Talk me down!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tiredmommy, May 29, 2011.

  1. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I need someone to tell me not to get involved in resolving this. Duckie came home from school upset on Friday, said she's losing her friends, etc. A little history: Duckie hit it off really well with another girl in class right from the beginning of the year (we'll call her H). The only problem is that H's bff was also in class and was threatened by all the new friends that H was making (not just Duckie).

    So last Friday, Duckie and a few different friends where walking the bus loop at school during recess. H's bff approaches Duckie and says something to the effect of "Do you know any of H's secrets? I know them all because I'm H's bff. Don't worry you can tell me... I won't tell anyone. I'll even pinky promise not to tell." So Duckie (like an idiot) spills a secret. And bff goes running off to tell H (of course). Duckie tries to stop her and begs her not to tell, that H will be mad and it will ruin their friendship. Bff says she doesn't care about Duckie's friendship only her friendship with H.

    Duckie realizes she made a big mistake and is devastated that H is angry and doesn't want to be her friend anymore. There was a whole ruckus, where bff was crying because she "didn't do anything" and now Duckie feels like their teacher is angry with her because she was talking about someone. She's been invited to H's birthday party, but doesn't want to go anymore (it's a few weeks away). And the worst part is that she couldn't even get her side out... so now the teacher thinks Duckie was all to blame and won't give her a chance to defend herself.

    I'm trying really hard to not show up at school first thing Tuesday morning.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good Morning TM,

    My opinion as a mom who raised a girl - let her sort it out herself. I never, and I mean never, got in the middle of any of the drama. I always let easy child handle it it herself. How else was she going to learn? I didn't want to be one of those moms who was always up at school complaining about something...

    She is going to need to navigate this challenging "girl world" until at least 9th grade (things seem to quiet down with the maturing of high school a bit). You can be there for her to listen, give advise, support and hugs. But she is going to need to do this herself.

    She was feeling fragile because she wanted to be H's friend so she spilled. She needs to tell H that. Not that it may do any good. Girls usually are totally ruled by hormonal feelings at this age and rational doesn't usually come into play!

    It might be a little tough for awhile, but it will fade and be forgotten. It's not the end of the world, but girl drama makes it feel like it is. Resist the urge, take your coffee outside and sit by the pool after Duckie gets on the bus! 15 minutes of quiet time for Mom.

  3. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    She can write a letters to the people concerned explaining what happened - apologizing and giving a small present as a guesture to try and make amends.

  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Sharon, I agree that the girls should sort it out. My problem is that the teacher stood in front of the class and said that anyone talking about someone would be in big trouble all the while looking straight at Duckie. Duckie is now convinced she's going to get sent to the principal office, plus lose all her friends, etc. I think the teacher handled the situation poorly. She even told Duckie that they'd deal with it next week so now she's dreading going back to school on Tuesday. My advice to Duckie was to never again give up a secret unless someone was in danger, apologize to H and watch out for H's bff in the future.
  5. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think your advice to Duckie was spot on. Apologize and watch out in the future! I don't believe Allen's suggestion of a small gift is really appropriate in this instance.

    In regards to the teacher, let it go. Remember that you are also hearing it from Duckie's perspective. I'm not saying she is not telling the truth, just the truth as she felt and heard it. And, there is a pretty good chance that the teacher will do nothing further. But if she does, Duckie will see that she needs to speak up for herself and tell her side. The bottom line is that Duckie is the one who spilled. Certainly the other girl drew her into it but it was still her who told the secret. She will have to "live and learn" with this one.

    Trust me TM, if you go in to talk to the teacher and fight this battle, you will be doing more harm to Duckie's ability to problem solve in the future.

    She will learn more about being an advocate for herself by what living her mistakes than by you making it right.

    With understanding,
  6. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I know you're right... I just wish her teacher could see how her words affected Duckie. Duckie's consequence is losing a friend, she shouldn't need to worry about being in trouble with the teacher too. Losing a friend is a big enough deal already.
  7. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Have you ever watched the movie Mean Girls? If you believe it is appropriate for Duckie (I don't remember the rating) let her watch it and talk to her about how some girls are just mean, that it is more of a self esteem issue to make themselves feel more important. It may not be age appropriate now but keep it in mind for in a few years.

    I hate the fact that kids seem to be getting meaner and meaner at younger ages. I would talk to Duckie about always doing what is right no matter what others think or say. Tell her she is an awesome kid with a good heart, she knows that it is wrong to behave like that and she can work hard to not fall into that trap.

    The teacher may have been giving a general "I am fed up with the behaviors of the class lately on how we treat each other - especially with talking about each other" (Spring fever has many undesirable behaviors in the school yard. Sometimes teachers get so many complaints that they just have to have a, "O.K., let us ALL look at what is going on here speech.). Duckie picked up on the talking about each other because she felt guilty about it. I don't think a teacher would wait until after a weekend to talk to a student - I think it was her way of getting all the kids to reflect on what they are doing and the consequences.

    Tell Duckie not to be worried about the teacher. If she is "called in" that she should remain calm, explain what happened and tell the teacher she is sorry. I don't think she will be "disciplined". Tell her that it would give her a chance to tell her side of the story.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Argh! I cringed when I read your note.
    Yes, she's going to have to watch the movie mentioned above, and then read Queen Bees and Wannabes, and learn the hard way for a long time.
    I am so sorry . So many of our kids are like this.

    I agree with-Andy's thoughts about the teacher.
  9. ML

    ML Guest

    I like the idea of letting her watch "Mean Girls". It might add some perspective and humor (if you think she's old enough).

    I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to go to school and bash heads. It's hard to watch your child get hurt by this drama. Because manster's friends have always been girls he's been part of this type of drama more than once. I agree with the others, you need to encourage her and empower her. Let her know you believe she is capable of taking care of this. I agree that an apology either written or verbal would be appropriate.

    Please tell Duckie how much her board aunties love her. Tell her we all make mistakes and true friends will forgive us if we are sincere that we are sorry and endeavor to not make the same mistake again. It really is a jungle out there but we know she is a very strong person who handle anything.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This garbage is so typical of what I call "girl aggression." (I actually found the term in a book). They can be so mean, but I have learned that it is really not good to get involved. The same girls who are fighting like horrible enemies one week can be best friends next week or next year, but if the parents ever got involved, sometimes that is always there.

    I vote with letting them work it out unless things get much worse. Good luck :)
  11. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Duckie may have spilled, but if not for the BFF none of this would have happened. I see this all too often. There's one student who is an instigator and sits back to enjoy the view of the wreckage.

    This is the age when this starts. It got so bad with four girls, the same age as Duckie at the school where I work (parents upset, involved students upset, classmates FED UP! And teachers and staff, including me fed up) that they are now banned, yes BANNED from being together AT ALL. Not during recess, lunch, class, PE, computer lab. So, the other day, I walk into the cafeteria and what do I see? They are all sitting together! (Of course) When I point it out, they immediately scatter to the four corners of the building.

    An extreme example, to be sure, but it was effecting the entire grade level and student learning. I know I had to intervene twice and quell the drama. The teacher may have been speaking in a general sense and not directly to Duckie. Remember she's ten, and because she feels guilty about what happened, the words were especially sharp and felt directed at her.

    Daughter was involved in a lot of girl drama, but it really didn't start until middle school and it lasted well into high school. I shutter when I think back on it. I did my best to stay out of it, but there were a few times when I just had to step in. But, there are definitely pitfalls in doing that; sometimes, it can only serve to escalate it. Daughter had drama with one girl she knew from elementary school; I knew the Mom and we got along fine. In middle school they began to have problems and the Mom called me to complain about Daughter. I get Daughter's side of the story and call Mom back to let her know her child was equally culpable in the problem. We agreed that they should just stay away from each other. But, they had several classes together and the problems continued. Then, I get this phone call from the Dad screaming and cursing at me. I hang on up him. He keeps calling and I tell him if he wants to talk calmly, we'll talk. Otherwise, we won't. He keeps calling and calling screaming obscenities. Finally, I stopped answering the phone and he left a nasty voice mail threatening to "Do something and you're not going to like it" in a menacing voice. I notified the police and the school district, but because the threat wasn't specific enough, nothing was done. Anyway, I told Daughter to just please stop talking to this girl because I don't need the stress; Dad's a lunatic and I would prefer not to have to have contact with him again.

    I'm so glad those days are behind me. I would carefully before getting involved and perhaps try to provide gentle guidance for Duckie to nagivate this very treacherous childhood time. That is, if she'll listen; Daughter never would, unfortunately.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I agree with everyone. The teacher aspect has brought back ugly memories from GFGmom's elementary days. Funny how some things you just don't ever forget. I understand your situation and wish there were a "fix it" answer. Likely any effort to fix it will make it worse. I'm sorry. DDD
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    I agree with most, and believe the girls need to sort it out themselves. HOWEVER I would go talk to the teacher and find out what "really" happened.

    1. I don't think this was a "teacher should get involved" situation.
    2. Since/if teacher did get involved, she should have talked to EVERY party involved, and not involved the whole class. If it went down like Duckie said (or even close) the teacher is just encouraging and perpetuating the "mean girl" behavior - not very professional in my opinion

    You don't have to "confront" her, just, "I was concerned about an incident Duckie told me about, can you please shed some light on what happened Friday?"
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    ONLY the letter. Some of these kids would end up thinking they have to buy friendship if they go the presents route.
  15. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Thanks everyone. I won't speak with the teacher unless she brings it up or Friday's incident escalates into the other girls justifying being mean & cruel to Duckie. If she brings it up, I'll point out that Duckie owned up to her part and no one else has. And, Duckie told me earlier that she did try to apologize to H at the end of the day but she was still very angry and didn't accept it.

    So... what do I do about the birthday party invite? I was thinking I would wait until Wed or Thurs and see how things are going. If Duckie is unsure, I may call the mom and let her know that Duckie did something that has made H very angry (justifiably so) and Duckie feels its best if she doesn't come because she doesn't want to upset H further. Duckie is adament that she won't go if H is angry.
  16. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Duckie is the judge and jury on this one. If she is experiencing angst over this, she doesn't have to go. It will be one of many, many parties and will be forgotten shortly. We feel it much deeper than they.

  17. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Sharon- She's agreed to take a wait & see approach. I've told her that the good (& bad, lol) news is that someone else will come along and make just as big a mistake as she did. Maybe bigger. Then all of this will be old news.
  18. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Duckie is a smart little girl and you know the right words! You are quite a team!
  19. It's called relational aggression -- the bff is a bully and knows how to use this tool. [I think "Odd Girl Out" is the best book on the topic.] Sometimes these things blow over; sometimes they don't, and a child ends up isolated and depressed. If it were my child, the most I would do is call the mom and explain a little of what happened and arrange a quick, private meeting for the girls. All I'd ask my daughter to say is something like, "Even though XXX asked me to tell me one of your secrets after telling me she knew them all, I shouldn't have done it. I am very sorry and won't fall for this trick again. I hope you won't stay mad at me, because I enjoyed being friends with you. If you don't want me to come to the party, I won't. Let me know what you want to do." Regardless of whether there was a meeting or not, I'd make sure my daughter knows not to fall for the "if you want to be my friend, then do xxx" because you aren't supposed to pay for friendships in any way ... and if you have to pay for them, they aren't really friendships, anyway.

    Personally, I think Heathers is the best "mean girl" movie. It's a bit advanced for a girl Duckie's age. I did have easy child watch it (I told her when to stop watching at certain scenes!) when she had some girl trouble, but it's not something I would show most young girls.

    Anyway, it's good the school term is almost over and you may not have to deal with this teacher again, but I'd probably say something at some point to her. Singling out a child is seldom a good tactic, so it would be interesting to hear her version of events.

    Good luck.
  20. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I agree on Heathers, Mean Girls can't touch that one. Heathers is one of my favorites.