Featured, Parenting
Comments 7

Disliking Your Child’s Friends

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So, yesterday I was catching up on BBC Radio 4,s Womans Hour podcast when the topic of disliking your child’s friends was discussed. Jenny Eclair and Lucy Cavendish (both mothers) were invited to the studio to give their opinions. Their views on this subject made me laugh hard and nod in agreement.

Their views got me thinking about how I have handled my children’s friends that I don’t like for different reasons.

As much as I want my daughters to have good social life and loyal friends, I have had to be straightforward with them about who they should not be friends with. My advice is solely based on what my daughters have told me and not me being a snob about where the child involved lives. Or even what the parents do for a living. It is mainly based on how they make my daughters feel about themselves.

Since my older daughter started school three years ago, my parenting skills changed to protect her. I became brutally forthright about what I think of  some of  her friends. You see, my seven-year  old daughter did not go to nursery so she was naïve to the world of what I call Girls Playground Politics (GPP)

GPP is where a group of popular girls knowingly or unknowingly manipulate and make the less popular girls feel rubbish. This cruelty may come in the form of childish banter. For example I am not inviting you to my party or you are not my friend anymore, etc, etc. You say this is what children do, but I say it is a form of cruelty.

I am not sure if being forthright is the best way to handle those of my daughters’ friends that I do not like. However, for now, it works for my family. Ask me in a few years time, maybe my forthrightness may have backfired. Currently, my daughters are able to detect the child who likes them and the one who doesn’t.

Some parenting experts recommend dropping hints by asking your children questions about how that friend makes them feel. I don’t really buy into that. Plus I lack the patience for hints. I just tell my daughters how true friends should make them feel and ask questions later.

Do I often come across children I don’t like? No.

The children, I have in the past told my daughters to avoid are mostly girls. Girls that repeat on the playground gossips they have heard from their own parents. Those are the girls I don’t like.

Ohh and girls who have audacity to tell my daughters that their  practical Dr Martens school shoes are not pretty.

To be be completely honest with you, the children I have problems with are the same children who other parents do not like. The subtle gossips by mums at the school gates confirm and reassure me that I am not wrong about that girl!

In the past, as much as some GPPs have hurt my daughters, I am very glad that my children have experienced that horrible feeling. The feeling that rises in you when someone you call a friend hurts you. This feeling is helping them recognise from an early age who is horrible to them and who is not. This may help them, in the future, recognise a horrible partner.

I feel awful when I tell my daughters not to play with that girl but wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you tell your own daughters to either stand up to that girl or stay away from her. The girl who makes them feel rubbish.

Yvonne xxx

7 Comments

  1. I totally agree Yvonne about “GPP”. We would be doing our girls a disservice by not equipping them to deal with it, whatever your parental approach to that might be. x

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    • Thanks for your comment.For now,I am using the no-nonsense forthrightness. I may tweak the approach later when they are confident enough to discern the different types of friendships we have in our lives. How do you deal with this issue? x

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      • I don’t tell my daughter my specific opinions on different children as I don’t want to put ideas in her head- those are currently not her thoughts. What I do is get her to challenge the strong girls. I always praise her too when she tells me she spoke out on something… she is so quiet (her teacher tells me) that speaking out doesn’t come naturally- like her mummy! 🙂

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  2. To answer your question – stand up to the bully is the best way to keep them at bay, no room to stay being a victim for too long… This is what I would say to my daughter

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  3. Ola says

    Gosh I feel you on that point about lacking patience for “Hints”.. what a waste of time they are especially to those who are already blinkered in their approach!!
    I totally agree. Let’s teach kids to stand up to those kids who wrong them and let them know their brutal actions must not repeat itself. ( I hate to add “or else”… but sometimes that little extra bit works wonders to kids imagination LOL)
    Albeit in the real world they would have to make these choices themselves.. some kids my mum warned me against even though they made me feel great and loved.. later on in life I realised she was right about them but not for the same reasons … some I outgrew , some outgrew me and some became an emotional drain to my life and to cite your previous blog.. it had run its course and was time to let go..
    Don’t worry Yvonne .. your daughters will soon get bored of those kids you don’t approve of ..
    xxx

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