daughter and friend love/hate relationship

plumbly22September 6, 2008

My youngest (9) daughter and a neighbor girl (same age) have had a very up and down friendship since the beginning of time... They have always blown hot and cold towards each other... and just when you think it's getting better they have another major flare up.

Which brings us to this week... the first days of the new school year... they are in the same grade in the same building, but with different teachers. This means they are together on the bus to and from school, and at lunch and recess.

So, Tuesday night I get a call from mom down the street... her daughter ("Susie") has gotten off the bus in tears and has told her "mom" the girl across the street(same age/grade) "Mary" told Susie that my daughter ("Janie") was spreading a 'terrible' rumor about Susie... so awful that Mary wouldn't ever repeat it to Susie.... so would I please try to get to the bottom of this and get it resolved?

So, I have a bedtime chat with Janie about how was her day (awful) what went on ... I get a LONG story about how a group of kids were playing on the playground and "Isabella Idiot" said susie liked Johnny... but Johnny was there and said no, Susie likes Mikey... so later I went over to Susie and asked her if she liked Johnny or Mikey and she got really angry... so I left and went to play with Mary on the equipment. The a while later Susie came over, started chasing us around and I fell in the mulch and Susie came over and kicked me... and then Janie shows me a bruise on her leg. So I question did any of the recess teachers see this or do anything and she tells me she told one of them but they thought she meant she kicked Susie, and since it was time to go in and they didn't see it, no one did anything... and then Janie starts complaining to me about how awful this was and how her leg hurt.

So, now I say to Janie, well Susie's mom called and told me this.... what do you think now??? I get a repeat of her story, start to finish. So, I tell her, that first off, if someone is saying things about other people, we do not repeat them to others, and IF we discuss the things being said with the people being talked about, we do so very carefully so they know she was not the person who started this... and then I put her to bed.

In the morning prior to the bus we have another chat about this as Janie is still ticked about being kicked by Susie the day before... I tell her to drop it and to make sure she remembers not to touch other people and if there is a problem to get an adult... and remind her that while I'm at work Susie and mom will be arriving to take her to dance class in the afternoon...

A while after the bus goes, I remember to call call mom, who is now at work, to let her know what Janie had to say about the day before at recess and she says to me, well that is totally different than what Susie told me when she got home.... (mind you supposedly all mom knew the night before was Mary told Susie there was a rumor from Janie that was so terrible she wouldn't repeat it)...

So, what did Susie tell mom??? Mom procedes to tell me that Susie has said that on the bus ride home yesterday Janie was saying Susie likes Johnny and Susie kept asking Janie to stop and she wouldn't, so Susie was crying when she got home... Now, I'm confused... but I don't ask her why she didn't share this information the night before... but I do ask for some clarification... was this on the bus home yesterday??? Mom says yes....

So, now I tell her, that's really interesting since Janie was picked up at school yesterday for the trip home in the car by dad.... she didn't ride the bus home yesterday.

Mom is now gulping and confused and maybe she's got it wrong or maybe Susie had it wrong when she told her or who knows... but mom was at work by now and had to go.... We'll talk later...

So, after mom has dropped both girls to dance, she calls me to let me know they are there and they seemed perfectly fine in the car... and when she got them to class they were doing things together just fine.

Then I get to dance to pick them up... and all hell had broken out at dance... and Janie has been kicked out of class for the rest of the year (mind you it was the first class of the year)!

So, Susie is crying and Janie is hostile... and I've got them both in the car... so girls what went on at dance, one at a time please... Susie says nothing, she's just sniffling & crying, Janie says I punched Susie because she said I was the biggest loser at school. Now Susie yells I did not say that and starts crying louder. So I ask what was happening before you punched Susie? Janie says Susie was swinging on a pole and I told her I got in trouble for doing that before (meaning last year) and she should stop and then she called me the biggest loser in the school.

Susie again yells I did not and again with the loud crying. We continue with the back and forth questions basically between me and my daughter Janie... sometimes with Susie saying no and sometimes with her agreeing yes... finally I try to summarize... do I have this right... you were gettting along and then you started calling each other names in low tones (idiot, stupid, jerk, back at you, etc) and then Susie was swinging on the pole, Janie said Susie shouldn't be doing that, Susie yelled something... but Susie you don't remember what, but you do remember it isn't what Janie remembers it to be??? And through all this the dance teacher saw nothing, but only knew something was going on when Susie started crying after the punch? They both agreed yes this was what happened...

Well... I basically lost it...but kept under control with them... I am so tired of thie kind of bs with the two of them... I told them both they are no longer allowed to play together or call each other, or do anything together... when we got to Susies house, I had Janie appologize to her, which she did quietly, and then told Susie I was very sorry it had come to this but that she was no longer welcome at our house and not to call our house again... and theat IF Janie ever calls her she should have one of her parents call our house to let me out Janie's dad know about it. Then before she got out I asked her about what she told her mom about the bus the day before... mom says Janie was saying you liked Johnny on the bus, and she wouldn't stop when you asked, when was that??? Yesterday afternoon... So I say, well Susie, see here's the problem I have with that, Janie's dad picked her up aftre school for a car ride home yesterday, so she wasn't on the bus yesterday... so you see... I don't believe what you have to say on ANY of this problem any more than I believe what Janie has to say about it at this point.... not she starts crying harder... and I sent her inside and watched to make sure she got in...

Dad & I had a very long sit down with Janie when we got home about this... no touching other bodies, no playing with Susie, no telephoning Susie, if Janie is playing somewhere and Susie comes ove, Janie is to come home, no playing together at recess... if there is a problem anywhere... get an adult... and on and on...

The next morning I tlak about this with the bus driver and get their seat assignments moved so they are NOT together or near each other on the bus. then I call school and talk with the principal about what has gone on the two previous days... In particular I'm asking if she could check to see if the recess person remembers being told about kicking on the first day... but I want to give them a heads up to watch the two of them... I fully admit to the principal I KNOW my daughter can be a handful and is NOT a precious angel all the time... but now I've got the other one maybe lying with the bus incident... principal distinctly remembers seeing and talking with dad when he came to pick Janie up that day so she also knows Janie wasn't on the bus when Susie supposedly told mom all this started... princiapl did remind me this is VERY TYPICAL 4th grade girl stuff... as I have a 16YO girl also... I remember these years...

Anyway... this is a very long story... and now I'm torn... I do not want the girls together at all. Originally, I wanted dad and I and Janie to go down the street to Susies house and have the girls settle what actually did happen when and where in front of their parents, but dad talked me out of doing that... but... in the mean time... I have not made contact with Susie's mom, nor has she called me...

The day after all this happened Mary asked Janie over to play after school and while she was there Susie walked over, Janie told Mary she would have to go home since susie came over as she is not allowed to be at the same place with Susie anymore... so Mary told Susie that she had invited Janie to play today so she (Susie) would need to go home since they are not allowed to be together now. Susie went home in tears...

Susie's mom is typically a pretty abrasive person, and Susie does no wrong. I am typically a very accomodating person, I know Janie does wrong, and she makes me crazy... but I also do not believe janie is the devil incarnate. I happen to know Susie can be ever bit as ugly as Janie... but she's a 'cry baby kid... while mine is a 'tough' kid... so mine takes a lot of responsibility for the problems between them as mom just doesn't see her daughter being wrong... ever...

So... do I call mom and discuss this or do I just let it lie??? Mind you , our middle children (we both have 3, all the same ages/grades) are best buddies... (oldest are differrnt sexes... so friends, but not close)... so things are awkward for my sone with his buddy right now....



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We have some family friends like this, too. After so much time, and so many connections, between the families, the kids act like siblings. The good, the bad and they ugly side of sibling relationships. Where they can get along great one day, and knock each other over the next. Just like sisters growing up together.

What does your daughter want to do? Has she had enough, or is the friendship important to her? If she's had enough, I'd let it go. I would say nothing to the mother, and just continue to teach DD how to avoid confrontations, to ignore and not respond to provocation. However, if the friendship is important to them, I would work with the other mother to guide the girls in how to be better friends. I'd give them the opportunity to work things through. I'd stay on good terms with mom and be light but honest with her about there being blame on both sides. If it matters to the girls, I'd say that to the mom, this matters to our daughters, so lets get on the same page to help them work through this.

But some time apart to think about whether or not they miss the friendship is a good thing right now. They'll either move on, or have to time to think about how they should each handle things differently.

Question. Are you going to try to get your DD back into the dance class?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 7:30PM
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Dance... I'm going to see what I can arrange at one of the other two dance schools nearby instead. She wants to dance, but doesn't want to go back, and honestly, I don't want to make a fuss with the dance teacher. She should not have to deal with physical issues with the students while teaching. My daughter knows this and understands this... but acted out of frustration... in a way she knows is unacceptable... I'm not going to puch it there, I'll just move her elsewhere,IF it fits in my schedule... to b honest, I was pretty sure there would be a pproblem with the girls at dance at some point... there always ahs been at least one there per year during the years in the past... they really just have a hard time some days... but you are right it is like siblings... one minute they are getting along great and the next they are all but drawing blood...

The other mom is my real concern.... honestly she has never made any comment to indicate she believes this is a two way problem... only a one way (my DD) problem... I think it took her by total surprise when I said my daughter wasn't on the bus when she supposedly was bothering her daughter... after all her DD is always in the right and mine has always been in the wrong ... according to her... truthfully I'm tired of that nonsense too.. her daughter walks on water and is sweet as can be in her mind... honestly... I don't feel like that about any of my children... they are lovely kids, but man, can they be U-G-L-Y when they want to be! They can be nasty and mean and down right horrible along with the best of them... I know that... and I know all 3 of hers can be the same way too... she just does NOT even see that in her mind... makes me crazy!

The friendship is just not that important to me... honestly I don't think it is to my DD either... time will tell on this I think....

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 8:50PM
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My neighbor has a friend since high school and they have had lots of verbal fights over the years. She told me last week that her friend got smart with her and she called her on it. She said she didn't know why the friend talks to her that way. I told her it was because she has allowed it over the years. People must be desperate for a friendship to put up with fighting all the time. I think her friend just uses her as a hotel and taxi to take her around the big city when she feels the urge to travel or shop. My friend doesn't seem to receive any pleasure from the friendship. I had rather not have a friend at all if it cause me so much stress. It's to much like being married. LOL

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 1:12PM
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I've been there! My daughter and her friend (Lisa) have been friends since the age of 5. They are both 16 now! We're also neighbours. The girls were together every single day. Then at the age of 10, they went their own way till the age of 14. They just had different things in common. Now, they're the best of friends again!

I remember one incident that is so very similar to the one you described above. I had had enough too! Lisa's mom called me to tell me what happened between the girls. My daughter told me what happened. Some things just didn't add up. Since I had had enough, I decided to nip this in the butt. My daughter and I went over to Lisa's house so that we could all discuss this together. Lisa's mom was so happy about this. Anyways, Lisa was caught in a lie and was punished. My daughter also saw that their friendship was worth more than gossip. That if they had a problem with each other, they were friends long enough that they should ask each other if the gossip was true. Everything worked out well and because we were all together, everything was confronted once and for all.

Re your daughter leaving when Susie comes over. I'm not sure about this one though, because yr daughter cannot always run away from conflict. She needs to deal with it head on.

You see what happened with my daughter was that "Jessica" was causing conflict between my daughter and Lisa because she was jealous of their friendship. Whenever Jessica and Lisa were together, my daughter would exclude herself and thus, was alone. She'd see Lisa on the street and was about to go say hello, but decided not to when she seen Jessica with her. I told her to go talk to Lisa and that if Jessica had a problem with her there, then Jessica could leave. It took my daughter awhile to work up the nerve to do it, but eventually she did and it gave her more confidence in herself to handle things.

I've also had to deal with a mother who thinks her kids can do no wrong. I did the same thing as above. We drove to that kid's house and confronted him with the parents there. The boy denied everything, but his sister said that my daughter was right about how it happened. He was bullying her. His parents asked him how he could do that to my daughter since he had the same thing done to him and if he remembered how it felt. The issued got resolved!

I strongly believe that confrontation with all parties involved is the best way to get resolved fast. This way, all the parents hear what each child is saying, which is lying, etc. Maybe it will open some eyes too!

When my daughter had some "ownership" in some of the conflicts, I explained how her actions contributed to the conflict. Sometimes kids don't realize or see what the consequences of their actions can do, especially at the age of 8.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 1:48PM
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Wow. 8 year old DD here and lived with this all through 2nd grade. My DD's "best" friend was hot and cold to her throughout 2nd grade and my DD often came home crying. I also got tired of hearing it. The other little girl's mother is very young and readily admits she does not know how to deal with her DD's constant "drama." This year they are in separate classes and I couldn't be happier.

Now we have "drama" with my DD and the little girl next door. But nothing physical. Frankly, I would be outraged if my DD engaged in that type of behavior (punching, kicking) at that age -- at four or even five, but not ten.

Anyhow, I just wonder if you are sending the right message by making them avoid each other. The message should be that everyone deserves respect and politeness whether you like them or not. Eventually, in life, we have to get along with people, even the ones that rub us the wrong way. I always tell my DD that she cannot control how others behave but she is 100% responsible for how she acts and what she says. She always has the option of walking away or asking an adult for help.

I am anxious to hear what other, more experienced moms have to say on this because I guess I have 5 or 6 more years of it coming!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2008 at 10:37PM
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Regarding the separation... I really feel this is important, at least for a while, to get them to simmer down... and 'get past' whatever went on in both places... they were both pretty hostile and ugly with each other, and I'm hoping that the forced separation will help get them to decide one way or the other whether or not they want to work at a friendship...

Both girls are pretty 'forceful' personalities... "Susie" is much more 'statement' oriented in her manners... "I want to do this now" "where is..." "get me..." type of thing... "Janie" is much more laid back but quick to 'snap' and use impolite words "That's dumb Susie" "I don't want to do that" "who cares" "find it yourself"

As far as the physical side goes, that typically doesn't happen with either of them... but to be fair to both of them, they both have older siblings who have been know to 'push them around' when they irritate them... (and then th older ones get pounced on by the parents to leave the younger ones alone...) typical sibling stuff... BUT... Susie is also a hockey player... such that they play hockey at 9 years old... a very physical sport... and one where they tend to be told to hit and push others... she will sometimes tend to do that off ice.. and I know from other parents they have had 'aggression' issues with her... but like I said, this hasn't typically been an issue with these two.

Personally, I can't recall any serious physical stuff between them... typically its ugly words and actions... I've just had it to my limit witht the two of them wtih the on and off over the summer and then this starting the first week of school... Janie is saying that she doesn't want to be friends with Susie, since she doesn't act like a friend to her... I find this to be an interesting comment... I think she (Janie) believes she was being a 'good' friend by letting Susie know what was being said about her and then feels like it blew up in her face... but that is going way out on a limb and assuming that maybe Janie is telling a mohority of truth about the playground story... Honestly, I feel the truth lays somewhere in between what either of them has said to me or the other mom... maybe Janie was keeping up at Susie about does she like Johnny... or she does like Johnny... but honestly, I'm just not up to dealing with the mom's abrasiveness, so I haven't approached her about this at all.... and I'm thinking she's feeling the same way since normally she'd be right in my face to let me know there is a problem and she wants me to fix it from my end... time will tell....

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 9:15AM
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DD and a friend has a similar relationship a few years ago..I tried to sit down with the girls and the other mom and she said-I don't get involved in these things- I'm sure they'll work it out....Well I finally put my foot down and said let's explore some other friendsships..I kept her really busy with family friends and encouraged new friendships and as time went on more things came out about her friend having pinched her several times, pulling her hair as school ( they were 11 and 12) etc....when the other girl called DD just wasn't available...now that things have cooled off they are polite and nice to one another and DD has a great set of friends and self esteem and her old pal is going through girl after girl at the school doing the same thing...

I'm a firm believer in spending too much time with one person is not a good idea at these young ages...better to a have a couple of good friends and lots of friends you like to spend limited time with vs one best friend you spend all your time with.

Maybe you can agree with other mom that they cool it for a while and spend time with other kids.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 1:02PM
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newgardenelf - my DD "had" such a friend too! That girl had so many friends and then they seen how she was... rude, physically abusive, verbally abusive, etc. Now nobody wants to be her friend. She's 15 and hangs around with 12 and 13 year olds cuz she can push them around.

That girl's parents are friends of ours and they, as well as some of their friends, are always saying how good my DD is, how smart, pretty, wish their daughter could be more like her, etc. This only aggravates the girl and thus results in her being mean to my DD by putting her down a lot and being rude to her in front of other kids. I wish the "parents" would stop commenting or comparing. It only creates problems for my DD. Plus the fact that this girl has a lot of problems at home!

I agree that different friends are very important. She could spend time/make other friends but doesn't necessarily have to leave if Susie joins them. Why should your DD be left out? This could also cause a problem if Susie decides to do this very often just so that your daughter will be alone or has to leave. Kids can be so vendictive!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 1:28PM
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So it's almost 2 months now and truthfully my daughter is NOT missing this girl around at all... although she does say that the gril asks her if they can stop 'fighting' and be friends again... and that her mom says it's ok with her as long as mine appologizes to her and her mom... wtf??? I'm guessing mom just doesn't think it was a two way thing here...

I didn't update here, but mom called me over a week later, suposedly n ot realizeing there had been any problem until she came to pick up mine for dance and hers said, oh she's not going to dance anymore... and then she spoke with the dance teacher about what happened... anyway, we had a pretty long talk... she was upset and wanted to keep them together to make them work it out... I held my ground and said no, they need time apart... then it came out she's having problems with all the girls in her class... who is she going to play with if not my daughter, that leaves only one other girl on the street she plays with...

I told her until they both wanted to try again, I didn't want it... I am TIRED of dealing with them both being ugly to each other... she did say she feels hers only responds, and that mine starts it all... I was pretty sure she felt this way, so I pointed out times when hers has been the aggressor, and also told her I thought it was a result of them having such similar personalities... and from being too close... almost treating each other like siblings... this struck a chord with her... I though we left it on good footing... our other 2 kids are also the same ages and get together a lot.... but they are older and plan their stuff on their own...

I haven't heard from her since that phone call... I fnd that very interesting....

    Bookmark   October 25, 2008 at 7:57PM
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