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Author Topic: Is it wrong to use another kid's opinion UPDATE Pg. 4  (Read 27798 times)

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Is it wrong to use another kid's opinion UPDATE Pg. 4
« on: August 11, 2012, 09:42:56 AM »
EPIC BG: I talk about DD here a lot. She's 8.  She's a bright, quirkily funny, well-spoken, gorgeous, slightly weird (that's my genes at work) kid who is adored by most of the adults she meets. Except for that guy she corrected at the grocery store this week.  She has good friends her own age at school, but for some reason she picks "aloof" or high-maintenance kids to be her BFFs.  It's like she knows the good kids like her, so she wants the challenge of chasing after the hard-to-get kids' approval.  She invests way more emotional energy and consideration into the relationship than they do and her feelings get hurt. 

We talk a lot about not being able to control the actions/emotions of other people, of not giving away more emotional energy (or toys) than she could stand not getting back.  But she's 8.  It takes adults a while to learn these lessons.

This has been exacerbated over the past year by her friendship with a girl named Kayla.  Kayla is the Ultimate One-UpperTM.  It doesn't matter what you do, have or where you go, Kayla does, has or goes somewhere better.  I was shocked the first time she came to our house, by the sheer number of "one-ups" and made a game of counting them, just so I wouldn't get so frustrated that I asked her to leave.

Some gems:
"How big is your house?  I'm pretty sure ours is bigger and nicer."
"My dad has a better job than your dad."
"You only have two trendy, super-overpriced stuffed animals?  I have seven."

Kayla absolutely cannot stand for anyone to have or do anything more interesting than she has.  So she feigns boredom or disgust with DD's things or activities.  I.E. "You take swimming lessons?  That's lame.  Everybody should just know how to swim." or "You went to the Bahamas on your last vacation?  We went there two years ago, it was boring." (I know for a fact this kid has never been to the Bahamas.)

Add to that, Kayla doesn't reciprocate invitations and when we take her places, doesn't treat DD very nicely.

I'm sort of done with Kayla. 

I don't want to turn this into a Romeo and Juliet thing, where I make Kayla that much more attractive by banning DD from playing with her.  But I do have long conversations with DD about not putting up with bad treatment from friends and devoting emotional energy to people who appreciate it. Just when I think I've driven my point home, Kayla makes some grand gesture, like inviting DD for a sleepover, and I'm back to square one. 


We recently had several new families move into the neighborhood with kids DD's age.  By some miracle, all of the kids seem very sweet-natured and play well with DD. I've tried to encourage those friendships as much as possible. A set of siblings in particular is super-well-behaved, invite DD over almost every day, are FASCINATED with DD's sense or humor and activities and love coming to our house to visit.  And when they are here, they are absolute, not-in-a-suck-up-way angels.  I was so moved by their kind treatment of DD that I took the kids to lunch the other day as a special treat. 
We were sitting at the restaurant and I was asking if the new kids had time to meet/play with some of the other kids in the neighborhood.  Sweet Kid Sister said yes, and started listing them.  She made a sort of sour face and said, "And Kayla."  DD got an excited look on her face and I could tell she was about to pipe up with stories of her friendship with Kayla, and then Sweet Kid Sister said, "I don't like playing with Kayla.  She always talks about how she has a better toys or a nicer car than us.  I don't want to hear that.  She's kind of mean."

DD's face fell into a sort of contemplative funk and she was quiet for a while.  I've given her a few days to think about what Sweet Kid Sister said, but I want to know, at this point, is it wrong to use SKS's statement to drive my point home about Kayla's tendencies?  Or should I just let it ride and see how it all works out?  I think that if I let DD spend more time with the other kids, she will see what good friendships are like and I won't have to alienate her by picking on her "best friend."  But at the same time, I don't know when this sort of object lesson will come along again.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2012, 04:38:18 PM by weeblewobble »


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I think it is a perfect learning opportunity. You daughter needs to understand that Kayla like people are to be ignored as much as possible. That it could cost her sweet kid sister's friendship, if she continues to be around kayla while she bullies other kids.
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Ok - I preface every bit of advice I give about kids or parents this way: I don't have kids, therefore, my advice may be totally off.

I would not use other kids' opinions to try and encourage your DD to avoid Kayla. 8 year old dynamics can change quickly, and it just seems like you're setting yourself up for trouble. But! It sounds to me like you can frame this in a way that is not about Kayla's friendship with your DD. The fact is, Kayla is behaving rudely while she is in your house, and she makes these visits unpleasant for you. So I think you are totally within your rights as a parent to sit your DD down and say something like:

"DD, I know you like Kayla. But Kayla does X, Y, and Z (bullying, rude comments about DD's activities, lying, whatever) and you know that these are not things that I will allow or tolerate. They're rude and they're not good behaviour. That means it's not very nice for me to have Kayla over here, so from now on, Kayla's not coming over to play anymore. You can still be friends with her, and you can still go over to her house to play, but honestly, the way Kayla acts makes me not want her here in my house."

Adjust for appropriate phrasing for an 8 year old. That way, your DD will have limited exposure to Kayla and hopefully encourage the sweet kids to come over more often.


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From my completely non-qualified view, don't say anything.  Your daughter is bright and friendly.  When she sees that other people don't want to be friends with Kayla she will figure it out for herself.  Your daughter is learning to make choices and seeing how others treat her vs Kayla and how other friends see Kayla, especially if they start to avoid her will only work to help her decide what she wants.  But if her parent chimes in it ay make Kayla that much more attractive because some kids are like that.  They have to "prove" they know what they are doing.  I use to do that with my mother all the time when she didn't like a friend of mine. 
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I think *your* opinion is the one your daughter needs to hear.

There are ways you can discourage a friendship without coming right out and telling your daughter who she can be friends with.  One way I can think of is to say that you don't enjoy having people in your home who criticize the things you have or the things you do.  Ask her if she knows anyone like that.  Ask her if she enjoys people like that.  Make her think about it, and then make a rule about having people like that in your home.

Kids choose friends based on some very strange criteria sometimes.  It's up to us, as parents, to guide them into making good choices.  Giving your daughter the benefit of your experience and feelings and knowledge will help her make better ones, I think.  At the same time, she's only 8 years old.  You have the right to decide who can come to your home and who can't, where your daughter can go and where she can't.  Nothing wrong with discreetly exercising those rights where Kayla is concerned.


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I am making some positive assumptions here.   :)  Given that your DD sounds kind, intelligent, and grounded, I'd go with as soft a sell as possible. 

If I were to be the one to bring up concerns, I'd wait until she was talking about it or a new situation made it natural to go into it.  I'd phrase it as an open-ended question or observation, and see where my child takes it.  Any criticism I introduced of Kayla, I would in the context of my child's opinions.  I'm not doing a very good job explaining this, but something along the lines of reminding my child of things she's said or done about similar situations, let that percolate, and let her values lead her to a healthy conclusion.


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I think instead of giving advice, ask DD how she felt when the new girl said she didn't like Kayla.  DD's answer will tell you how concerned you should be.


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I think instead of giving advice, ask DD how she felt when the new girl said she didn't like Kayla.  DD's answer will tell you how concerned you should be.

That's exactly what I was going to say.  Depending on your DD's answer to how she felt and what she thought, you could ask her if she has observed any of the same behaviors that NewGirl had noticed. 

You can gently guide her to examine her own feelings on the situation and help her to learn what are the behaviors of good friends vs. friends that have some not so nice traits.


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I wouldn't want to teach my child that her opinions on anything should be based on someone else's opinion.  She should be free to form her own opinions.  BUT, I would be having conversations about those opinions and how they are formed and why and "do you think Kayla is a good friend? What makes her a good friend?" . I'd also be encouraging friendships with other kids and ever so slightly discouraging friendship with Kayla.
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Strong hints don't work.
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I wouldn't use this kid's opinion to drive the point home.  For starters, it seems like your daughter already is thoughtful after hearing this comment.  Also, these 2 kids seem sweet and well-behaved now at the beginning of your acquaintance - they could easily turn out to be as bad or worse than Kayla and it wouldn't do to have given her words such credit.  I think you should sit her down and talk about her feelings in a more objective fashion.  Like, "DD, you remember how Kayla said today that her burps are waaay louder and better than yours?  It seems like she says things like that a lot.  How does that make you feel?"  And go from there.  You may even want to turn it into a lesson in etiquette and teach her (though I bet she already knows) that it isn't polite to say these things and you wouldn't want her to think that it is.  You say your daughter is bright, so if she realizes that these comments make her feel bad and are rude, it will probably hit home that Kayla makes people feel bad and is rude.


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I would not bring in the other kids' opinions. First off, it's not clear how much your daughter would respect their opinions over her own and her liking for Kayla. You could just end up turning her off of the new kids.

I'd take a two-stage approach. First, make sure you set up good play time with non-Kayla kids, while being "busy" when Kayla is available. Not to the point of banning Kayla, but just to shift the emphasis a bit.  Second, every time you have a visit with Kayla where she misbehaves, ask your daughter "How did it make you feel when Kayla did X?" Help her examine her own feelings.
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Why haven't you said to Kayla "It's rude to say things like that" when she one-ups and called her out on the lying when she's in your home?  I know she's not your child, but you are setting an example for your own child to "not rock the boat" by letting rude people be rude to her.


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I wouldn't say anything.  DD took in the conversation and for all you know, the girls may have discussed Kayla on their own when you aren't around.

I would gently discourage playdates with Kayla.  You can be busy, have to run errands, etc when Kayla wants to come over.  If Kayla does come, keep the visits short and sweet.  If Kayla starts in one-upping, your dd will tune in more and may realize on her own that she is tired of Kayla being that way and cut back on the friendship.


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First -  as an 8 year old, Kayla is still emotionally immature. These comments (The one-ups, etc) are a sign of low self esteem. That is not, however, your problem, or your daughter's, to fix.  You do not need to use the other girl's comment to lead in.  Simply sit down with your daughter and say, "Listen, Kayla is displaying some behaviors that are inappropriate. (explain: the one-upping, bullying, etc) I do not feel comfortable with her in the house when she says things like that, and I don't want you to think that it's OK to say things like that, because they are not.  From now on, she cannot play here.  You need to understand that when she realizes that, she may not want to be friends with you anymore.  That's okay, because she doesn't seem like the kind of person you should encourage a friendship with.  Maybe when she's older she will mature more and you'll find you can be friends, but right now, it doesn't seem possible."


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The reason that I might disagree with PPs is that it sounds as if you've already talked with DD about Kayla.  From that standpoint, saying something like, "Hmm.  Interesting that Sweet Kid made that comment about Kayla being mean.  What did you think about that?"  It's opening the topic up for discussion. 
You're a better judge than we are of whether you can bring it up--and whether DD will hear it--as a topic for discussion.  You don't want to drive her into a position where she feels a need to defend her friend, and cling to the friendship, but you would like her to question whether Kayla really is a friend.