• Resolving Problems

Teen daughter’s best friend is sticking with the mean girl

December 23, 2016 | By | 5 Replies Continue Reading
A mom worries when her daughter’s best friend supports the “mean girl” rather than her daughter.

QUESTION

Hi,

My 13-year-old daughter introduced another girl to her grade school best friend. The three of them got along great for about a year. This past school year, the “new” friend started saying hurtful things to/about my daughter. (E.g. your shoes are ugly, why would you where your makeup like that, you might as well just give up on your dreams because your too shy to achieve them, etc.)

This past summer the new friend started stealing my daughter’s clothes. When my daughter brought up that the clothes that were stolen, the girl lied to her and said her parents bought them for her and she had no idea what she was talking about.

The problem is that my daughter has decided to end her friendship with this girl, but her other friend has not. Not only is my daughter starting to feel pressure from her grade school friend to make up with this girl but her grade school friend’s parents have encourage the friendship with this girl.

I have told my daughter that it is perfectly acceptable to not be friends with someone who says hurtful things even after you talked to them (which she has). And a good friend is someone who doesn’t steal or lie to you.

I just don’t know how to help her with why her “best friend” would choose someone with those qualities over my daughter, who stood up for doing the right thing. I’m trying to teach her to stand up for herself but in a respectful way, but struggling with the words as I just want to protect her from the hurt.

Signed, Concerned Mom

ANSWER

Dear Concerned Mom,

Tween and teen girls can have complicated friendships, as your daughter is experiencing. You’re wise to realize you can’t protect her from the hurt of growing up and are already doing a great job of giving her a soft place to land. Trust by working her way through these difficult ups and downs of relationships, she’s building resiliency and social skills.

Your daughter can stand up to unkind comments with a set of confident, unemotional responses, even if she’s not feeling strong inside. Practice statements like these with her. they will help her take control of and end conversations that feel mean, so that the other person has no power:

“I like my shoes.”

“Why would you say something like that?”

“Thank you for your input.”

“I’m not going to talk to you, if you’re not going to be nice.” (Followed by walking away).

Teach your daugher about boundaries, that she decides whom she chooses as friends, as do other people and that expecting mutual friends to choose sides isn’t fair. Part of teaching empathy is understanding that others have different points of view, even when we’re 100% sure that we’re right, our friends might see things differently. That’s such a hard concept, even for adults, but a helpful one in preserving relationships.

Nobody wants to be in the middle of two friends. I’m sure this other friend has some positive qualities. Your daughter need not embrace those qualities, recognizing that the girl with honesty issues isn’t all bad can help her see why her best friend still likes the girl.

Encourage your daughter to be cordial to the girl, and to try to make other friends so all her social enjoyment isn’t just with her best friend and she has others with whom to hang out. She will be okay, because she has you.

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: Mean girls

Comments (5)

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  1. batphink says:

    I just saw part of a youtube clip about a headmaster in England talking about kids and how he suggested girls having relationship problems were much more complex than boys.Most boys will want to duke it out get it over with and maybe shake on it,whereas girls will use crafty manipulation,spread lies,and use other dramatic and mentally abusive tactics to ostracize other girls. What a world .

    • Irene (the other one) :) says:

      batphink – certainly this is so in England! I’ve never known such jealousy in people as among English people, particularly among young women. They can be absolutely vicious! In the Scandinavian countries jealousy and envy is regarded a severe mental flaw, and even if one might feel envious of someone else, we don’t show it. However, in England this is eeen as a plus – someone regard you as pretty or handsome, with an attractive personality, therefore one should take it as a compliment. But jealousy comes under the umbrella of hate – and it is nasty! It kills. I know a very attractive woman, who was victimised at school, age 12, for being pretty. She suffered for 40 years from the mental scars that this gave her. I too have had similar treatment, but as an adult, but I choose to forgive these people. They will never suffer they pain I have, but forgiving them helps me to be healed of the hurt, and in time also forget. I refused to be a victim.

      • batphink says:

        Hi Irene, I think it is not particularly limited to England,I live in Canada and have never seen anything like it.My family say I must be a magnet for negative/jealous people as I have mentioned being a musician(again NOT famous lol). I think the Scandinavian mentality is great from what you tell me and always wanted to head out that way and try music there,as I know there is much talent and hey a positive beautiful environment can only help.
        I could go on about my abuse years back how an entire school turned on my brother and I,but I guess that is for another section of the site and another day lol.It’s Christmas I’m trying to be positive so Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to you all 🙂

        • Irene (the other one) :) says:

          Well, batphink – what kind pf education system do your have in Canada? I know many Canadians are of British stock, and if you follow the British educational system, (as many other colonies do) you may find the root cause of this insane jealousy problems stems from there. In other European countries the English (particularly middle to upper middle class) are not liked. They despise them regarding them as big headed and full of themselves – they always seems to think they are in some sort of competition with others, and regard themselves as important, and the best. This, unfortunately, grates on the psychi of other nationals, who think nothing of the English. I think the problem stems from the education system, where they are (still) told that they are the greatest on this planet. You don’t say why you think you and your brother were singled out for bullying (?). Do you belong in a different ethnic group to most people, are you particularly clever or good looking? Anything like this can throw people off balance, who thought they were the greatest – they cannot bear someone else get ahead of them, or take the limelight, so to speak.

          My advice to you is, ignore them, and do your own thing.

          Best wishes for a happy Christmas and new year.

  2. Irene (the other one) :) says:

    I agree with Amy Field – your daughter should try make friends with other girls her age. If she’s helpful and kindhearted to those she knows, in a natural, unexaggerated way, she might win their friendship – she could say nice things about what they wear now and again, and thereby show herself the opposite to this mean girl. This is just a thought, and not foolproof, of course.

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