This past weekend my daughter wanted to play with the neighbor girls. Our backyards all have the old chain link fences so there are five houses where the back yards are open so to speak. We can all see what everyone else is doing. There are three girls on my block between the ages of 5, my daughter, to 11. My daughter is the youngest of these girls by about three years. All of these girls except my daughter are in real school and know how to read. I think that the ability to read really bumps a kid into a different age group.
Anyway, my daughter saw these girls playing and shouted over the three yards if she could come over and play. The girl who lived there, who is closest to her age and whom she plays with frequently, said she needed to ask her mom. So far so good. When she returned from asking she shouted that her mom said yes. In the time it took my daughter to get me to ask one of the other girls, older girls, told the one who said yes that they didn’t want my daughter to come over and play. My daughter and I witnessed this. My daughter shouted over the fence again asking if she could come over and this time the other girl shouted back “not at this time”.
My daughter gave a little ‘hmpf!’ turned around and marched back into our house. The other girls could not see me where I was working on the yard. I went into the house and bent down and made the universal motion for my daughter to come and let me wrap my arms around her. She turned and melted into my embrace and started to cry. I started to tear up too. I was so hurt by her hurt that I had a hard time containing myself. I tried to comfort her and explain to her that the other girls were bigger and sometimes girls aren’t very nice. I also asked her to remember this so that when there was a little girl who wanted to play with her and her friends that she was sure to let her so she didn’t feel this way. My daughter assured me that she would never treat anyone, not even a boy, as bad as this girl had treated her.
I tried to find another activity for her to get involved with but she was not easily distracted. It was a beautiful day and she wanted to be outside with other kids. I don’t blame her one bit. I thought about talking to the mother of this child but didn’t know what to say. I don’t want to be one of those parents who fights their kid’s battles for them and I don’t want to be the parent on the block that tells on the other parents’ kids. After about 20 minutes I walked over to the house where the girls were playing and asked the dad who was outside painting, though not at the time this happened, if it was ok if daughter joined in with the other girls.
He said “sure” and escorted my daughter to the play area where the girls had moved in from outside. After daughter was blissfully playing Barbies the dad and I chatted for a few minutes. I told him of the exchange between the other neighbor girl and my daughter. Now remember it was not his daughter who said ‘no’ it was the older neighbor girl who took it upon herself to decide who was and was not allowed to play at this girls house. He assured me that my daughter was always welcome and to ignore the other girl.
I still want to either say something to this girl’s mother, or what I’d really like to do is have a little chat with this girl myself. I won’t do that because I will make her cry and I don’t believe that is the best way to handle the situation but it would make me feel a whole lot better. The girl’s mom and I are friends but not close enough that I comfortable having this conversation with her. I don’t know if she would become defensive or not. As much as I wouldn’t enjoy hearing bad things about my daughter I would like to know about them so I could do something to possibly change her behavior. I know that there will come a day when someone has a complaint about my daughter.
I also understand why the older girl did not want to play with my daughter. There is a huge age difference and this girl is really a tween and not a little girl. I get it but don’t like the way it hurt my daughter to be excluded. I figure this girl will be in situations soon enough where she will be excluded and she will figure out that it sucks big time and maybe she won’t do it again but who knows? I went to school with a bunch of girls like that and they are still the same way.
Should I talk to this girl’s mother or should I let it go?