DD's best friend controls who plays

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-31-2009
DD's best friend controls who plays
Sat, 01-31-2009 - 6:24pm

Hello everyone. I'm new to the board, but have been a member of ivillage since my first pg in 2000, but with a few diff. names lol.

Here is my issue. My dd (5, will turn 6 in May) has a friend that has been her best friend (bf) since they were in preschool together. They are in the same class together this year and it has been that way for three years now. My daughter looks forward to seeing her always. The other day I went to the school to have lunch with my daughter and her classmates. Another little girl said to me in front of dd and the bf that bf will not let her play with my dd! Then yet another child piped up and said that it was true for her too. This has been an issue before. So, I turned to my dd and her best friend and I said-- "Girl's you two have been friends for so long and I bet you will always be friends. You will always be friends even if you sometimes play with other people. BF if DD plays with someone else, is she still your friend?" Of course she said 'yes', but I am still concerned that this will continue if my dd doesn't learn to stand up for herself.

I have asked DD about it and she says that when bf tells her she cannot play with someone, then she doesn't. She is afraid that she will be mad at her. She tells me that bf always likes to have things her way. I have told her that it is not her job to make her bf happy. That if playing with lots of people would make her happy, then that is the right thing to do. I told her that her bf would just have to be mad, and that she would get over it soon enough. I don't know if this is "over her head", what do you think? What else should I say or do to encourage my DD to do the things she wants to do.

I will consider speaking with the teacher and the parents, but I'd really like my DD to solve this on her own. I want her to start learning that it is ok to stand up for herself. I'm afraid that if I have the parents or the teacher solve this, then it is just bound to happen again.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! (Editing to add that my dd says that she would like to play with the other girls, so it isn't that she prefers it be just the two of then)

Edited 1/31/2009 6:33 pm ET by wishforwings
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 02-02-2009 - 2:38pm

This is a tough thing for kids to get and it seems to me they need occasionally reminders and sometimes help following through with letting their friends play with others. It is hard as an adult to feel that you were left out of some activity your friends did so I know it has to be even harder to keep in mind that if your bf wants to play with someone else she is still your bf.

Personally I would tell the teacher about the issue and ask her to keep an eye on things. If she knows about it she can keep an eye out for the behavior and intervene if necessary. A gentle reminder from the teacher that the kids are not the boss of who plays what or with who might be what your dd and her bf needs to help them remember that.

They are learning a lot of things in Kindergarten, there are a lot of changes going on in school so sometimes it feels safer if you and your bf are always together. The changes could be making the bf feel nervous about losing her friend and so she wants to do what ever she can to hold on to her by making sure they only play with each other.

Your dd is very sweet to be worried about hurting her bf's feelings. My 9 yo has only just started to step back and not do everything his friend since Kindergarten tells him to do. He didn't want to hurt his friend's feelings so he would often go along with things he didn't want to do. I did have to get the teachers involved because I felt it would not be a good thing to have them in class together. There is a little bit of unhealthy competition going on where the other child likes to talk about how smart he is and how dumb everyone else is. My son buys into this even though it is not true. We've had many talks about what a true friend is; how you can be friends with more than one person; how it is okay to disagree with a friend and like different things. Near the beginning of this school year I ended up getting his 3rd grade teacher and his 4th grade teacher to talk to him separately about ways to deal with the stuff he was hearing from this friend. Things had gotten bad and ds was becoming rude and defensive about everything. I could tell something was bothering him as could his 4th grade teacher. We finally got it out of him and after we had some long talks about better ways to handle things he started making the connections on his own and pulled back enough where he could still be friendly with the boy but was able to think and act for himself.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-31-2009
Mon, 02-02-2009 - 5:30pm

Hi Dawn,

Wow, it sounds like you did a great thing for your son. I remember my mother having a similar issue with one of my brother's friends, but a little later on than 9 yo.

Thanks for your input on my dd's situation, especially what the bf may be feeling. I want to be able to keep her feelings in mind so that it doesn't become a blame game.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-01-2006
Mon, 02-09-2009 - 2:50pm
My DD has had a similar problem with one of her Kindergarten friends... we have decided that if it continues, we will ask they be in different classes next year.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-11-2003
Wed, 02-18-2009 - 1:45pm

I'm afraid that I have one of those kids.....

My DS is in preschool and does not lack confidence but only likes to play with one kid at a time.

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