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8-Year-Old Upset With Mean Girls At School

Published: June 8, 2014 | Last Updated: November 2, 2021 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
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A mom laments her daughter’s problems with mean girls at school and wonders what she should do.

QUESTION

Hi,

My daughter is 8 years old and very friendly. She goes to school with a positive attitude and always says hi to other children. What really hurts her feelings is that sometimes these kids don’t say “Hi” back.

One girl said she didn’t feel like saying “Hi” or they give my daughter a cruel look. I’ve seen it many times myself from these girls. Is it wrong for me to tell them it’s not polite to ignore people or to make faces? My daughter often has times making and keeping friends, even though she is very friendly.

Any advice I can give her on these mean girls at school?

Signed, Rana

ANSWER

Hi Rana,

It must be hard for you to see your friendly little girl feeling hurt. Your letter raises two issues:

1) Your daughter’s sensitivity toward others, and

2) her difficulties making and keeping friends.

Oftentimes, teachers are the best, most objective observers of young children’s socialization challenges because they see a variety of kids the same age. Why not set up a meeting with your daughter’s teacher to get her input and suggestions? Find out what she thinks about the mean girls at school.

Some kids are better at reading social cues than others and I wonder if your daughter has a harder time identifying which girls are more receptive to her overtures than others.

Your daughter can only control how she behaves not how others behave or react. While being friendly is a positive attribute, perhaps if she concentrates more on the kids who reciprocate her friendliness, she can avoid those “mean girls” who do not respond in kind.

Explain that no matter how hard she tries, everyone isn’t going to like her (or anyone) so when girls aren’t friendly or are cruel, it’s a signal to move on to a more compatible person, not to try harder to win their favor.

If her teacher is unable to help with additional insight and/or your daughter’s distress about her social situation is causing problems with sleeping, eating, school, depression or anxiety, talk to your pediatrician for a referral to a play therapist to help identify and teach her to be more successful with her peers.

Your daughter is very lucky to have your concern and support. Good luck.

Signed, *Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.


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Category: Child and adolescent friendships, KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (3)

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  1. Buster S says:

    Dear Rana,
    I know your feeling though these other kids were Not given
    a chance of Happiness as it seems? It’s the raising of them
    would be starting from home! I had Volunteered at a school
    my daughter attended for 3yrs as a teachers aid and a yard
    monitor. I was on duty about the high risk kids and I feel sad
    knowing a lot are there at school because the LOVE at home
    is washed out the back door? Love starts at home if there NO
    Love leaving home then every day a kids day will CHANGE!
    Your daughter and you being they will give her ALL that she
    NEEDS, just be there for her,Your support and ALL Your Love

  2. Mary94949 says:

    Rana, let’s face it. Girls (especially) can be mean and it starts early! It’s a rude awakening to a child who’s been taught to be courteous and who has a kind heart. My daughter was crushed by arrogant, self-centered girls as early as 2nd and 3rd grade. It was almost breathtaking to realize the crude and narcissistic attacks some girls would make upon others. I had a real eye-opener the night our Brownie Troop spent a night camping…. lying, clicques, selfishness, stealing, unbelievable. And this is a solid middle-class neighborhood of kids with 2 parents, etc.
    In middle school it got worse – Instant Messenger used to hurt, disgrace and humiliate one girl who had developed early. Copies handed out at school.
    My daughter still lives with the scars inflicted upon her and her friend, not to mention others who fought for survival by turning on their own friends in an effort to placate the ‘mean girls’ – the movie wasn’t far from the truth at all. We live in Calif. but it happens everywhere to some degree.
    Good luck, keep your eyes open, address it with the parents if necessary, and teach your child how to defend herself in ugly social situations.

  3. cutie says:

    my best friend left me to be popular I was her best friend since third grade but when we got to middle school she ditched me all the time now I cry my self to sleep wondering what I did wrong

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