8 yr that suddenly doesn't like to be around younger kids

My normally very sweet 8 year old has suddenly in the last few months, started to dislike playing with or being around younger kids.  She says they are "annoying," which of course may be the case, but she has such a determined negativity.  She wouldn't hurt anyone but does say mean things. Is this an age-related thing or is there something else going on?

She's also gotten some negative attitude towards friendly classmates, that she would normally be (or has been) accepting of.

Mom in Oakland

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Thanks for posting.  I am in a similar boat since last year and I thought things would be different in a larger classroom with more kids this year.  I'm not sure that the situation has improved for my 8 year old daughter who doesn't say she is annoyed, but she looks sufficiently annoyed at drop-off.  She easily gravitates towards slightly older or more mature children but it would be nice if she could show similar enthusiasm (or empathy?) towards her same-aged peers.  There is of course the occasional exception.

what could appear to be anger could be masking as anxiety.  Watch her behavior and see how she is acting, she may be nervous and upset because of anxiety.  Sounds like she is suffering with emotions she cannot control.  It happened to my child.  We got her therapy and it helped.  Comfort her and take her away from the environment that is upsetting her.  She clearly is going through something.  Good luck 

My oldest is just emerging from this stage (he turned 9 in May). We spent most of age 6, 7 and 8 in the mindset you described. At this point, it didn’t seem to be an extroversion/introversion nuance; he seemed to like one or two kids at a time and got “irritated” at his lack of being able to manage other behaviors, noises, rough housing, etc. What has helped him is holding his hand to show him it’s safe to be with himself and to focus on “fixing” or “improving” certain things he can control. Like, playing outside and building a treehouse and being in charge there.  At school, we drive home the idea that kids will do what they do - it’s not up to you to be bossy (he did attempt to be a boss for a few months) but to be an example of how you want to be. He chose to focus on getting a math award, which means he puts his efforts into working hard, specifically at math. A little success something goes a long way. When he fails, we tell him everyone around him is also failing and you have to get right back up, think about where the downfall was and try to do it a little bit better next time. Shifting the energy in these areas has helped tremendously. To this day, he can interact with more personalities but he is quietly choosy about who he’s friends with and I think that’s just fine.

I think this is normal, speaking as a mom of three kids in their teens and up.  Your daughter is becoming more selective about how she wants to spend her time, as people do when they are maturing. It's always good to remind her to be polite, though, and to be kind to younger children. But really she should not be expected to hang out with kids she doesn't relate to, so make sure she has clubs/classes with kids that are in her tribe.