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Teenage Daughter Keeps Losing Friends in Her School

Published: January 27, 2023 | Last Updated: January 27, 2023 By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
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A mother is pained to see that her teenage daughter keeps losing friends in high school. 

QUESTION

Hi,

My teenage daughter keeps losing her friends because she has become the target of a narcissistic teenager at her school.

This problem began in elementary school when my daughter was targeted by a bully at school. We had enough of that one girl who was bullying her and we moved schools. My daughter flourished in the new school.

Now she is in her first year of high school. Three of her very close friends from the last school go to the same high school as she does. 

It all started out great until one of her friends was in a class with the bully. This girl managed to convince everyone that it was my daughter who had bullied her. She spread rumors about her and now no one wants to be her friend. 

She tries to talk to other girls but every time she does, this girl manipulates the situation. I fear my daughter will never trust anyone. 

She has no problem making friends in other settings. For example, at dance, she has made several friends. So I just don’t get it, my daughter is athletic, pretty, smart and funny. 

She has three more years of high school, which is a long time! I don’t know what to do to handle this situation.

Signed, Leah

ANSWER

Hi Leah,

I’m sorry your daughter is struggling with her friendships. For a mom to watch her daughter suffer has to be excruciating. 

Now that your daughter is in high school, any intervention for social bullying  needs to come from her. Parental involvement will only make the situation more difficult for her. 

High school can be a time when teens find their people, “ride or die friends” who will stick with them and believe in their innocence over rumors. Unfortunately, a lot of teens are followers and haven’t yet developed the confidence to go against the grain. 

Your daughter needs to seek out friends who are secure in their sense of self and don’t follow the herd. I’m not suggesting she leave her friends behind, only that she expand her social circle to include more friends and acquaintances. 

I don’t think getting into what she said would be helpful or productive for your daughter. She needs to find a way to ignore the negative chatter and develop a thicker skin. Throughout life, she may encounter negative people, in college, work, her neighborhood and if she has kids, other moms. High school is a time for her to start learning the resiliency skills to combat unkind people.

  • What you can do is avoid labeling the other girl. That’s not helpful for resolving the problem.
  • Instead, ask your daughter for her ideas on how to handle situations as they arise rather than offering solutions. Let her think about why she is losing the friends she made before.
  • She needs to figure out her own style for handling this problem, which may or may not be how you would handle them yourself.

If you believe your daughter’s trust and self-esteem are being affected, a few sessions with a professional therapist would be an appropriate step.

Hope this is helpful to you.

Best, 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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  1. Janine says:

    I stumbled upon your question when researching how to help my daughter. She is 14 and is currently going through this exact same thing that your daughter did. I know this is from almost 1 year ago, but I’m curious if you were ever able to find a solution. It has gotten so bad that we have started homeschooling. I don’t know if this is the best solution though.

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