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teenage daughter being shunned by friends

Customer Question

Our 13 year old, 8th grade daughter Katie is having major girl friend trouble. Her "best" friend Charlotte stopped speaking to her entirely a few weeks ago, but I have noticed she has been distancing herself from Katie since March 2012. Our daughter has been sharing her freeze out with us and we have been guiding her to try to have a face to face discussion with her friend to get to the bottom on the issue. Our daughter is not the queen bee of her circle. There are about 6 of them and Charlotte while not the queen, does have the influence and power with the other girls. Unfortunately, Katie and Charlotte have used email to "discuss" their problem which obviously has not worked and the problem has become extremely uncomfortable for the rest of the girls. Our daughter was to have her "group" here to dress for the 8th grade dinner dance and now ALL of them are "unable to make it". I found out last night they are all going to be at Charlottes house. Katie does not know yet but undoubtedly will be finding out very soon. Please help - while the communication is flowing between us, and I am trying to be supportive, my maternal instincts are wanting to tell Katie to ditch her and find other friends. Katie is a very good student, quite shy (we have always described her as slow to warm). Can you offer some help for us? Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  DrPsychologist replied 2 years ago.

DrPsychologist :

Hello

DrPsychologist :

First of all, I just want to say that as a mother myself, my heart goes out to you

DrPsychologist :

As parents we try to protect our children and seeing them hurt is painful indeed

DrPsychologist :
DrPsychologist :

While you can suggest that your daughter ditch her friends, that may be very difficult for her without having new ones to spend time with

DrPsychologist :

My suggestions are as follows:

1. Find a therapist in your area to help your daughter manage her feelings - I can help with referrals if you send me the closest major city to you 2. Find out what interests your daughter and enroll her (with her permission) in 2 such activities (group activities like organized sports, theater, etc. where she can develop new friendships

Customer :

Katie is an avid cheerleader (so is charlotte) and we already have her in a club team which she loves. Thankfully charlotte is not in this club. this has been a wonderful distraction but it doesn't address the problem of being pushed out of the group. We have encouraged Katie for years to try to extend her friend net but as mentioned, she is slow to warm and is worried that she will be rejected. We have told her that this is worth the risk of someone saying no because maybe they won't! On observing her, she is well received (girls outside her group) by warm hellos and what looks like good interactions.

Expert:  earthsister replied 2 years ago.
Good afternoon. If I may make a suggestion, it would be to continue to have discussions with her, at her own request (as you mentioned that sometimes she gets annoyed by you checking in and getting in the middle). Children at the age of 13 go through these kinds of ups and downs with friends all of the time; it's a part of growing up. Children at this age are also seeking some form of independence, and need to begin to learn how to solve their own problems for themselves. Explain that to her. Definitely encourage her to befriend some of the other girls outside of her circle, and those in the same cheer club (which her distant friend is not a member of) who do have friendly interactions with her. I wouldn't recommend telling her to completely ditch her old group of friends quite yet, some of them may eventually come around. Your daughter however should waste no time waiting for them to, or even begging for them to. Continue to guide her from a distance, and give her the chance to resolve this issue on her own. If you need any further insight, please let me know. I wish you the best!
Expert:  DrPsychologist replied 2 years ago.
This is indeed a tough one. Here is an article that might help:
http://www.uthealthleader.org/archive/children_teens/2004/girlbullies-0325.html
Expert:  Adviser Mills C.C.D. replied 2 years ago.
I would also like to give a suggestion. This is such a hard situation for a mom and I understand the instincts being a mother to a child this age and one almost there. I also mentor children her age. First of all, take a second to pat yourself on the back for being so open that she can trust you with this very hard information. You are doing so many things right keeping this kind of relationship. I have seen this a million times but rarely is a mom so informed of the details.

Charlotte most likely suffers from a lack of self esteem causing her to need to control her friends. Girls her age can be more mean then anything us moms ever had to deal with. The saddest thing about this situation is it feels like the world is on your daughter's shoulders even though we know it will get better.

I would encourage her to make this a non issue. Find things and people away from Charlotte to turn her energy too, maybe even some groups outside of school and of course the cheer club. Get her involved with something outside of school to show her that the relationship to Charlotte, may be lost but there is so many other ones to be had. She most likely needs to distance herself from the group, and try to nudge into a new group. If she can not do this, she needs to talk to the Queen Bee about the problems, and see if any of the friends fall on her side. Tell her everyday, it will get better. She is going to find out about the dance get together, and this will be a very hard day for her.

I suggest you make plans with her to invite new friends, or the entire cheer club over before the dance, to take the sting away. Make it a grand evening, rent a limo etc. Something to make her feel like the special girl that she is, I can tell this by how open she is with you.

If they discussed by email then there is most likely hope there, but Charlotte will have to come around. And there is no reason for your girl to wait. Explain to her that people are different, and sometimes people do not like us, not matter what we do. They just don't.

Just encourage that she always be who she is, all the time. And she will attract new friends. Easily. Use the summer to invite to girls over or join a local club.

If she is still in school, a private trip to the school counselor will help. Just keep a close eye on her for signs of depression, keep her spirits high. Find her favorite thing to do, and elaborate on that. If she likes to cheer, she may enjoy a play. Let her do a summer play, as a teen I met my closest group of friends during a production of Cinderella. So this is a tested formula.

Whatever you decide, make sure that you make light of the situation. Do not let her see you mad. She will work it out on her own. You just have the tough job of watching her do just that, sort of like when you watch a toddler learn to walk and want to help them along, but you know you cant.

She is getting to an age where her friends will change. It is very normal that friends out grow each other at this age. Just keep supporting and listening. And remember, it will get better. And for mom (you)...breathe. She will make it through this like a champ, you have already built her an amazing foundation. She will make the right decisions. I hope that some of these suggestions will help. I hope that the news goes over better than hoped! If you need anything else you are welcomed to message me. This is a tough age, but in the blink of an eye. Charlotte will either be back by her side, or moving on to another group. And your child needs to know, there is nothing she can do about that.

Good luck to you and your family!

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