Daughter Snubs Old Friends
by Mary Follin and Erika Guerrero
Read More ASK MOM advice in Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine
THE PROBLEM: Lately I’ve been alarmed at my daughter’s behavior toward three girls she’s been friends with for years. They are all now in fifth grade, and one of the more ‘popular’ girls in the class has started including my daughter in her group. It’s a tight-knit group, and apparently ‘too sophisticated’ for my daughter’s old friends, at least, that’s what my daughter says. It makes me so mad to hear her talk like that! I hate to see how much she is hurting her old friends, and I have to say, I’m surprised my daughter is acting like such a snob.
MARY SAYS: First of all, let’s give your daughter the benefit of the doubt. In her exuberance to be ‘included’ (an ancient human need, btw), she may not be aware of the impact she’s having on her oldest and most treasured friends. Have you talked to her about this, or have you only observed it?
Awareness is the first step to solving a problem, so start there.
Ask your daughter if she realizes she’s been snubbing her friends. Ask her if she’s been reaching out to them, or if she’s been spending time with them lately. If not, why not? Take it further and tell her what you’ve observed. Check in to see if she notices how her friends appear to be hurt by her behavior.
You might be surprised by what you learn.
But let’s say she is aware of what she’s doing and has decided to pursue her new friendships anyway. While you can certainly weigh in by telling her how special her old friends have been in her life, you can’t control her behavior.
What you can do is impart some wisdom that comes with years.
Perhaps you’ve let a friendship go in the past—and regretted it. Describe how you may have hurt someone and never had the opportunity to make it right. Tell her how much you value your lifelong friendships, and that it can be lonely to leave people behind, always searching for someone new. Appeal to the daughter you know, the one who has cared deeply for three friends over a long period of time. Let her see herself through your eyes, knowing that she is a true friend and has only temporarily forgotten.
Loyalty, trust, and allegiance can be taught. This might be a good time to introduce these values to your daughter and encourage her to consider making them her own.
ERIKA SAYS: Oh, mama! I can understand the frustration within us when our children are behaving less than we’ve taught or expected of them. Kudos to you for noticing the behavior and nipping it in the bud. I have to say, I think the above-mentioned issue is a “normal” part of the pre-teen/teenage years.
Your daughter is at an age where she’s starting to come into her own. Outside influences like tv shows, music, movies, magazines, and even friends are telling her what’s cool and what’s not. What’s important and what isn’t. Whom to idolize and how to behave.
It’s never too soon or too late to start having chats with our children about inclusion, acceptance of others, and the value of friendships. A good place to start is by sitting down with your daughter and having a conversation about her changed behavior. Find out what’s going on and explain to her how her actions and choices affect others.
Something I like to point out to my little is that one negative experience can erase all the positive encounters with his friends. So, he must be mindful of how he is treating those around him, and he must be intentional about how he loves his family and friends.
While some friends come into our lives for a season and others for a lifetime, we must always value them for who they are and what they add to our lives. No matter the time, we want our shared memories to be positive.
A great way to turn this into a teachable moment is by hosting a gathering for both groups of girls. You can organize several games, including ice breakers. This will help all the girls recognize differences—and similarities—among themselves.
Showing your daughter how she can be the person who bridges the gap between two sets of friends will go a long way. This won’t be the first or the last time she’ll have old and new friends at the same time. Therefore, I believe this is a great opportunity and practical/healthy way to teach her how to blend the old with the new.
ASK MOM offers parents two perspectives on today’s child-rearing issues—one from a mom with grown children (Mary), the other from a mom raising a small child (Erika). If you’re looking for creative solutions, or your mom isn’t around to ask, drop in!
If you have a question for Mary and Erika, we’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
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ABOUT MARY FOLLIN
Mary is the author of TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ and ETHYR, winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award and the Gertrude Warner Book Award. She is mom to two grown sons and enjoys sharing her more seasoned perspective with parents of younger children.
ABOUT Erika Guerrero
Erika Guerrero is a freelance hair and makeup artist, Erika K. Beauty, single-mama to one amazing boy, and author of She’s Not Shaken, a blog offering hope and encouragement to women in all walks of life.
ABOUT Suzanne Johnson
Suzanne Johnson, mother of five children and grandmother of six, is an illustrator, book cover designer, and author of the Realms of Edenocht series.
Gertrude Warner Book Award
Moonbeam Children's Book Award
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