Tuesday, August 26, 2008

As if it wasn't bad enough already

Today Caitlin tells me that another of her so-called friends (keep in mind there are only 3 kids Caitlin calls friend) told Caitlin that she wasn't allowed to invite Caitlin to her birthday party because her mother said Caitlin was rude and inconsiderate.

I feel ill.

Caitlin has only been to this friend's house once and as far as I know there was no problem on that occasion and seeing as every other report I've ever had of Caitlin's behaviour at other people's homes has been unfailingly positive I'm at a loss to understand where this comes from. Unless the friend is lying? (This begins to seem probable.)

Yesterday's issue is not yet resolved though I did talk to the mum this afternoon (told her exactly what Caitlin had told me) and found out that F1, despite telling Caitlin that she isn't interested in going ice-skating with us, has been lording it over her older sister at home and shows every sign of being very excited about going.

The more I'm finding out, the more it looks like Caitlin is being subjected to bullying behaviour from a number of her classmates. In fact she says there's only one girl who's not being mean to her and that's friend 2 from yesterday's story.

Next up, interview with the teacher I think.

I'm alternating between wanting to cry and wanting to bang a few heads together.

Meanwhile, in other news David managed to get himself into trouble on Monday for standing up to someone who was bullying one of his friends with a little too much of the physical kind of protest. A sense of justice can be a tricky thing.

9 comments:

Lisa66 said...

Hugs Mim,

There's nothing worse than worrying about your kids. Make sure you are giving Caitlin lots of hugs and love at home (as I'm sure you are.)

My experience with this stuff is that it usually blows over. Alliances seem to shift easily at this age. I hope the teacher can help sort this one out.

Last year my mddle son came home from school in tears because he had been excluded from a club. I don't often step in to help solve my kids' problems but the specifics of this situation (too long to go into) made me call his teacher. She intervened and the problem disappeared immediately. I hope you have the same success in solving this problem for Caitlin.

Dina said...

I'm so sorry : (

I had a lot of friendship problems growing up. It's a really painful thing to go through.

And I know it's also a painful thing to hear someone say something bad about your child. I'm currently very disgusted and angry with certain people over that right now.

I wish I could give you valuable advice. All I can really say though is that I feel for you guys. I really do.

Shrinking Tardie said...

Sometimes you've got to wonder what sort of a household some of these kids grow up in!

I'm so sorry for Caitlin - we've gone through this sort of rubbish with both our girls (and I remember going through it as a child as well) - it's just so brutal.

As for David I say THREE CHEERS!!! It is hard to find that line of balance but good on him for standing up for someone else.

Be kind to yourself Mim - sadly there are too few families/parents like you, me, and Lisa in this world...there's a lot more of the ones who find this sort of behaviour quite acceptable.

Hugs...Nat

Ariane said...

I never had more than 3 friends in primary school, and I vividly remember all that sort of stuff. It is so hard, and when I look back on it, I probably was involved in giving the cold shoulder to one or more of the group at various times. The problem is, when none of you feels strong, it is easy to put someone else down to feel better. Doesn't make your or Caitlin's position any better.

I am so dreading when this sort of stuff starts in earnest with my kids. I don't think I know exactly where the line is between supporting and interfering. I really feel for you and Caitlin. I hope it all goes away quickly and quietly.

Mim said...

Well, things with friend 1 came good today after her mum had talked to her. She and Caitlin apologised to each other and we're all set to go ice-skating on Saturday. Hopefully it'll be smooth(er) sailing from here on.

I still think I need to talk to the teacher about the rest of what's been happening though. Might get a chance to do that tomorrow.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Aw, Mim. Big hugs. I'm feeling choked up on your behalf. But I'm glad to see in your last comment that things have been improving. Navigating friendships at this age is hard stuff!

Tracee said...

First you have to stop feeling like this is your fault or Caitlin's fault.

This is what girls do. How they interact.

Since you'll never be able to banish this girl dynamic from her life - believe me I've spent hours trying to figure out a way to do that and come up with zip - you have to change your thinking about it.

This is your opportunity to arm her with skills - relationship- friendship- FRIENEMY skills. It's your opportunity to share with her how YOU deal with mean girls and mean mommies, how you deal when one of your friends get jealous that you told the other one about her hysterectomy (or whatever).

You should definately tell the truth to the other parents. They are probably dealing with exactly the same thing you are.

You're equipped for this. Really, you've got female friends right? Tell her what you know about it.

Mim said...

Tracee - I'm pretty sure I wasn't thinking it was my fault but to discount what contributions Caitlin's actions or words may have made to the situation seems counter-productive to me. Having her able to see her part in things is what made possible the mutual apologies she and friend 1 made to each other. It's a start but I suspect there'll be ongoing issues.

I haven't spoken to the second mum about the "rude and inconsiderate" thing yet. I'm having a hard time getting my head around how to approach that one and I'm not particularly friendly with her, in contrast to F1's mum who I chat with regularly.

Quite frankly, the way I would deal with any adult female acquaintance who would indulge in this kind of power game playing is to distance myself from them. I don't need "friends" like that. And given that by the end of high school I had exactly one female friend (but plenty of male friends) I guess that's the way I've been dealing with it for a long time.

When I find myself in conflict with someone my instinct is to examine my own actions to identify what I need to apologise for, there's nearly always something. I make that apology and we either resolve the issue and all is well or I know to keep my distance in the future.

It's a little harder when you're a kid stuck in a classroom and unable to avoid social interaction with the people in question. Unless you're happy to sit in the playground reading a book (that was me in years 3 and 4). Heh. Perhaps I DON'T know how to "deal" with mean girls, other than to ignore them that is.

Damn it. Can't I just bash some heads together and make it all go away?

280main said...

I'm glad that your daughter has you--a thoughtful and supportive mother who understands how hurtful this all can be--to talk to. I hope it all keeps getting better.

It must make you proud that your son had the strength of character to stand up for a friend like that--even though it sounds like some trouble came along with it. How true that justice is not easy.