two, she has to learn to handle things on her own.

I can tell you for sure one of our neighborhood girls would have acted the same way the mean ones did in your neighborhood. My daughter already knows to tell her to shut her mouth and keep moving. The girl leaves her alone now.

So no, I wouldn't go tell on them. That does no good. The only time I told on the nasty girl in my neighborhood is when she bruised my daughter by pinching her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntington on

J., I think you should talk to the mom asap. Generally, I have been the type to "leave situations alone" - I am very non confrontational. Unfortunately, I am seeing now the ramifications of not speaking up about these kinds of situations. In fact, we had a very similar situation just last week and now it is REALLY coming to a head...a girl next door plays with my daughter but they don't really get along. The girl is mean and sounds like the girl you described. Last week my kids did a lemonade stand and the girl came over and taunted them just like your neighborhood girl. Well, it caused a fight, I told me kids that they needed to take a break from those kids. Well, last night, the girls mom sent me an angry text about my "mean daughter" and some supposedly horrible thing my kid did. It was late and my kids are not up yet, so I have still to deal with this, but I can surmise that probably what happened was that as usual, this kid was a jerk, came into our backyard and would not leave (happens often), and my kid told her to leave and pushed the gate closed, causing the girls toe to get hurt. The mom was furious in her texts last night, but I am more mad at myself because now I am wishing that I had addressed all this kids poor behavior when it happened instead of just "letting live", ya know?

This is what I would probably say, if I were you: "I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I have witnessed Mary taunting my daughter (explain what has happened). I wanted you to be aware." (Most moms would appreciate this...not that any of us want to hear our kid is being a jerk, but at least if we know, we can correct the behavior). Yeah...I really wish I would have done this!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I understand the idea of talking to the girls, but I have to say that sometimes this backfires. (One of the other thread's posts makes it pretty clear when one of the ladies related that talking to the neighbor boy ended up with him lying to his parents about how the conversation went.) If you feel that something needs to be said, talk to the mothers instead.

I would not allow them to play together, that's for sure.

Good luck...



answers from San Francisco on

Talking to the other mothers is not going to keep peace in the neighborhood. If you want to keep peace, then ignore the girls and leave the situation alone. It is NOT hard to ignore children who live in your neighborhood. It's pretty easy not to wave and say hi or respond to them if they speak to you. I don't see what's so hard.

IF they come to your door to play with your DD, just tell them DD cannot play and leave it at that. Eventually they will get bored and move on.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, J.:

You heard the expression: "It takes a village to raise a child."

It is your responsibility to be a surrogate mother to these children who are in training to bully.

When you notice children being disrespectful and exclusive, you need to teach these children the proper way to behave.

Confront the bad behavior and ask them:
1. What are you thinking to cause you to behavior this way.

After they tell you.

You tell them how this behavior makes you feel and ask your child to
say how this behavior makes her feel.

Then ask the girls:
1) What do you think you need to do to make things right?

Then you tell them what you need and your daughter tell them what she needs.

With this process, it will teach the girls how they behavior affects others and teaches them how to take responsibility for their actions and teaches them how to resolve conflict.

Good luck.




answers from Washington DC on

Do they go to the same school? My son's school has a zero tolerance bullying policy and the counselors both in his elementary school and middle school tackle the issue head on - even if the bullying doesn't take place during school hours. They work on giving the bullied tools for coping and standing up for themselves - plus full back up if that doesn't work. Those that are doing the bullying are given compassionate, but clear boundaries and a safe place to talk about their worries.
You shouldn't have to drive your daughter to school for you both to feel safe and a 10 year old shouldn't have to live through bullying to acquire life skills. We don't tolerate adult bullying and we shouldn't tolerate it for our kids.



answers from Washington DC on

The girls are jealous that they were not included. My son and the other kids in the neighborhood do this when they really want to included in with a friendship pairing but are left out. That being said, my daughter is going into grade 4 and I have recently noticed an increase in nasty behavior from other girls. I am trying to encourage her to speak up and tell these girls how they make her feel rather than terminate potential friendships. BTW- there is a reading series called Cupcake Diaries that your daughter would love.


The girls are jealous that they were not included. My son and the other kids in the neighborhood do this when they really want to included in with a friendship pairing but are left out. That being said, my daughter is going into grade 4 and I have recently noticed an increase in nasty behavior from other girls. I am trying to encourage her to speak up and tell these girls how they make her feel rather than terminate potential friendships. BTW- there is a reading series called Cupcake Diaries that your daughter would love.

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