Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Mini-Mean Girls

5-year-old Gracie has been in kindergarten for about a month now and every day she comes home bursting with stories of the fun she's had playing with her friends - two names mentioned in particular. One girl is her very, very, very best friend, and the other girl is another very, very good friend.

I've been so thrilled that my big brave girl is off in the world making friends and having fun...

Until last night.

Last night was roller skate night to celebrate the first month of school, and though there were only a tiny handful of kindergartners present at the roller rink (about 6 of them, including Gracie, which was surprising as there are 7 kinder classes with 24 kids each) wouldn't you know it, her two 5-year-old BFFs were there.

When Gracie excitedly called out, "LOOK! My friends are here!" I was so excited. After a month of hearing all about these recess and lunch time besties, I couldn't wait to watch her go off and play, and then introduce myself to their moms and pass over phone numbers for play dates and sleep overs and all that fun stuff that Gracie has been looking forward to FOREVER.

What I wasn't expecting was for the two little girls to hold only each others hands, refuse to say hi to Gracie other than the tiniest of waves, and then proceed to ignore my kiddo whilst whispering and giggling to each other for the entire two hours.

(and I wasn't expecting their moms to act the same way when I introduced myself!)

Okay, I have to admit something here - Gracie didn't go to play groups, day care or preschool, and as a result, hasn't had experience with whispering, cliquey "mean girls." And let me just say, my heart broke into a million, billion pieces when I saw her face fall and her teeny little shoulders slump when she realized her friends wanted nothing to do with her.

But then she looked up at me, smiled, took my hand and said, "You're the best mama ever. Let's skate again," and off we went, just me and my kiddo. Eventually Gracie found a boy in her class who had fallen so many times he didn't want to skate anymore, and she encouraged him to put his skates back on and try again, held his hand so he wouldn't fall, and they skated for a little bit. But when Gracie's girl friends left, they didn't even bother saying goodbye to her. And though she pretended that everything was a-okay, Gracie was so obviously crushed.

It just boggles my mind that the whole cliquey mean-girl thing starts so young. And I certainly never expected my sweet-as-pie, huge-hearted child to be the one excluded. Moms out there, if you've had similar situations happen with your kids, what did you do?



  1. My daughter is five also, and I've seen this happen to her but with boy's who did not want to play with her. Luckily, my little one is pretty outgoing, she said "oh well, it's your loss" and found another group of children that would play with her. Seems like your daughter will be fine, she has a nice enough personality that she will be surrounded by friends when it matters most.
    Good luck!

  2. Ohmygoodness ): My heart broke just now reading this. Poor Gracie. I wish I had some good advice but the truth is I have no idea what to say...I wouldn't know what to do if I were in your shoes either. I can not stand mean girls! I had something similar happen at my daughter's dance class as far as the "mean moms" goes and I kept saying to my husband that I hope their daughters don't turn out as mean as the mothers were to me. My heart goes out to you both. Please let us know if things get better ):

  3. Oh man, your post about had me in tears, anticipating/dreading this day in the near future! My little one is not-quite-five, and still in a pre-kindergarten program, so I'm sure it could happen any day. I wish I had some sage advice or great comment, but do know that I'm there with you in spirit! Girls can be so mean, can't they? ::sigh::

  4. I'm teaching Peri to just shrug it off, that it's okay if they don't want to play with her, they're the ones missing out. I haven't heard stories about mean kids from her yet, but that's due to her lack of communication and for the most part, her obliviousness to mean kids (for now). I already feel my protective mama gene kicking in just waiting with her at the bus stop.
    I hope she finds some good friends or the ones she already likes wake up and quit excluding her. ((hugs for Gracie))

    PS, she always has a friend in Oregon. Peri would love to hang out.

  5. im a little late in reading this...and responding, but these things break my heart too. i know i can't protect my kids from the meanies forever, but somehow i never thought that there would be so many situations that could hurt their little souls so deeply. i have taught my children to always include everyone. they don't have a choice who they show love to...they are to love EVERYONE, lest they be the ONE not loved one day. it's hard...but i guess they have to learn sometime that there's a lot of meanies in the world. i hope and pray i haven't raised one....that's all i can control in the end. (not my child...but what i have shown and taught my child). hoping she's found some more great besties!

  6. Thanks so much for commenting, Barbara! It is so hard!

    In the months since this post, I've been shocked to see my daughter acting similarly toward her friends - I NEVER expected to see her act like a mean girl, too... it's so sad how quickly they learn nastiness, and all I can do it show her as best I can how to be a nice and caring friend. Luckily she does have a wonderful set of friend - the two besties she had at the beginning of the year have not been lasing friends, I'm happy to say!


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