My Daughter Having Hard Time with "Best Friend"

Updated on October 03, 2013
K.B. asks from Los Gatos, CA
15 answers

Hello,

I'd love to hear some advice on this, my 6 year old daughter is having a hard time grasping the concept of friends and how we can have more than one friend and our friends can be friends with others too. And I might be reading a little too much into it too? Last year in K-grade she made one really really good friend (it was her first actually time she called someone "best friend", even though we have had other friends since she was a baby and we saw them on a regular basis). Anyway, this girl is not in same classroom this year. My daughter usually has a hard time bonding with others (she is shy and tends to be more of a follower than a leader). She sees her friend from last year at recess and lunch sometimes. Her mom has brought up to me that my daughter is "too possessive" and that my daughter tells her daughter: she can only play with her or that she will "tell on her". Moms seemed very upset and she hadn't brought it up. I just talked to her this past week and the whole time I was very apologetic for my daughter hurting his daughter's feelings. However, after that I felt very guilty that I never defended my daughter in any way. She sent me an email saying that I have to tell my daughter that she shouldn't be saying "I'm gonna tell on you" or that she will loose her friends.
On another note, my daughter is having a bit of anxiety making new friends. Her dad and I are in the middle of a rough divorce, we moved out of our home, and I had to go to work full time after being a full time stay at home mom. I think these situations have made it worse but I feel a little at loss on how to direct my daughter. If i tell her to move on from that friend? Should I tell her to not condition her friend? I don't want her to be categorized as the "possessive" friend, and I would also be very upset if her friend tells other girl negative things about my daughter. I'm overwhelmed by clicks at this young age.
Positive advice would be greatly appreciated.

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J.W.

answers from Houston on

A friend of my daughter's has this issue with another girl. If she doesn't play with her she "tells" the teacher that she is being mean to her and then she gets in trouble. I would focus on this issue - that she can be friends but she can't "force" someone to play with her.....and can't "tell" on her if she doesn't play....

and good luck it sounds like a lot of upheaval in a short time for you both!!

5 moms found this helpful

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S.G.

answers from Grand Forks on

You need to tell your daughter that she can't threaten her friends. Explain to her that it is a form of bullying. She will understand as they teach about bullying starting in kindergarten. If your daughter is having trouble making friends on her own then help her out by making play dates for her with other girls. It may be easier for your daughter to build friendships with the other girls if she is one on one with them and away from school. Then she will have other kids to play with at recess and lunch.

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G.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

The thing is your daughter is too focused on this friend. It will only lead to pain and rejection. This other girl is gone to her. She has moved on and is only an acquaintance now.

You have to tell your child this information. You have to be blunt and make her understand it's over. She's not getting the message. It will hurt for a while but she's going to have multiple issues with the whole activity of friendship.

My granddaughter was friends with a girl through 2nd grade. This other girl became pretty obsessed with her and would do stuff like this. She would cry so hard she'd make herself throw up. Her mom would be so upset with my granddaughter she'd yell at her for not wanting to be friends. The girl was so obsessed it was very uncomfortable. By the end of the school year my granddaughter was cutting herself. She was under so much pressure we had to sell our house and move to another school district.

She is so much happier since she's not dealing with that other girl anymore. They've actually seen each other a couple of times now and they actually get along better since that other girl has a new best friend.

Having an ex friend that is obsessed with you is hard, painful, and a bit scary when it escalates beyond normal boundaries.

This is why I say YOU HAVE TO TELL YOUR DAUGHTER IT'S OVER.

It's embarrassing to the other girl and everyone at the school is looking at your daughter and they are talking about her behind her back. If they are anything like the kids at my granddaughter's old school they are being very unkind.

5 moms found this helpful

C.V.

answers from Columbia on

Back up a little bit. Kids go through this "she's MY best friend, NO she's MY best friend" back and forth at this age. It's normal. The other mom is being overbearing and you BOTH need to allow the girls to work through this. When your daughter says "I'll tell on you!" the other girl should basically say, "So? Go ahead. You can't MAKE people play with only you." Instead, the other mother is trying to make everyone ELSE adjust the environment for her daughter. That's ridiculous.

Your daughter needs to handle this (and the results) on her own. She doesn't need you to play referee, and if the other mother emails you again, you should recommend that SHE stop trying to referree as well. This is normal little girl stuff.

I suggest that you gently tell your daughter that the other girl isn't going to want to stay friends with her if she's bossy, but she's going to have to figure some things out on her own. When she's bossy, the other girl is going to push her away. It's a life lesson that she needs. She'll learn to temper her jealousy and bossiness.

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D..

answers from Miami on

I think that mother is bullying you, to be very honest. It wasn't enough for her to tell you? She had to email you TOO, after you had already apologized?

I would be pretty upset at this juncture at the mother if I were in your shoes, and would be asking her why she was writing you MORE after already discussing the problem. As if you didn't have enough misery in your life with a rough divorce and now she's hunting you down by email to make you feel even worse?

Maybe she'll leave you alone if you stand up to her.

About your daughter. Don't worry about the "categorization". Go talk to the guidance counselor and ask her if she can work with your daughter concerning the problem. And tell her what this mother did so that the guidance counselor is in the know. The counselor can give you guidance on how to help your daughter.

4 moms found this helpful

C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

Just keep telling your daughter that people want many good friends, not just one friend. Tell her that her friend is making new friends and yes, she can play with them any time she wants. Tell her that sometimes friends move on to new friends and that it is just a fact of life. People change as they grow older. Sometimes friends grow apart. Tell your daughter it is time for her to make new friends now. Ask who from her class she would like to invite over to play...then do it. Tell her it is unhealthy to have only one friend and that it's important to have friends from all different parts of your life. Get her signed up for some fun activities to keep her busy. If she meets any girls she likes at an activity or in the neighborhood, invite those girls over to play (one at a time) to help them bond. Help her to make some new friends and help her to move on.

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A.L.

answers from Seattle on

I am surprised that you let another woman parent your child. I would have told the mom "thanks for letting me know, we are working on this" and that what that. I would have been PISSED if she emailed me parenting advice... sounds like SHE is bullying you.

Anyways, this is the age where kids learn how to form relationships, this includes exploring possessive behavior and tattling. The "if you play with someone else I won't be your friend any more" thing is very common at that age. I do agree that you should talk to your daughter about friendships, how to make friends and unacceptable behavior - but you have to let her navigate this by herself. Just as the other mom needs to talk to her DD about how to deal with possessive friends.
My DD has friends like your DD and I insist that she deals with this herself (with the tools we teach her)...and she has been on the possessive end as well - and come to realize that her friends don't appreciate this behavior. For most people finding that balance in a relationship between wanting to be as exclusive as possible without suffocating the other person and dealing with feelings of jealousy is a difficult learning experience usually stretching into adulthood. Nothing unusual about that.

I would also find some opportunities for your child to make other friends like an after school activity or play dates with different kids.

With everything that is going on in your life counseling for your child would probably be a good idea. I can very well imagine that she feels a lot of upheaval right now and want to hold on even tighter to the one relationship she thinks she can control.
Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

it's good that the other mom came to you with this. most people would just shut off the friendship and you and your daughter would never know this is an issue.
why do you feel you need to 'defend' your daughter? she hasn't been attacked. the other mom rightly brought to your attention a behavior that you should address. no need for battle language.
it's not surprising that the other mom is upset, although it may well be a bit of an over-reaction on her part. it's NOT okay for your daughter to attempt to control her friends to this degree. is it normal? you bet. but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed.
role play with her on appropriate ways of expressing herself to her friend. discuss with her that people aren't possessions, and that how it creates fractures in friendships when friends try to manipulate other friends. help her work on her social skills so she can make new friends.
above all, don't let this become a distraction for what's really bothering her, which is the divorce. let her grieve, and process, and come to you with her thoughts. get her a counselor if necessary.
give her plenty of love and attention and support, but don't feed into the drama. if the friend says 'negative' things about your daughter (she'll almost certainly relate her experience with your daughter. it's what kids do. they talk to each other, about each other) then you need NOT to get upset. your daughter will need your calm coping techniques in order to formulate her own. she doesn't need a cheering section. she needs a role model.
khairete
S.

4 moms found this helpful

R.X.

answers from Houston on

Your daughter will be in for a life of heartache if you don't curb this. I had the same issue as a child and it continues to date. It is not a good trait. Better curb it now with professional counseling, not a school counselor.

3 moms found this helpful
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C.M.

answers from Chicago on

I feel bad for both kids involved, six is a very young age and I think kids need to learn, but also be treated with compassion since they are just starting to navigate socially.

If I were you, I definitely would let the mom know that you appreciate her bringing it to your attention and that you are working on it. I also think you should let the mom know that your daughter is going through a lot since you've gone back to work and are working through a divorce and perhaps this is contributing to the behavior.

I have mentioned before, we always used playacting to work through social situations. You can start with dolls (we used Barbies) where your daughter is one Barbie and you are her friend. Start easy, and have your daughter's Barbie try to play with her friend. You say something like her friend might say, and your daughter needs to practice several responses. Once she's comfortable with the Barbie dolls, you can just playact without them and she can be herself and you are the friend. This has ALWAYS helped my daughter come up with different scenarios and solutions. We talk about how her actions and words are affecting the other person. We also will switch, where SHE is the friend and YOU are her just so she can see what it feels like to be the other person.

Keep it light and fun, and try to make her come up with the solutions first. You can guide her, but it works best if she is working through the problem herself.

You can also use this method to help her get over her shyness in going up to other kids. I agree, see if you can create playdates with other kids in her class so she can make new friends as well.

Kids are not born knowing how to be social. It's something that is learned through trial and error.

My daughter was the bossy kid on the playground and she had to learn that no one wants to play with someone who is bossy. When she had no friends, she would pout and cry. We worked through it for sure, but it was a tough time.

Good luck! You'll be helping her navigate social situations for a long time to come!

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S.F.

answers from Fargo on

I can give you advice as someone who has been in the other mom's shoes. My son was deeply affected by a friend who was possessive. It's very upsetting as a mom to know that your child is being told that they can't play with other kids and are given a consequence if they don't comply. At age 6, they don't automatically know to stand up for themselves.

I'm so sorry your daughter is going through a hard time. She sounds like she is trying to hold on to friends the only way she knows how. Instead of being offended at the other mom, as many think you should be, consider it a blessing that she brought this to your attention. Now you can help your daughter navigate her friendships in a healthy way!

I wish your daughter many wonderful friendships throughout her life. I hope you don't view my answer as harsh, I don't mean it that way at all! It's a situation that's hard on you as a mama, and hard on the other mama too. I hope you can give grace to each other in this situation. It may go a long way in soothing hurt feelings for moms and daughters alike.

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C.J.

answers from Dallas on

Wow. she is going through a lot right now and to top it off, she is having a hard time with her bestie.
Tell the other girl's mom. Discuss with her that if she could talk to HER daughter about empathy and compassion for a friend going through a hard time and that extra patience is needed with your daughter, you'd really appreciate the reciprocation of support (as you have spoken with your daughter about the other mom's concerns)
finally, I agree with Doris - speak to a guidance counselor or see if your daughter can receive counseling as part of the court/divorce settlement (like you and dad split costs until a time when daughter and counselor are satisfied she has coping mechanisms in place for anxiety, etc.)

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J.N.

answers from Philadelphia on

Well I can see the other little girl feelings. Be senitive and understanding to her feelings. If your daughter comes on too strong she might loose the friendship.

Also my middle child was very quiet from k through 2nd grade. I would try to have friends over to boost his confidence. Have a new friend over at night or the weekend. If your daughter is involved in a sport see who she talks to. Invite them over.
Sorry your going thru a divorce. I will keep you in my prayers. god bless. J.

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J.K.

answers from Sacramento on

This is so hard. My daughter is a bit like yours, except she doesn't say things like, "You have to play with me or I'll tell on you..." What that sounds like is that your daughter feels scared that she doesn't have this friend in class with her anymore and id worried about losing her. My daughter would just sit by herself and be sad about it if her friend was playing with someone else.

I would not tell your daughter to "move on" from her friend. What I would say is that she too has to understand that her best friend is in a new class without her and that they both need to find other friends to spend time with.

I would talk to her teacher. While it does seem like and early age for these "clicks", it does start this early and only gets worse. (For my daughter it really got rough in 3rd grade and is continuing in 4th.) Hopefully your daughter's teacher knows the value in helping children navigate these difficult social situations. If children come in from lunch or recess upset about a social issue, they aren't going to be in ay head-space to learn. Let the teacher know that your daughter is having a very hard time with her best friend being in a different class and see if she/he can facilitate some other friendships in class. Teacher see so much more than we do! Then you can try and schedule some playdates or other opportunities for your daughter to bond with some other kids so she won't feel so alone.

And as far as the other Mom is concerned... I'd tell her to stick it. Just kidding (sort of).

I would let her know that you appreciate the information and you will talk to your daughter about it. I would also say that your daughter has a great deal going on at home and is probably feeling some insecurities about her friendship with her best friend, and doesn't quite know how to deal with it. Your child's friend's Mom should be aware that there is good reason for your daughter to act the way she acting and that SHE should also be talking to her own daughter about being compassionate to others and not excluding.

As I said this is the beginning of it... personally, I think that some Moms get way too involved in their kids' social situations. It's one thing to be aware and to guide your child through issue by role playing or active listening... it's another to take offense from a 6 years old's reaction to losing a friend and call the mom with your own one sided opinion.

Bets of luck to you~

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A.O.

answers from Sacramento on

This is all typical behavior from what I have seen. My daughter is 6 and I also have a 4 year old. My older daughter has a few possessive friends but all kids go through stages and will eventually work through it. If you give your daughter time she will be fine. It is still the beginning of the school year. The other mom needs to focus on her daughter and explain to her own daughter that she can play with whoever she wants. I have never found it necessary to tell other moms that they need to get THEIR kids to back off! Maybe arrange a playdate with one of your daughter's new classmates to help her build a new friendship if she is shy.

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