4.30.2010

Frenemies

Little Miss C has a 'friend' that lives down the street. A friend that calls her names. A friend that breaks her toys. A friend that introduced her to the F word.

I do not like this girl.

On days that the two of them play together, it is not uncommon for Little Miss C to run into the house sobbing about their latest fight. After she calms down, she goes to her friend and apologizes {for what? being a punching bag?}, then begs that they be friends again.

We've tried telling Little Miss that she needs to stand up for herself. "Tell the girl that you will only be friends with people who act nicely, and she isn't acting very nicely towards you," we've advised. "You don't have to be friends with anyone who tries to hurt your feelings or your body."

None of it has gotten through to her. "But she's my friend! I want to play with her!" she'd explain lamely.

Then came the she-made-me's. "She made me spend all my allowance on candy for her." "She made me give her my library books and then she ripped them to pieces." "She made me tell so-and-so I wouldn't play with her anymore."

Little Miss C is not a weak personality. The fact that she's wilting under the pressure of this demon-child frustrates me to no end.

Finally, I grounded her. "You may not mind that she tortures you," I said, "but I'm tired of hearing about it. You're not allowed to play together anymore."

It's been a few weeks now. A few weeks of oh-thank-heavens-blessed peace. Little Miss C has other girls to play with-- sweet, kind, innocent girls who share her curiosity for the world. It's not like she's lonely. But even so, she asks every day if she's still grounded. She wants to know why I'm making her fight with her friend. Why I'm keeping them apart. They've both told me that they hate me.

I can't help thinking, what if she were 8 years older and this was an abusive boyfriend? Is this how I would handle it? How do I teach her to extricate herself from unhealthy relationships now, while I still have some influence, without resorting to the classic {and ineffectual} "You can't see each other because I said so"?

I have no idea.

Suggestions?

{image from Mean Girls}

9 comments:

The Dragonfly said...

I dealt with a similar problem when my Hannah was in 2nd grade. She cried a lot over a little girl in her class. When the little girl finally came to our house to play, I had an immediate aversion to her. I couldn't understand why my daughter wanted to be friends with her because she simply WAS NOT NICE to her. This lasted the entire year. The next year I made a personal request to the principal that they not be place in the same class. That year of separation, and several healthy, successful class friendships made my daughter realize that the relationship with the other girl was bad. She's never looked back since.

I don't know what to tell you. I know that sometimes we are drawn to that which simply is not good or right for us. And the hardest learning sometimes comes from making bad choices at a cost.

Ugg. Why are girls so lame? (mean girls, not your daughter.)

Charlotte said...

I'm sorry to say that I don't have any suggestions or experience in this area (my oldest is only 19 months old). But, I'm interested to see if anyone else has some good counsel to offer, so I'll be watching these comments. Thanks for the post.

Crys said...

I definately don't have the answer but I just wanted to say Thank heavens for parents like you. I am so sick of the TV parent who has "no control" over their child. This whole "I don't like their friends, their clothes, the music they listen to but what can I do about it?" Nonsense drives me nuts. We are responsible for our children, and they have no clue what they are doing. Don't you remember, I do, and although I didn't always listen to my Mom in the moment I am glad she had the backbone to teach me the hard stuff. Even when I said I hate her. Keep it up, I am always amazed at what a good Mom you are. Your natural instincts are often spot on. But what do I know:)

aimee said...

If you have the stomach for it I suggest that every parent of a girl read Reviving Ophelia. There are some sad facts in that book but gives valuable information that can be helpful to know as your daughter starts getting into the preteen age. Addresses a lot of self-esteem issues.

Here is an amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Reviving-Ophelia-Adolescent-Ballantine-Readers/dp/0345392825

Stacy said...

I am NOT looking forward to this. They are addressing this issue in the showtime show 'Nurse Jackie', her daughter has a 'mean girl' friend.

Apis Melliflora said...

You did the right thing. Fact is parents often know what's best. It may not be popular with our kids, but it's the right choice. We are stepping up to our job. I always tell my winkies that my job is two-fold: 1) to love them and 2) to teach them to take care of themselves. The later is really a sub-category of the former.

Good job Mom!

The Wingnut's said...

I might try a monthly supervised play-date. The terms are this girl may come over to play for a short period of time and WE, meaning the three of us will create something crafty/girly. That way you stay close to the situation, you hear all the conversation and maybe your good influence will have an effect on this child's ability to be nice to your daughter.
Just a thought!

Em said...

This is my worst nightmare in raising our daughter. I was a lot like Little Miss C, and I'm sorry to say I didn't learn what true, good friends were until I went to college. There is something about wanting to be liked and accepted that is so so powerful.

I worry about the cycle repeating itself. I hope you keep us informed on how things go...your little girl is beautiful!

Alecia said...

http://alphamom.com/parenting/five-mistakes-every-kid-should-be-allowed-to-make/

Great article and #1 describes what you mention in your post about mean friends.

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