My 9 Yr Old Daughter Has a Bossy BFF

Updated on July 23, 2018
N.C. asks from Bristol, RI
12 answers

My 9y old daughter is a cautious child, she is quiet and slow to warm up to people she doesn't know too well, I don't like to label her as shy. That's just who she is, and we are fine with it. When she was starting kindergarten , we met a lovely couple with a daughter going into the same class, so we began to get them together to have a familiar face once school started. We became good friends with this family and our kids became "BF's" . "Ava" the BF, is an only child, so she had a hard time sharing toys, games and always seemed to want things her way from the beginning. (not saying all only children are like this).Her parents always try to intervene when her behavior is noticed by them, but at school, or when she is at our house, I see how she treats my daughter, and it bothers me. My daughter "Lee", has even said to me, "why did you make her my best friend? She's bossy and mean!!". I have told her she is free to make friends with anyone, and that she doesn't have to be BF's with Ava. The girls are now going into 4th grade and I do my best to have other kids over and allow Lee to create her own friendships. We still are friends with Ava's parents and have quite a lot in common, I feel as if they are wondering why we haven't been asking them to do things as much, I can't tell Ava's mom the truth (Lee wants to have some time apart...). Ava's mom know's her daughter has an "edge" although I don't know what else to say to her. Ava clings to Lee when she tries to play with others at school, my daughter has been trying to express her feelings to Ava about not liking to be told what to do or play, but Ava gets emotional and cries saying she's not like that. I know it's a life lesson dealing with difficult people, but I'm sad that we may be losing our friendship with a great couple , maybe I'm being selfish?

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answers from San Antonio on

My DD had a friend like this that was clingy and distancing her from her other friends. I went to the school guidance counselor and explained the situation. She has been one for over 20 years and seen just about everything.

She had my DD in to chat and they talked about being more assertive and read a few books about friendship AND she had the other girl in separately from my daughter but invited another girl she thought would hit it off with the other girl. And they did form a friendship that gave my DD some breathing room.

So, I allowed the school professional to handle it at school. We stopped play dates and it was hard. But the girls moved on and made other friends. Good luck!!

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

You and your husband are free to be adult friends with anyone you want. Don't try to invent excuses for your daughter, just plan adult outings with them that don't involve the children (dinners together, etc).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

You should tell Ava's parents the truth. You don't have to say, "your child is being bossy and mean" You just say, "it seems the girls have grown apart a bit (normal) and Lee isn't interested in having playdates or get togethers right now, but maybe that will change or shift back in the future"

Why do you have to lose a friendship with Ava's parents? You can also tell them, you feel sad about the girls growing apart because you (the parents) have a great time together. Suggest you both get sitters, and go out to dinner without the kids or something.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Sounds like your daughter is distancing herself from this friend - which is good.
And it sounds like the friend is not handling the consequences of her behavior well.

If your adult friendship is based on the kids being friends - then it's pretty much doomed.
When the kids move on - parents usually move on with them.
Friendships - whether you are a kid or an adult - come and go.
Oh yes you can (and should) tell Ava's mom that your daughter wants time apart.
If you don't, then you are forcing this girl onto your kid - and that's just not healthy.

It might be time for you to develop friends that are not based on your child(ren) but instead based on your own interests and hobbies.
That way, when your kid(s) head off to college - you'll still have your friends.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Inviting other kids is a great plan. Let your daughter see for herself which kids are more fun.

Don't blame the other kid's selfishness on her being a single child. That's insulting to all of us who have single kids who are NOT that way. This is about what that child has been taught and permitted in that house.

Why can't you be friends with the parents? Go out for dinner, go boating, go to the movies. Arrange for a sitter for your daughter or send her to another kid's house for a sleepover or a movie night. If the other parents ask, just say that "Lee has plans, so how about we go out for seafood?" It's totally fine for kids to change interests and to enjoy different kids for different activities. You don't have to apologize for it or over-explain it. Friendships aren't a package deal for the whole family. You don't even know for sure if the other parents are wondering - you just "feel" that they are. You cannot manage Ava, and you don't have to help her parents manage her "edge." Just say, "Yup, kids are challenging" with a cheerful and "we all to through it" attitude.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm all for being honest - with kindness. I'm also for letting kids handle their own friendships. That's how it was when we grew up and I find that kids these days have a much harder time navigating these things than we did (or so it seems).

I would have Lee arrange her own playdates as much as she can - or get her used to doing this. If Ava's mom says anything to you, you can just say you've turned this over to her and she's just branching out (truth) and there's nothing wrong with that. You're not insulting her child. You're letting her decide who she wants to spend time with.

I'd leave it at that for now. If scheduling things with the parents right now is a bit dicey, then let it go for now. I would. Unless you're close buds, some space might be a good thing for the time being.

If Ava's mom asks specifically is something is wrong - you can say that Lee has just been branching out and that sorry if that hurts Ava's feelings .. she's connected with a few other girls recently. I wouldn't cut anyone off. The thing is, sometimes a bit of space is all that is needed.

They may still be school buds, or in the same 'group' but not be BFFs. That's absolutely fine. That has happened with my kids. You can still be friendly with the parents.

I tend to keep my closest pals separate from my kids' friends' parents in general - that's just me. I find it less complicated.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

a bossy 9 year old! oh noes!

you don't label your own child, which is great, but you sure slap a quick on young Ava.

i know plenty of single kids who share just fine.

it sounds as if Ava's parents do step in when they find it appropriate to do so.

if you see Ava behaving inappropriately when her parents aren't around, how about saying something instead of just letting it bother you? if her parents aren't there, you are parent in charge. 'Ava, in our house we take turns' is perfectly fine to say.

and i'd certainly tell Miss Lee that she is in charge of finding and creating her own best friends. that she is always free to go to her room and shut the door if she doesn't want to play with Ava but that as Ava's parents are your friends, you, as the adult in the situation, are free to invite them over. it's not all about Lee.

you are not a helpless pawn in this situation, and Lee will learn to be assertive and confident best if she gets to witness you demonstrating assertiveness and confidence instead of handwringing.

it could easily start with you actually having a courteous and forthright conversation with your good and long term friend instead of angsting and prevaricating. 'the girls are going through a sticky phase, aren't they? Lee is feeling the need for a little distance, so let's get babysitters and get together for cocktails next Thursday without the girls. i'm sure they'll be fine soon.'

what you're modeling right now for Lee is that friendships are incredibly convoluted and difficult and maybe she needs to just stick with Ava because look at how hard mom finds the whole thing.

it doesn't need to be so hard. kindness and honesty are not mutually exclusive. telling a friend 'i don't like how you're behaving today. let's play with other people and try again tomorrow' is a great skill for a 9 year AND her mom.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The 2 girls have different personalities. It has NOTHING do to with the other friend being an only child. There are plenty of little girls and boys with siblings who are quite bossy with bigger personalities than siblings.

You owe no explanations for anything. Just allow the relationship to dissolve.

You might get your daughter enrolled in martial arts so she can come out of her shell and learn to stand up for herself. Martial arts is a lot more than learning forms and kicks. This can teach her a lot and she will learn how to deal with the difficult people that she will be exposed to during her lifetime.

Friendships come as go and when we are fortunate, we have a long lasting friendship with someone.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Don't worry if the friend's parents are wondering why you haven't been asking them to do as much.
Don't tell Ava's mom the truth.
Just let a natural separation occur. Encourage your daughter to make new friends at school.
Invite new kids over for your daughter to play with.
If your daughter tell Ava she doesn't like to be told what to do and Ava cries, that's fine. That's Ava's way of dealing with things but still....your daughter does not need to play with her, invite her over or do things w/her outside of school.
Keep trying to separate & it will naturally happen.
If you want to keep the friendship going with the adults, get a babysitter for your child & hv them get their own sitter for their daughter then the adults go out..just the 4 of you.
Know that w/the separation of your daughter's friendship may eventually cause your adult friendship to fizzle.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I had a similar situation with my kids. My friend's children mistreated my kids and for awhile I tried to make it work hoping things would improve. It didn't, as a matter of fact, it got a lot worse. The final straw was when I told her son if he threw a car at my son (metal car) again we'd have to leave. He did and that was it. Then my friend got mad that we left.

There were a lot of incidences and I decided that in a way, it was abusive for me to expect my kids to tolerate that kind of treatment so I could visit with my friend. I decided from that point on for our friendship to continue it had to be sans kids.

It is good that her parents intervene when they are aware she needs correction. I'm sure you do as well with yours. The fact is your daughter is branching out and that's great. I think I would talk to her about being "best friends" with anyone at this age. I think that term is an exclusionary one and in my opinion leaves the drama meter running high.

You might think about talking to your daughter about what qualities she thinks makes a good friend. Even have her write them down. Her list may change periodically, but I think it's important to have concrete ideas. Then ask her if she possesses those traits. Because, in my opinion, equally important of having a good friend is being one. She's entering into a time where friendships can change quickly and be very dramatic. My son is a lot like her, slow to warm, very observant of how people behave. The characteristics he holds important in being a friend, helps him gravitate toward others who have those same ideals.

Just my thoughts...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

you are being selfish. this is not about you. it's about your daughter. why are you so afraid to tell ava's parents the truth?



answers from Barnstable on

I highly recommend reading Queen Bees & Wannabees by Rosalind Wiseman. It has many helpful strategies for working with parents, their children, your own, and also maintaining good perspective.

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