Why Are Some Tween Girls So Unkind?

Updated on July 14, 2016
P.O. asks from Oakdale, CA
17 answers

My 12 year old daughter was sent a picture posted on Instagram taken at a swim party at the house of one of her best friends in which she was not invited. She was blatantly left out. She would have never known about it, if the picture hadn't been sent to her by another classmate. I have intentionally kept her away from Instagram and Facebook for this very reason. Too much peer pressure and hurt feelings. She has known this "friend" since pre-school. I know this is very hurtful and heartbreaking for her, but on the outside she is handling it with true grit and grace. I feel very badly for her and even angry that this girl would leave her out like that after all their years of friendship. As a mom, what encouraging words of support should I give to her? I feel like a mama bear who wants to lash out but I remind myself these are 12-13 year old girls. I am trying to remain calm and composed for her sake. As much as it pains me, I think it may be time for her to cut her losses with this particular friend and move on. Am I overreacting? Any advice would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to thank everyone for all their input and different perspectives and opinions. The best advice has been to read Queen Bees and Wannabees. The book has been a very helpful source in dealing with and having a better understanding of how the adolescent world for these girls works. I have not involved myself in the situation that I originally wrote about except to reassure my daughter that I am here to support and listen to her. I think she has handled it very well on her own, and she realizes that friendships change, people move on, and that they are not as close friends as she believed them to be. One last thought, a comment was made that girls still TALK and find out things without Instagram, Facebook, etc which I agree with, but I also strongly believe that these media outlets are used as a means to exacerbate the nastiness and a way to get away with unkind behavior without having to own up to it.

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answers from Columbia on

Yes, I'd say you're overreacting. And the girl was clearly not one of her best friends if she wasn't invited.

Please don't get enmeshed in the girl drama. Stay the disinterested party as much as possible. Book recommendation: "Queen Bees and Wannabees." Helps girls learn to navigate girly social circles and maintain healthy boundaries, understand emotional health, and recognize who to avoid to protect themselves without becoming vindictive or unkind.

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answers from Boston on

I understand where you are coming from. Of course, our mom instincts kick in and we never want our kids to experience hurt and disappointment.

But try to switch your perspective. Kids who cannot rise above this stuff wind up being devastated in high school romances, unrequited crushes, job rejections, grades lower than an A, college rejections, and more. They cannot handle criticism. They go out into the world expecting to "succeed" at everything - socially, financially, professionally, educationally.

I used to subscribe to the "every kid gets a trophy, isn't that nice?" philosophy, but then I realized how damaging that really is.

So use this opportunity to help your daughter with these questions:
- What does it mean to be a friend?
- How do you know who is a friend and who isn't?
- If someone isn't your friend or doesn't like you, does it lessen your value? If yes,why? If not, why not?
- If you get invited to party, isn't there someone else who didn't get asked? Why is that person less worthy than you? Why shouldn't you be the uninvited one sometimes?
- What does it mean to make choices in social relationships? Is it the end of the world if you stay home one Friday night or one Saturday afternoon? What's the bigger picture?
- Can you be pleased for someone else's success or pleasure or all-around good day if you yourself didn't have the same experience on that same day? If not, why not?
- Is there someone else you haven't even taken the time to notice who has missed out on far more opportunities than you? If you have noticed someone on the sidelines (or worse, if you haven't), what does you action/inaction say about you?
- Why is it so incredibly important for you to be included in everything? How do you determine your worth?

And of course, this is a wake-up call for you about what happens when kids have unfettered access to social media accounts they have no idea how to handle.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter just turned 13 and has this happen sometimes. And I'm sure she does it to others, not with mean or bad intentions. People change, especially kids. Just because they have been friends since pre-school doesn't mean they are friends at all anymore. I actually am thankful that some of my daughter's friendships aren't strong anymore.

Why aren't the other kids allowed to have fun? Everyone is not included all the time. Yes, it can hurt, but it isn't the end of the world. Relationships change. Stay out of it and let your daughter handle it.

As a mom of a new teenager myself, the only thing you will do by getting involved is make this whole situation worse for her. Teach her to be a strong young lady and not let these things bother her. Teach her to find good friends and people who share her morals, values, interests. And for you - keep in mind that your daughter also falls in that age category and I can promise you she is doing things like that too...you just don't see it because the parents stay out of it.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Are you still best friends with your friends from preschool?
Are you now married to your middle school boyfriend?
Probably not, so why would you expect your child to never grow and move on from her first friend/relationships?
And just because she's not on social media doesn't mean she would never know about a birthday party, kids do actually still TALK you know.
You support her by listening and comforting her if and/or when she comes to you for advice, that's all.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Are you sure it was a party? Sometimes kids get together at the last minute like after soccer practice etc. It is not uncommon for my 13 yo daughter to have 8 or 9 kids over after a rehearsal. If we were to take pictures I guess it looks like a party but really it is just typically pizza, watermelon and brownies or cookies.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt too. Perhaps it was just an oversight. If the girl is a good friend why wouldn't she have invited your daughter...probably an oversight or last minute get together.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I am kind of confused how she got the picture. My 15 year old daughter does not have social media, by choice, she thinks her peers are immature, She only gives her friends her phone numbers and none of her friends would do this to her.

So if your daughter doesn't have Facebook or Instragram how was the picture sent?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Isn't it entirely possible that the mother of the other girl told her she could only invite X amount of people and this particular time your daughter just did not make the cut? Just because she was not invited does not mean these girls were out to hurt her feelings.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Read "Queenbees and the Wanna Bees" if you haven't already.

I also recommend "Reviving Ophelia".

I would let her decide when to end this friendship. I know it is painfully obvious to you ((hugs)) but this is her chance to learn how she wants to handle these people and situations...unfortunately they are always around.

I don't think you are overreacting, but you are smart to not let her see your reaction.

ETA: I like what others have recommended about getting the facts first....you really don't know the intention and.....its kids......

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Well, communication is the key. Has your daughter phoned her "friend" to ask her why she wasn't invited? If not, why not? Does this "friend" have a history of this type of behavior?

I see that you mentioned peer pressure. Peer pressure affects all children/teens, how much or little may remain to be seen. My point is that this "friend" may have refrained from inviting your daughter maybe because of peer pressure too #shrugs. Maybe there is a chance that one or two of the other girls had a say-so in the invitees? Maybe not?

I just believe that all the presumption should stop, because it may bring about more emotion rather than actual fact. Your daughter, if she were my daughter, would be encouraged by me to make the call and to go from there.

In my opinion, you are over dramatizing this. In this situation, because your daughter is already hurt, giving her too many crazy scenarios or reasons as to the why, is too much.

Relax, give the child the benefit of the doubt and have her talk it through via the call.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

welcome to mamapedia!

She's 12 years old. She is handling well. Why aren't you?

Why does this friend need to include her in EVERYTHING? She doesn't. Sorry. That's life. It's entirely possible that their friendship has changed and your daughter has recognized that.

Friendships change over the years. I've had my best friend for 40 years now...do you know how much we've changed over the years? Thank God we evolved and grew up....we were in it for the long haul. Some people aren't.

If your daughter hasn't said anything to you about? You keep your trap shut and don't say a word to her, the other girl or other girl's mother. You don't tell you daughter when to quit being friends with someone, not over a lack of invite to a party. that's HER decision. If they are doing bad things and making bad decisions? Then you sit down and talk with her about YOUR expectations and what YOU FEEL these bad decisions are doing or can do to her future.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

Yes, it is true that we never want our children to experience hardships of any kind in life. But they are still there.

My daughter had some school friends (we had been in Europe for about the first six years of schooling) at the local junior high school that thought they were the in the know bunch. Well, a few times they picked on daughter and she came home and told us (mom and dad) what was said. We sent her to school with a photo of the 2 BMWs that we had.. They were miffed at that. Then they picked on her because her fashion sense was not like theirs. We explained to her that that clothes don't make the person because that is an outside cover on the body (she still dressed more European). A few months later a boy came to the school that knew her brother from wrestling and all the "other" girls were upset that he was good friends with her. What they forgot was that these two kids were connected being military dependents and understood the world in a different way.

Needless to say, the little snobs were outdone by two military kids.

Daughter and the snobs continued on to high school and graduated. There are a few of the kids left that made something positive in their lives and the rest did not. Daughter met a girl in high school and they still remain friends now even 20 years later. They did lose contact with each other but once found they are as if they never were apart.

So do talk with your daughter and let her express her feelings about the photo. Suggest to her to seek new friends that have similar interests and go from there. Remember friends are for a season and person the reason is about over. I have a childhood friend that I keep up with every three to four months that has weathered many storms in her life and some she can speak to me about bluntly and all is well. She keeps me updated on things that some of our classmates have done and such. When I get a chance to go back east, I will attend the monthly breakfast for the class and surprise many people as I missed the 50th class reunion.

Good luck and let things fall into place as it is meant to be. Stay on the sidelines for support and a buffer. Do not get involved as it will cause my problems than it is worth.

The years of 13 to 17 are the mean years as you are trying to find out who you are, where do you fit in in world, who are your friends from acquaintances, and severing of ties to the family unit. It's the mean years that prepare you for your adult life and how to handle difficult situations with grace.

the other S.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I think you are over-reacting. I know this is hard, but the best thing to do is to remind her that not all kids are invited to all events. It doesn't mean this other person is not her friend. Feeling left out is disappointing, but she shouldn't take it personally.

And, you don't know the circumstances, so you don't know that she was blatantly left out. Sometimes kid get-togethers kind of grow up organically (one kid by chance sees another kid and invites her over, and the second kid says "that would be fun, but I already invited Jane over to my house, can she come too?" and before you know it, there's a small party but it wasn't planned and your daughter wasn't purposely excluded, but just wasn't in the right place at the right time). Or, it was planned, but the parent put a limit on the # of kids to invite, and the girl wanted to have a specific group that she knew would interact well, and if she weren't limited, she would have like to invite your daughter but couldn't. Or a million other possibilities that are not personal.

So, my advice to your daughter would be that she doesn't know the circumstances so she should not take it personally.

ETA: A hundred flowers to Diane B.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

We had a similar situation with a neighbor girl who has been very good friends with my dd over the years. We have hosted this girl at our house for all our parties, sleepovers etc. Whenever it was this girl's b-day, my dd did not get invited. Grrrr....
Finally, we stopped inviting her and wow....you'd think the sky was falling. She got really upset and my dd heard through the grapevine how excluded she felt...and yet, she did it to my kid more than once...somehow, it was okay in her mind to do it to my kid, but expect that we invite her..
Finally my dd told this other girl that her feelings were hurt that she wasn't invited to her parties.
After that, my dd started getting invitations.
I don't know how to fix it, but I think your kid should make an effort to hang out with other people...not for spite, but because this other girl apparently has a different perception of their friendship. If she is close to this girl, she could just come out and ask her why she wasn't invited.
The only other thing to look at is whether or not your kid gets along with the others who were invited. My dd has a friend who has conflicts with others and on my dd's last birthday, we did not invite her, but we had a separate one on one party with this girl for my dd's birthday. It was the only way to keep peace among the kids.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

A couple of things.

First, this girl can invite anyone she wants to her party. Maybe she has moved on to a different group of friends this summer and your daughter hasn't. Maybe she has more in common with these girls than your daughter. I have no idea.

Second, back off of this. Don't feed the drama. Yes it hurts. Yes its sad but friends change and life goes on.

Encourage your daughter to make new friends and move away from this girl. Yes, this age is TERRIBLE. Girls especially are nasty. I don't miss this age!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Call the mom. Surely you're friends with her if you let her go to this girl's house. Or at least acquainted.

Ask her "How did the party turn out?" then see if she says "I was surprised your girl wasn't there?" then say "She wasn't invited but other girls made sure to send her photos of the fun times they were having".

See what happens. Maybe this other girl has an issue with your girl that you don't know about. Our little angels aren't always the best when they aren't with us so maybe, just maybe, she did something to this girl that made her mad at her.

Asking is the only way to get to the bottom.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

In general, there is nothing wrong with not inviting every person you know to every event you have. That as a standalone situation would be a non-issue that she'd have to learn to get over because it is going to happen for her entire life.

The main issue is the intent and backstory of the photo.

Why did the classmate send the photo? What is the sender's connection to the host friend? Did the host friend know the photo was going to be sent to your daughter?

Without evidence that the host collaborated to taunt your daughter, and absent any history of mean behavior prior to this, I don't think conclusions can be drawn about the future of the friendship.

If you investigate the backstory and find that this is a case of intentional exclusion and taunting, then I think the kids' ages are young enough and the history with the girl's family strong enough, to calmly bring it up with the girl's mother. If my kid was being a snot, I would want to know so I could nip it in the bud. I know not all mothers are like that, but it is usually a good step to take before nuking a friendship.

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answers from Santa Fe on

ETA - I think I was stepping back maybe too much with my answer. Sorry. It was her best friend. Yes that would be very hurtful. She should ask her why she was not invited. And she should ask the girl who showed her the photo why she did that...did she want to make her feel bad? Although I guess at age 12 this would be very hard to do. Friendships get tricky...she will figure things out. I guess I would listen, ask her how she feels, and tell her you love her and sorry. But I do still think don't make too big a deal out of it bc these things are bound to happen in life. Original: You don't have to be invited to everything. Some things she will be invited to and some she will not. It's not something to worry about or get upset about. For example if you have a dinner party do you invite every one of your friends? Our house is not large enough! We pick certain people to come over at certain times. If she wants to hang out with specific girls why doesn't she invite them over to her house for a get-together (or to your pool if you are members of one). I do not think this is something to be "heartbroken" over...that is really dramatic language you are using! Just tell her not everyone can be invited to every single thing and have her host her own gathering of friends. Plus -- don't forget that friends sometimes drift apart. Keep this in mind as she gets older.

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