• Other Friendship Advice

Left Out Of The Group: A Mom Worries About Her 10-Year-Old Daughter

Published: February 1, 2022 | Last Updated: February 1, 2022 By | 3 Replies Continue Reading
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Her daughter is always left out of the group get-togethers and this mom wonders how she can make things better.

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

I am the mom of two wonderful daughters. My older daughter formed a bond with a girl in elementary school in kindergarten and always had a buddy throughout her elementary days.

My younger daughter, who is now 10, did not have the same luck. She is active in Girl Scouts and sports and has friends. These friends will call her and talk for hours and individually she receives a few invitations for play dates.

These pals consist of a group of four friends, all fourth grade girls. Whenever the girls hang out as a group, my daughter is always left out of the group. The moms have posted pictures on social media of the girls swimming together, sledding together, getting their nails done, etc. The girls inevitably will talk about what they’ve done together in front of my daughter and she constantly feels left out.

I’m not sure if I should call the mothers and ask what’s up or if I should encourage my daughter to find new friends. Part of me wonders if the moms just don’t like me and that’s why they exclude my daughter and leave her out of the group outings. It is difficult because these girls are on her teams and in her classes so I don’t even know how to go about finding other friends for her. Any advice would be appreciated.

Signed, Pained Mom

ANSWER

Hi,

I’m so sorry that you and your daughter are experiencing this pain. No matter one’s age, it feels awful to be left out.

When girls are ten years old, most times it’s their moms who are likely to be arranging and overseeing their schedules and activities. For example, if the girls are getting their nails done as a group, it’s likely that one of the moms made the appointment.

You mention that this clique may be excluding your daughter because the moms don’t like you. I’m wondering why this occurs to you? Has there been any specific friction between you and one or more of the moms that you are aware of?

If not, I would encourage you to reach out to the mom to whom you feel closest. Explain that your daughter feels left out of the group get-togethers. Ask if she has any sense why this is happening. She may be able to offer you some insight.

She may be unaware that is happening. However, even if she is aware of the reason(s), she may be reluctant to discuss it with you and risk the wrath of the other moms. But, at minimum, raising the issue may make her more sensitive to your feelings and that of your daughter.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of any other way to handle this with the group of moms. Most importantly, you need to continue to provide support to your daughter if she feels left out of the group. Allow her to talk and express her feelings to you, and remind of her strengths.

A few other ideas for your daughter:

  • Remind her that all her friendships don’t have to rely on this one group. Perhaps, you can encourage her to invite another child from her class or an extracurricular activity for a one-on-one playdate.
  • You also might take on the role of helping her organize some type of group activity with the girls that have excluded her.
  • Or, perhaps, you can help your daughter nurture an interest or hobby that she can pursue at the times when friends aren’t available.

Allegiances between childhood friends often change and realign as kids approach middle-school so I’m hopeful she (and you) will get through this tough passage.

Your daughter participates in sports and other group activities, and even these girls seem to get along with your daughter, one-on-one, so I wouldn’t be too worried about her friendship skills.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene


It feels hurtful to be left out of a group at any age or stage of life. Here are a few other posts that touch on the same topic:


 

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Category: Helping children deal with friendship problems

Comments (3)

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  1. Sandra B says:

    I appreciate the answer given by Dr. Irene. As she put it, “No matter one’s age, it feels awful to be left out.” When our kids are left out, we (as parents) feel left out too. I was also struck by the writer’s remark about the other moms, and the fact that she wonders if they are excluding her daughter because they don’t like her. That is definitely worth exploring in some way.

    I would approach one of the other moms (as Irene suggested) as carefully and tactfully as possible. It might help to simple ask one of the other moms for an opinion, or a suggestion, on why her daughter is excluded, and what could be done to resolve that, if anything. At the very least, you might get a clue or an idea of what is really going on, if anything. The fact that the other moms are posting photos of this group of girls on social media is a good way to point out that you are aware of it — and that it’s obviously not a secret.

    Which brings me to another point about social media. The mom who wrote the question says: “The moms have posted pictures on social media of the girls swimming together, sledding together, getting their nails done, etc. The girls inevitably will talk about what they’ve done together in front of my daughter and she constantly feels left out.”

    This is an example of how hurtful social media platforms can be. No matter how old we are, it’s insensitive and rude to post photos of ourselves at parties or to boast about our social lives publicly for everyone else to see. This is a perfect example of the hurt that can occur. There was a time when friends could get together or host parties without taking photos and sharing them on Facebook — and potentially hurting some people who weren’t included.

  2. Janeen Ellsworth says:

    I’m so sorry this is happening to your baby girl! I just had a lengthy conversation with a school counselor about this topic for my podcast, Women Friends, and she had amazing advice I’m using with my kids now (my daughter is 10 too and has encountered this same issue). The counselor gives her students the ‘stoplight’ analogy. Some friends are green lights–always available, always there for you to go to, always reliable. Some are yellow–they’re sometimes there, sometimes reliable, but sometimes not, so proceed with caution. Some are red lights–they’re never reliable, they’re hurtful, they’re sending the message for you to stop (even though it may be hard to recognize at first). It sounds like this group of girls that are excluding your daughter may be ‘red light’ friends, unfortunately. Help her to think of who, in her life, might be ‘green’ friends that she could shift her focus toward and start initiating connections, play dates or hangouts/phone calls with instead of putting all her energy into these girls who seem like they’re doing that awful mean-girl thing so many of us have experienced. Best of luck to you and your daughter.

  3. Sarah B says:

    As a mom, myself, as well as my experience witnessing this type of thing, I’m leaning toward to her intuition that it’s the other moms with the issues with her (for some unknown reason) rather than with the daughter (especially if the daughter continues to get along with the other girls in other common settings).
    From my experience, these mom cliques form and can feel just like middle school all over again. Oftentimes, there’s no strife to speak of and it just becomes one of those “they just don’t like you” situations, which can be very hurtful and frustrating especially when our children are involved and have to pay the price for it. Unfortunately, reaching out to one of the other moms (especially if you’re the one on the outs) usually goes something like “oh I have no idea” or “oh there’s nothing wrong” , just putting them on the defensive while you and you child are no better off and now you’ve only provided something for the other moms to chat about over coffee while their daughters get their nails done.

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