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Need Advice: Children's friends

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I have two children, a girl, M, who is 9 (10 in June) and a boy, H, who is 8. We have 4 other girls in the neighborhood. One, K, is 7 and hangs out with my son and the other three hang out with my daughter. The three are L, who is 9 but a year behind the others and is in a multi-grade class with K. Then there are twins, J and B. The twins go to a magnet school, K and L go to a charter school and we homeschool.


There is just too much girl drama in this friendship circle. We don't have these issues with our homeschool friends though we did have similar issues with friends from school when M homeschooled. It seems that M and L can get along fine when twins are not here and M can get along fine with the twins when L is not here but when they are all together, there will be issues with M and L. L has to be the prettiest, the smartest, the most talented and she gets pretty ugly if anyone challenges her self-perception. For example, she fancies herself a fabulous singer and the next Hannah Montana. When they play rock band, the other three girls want to take turns being lead singer and have each girl sing the song they make up. L then has a fit and declares that she is only one that can sing and will one day be on American Idol and the others will amount to nothing. This happens in everything they play. She will only want to do what she wants to do and doesn't want to take turns doing whatever "roles" they have. She also gossips. She talks about the twins to M and talks about M to the twins. If they all together she talks about K. If K is playing with them, she talks about her sisters. Then when confronted, she says she never said that. I can tell she is lying from her body language (beside having overhead her). She tells a lot of lies. Some to be center of attention -ex. Her aunt is a journalist and is going to interview Hannah Montana this summer and she is going with her and can take all three girls to California for this (months later the aunt has left that job). Usually, it's just whatever M is doing, she has to one up (If M mentions that she played football with her dad and brother, L is suddenly going to play football next year.). L is a middle child (middle school teen older sister and preschool younger sister). The family does not share our values. They watch tv all day long and will send L over here to play afterschool and go out without telling me that she has no one to go home to. When you tell L to go home, you have to practically scream at her to get to move. She will ignore M all together when M tells her and I ALWAYS have to be the one to make her leave (this is just normal they are playing fine but it's time for dinner, baths or leaving for activity).


The twins are not quite as bad with the gossip. They tend to be like M who will agree and nod ahead and then feel guilty and confess to other person. I have talked with all the girls about gossip and talked to M individually and I do feel M has improved greatly in avoiding gossip. The twins do have own issues. Bi s the younger twin by two minutes and insists on being the baby. In every game, she has to be 4 and act likes she's 4 and wants everyone to baby her. This drives me and M nuts. I have forbidden in at my house (usually I can ignore traits but babytalk is a major pet peeve of mine). J is a copycat. Everything that M does, J adopts. J loved color purple but changed it to blue because M likes blue. Then tries to tell M that she can't have anything blue. J liked white horses and then switched to black horses because that is what M likes and then says M can't have the black horse in their games. This is recurring with everything and L usually follows suits and adopts whatever. I settled the blue argument by assigning them each a different shade of blue lol. Then comes the games/clubs. If they come up with idea, they insist on being in charge. When M comes up with idea she wants to be in charge. The only issue is M comes up with the most ideas and the best ideas so they revolt about her being in charge. M also tends to be a bit bossy and J tends to be a bit bossy so they butt heads (and J and L butt heads over similar issues). Overall, M and J get along fine and B tends to prefer L but the twins parents won't let them split up so they have to either play with L alone or M alone or all 4.


This week, L and B talked about M. L was the ringleader in this and was very taunting to M about it. I have told L that she is not allowed to play with M for a week (this after warnings that this would happen). J came over last night alone (B has to go to Sylvan twice a week). We relayed that B will not be able to play a week also and I instructed the girls not to make a big deal out it.



Anyway, I really feel that these girls treat M badly. They use her because she has the fun ideas (they claim she brings the fun), she has the trampoline, the dressup closet, etc.

I don't really know what to do. The other families tend to feel that "girls will be girls" and that girls just do this and I should just let them tear each other apart. They just don't see the issue and it's really hard to tell people you don't know that well that their kids does this, that and the other. I don't agree that they 'have" to be this way and they are not going to learn to not be "mean girls" if they don't have interventions. Personally, I would like to completely avoid the other kids and just have playdates but that is really hard in families this close to your actual house. Playdates requiring two families arranging schedules and are usually hard for us to get.

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I live in a neighborhood, and I do know how hard it can be to "get away" from neighborhood kids! The main thing I can think of is that they are all spending too much time together. Why don't you, first off, limit the days a week and amount of time they can play together, then end it when the nonsense starts. Is there a way you can keep them near you when they play...or you be near them and intervene when you hear the stuff start? I don't know outside of that. I am so glad dd didn't have neighbor girls at that age...she has one neighbor friend now, at 13, and just the one makes it more peaceful. I have had to intervene a couple of times just because this child was boldly crashing through our boundaries, but after I did, the boundaries were put back in place and she knows what I expect!

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But I have a friend with three daughters, and here is how she has handled this. She makes her house the most fun place to be. She is free with the treats and the drinks, allows all the games and mess and activity, allows the kids liberty to make messes and raid her closet for dress ups, paints finger nails and fixes hair and basically makes herself and her home as much in demand as she can.


And then she is very frank and open about acceptable behavior. She feels free to address bossiness in a friendly but direct way. She feels free to tell any child in her home that they are gossiping if she hears it, and she addresses it head on but kindly.


If she heard a girl tell the others that she's the only one allowed to sing, she would probably directly address that. "Sara, is sounds like you really think you are better than everyone else. That's just so unattractive and no one likes playing with someone who acts that way. If you want to act that way, you probably need to go home for the day." But she isn't a crabby sounding person. She would manage to not make this sound as harsh as I just made it sound.


I think she gets away with this because the kids all love her and she has managed to make her own home the "hang out." Also, she is the kind of person who can really see her own children's faults, and she doesn't try to always be on their "side."


I have all boys and boys are just different with friends, but I have learned a lot from her, and one thing I have learned is that it's okay to talk to other people's children about being nice, not gossiping, not causing drama etc.

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will send L over here to play afterschool and go out without telling me that she has no one to go home to.


Is she allowed to be home alone? I would ask the parents about this and let them know that you're not comfortable with it.

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I kind of got confused in the OP, trying to sort out who was who, lol!


I've had to ban a neighbourhood kid from my home and Diva from playing with her, which has been difficult, because she's the one consistent child around Diva's age. The other girls visit for custody orders or their grandmas. The child I banned swears, lies, and at the age of 12 has had a boyfriend. I heard this child bragging about talking this boyfriend into letting her try oral s*x on him to another child :glare: I have no clue if she was lying (that's quite possible, given that the child brags and lies about anything and everything) or telling the truth, but still not something I need my child hearing about, nor someone I need influencing my daughter. The boyfriend, also age 12 was someone my dd used to play with as he was a 'good kid' as my dh put it, and Tazzie was along with them, etc, but we've put a halt to that as well.


Its darn hard, trying to keep the influence of bad company from my children. Homeschooling certainly helps, but doesn't solve everything, esp when you live in the city the way we do. I keep hoping and praying that God will show us the way to purchase a home on an acreage so that we can further escape negative influences and be freer to raise our children in the way we feel is best. I'm fine with stuff like soccer, and other organized classes and sports...there doesn't seem to be the time to get into the negative social crud that happens with day to day playing. Or just sticking to homeschool playdates ;)

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I have neighborhood girls too but I don't have these kind of problems, thankfully! That kind of behavior does creep in sometimes. I suggest that for a while you try limiting the playtimes to just one girl at a time. It's the group mentality that encourages this behavior. Plus, dealing with one girl at a time may help you and your dd train these girls in politeness. If the snarky behavior continues, I would not allow these girls to influence my dd. They'd be gone. One of the benefits of hsing, imo, is to help our children not learn these negative group behaviors, especially those found in these young girls. Not that it can't happen in hs goups, but you at least can control who your dc are close friends with, at least at this age. My dh observed some snarky behavior towards my dd at a hs function and I will be on the lookout for it in the future so that I can address it w/the moms as I'm sure they would not want their dd behaving this way. You have a problem when these neighbor moms don't have the same values as your family.


Back to my suggestion....I had a mom neighbor friend (unfortunately moved away) who limited play times to one friend for each child at a time. She loosened up on this as the kids got older but she noticed that some of the neighborhood kids used her dc to get a snack, play their video games, and then later preferred to play w/other kids and slighted hers. She saw this as teaching moments w/her dc as to who is a "true friend".


I'm sorry you have these problems. Dealing with the neighborhood kids can be quite challenging at times. I have them but with the boys. :glare:

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