Playground Meanness

Thursday March 2, 2017

Parents, I need some advice. How do you talk to and give advice to your kids when their friends turn out to be not-so-friendly?

Yesterday, Bean came home to non-stop tantrums. She tantrumed all the way home from our Muni stop. She tantrumed her way through lunch, and then before her rest time. This is pretty highly unusual for her, so I kept asking why she was feeling so sad. It took her a while, but after she’d calmed down a bit, she told me her best friend at school told her (yet again) that she didn’t want to play with her.

She’s had issues with this best friend before — being called names, being excluded from play. It’s gotten to the point that I can tell when her friend is absent from school, because Bean comes home happy and relaxed.

So. How would you handle this? Of course, all I want is for her to find a new friend, one who isn’t mean to her, maybe that nice little boy you mention sometimes who plays silly games and taught you that saying “pooh pooh” is hysterical? I’ve also talked to the teacher about it, and she has led some group activities about speaking kindly to each other…but it hasn’t seemed to work.

I’ve tried explaining that what her friend says isn’t nice, and that friends aren’t supposed to be mean to each other. But she just 4-year-old-glibly says, “but she forgot she said it! And then we played a lot!” Ugh.

Lay it on me fellow parents, especially parents with older kids. How do you handle an unkind friend? Do you just sit back and let your kid figure it out while being supportive? Or do you handle it more proactively? Please help!!

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