As an adult, I have had to break up with a friend and it wasn;t easy. I can't imagine what goes through a childs mind when facing something like this.
I am a firm believer in letting our kids make their own choices. We talk about friendships, kindness, respect and all those good things but the thing that makes the biggest impact is when they share their experiences with me and I share options with them and they get to make their own choices.
As an example, my daughter 10 yrs, had a friend that treated my daughter nice but other people badly. She would come home and tell me things that her friend did that got her in trouble that day and we would talk about it and I would ask how it made my daughter feel. It took a while, but eventually my daughter broke off her friendship with this girl. That wasn't the end of it though. A few months later they started hanging out together again. I explained that people can learn and grow but it was important to stay true to yourself and what you believe to be true and fair. The friendship didn't last long the second time around and I was so proud of my daughter for kindly explaining to her friend the reasons for the breakup.
It's so hard for me to not say "You can't play with ______" I want my kids to be able to make these choices on their own and grow strong. I wasn't taught that way as a child and I had to learn as an adult (way harder to learn it as an adult
This is an interesting topic- wish I had read it and chimed in 3 weeks ago!
My dd is only in kindergarten and we have already experienced the poor influenece of others, even in VPK. The little girl in my dd kindy class is just...very hyper and is almost always on one of the "bad color" days. In the beginning of the school year, my dd talked about this girl all the time, but sometimes the talk was more like "Sally (fake name) said she won't be friend if I don't XXX". (I think she has the makings of being a future bully - the kind who is popular and everyone wants to be friends with b/c they are scared of her) After several conversations with my dd we determined that while Sally wasn't always a great example of a friend or student, for some reason my dd still would seek her out.Then they were also in extended day together. We talked about spending more time with the girls who don't treat her that way and about being a positive influence, about being a leader and not a follower. But it seemed not to do any good. she would complain about Sally one day and than ask if Sally can sleepover another day. (which I said no to that!)
Eventually it got bad enough that I said something to her teacher and they started a new "rule" of trying to keep them seperated in class, during lunch, and in extended day. The poor extended day teachers were at their wits end because neither Sally nor my dd would abide by the rule. They seem to have a love-hate relationship. After a second altercation, Sally's mom (who has been aware of this whole situation - she is a PTA board member and "room mom" and is very involved in the school) pulled Sally from kindy extended day activities and placed her with 1st graders. Of course she made a point to tell me this and how Sally just hates it b/c she doesn't know those kids and misses her friends. Sally's mom has been nice about it all; I think she realizes they are sort of "frenemies" and doesn't want anything to get out of hand. But she also keeps telling my dd that once the weather warms up she'll have to come over and go swimming at their house, have a playdate, etc.
It has been very stressful to me - I cannot believe we are already dealing with this in kindergarten! But honestly, all through her daycare (from about 3 yrs and on) you could see the "queen bee's" emerging, the shy kids, the tomboys, the bossy ones.....where are all our sweet little babies??