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Emotional Manipulation - help me help dd...


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My 11yodd has a friend - her very best friend - who is a great manipulator. Not always, but frequently enough that I keep a close watch on their relationship. For instance, today several friends were playing together at our house and another girl made a comment that made "friend" upset and stomp out of the house to go home. Shortly afterwards, dd got an email from her friend complaining that the other girl is trying to "steal" dd away and that they used to be friends, but ever since we moved here, the other girl is doesn't want to be her friend and is always trying to get rid of her, etc., etc. I know they are young and immature, and her friend struggles particularly with jealousy and needs time to grow up.

 

Dd hasn't seen the email yet, and I'm wondering how we can have a good talk through it. Dd is a "peacemaker/people pleaser", so she's always ready to jump in and do whatever is necessary to make her friends feel better :tongue_smilie:.

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My 11yodd has a friend - her very best friend - who is a great manipulator. Not always, but frequently enough that I keep a close watch on their relationship. For instance, today several friends were playing together at our house and another girl made a comment that made "friend" upset and stomp out of the house to go home. Shortly afterwards, dd got an email from her friend complaining that the other girl is trying to "steal" dd away and that they used to be friends, but ever since we moved here, the other girl is doesn't want to be her friend and is always trying to get rid of her, etc., etc. I know they are young and immature, and her friend struggles particularly with jealousy and needs time to grow up.

 

Dd hasn't seen the email yet, and I'm wondering how we can have a good talk through it. Dd is a "peacemaker/people pleaser", so she's always ready to jump in and do whatever is necessary to make her friends feel better :tongue_smilie:.

 

I'd start by helping your dd sort through and decide how she feels about this behavior and expectations of exclusivity in friendships. It's a common theme for girls that age and crops up most frequently when a "3" unit is involved.

 

I personally would discourage playing into exclusivity as I believe it's poor character development, even if it's age expected. I'd also give your dd words and a vocabularly to recognize manipulation.

 

You sound like a great mom who will handle it just right for your dd!

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My dd (now almost 15) has a cousin who (and I say this with love!) is quite manipulative and craves drama. The girls share a set of grandparents, and the whole family is very close, which means these two have spent a LOT of time together.

 

When they were little, it was a matter of teaching dd coping skills for the times when they played together--cousin always had to control the play, would boss the other kids to the point where they refused to play with her, then complain to the adults that the other kids were excluding her, etc. DD & I did a lot of practicing what to say in various situations. ("OK, let's play that way for a while, then we'll do this," etc.). She also had permission to bring a book when we visited cousin's house (to see the grandparents), and we practiced the broken-record technique ("I don't feel like playing, I'm going to read right now...")

 

When they reached middle school age, the cousin became intolerable for my dd to be around most of the time. She tried to form a clique with two other cousins, excluding my dd, while at the same time keeping my dd at her beck and call. We spent a lot of time during these years practicing not becoming involved in others' dramas. I talked to her about the cousin's insecurity and need to control others, and how not to get drawn into arguments with the cousin. We practiced responses. I tried to help her to remember that she didn't have to participate in arguments. We came up with stock responses like "Mm-hm, I see," that she could use against endless complaining. As always, dd had my permission to sit with the adults on visits to the grandparents' (where the cousin lived). She did a lot of reading on these visits!

 

Now the girls are both high school age, and the cousin has matured quite a bit, thankfully. They get along fairly well these days, and my dd tells me that the cousin still needs to stir up drama from time to time, but dd lets it roll off, and I believe that cousin actually respects dd's calmness and even temper now.

 

I guess this long response boils down to: if this girl is someone your dd loves and wants to maintain a friendship with, you must teach her that just because someone else wants to have a conflict, she is not required to participate. Practice responses. Let her know that it is ok to choose not to be in the presence of someone who is causing stress.

 

Sorry for the rambling; HTH! :)

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Oh, I'm glad to hear that! Like Joanne said, it seems to be a pretty common dynamic among girls at this age. :)

 

We went through this in June with a neighbor girl. This girl turned all the other girls on our street against my DD. It was completely predictable I'm afraid. This girl was manipulative and a leader-type in a bad way.

 

Thankfully DD found other girl friends who are nicer to each other. :D

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