My 4 Y/o Daughter Made Me So Sad for Her Yesterday :(

Updated on October 23, 2011
A.G. asks from Clinton, MA
14 answers

Hi Mamas!
All weekend my 4 yr old daughter kept talking about the other girls at preschool who had colored strands in their hair (new fad around here for the little kids i guess, barrettes with colored wig strands clipped in to their hair). So after hearing her talk about them and showing interest in wanting some I took her to the mall, Claire's the little accessory store in the mall. She picked out 2 different ones and they were pretty inexpensive.. Anyways on the way home, after they were clipped into her hair and all, she states "my new hair looks pretty, maybe now mia will invite me to her halloween party because i have nice hair now. she didnt invite me but invited other kids, but now she will invite me"... OH!!! really? Isnt 4 a little young for this kind of thinking?? I definitely do not want to promote that having somthing will make people like you more or less, but what do I do? I feel so bad. If i knew that was why she wanted them I wouldnt have taken her to buy them. Have you had this happen with any of your daughters? This young?? Thanks

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So What Happened?

@peg that was an interesting article! thank you for it. i was actually thinking of having her own little halloween party :)
@rose i agree, i am trying to reassure that all fads dont make her friends or invited to parties

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answers from San Francisco on

I was just reading lately that this invite/uninvite thing is a really normal phase for little girls. They use the invite or revoke the invite in order to practice their social skills and explore their personal power. I agree with you that I would be very sad to hear my daughter felt uninvited because of a way she looked or didn't look, but it sounds like a great opportunity to start a conversation about status/image and self love. I wish you both the best.

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answers from Portland on

Sadly, Mia showed poor manners by inviting some classmates in front of others. She may have a magnetic personality, but a poorly developed sense of etiquette. And your daughter has a normal sense of "fairness" or justice for her age group. This is one reason that teachers often prohibit handing out invitations unless they're given to the whole class (a source of occasional rants here on mamapedia).

The "looking stylish or pretty" thing is sad, but hard to avoid in the flood of materialistic and narcissistic messages given in television advertising. I actually managed to avoid much of that by restricting commercial TV viewing when my daughter was little, and getting rid of the TV when she was in 4th grade. Her needs and wants dropped significantly at that point.

Can you help your daughter plan her own party? Not as a form of competition, but as a way to help her find greater control over her own happiness. If you do this, be sure to either mail invitations, or hand them to other moms at school. And let your daughter know all the wonderful things that you notice about her, things that run deeper and count for more than outward prettiness.

You might find the following thought-provoking article about praise and motivation helpful: How NOT to Talk to Kids, by Po Bronson:

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answers from Dover on

Oh, yeah, and it's a killer. Not that young, but it still hurts all the same.

We live in a military community so kids in the school are constantly coming and going as families move to and from other duty stations. In third grade about halfway through, my girlie came home and said "Jessica" was moving away. I asked her if she was sad and she said, "Not really." That surprised me because she's kind of a tender heart and makes lots of friends. I asked why and was promptly appalled.

She said that among all the third grade classes there was a list started by 5 girls. It was like a top 25 chart of the most popular girls in the third grade. It was constantly being updated with upgrades and downgrades. She looked at me and said, "She's the head girl in charge of the list and now that she's gone, maybe I can get on it."

I wanted to cry. I don't want her to let other girls decide her worth. I want her to feel confident in who she is. We have done a lot of talking since then about how important it is to be your own person.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

They did make her happy even if she had other motives. :)

What I have found is sometimes there are strange reasons why kids don't get invited and then the kids not invited come up with their own reasons.

The first thing you need to do is find out who came up with the idea of hair making the little woman, ya know?

Last year my youngest wasn't invited to any birthday parties, I couldn't figure out why, she was soooo upset. Turns out her stupid father told them not to put us in the buzz book. Without that they cannot mail you an invite as required by the school. We found out when we were planning her party, a party where every girl in both classes came. :) Here we were both depressed and it wasn't anything more than no access to her information.

Find out what is really going on and then figure out what to do.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It sounds like Mia's mother should be given the heads up about what her daughter is up to and acting like. 4 years old IS too young to have that kind of pressure put on a child. I don't see anything wrong with getting the hair strands, like you said, it's a fad, but maybe you could explain to your daughter that just because someone follows a fad, doesn't guarantee popularity. But in any event, think also about what you might say to your daughter if Mia doesn't invite her to the party, even though she has the "pretty" hair now.

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answers from San Diego on

Awe! Heart cracker. Hasn't happened yet but I know that it is happening at this age. I think this is a good opportunity to discuss wanting something to express yourself versus wanting something so that it will illicit a certain response, how to make friends, feeling excluded because it will happen, again and again and what to do with those feelings. Not in those words, of course.
Poopy though, huh?

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answers from Honolulu on

I know she is young and this is how they perceive things. And how other little kids may act.

All I know is and what I try to do is: since Toddlerhood, I taught my kids that THEY are who they are. It is not about looking a certain way, just to get others to like you. A real friend, will like you for who you are and a friend, is someone who makes you feel good about yourself, not bad.
And to always... be themselves and know who they are.
So now at 5 and 8 years old, my kids, do know that.
And still there will be friend issues or social awkwardness all throughout childhood... so you guide them through it... so they they can "discern" social situations as well and other friends. And to do what is best. To know who they are. No matter what.
A child nor an adult, can't possibly just go around doing what they think others think they should do or look like.
So, you teach your child, to be themselves.... and to know themselves.

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answers from Boston on

I'm sad for your little girl too! Just use this as learning experience. Reinforce that your daughter was pretty before the hair accessories. Accessories are just fun to use for a change. Also talk about parties. Kids don't invite everyone in a class so every kid is bound to be left out sometimes. It is sad, but it is also a reality. Maybe Mia could only invite a few people or maybe Mia's mom chose the guest list based on parents she knew best. I'm not sure if Mia invited the kids at school or the kids were just talking about it. Obviously not great form, but it might just be some moms getting together with their kids. Your daughter is likely to get over this sooner than you are, so try not to make too big a deal out of it. If she has a close friend, maybe you could invite that friend over to paint pumpkins or decorate Halloween cookies. See if you can set up some playdates with the kids in the class. If your daughter really wants to be friends with Mia, maybe you could invite her over to your house for a special playdate. Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Wait and see. Probably Mia is just talking. There's a good chance the party idea is all in her head. Even if it turns out she IS having a party, chances are pretty overwhelming Mia's Mom isn't going to allow her to invite every child in the class except your DD. If there is a party, your DD will either get an invite, and you can down play the whole cool hair thing. Or she won't, and you can use this as a learning opportunity that all kids will not be invited to all parties, and that's OK. Mia will not get to go to every party that comes along either. If you make it a no big deal, there's a good chance she won't either. And when your DD gets to have a party, you can remind her it isn't very nice to choose her guests based on hair. A good opportunity to talk about what makes someone a friend, what's on the inside.

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answers from Washington DC on

Oh, that's young! How sad! I have four girls (8, 6, 4 and 3), and nothing quite like this has happened to them yet. Luckily, they ALL seem to dislike the "mean" girls, or the ones that are really done-up. I love that they don't care what other girls think... yet.

I'd just really take this as a lesson to explain to her that she should want friends that want HER, not because of some hair accessory. Tell her she didn't have them to begin with because she is prettier without the hair thing and that she doesn't need the hair thing to make friends cause shes AWESOME on her own. Tell her that Mia doesn't sound nice.

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answers from Boston on

You could talk to the preschool principle. At our school the rule was that if you handed out invitations at school or talked about it at school you had to invite all the girls in class (or all the boys). And if you sent invites to homes or emails and only some from class were invited, it should not be discussed at school. Hard to do when the kids are 4. But often parties are limited to choosing 5 or 10 friends and while it is hard to be left out, it does not mean she is not liked. My daughters did a few of those Jump On In parties where we invited the whole class, but since she did not really play with her friends but all were running around, since then we have done small parties at home with about 4-5 friends. She likes calmer girls, so while she loves playing outside with the wilder ones, for home parties she prefers the quieter girls. I would explain that all kinds of friends are fun to be around, but that there are money and size contraints as well as differing interests that make not everybody go to everyone's party.

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answers from San Francisco on

I agree with Peg and's too bad Mia's mother doesn't invite all the girls...that was the rule in our house, up until 3rd-4th grade. I don't care if it's expensive...just downscale and have a "home party." Lots of people can't make it anyway. Once I allowed my daughter to only invite certain girls, I mailed the invitations to their homes and my daughter knew better than to discuss it in school. Kids are too young to deal with this social pressure.

I totally agree with Peg's idea of having her own party as a measure of control...this will give her something positive to focus on. Your daughter sounds like a sweet girl and she will find others like her as she matures!

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answers from Norfolk on

Sooner or later kids have to learn that not everyone can be invited to every party.
It just gets too expensive.
I'd tell her that Mia's Mom probably had to choose a certain number of people and Mia could not invite more people even though she'd probably like to invite her whole class.
Her hair is beautiful no matter what but that has nothing to do with being invited to a party.

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answers from Burlington on

Hopefully it is just a small party and Mia couldn't invite everyone. My son and daughter constantky threaten not to invite each other to their birthdays (LOL), and we just celebrate with the four of us. Yet to do the big kid party, and no loss. When the kids are made at me, I get told that I will not be allowed to MAKE their birthdays...good luck getting Daddy to make the damn cake :)!! It's a power trip for the birthday girl, and not nice, but hopefully she'll grow out of it. I wouldn't tell her Mia is mean, but tell your daughter that it isn't very nice, and drop it. Hopefully your daughter will forget about soon. I didn't send my son to a classmates party (I believe she invited everyone)...she is plain nasty to the other children...bullying at 4 years old, pushing them, intimidating them. I get comprehensive reports from mine at home...He still wanted to go to the party!?? Have a small gathering at your house, let her help plan...she'll forget the whole thing happened. I am NOT looking foward to the meaner years!!

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