How to deal with girl drama in elementary school?

I have a 10-year old daughter and is in a public school in an affluent city. She had 2 BFFs last few years but felt excluded by both of them so she left them and try to make new friends this year. She tries to maintain friendship with these 2 ex-BFFs and asking for playdates outside of school on one-to-one basis but these 2 girls seem to 'gang' up and reject the playdate invites and of course she's hurt. They had made untrue and unsupported comments about my daughter to other girls. I made the mistake of clarifying the situation to one of the parent and now that parent had also turned against me. I know it is best to allow kids to deal with the issues themselves but I was just trying to explain to the mom the 'untrue' comments about my child but I was told by the parent that 'she trusts her own child'.

My daughter is kind to her friends and not aggressive in nature, but this seems to make her a target to bullies? There's a classmate she tried to befriend with, had playdates, brought that friend to movies, dinners, sleepovers, did activities together. This friend found another good friend in the last week and now seems to gang up with this other friend against my daughter - they would call her names, took items (pencils) from her without her knowing (but she saw her took stuff from her desk and gave it to her 'other' best friend), and then this girl gave out birthday party favors to her class, she gave my daughter the 'ugliest' item and said to her 'You deserved this'.

Unfortunately I don't belong to any parent cliques and wonder if this is affecting my daughter's relationship in school. With each event (e.g. halloween, school activity, etc) I scramble around unsuccessfully to ask for other girls for her to do the activity with because most girls already have their own 'cliques' to do things with.

I don't know if this is a public school behavior, and wonder if a private school with smaller groups will help create healthier relationships/friendships? I am just surprised that such girl drama already starting to exist in 10-year olds. I always think girl drama start during teenage years.

What is your experience with school girl drama, and how do you manage them? I know this is a great learning experience for my daughter, but it just pains me to see why she's the victim of such treatment by other girls of the same age?

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I am so sorry you have to deal with this!! I don't know what city you live in, but I would ask the school what they think. I would also ask to have dinner with the parents and the girls to talk about it. I do not think that girls being bullies to eachother is a nessesary learning experience that they can sort out themselves.
As far as not having a parent click, I guarantee you that there are other odd woman out moms who feel the same way and you should find them. Everyone seems to think everyone else has it together except them, and I know this just isn't true! Everyone is trying to figure it out.

The only way to avoid the "Mean Girls" syndrome is to have her at a school that won't tolerate it, which, unfortunately, won't be a public school. (They just don't have the resources to handle it.) Certainly it's one way of thinking that parents should stay out of it, unless you see patterns with your daughter that repeat in all social situations, in which case there's something she's doing that's inciting the others' behavior.

But. I was a "new kid" in many schools -- we moved a lot -- and my role in those schools often morphed, depending on the demographics, the moon, the tides, whatever -- sometimes I was popular, sometimes a nerd.

I think parents who think their kid should just "lump it" when they are suffering are insensitive. Sometimes your kid is just swimming with the wrong school of fish.

Only you can make the distinction as to whether the esteem of these girls is worth fighting for. It might not be.

Why do you want your daughter to be friends with them?

Use the experience to talk about feelings, compassion, fairness. Volunteer with her in hospitals, shelters. Talk with her. Good friends don't need to look good or be cool. Let her understand the difference between being accepted and valuing integrity. Find friends outside that place.

I wish you both the very best.

Things wouldn't be better in a smaller school. Believe me---they would only be worse. We had my daughter in a small private school, and it was a nightmare when the other girls displayed cliquish behavior, because there weren't other girls around to hang out with as an alternative. 

I do not mean to suggest that this is in any way your daughters fault, but it sounds like she broke up with her best friends yet still expects to be friends with them? I don't really see how that is possible. That would require a level of meta cognition that they are just not capable of. One thing I've been working on with my daughter is to break away from this concept of the BFF. I've been trying to teach her that it's not a useful vocabulary because we have lots of different parts to is and we can't expect or even want one person to be the right match for all the different parts of us at all times.

i know that this is painful for both of you, and I'm sorry!

So very sorry your daughter is experiencing this.  Unfortunately, it is apparently normal behavior & not restricted to public schools.  My daughter had this problem with a fine local private middle school.  It was heartbreaking.  middle school is the time for this.  It was all over by the time she made it to Berkeley High. The middle school faculty was fairly oblivious to the problem.  I wish your daughter well.  Speaking with her primary teacher is how I would proceed.

My 9 year old had a covert bully off/on all last year. This was in spite if the fact she is in a smal private school that really works with kids to be inclusive and kind with each other. I can only imagine what public school might be like.

That said, I did nothing to engage the other kid's parents. Alerted the teacher, had a couple of conference and it blew up at the end of school. My kid is actually well-liked and usually very socially skilled, but so ingrained in the "catn't say you can't play" model that she had no skills for standing up for herself and setting clear and effective boundaries.

This year, my and the other kid have a decent alliance. What happened? The biggest thing I did was load my kid up with every "American Girl " book that deals with friendship, drama, assertiveness, rumors, etc.. five books total, I believe. Had my kid read them and we talked about it when she brought it up. Very helpful. Second was we shored up extracurricular and church involvement. Other parents have also focused on the girls makeuing church friends, and there have been three bday parties there and multiple play dates out of that. She is also joining a swim team and drama group as well. She did tennis too, and some nice connections came out of that.

In sum, we did three things: exposed her to a new and better skill set for dealing with that crap-effectively "bully proofed" her. Then we got her to focus on building a sense of mastery in a variety of activities that gave her self-confidence, widened her horizons. And third, she had made such a variety of friends in various areas of her life that she quit caring about what the covert bully was doing or not doing. That combined with skills from the American Girl books totally neutralized the bully. Now last year's bully jockeys to be friends with my daughter and my kid simply quit caring one way or the other.

I urge you to step out of the drama and work on the bully proofing strategy first. I say this because if you use the term victim to describe your kid, you will only disempower her and make her feel even more helpless.  Expand her horizons into the community so she can feel a part of things and learn to blow off the pettiness. It really does work.

Only if all of this is done and the bullying intensifies should you go to the teachers or school. The code of silence amongst kids runs deep. Unless it gets really out of hand it is usually better to work to improve your daughter's life, outlook and skillset. Once learned she will carry it with her forever.

Best of luck! Feel free to email me if you like.

I think she needs to find friends outside of school. Maybe in the neighborhood, in dance class, or art class or chess class. She needs something going on in her life in addition to school. 

Elementary school is such a small pool of friends.  I saw this happen to my daughter in 4th grade (30 years ago).  She went on to have the best group of supportive friends from College and doesn't remember way back when...but I do.  I think joining an after school group such as Berkeley Girls softball, or ballet class, horseback riding, etc. opens up the pool of possible friends and takes off the pressure of class.  We even had friends from other schools as previous friends went to private schools before coming back to BHS.  Good luck.  Your daughter will survive.

Oh gosh, please don't blame this on public school. Our public school has a very strong social-emotional curriculum and any adult at the school would shut this behavior down.  I'm not saying the kids are all angels to one another, but they know what's unacceptable.  When kids step out of line (rarely happens!), the adults know just how to handle it.  I don't have any advice about how your daughter should handle things, but I'm sorry she's having to endure mean girls.

For dealing with any kind of bullying, I always recommend Kid Power.