At what age do kids start standing up for themselves a bit?
My daughter is 13. She will stand up for herself at home. She stands up for other people all the time. She's got 3 "friends" though who she's constantly fighting with and making up with etc etc. In my opinion, they use her. They use her because they get to tag along and do "free" things they otherwise wouldn't- like going to dinner, weeks at the beach, Christmas presents from our family, riding horses and spending time on a huge family farm with ATVs and other fun stuff. When they're one on one with her, they're fine...the second they leave, they gang up with one or both of the other ones and pick fights. And they fight NASTY. The C word, saying things like "Don't wake up"....get her all worked up and sad and then a when the weekend comes around, look who wants to be friends again.....It's driving me insane and I feel bad for my daughter. I don't want to run her life for her, I want her to be able to handle things like this on her own..I did ban the one girl from coming over anymore, she's the one who used the C word and twittered "Don't wake up" when daughter wrote she was going to bed....She's just flat out not welcome at my house. When daughter comes to talk to me about it, I try telling her to cut them loose and hang out with other friends, she has lots of them...and she agrees...but then when they come around again, she forgives them and the cycle starts all over. Were girls this mean when we were growing up? UGHHHH.
I have a niece who stands up for herself at 4, a friend who didn't stand up for herself until she was 22, and my mother still doesn't stand up for herself at 60. You can talk about it some more and about how she'd react to someone saying those things to you/brother/sister, encourage her to invite over her nicer friends more, role play a "break up" situation, but I think at some point it's something she'll have to learn on her own.
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden
At age 13 she still needs you to make responsible decisions for her and you have demonstrated that by divorcing the one girl from coming over. Speak up more, point out how the others are using her, and as adults, we have friends like that which we divorce ourselves from too.
Actions must have consequences and those mean girls need to be sent down the road quicker than last weeks trash.
Yes, they were this mean. It's the nature of teen girls I think. The drama in our neighborhood, the constantly changing BFFs, yada yada. It's quite remarkable. Luckily, my stepdaughters are such "free spirits" if you will that they don't seem to really CARE so they are not in the thick of it. They are so close in age that they have each other and tend not to get dragged into all of the drama. But it's there.
I think that it would be perfectly reasonable to sit your daughter down and talk about some of your good friendships and what they entail. Talk to her about how when someone shows you who they are, believe them. If they are saying such nasty things, I wouldn't be allowing them in my home anymore. Or I'd have a word with them myself. It's just not acceptable to treat people like that.
You might also talk to her about being used. She may really enjoy having a friend along on a vacay or riding and doesn't feel used. But maybe it's a good opportunity to talk about how the way people treat us day to day is important and until they kind of "prove" themselves, we don't offer them the best stuff we have.
Is your daughter a little socially awkward? Not the popular girl and is trying to fit in? Not real confident? I was like that at that age. I was bright and did well in school (not cool), willing to stick up for others (not cool), didn't have all the cool clothes (not cool) but had the horses...and I DESPERATELY wanted to fit in. But I just didn't. Lunch time was the WORST...some days the cool girls would let me sit at their table sometimes not. Middle school was truly the worst time of my life.
I have had a few convos with the girls (now 13 and 14) and their friends when they're over about stuff like this. Not during the middle of a crisis. Just as sort of a general discussion. (I have also had talks with the girls about boys, unwanted advances, safe sex, yada yada.) I think that having frank discussions about stuff like this is good--especially if you can talk about YOUR experiences and not put them on the defense.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
I have 3 girls who are 17, 15 and 13. Age 13 is the worst. It seems to be the year that the drama llamas come out to play. Even lovely rational girls I have known since elementary school can sometimes act like she devils. BUT, it will pass. By the end of 8th grade things seem to hash themselves out and high school is not nearly as drama filled as middle school. Friendships sort themselves out, hormones quiet and relative peace returns to the land.
Yes, girls were that mean back in the day. They just have some better tools for being nasty now. The best thing you can do is teach your own daughter how to be compassionate and kind. Thoughtful and caring but with a backbone of steel so she will not succumb to peer pressure. They all do to some extent but the degrees vary. Make yours one who is not afraid to say "no" to the dangerous ideas.
In addition, as long as you are talking to your daughter you are on the right track. But try not to be too judgmental of these friends. You can point out what you feel is lacking in her friendship with these girls but it is ultimately her decision if she remains friends with them. Better that you know about it and some of the interactions are at your house than if she hides the friendship, gets herself in trouble and is afraid to call for help.