Social - Washington,DC

Updated on November 03, 2013
S.R. asks from Scottsdale, AZ
19 answers

I find myself exhausted's great that my dd shares everything with me because I can help her navigate all of the social situations that happen at school...(i.e. Suzie said this to me, Judy won't play with me, etc. etc.)
There's nothing earth shattering...most of it is typical tween stuff that, according to other moms, other kids are going through as well. But I find myself getting sucked in and upset. I feel like I'm going through all of it myself and I'm still upset even after my dd has gotten over it. One situation that has really bothered me is how two neighbor girls (who I have done MANY favors for their families) are very exclusionary and lately very rude and mean to my dd)

I don't want to discourage her from talking with me, and I don't want to butt into my dd's social life, I just need to get my stress under control! How did those of you with tweens or older kids deal with this?

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So What Happened?

I understand how to let my dd deal with it, but my question is how do I deal with it?

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answers from Danville on


I do a lot of 'active listening' with my kiddos. I re cap back what they have said...reflecting their feelings. Sometimes this helps THEM come up with possible solutions. Sometimes just the ability to vent is enough.

Demonstrate love, support, and LISTEN. Let 'them' do the talking.

Then let it go!

That is my best advice. My two youngest are 17...and they have 5 older sibs. This has worked for me.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You deal with it by listening to it without taking on her emotions. Sounds like you're becoming personally involved. This sounds like you're having difficulty maintaining boundaries. Perhaps counseling to learn how to set boundaries would help.

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answers from Denver on

Oh I hear you!! I have this same issue. Some days while she is at school, I find myself stressed or upset and I realize it's because of the drama DD is dealing with. I realize that it is eating me up and I'm way more upset/involved than I think is healthy.

I have learned that as she tells me things, I look more at the big picture- is she handling it in a way that supports our family values and is making her a strong person? If not, then we work on that. But if yes, then I make myself take a deep breath and take a step back. As you said, I find that things still bother me even when she is over it. That's the key for you, I think. Remind yourself to view things through her perspective- if she is fine and has moved on, you need to give yourself permission to do the same.

I have also found that it helps to extend a little grace to the other girls involved. They are trying to navigate the tween years as well, and it doesn't always go smoothly. I make mental notes of the things other girls do, and if there comes a pattern of meanness, I hope my dd sees that and steers away from those girls. But small infractions from time to time may need to be forgiven if they are good kids overall.

I hope that helps, I know you aren't looking for how you or your dd should handle other kids, but how you can make sure to not get sucked in. It's about redirecting your focus to your own dd, and if you see that she is happy and doing well, remind yourself that that's what's important.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sally, is this triggering something for you, or re-traumatizing you in some way?

I don't ask that rudely, just that since you are feeling so overwhelmed by these 'mean girls', etc, it does make me wonder if you had some unfinished business of your own in this regard.

Sometimes, parents feel their kids are an extension of themselves and thus, feel hurt when their child is being treated in a shabby way. Other times, parents have their old baggage of their teen/tween years and their kids' experiences can trigger old hurts which weren't resolved at the time. (these are different situations, of course, and should be addressed differently.) They are still in there, sometimes, and our inner teen can be hurt by stuff that's not directed at us at all.

Maybe do some journaling to figure this out for yourself. Go talk to someone. I am not saying that it's not right to be hurt or angry when we feel our kids are mistreated, however, you do want to make sure you are listening/advising from a healthy, more objective place so that your daughter can receive good guidance which is in proportion to the situation.

My son isn't a teen, but we've already had some drama. I just try to keep his complaints in check, try to listen, offer a couple things he might try, and also encourage him to 'just see how it goes', because kids this age can be very fickle-- nice one day, upset with each other the next, and then fine again for quite a while. I also try to help him see *his* part in the problem. Part of what we parents tend to respond to is our child's level of distress as opposed to the actual situation. I hope you can find a way to gain some objectivity and feel comfortable shrugging off those insults when your daughter is able to instead of having those hurts linger.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I'm not there yet but wonder how I will deal with this too. I bet I'll be like you. Only thing I can plan so far is to remind myself that all these things in a way make her stronger. Outright bullying etc, no. But otherwise, in a perverse way maybe welcome it now so she can learn how to handle it at this age versus high school when maybe it's even harder? Not sure of that last part... Just keep reminding yourself it's part of growing up for her and most people go through it and focus on what you want her to learn from it. And maybe learning what she will allow girlfriends to get away with is setting the stage for how she will let boyfriends treat her... Maybe look at this as an opportunity to teach her good boundaries before she starts dating. Like I said, I'm not there yet. Just some thoughts bc I know the first time a friend is mean to my daughter, I'm going to lose it!! ;)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

This is a very good question, imho, and it's something I've wondered about too.

Something that's helped me is to deal with my own childhood issues of bullying and rejection. I realized that some of my strong feelings went back to that stuff.

I also wanted to let you know that you are not alone. An acquaintance of mine with a daughter (I have sons and no girls) went through this with her daughter's "friends." This mom had been a Scout leader with these girls almost all their lives. Then suddenly things changed in the middle school years. It really hurt her to think of how much she had done with all these girls, and then to see them be mean. Anyway, I think this kind of thing is fairly common with girls unfortunately.

Again, I'd do a little digging to figure out why it bothers me to the extent it does (other than it hurts to see your child hurting).

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eau Claire on

You are allowing her drama to become yours. You need to listen to what she says, nod and agree and then walk away and forget everything she just said.

There is no point in you getting involved with the teenage drama. Remember - everything to a teen is a HUGE deal and involves TONS of drama. Who they hate now will be their best friend in 2 minutes.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Besides listening to her and letting her vent get a bit more active in your own social life.
Your doing favors for the neighbors families has nothing to do with the kids friendships or feuds.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Your second question is more clear - you handle it by trusting her. It only bothers you because you're over identifying with it and worrying about her. Let her live her life and let it all go.

easier said than done, but would you get this upset if it were another adult telling you all of this? Trust her. Trust that you are parenting her well and once she dumps it on you she's over it. So drain it out. It is not yours to carry. Good luck (do you meditate or pray? Turn it over)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Remind yourself that going through difficult social problems with peers is actually good for her and is teaching her how to better get a long with and relate to people, as well as strengthen her own opinions and values. Your job is to help her navigate and support her.

I have found that having children brings out all of my childhood garbage and it sounds like that is what's happening to you. ("I feel like I'm going through all of it myself and I'm still upset even after my dd has gotten over it.") Remind yourself that she is NOT you and the hurt and insecurities you have (or had) don't have to be hers. Even though it maybe feel the same to you, she will have a completely different experience and turn out to be her own person. It's just hard to watch them go through the hurtful stuff.

Hang in there Mama~

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

You try not to personalize it. If she is just venting, then all you need to do is listen. If she is asking for advice, give her something quick and short. If you are upset because the neighbor kids are from families where you have done them favors, you need to separate the favor (done at the time for the right reasons, yes?) from the future actions. The children are not permanently beholden to you to be your child's friends. Friendships ebb and flow, especially in middle school. Nudge your DD into finding her own solutions. Ask her questions to get her thinking about what she can do vs always telling her. One day you will not be there to guide and she needs to have her own confidence. Sometimes I remind my DD, "Do you remember when....?" and she gets that she can do x or y because she did it before.

SD had a friend she was best pals forever with in MS and early HS. They had a falling out for good in HS. We told SD straight up that it was fine if she was no longer friends with Nichole, but SHE had to understand that it didn't mean WE were no longer friendly with Nichole's parents. They were individuals. We also told her that we still expected her to be civil to Nichole out in public. SD refuses to go to our community pool because she MIGHT run into Nichole (not her real name) and we tell her it is her loss. I've seen Nichole there once the whole summer. SD will not prevent us from going just because she doesn't like x or y person. I liked Nichole, but it's like when they date and then break up and you never see that kid again. You just have to let it go. I remind myself that it's not about me. It's not my friendship. It's not my life. And also, kids are so spun up so easily. Everything is The End Of The World....when you are 12. Keep the long view and the perspective you have earned as an adult.

Middle school friendships are the most mercurial. If you try to keep track of who is/isn't friends with who this week, you will go insane.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i have a 16 year old DD who i went thru the same drama with. its hard not to get all caught up in and feel mad at the girls who are being mean to your DD, but they are teens and girls and that will happen.
my DD used to tell me everything.... finally i just said to her one day "well sis, this is part of life and either you are going to let everything bother you and affect you or let it slide and move on"... Once i said that to her, she kinda stopped with telling me every.single.little.detail. Its hard but i know where you are coming from.

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answers from San Francisco on

I think it's hard because you are so emotionally invested in your daughter's happiness.
Now I'm sure you're saying to yourself, well of course I am! what kind of mother doesn't want her daughter to be happy?
But the thing is, she also has to be sad, angry, upset, jealous, mean, whatever, sometimes too.
Experiencing pain, bad feelings and loss is a part of life. A mother has to witness this over and over and over. We may not LIKE it when our children suffer, but I think as a parent, it's important to stay strong, and not be so emotionally invested.
Her feelings and experiences are hers, not yours.
I wish I could tell you how to get your head around this and not let it bother you so much but I don't know how. Maybe step back from trying to be so "close" to her? Stop taking her experiences so personally? It's not a reflection on you (or your daughter either really) when someone who once was a friend has turned the other way.
You BOTH need to move on, keep your chin and head up and continue to seek out positive people who want to be around you. That's simply the best and really only thing you can do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

You need to remind yourself that kids do not react to this stuff the same way we would if it was happening to us. That's how your daughter gets over it before you do, she doesn't analyze it like an adult she analyzes it like a little girl.

It's about not trying to control the situation (because you can't). It's about helping your daughter to be empowered to choose her own friends that will treat her the way she wants to be treated. If she's figuring that out then it's a good thing even if she gets her feelings hurt sometimes. Try not to project your own feelings into her social life.

I would NEVER encourage her not to talk to you. This is just the beginning of many years of tween/teen drama. If you tell her to zip it, even once, because you can't handle it you are making a big mistake. You want to keep her talking through the next few years. Being uncomfortable about some of the stuff your daughter tells you is part of being a good Mom to a typical teenage girl.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Look ahead into her future, either a year from now or 5 years from now. What will be important then?

Remind yourself all that drama she's involved in isn't going to get her good grades or get her into a good college or even help her get her homework done. Its wasting her valuable study time.

Show her what's important by letting her talk it out once or twice and then steering her back to her homework, as opposed to talking and gossiping about it whenever she thinks about it. Tell her you guys can talk later after her homework is done.

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just listen and let her learn how to navigate friendships.

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answers from Cumberland on

If it is stressful for you, imagine how a child feels-just because she says/appears to be "over it" doesn't mean she truly is. As an adult, you can see things in perspective, you know that 10 years from now, this is going to seem so trivial, but to a child, it is her life and it has an impact. Have the neighbor girls over for lunch or ask them on an outing. Beat them at their own game. Many times, the opinions people have of us are based on jealousy or because someone has unfairly perceived something about us. When I was young, rudeness was not tolerated-neither was bullying-I can't believe many of the letters submitted on this site-it just seems so sad that children are growing up in times that allow, promote and facilitate hatred and divisiveness. My children were raised in a spirit of tolerance, inclusion and kindness-what the hell has happened?


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, Sally:

This is how children learn to be social and develop boundaries for later life in what they will accept or reject.

What you are talking about with the neighborhood girls towards your child is called Aggression tactics.

The two girls are doing this clique for: power, belonging, freedom, and fun.

Evidently you must have had this experience when you were young when a clique treated you this way.

If your daughter is having a problem with these girls, help your daughter to understand this is what happens in dysfunctional relationship building and to learn how to love herself and don't take their behavior personally.
These neighborhood girls need to be confronted with:
1. What happened?
2. What were your physical reactions internally?
3. How did you deal with the anger?
4. What were the consequences?

Look up Aggression Replacement Training (ART)

Good luck



answers from Dallas on

Ugh. That was my first child. No filter and I had a very little one.

My cousin did it best (6 kids). She treated it like a physical hurt.
If you are not bleeding, or if I can't fix it, don't tell me about every little thing.

Maybe you can say something along those lines.
Tell her it's a part of life and you are positive she can handle it.

How would she like it if you told her every little detail about your friends?
For one thing, she could not care less. For another, that would put a burden on her that doesn't need to be there (like it is with you). It would not change things. So, maybe tell her that.

You are becoming a No Drama Mama. Spilling the beans constantly becomes a habit of gossip. Gossip changes feelings which changes actions and leads to hurting the people around you, then yourself (can't go to the pool). Letting things go, is a learned coping skill I wish I had taught my oldest.

My youngest, rarely told me anything. He watched a lot of drama, and saw the negative effects. Keep it in check, or your desire for helping, could be your undoing with the next kid.

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