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My child's best friend is also her bully

Posted September 11, 2014 - 11:53am

My daughter has become best friends with the same girl who bullied her for two years. It started in the 1st grade when this little girl would decide who her other friends could talk to and play with and who they couldn't. My daughter was often the girl being left out. In the 3rd grade, the little girl befriended my daughter. I cautioned her that she was NOT to exclude anyone because her new friend told her to. Now, the relationship is still what I would consider emotionally abusive. Her friend 'gives her advice' in the form of insults about her hair, her clothes, everything. 

I feel empathy toward this little girl. She is going through a tough time at home with both her parents sharing way too much about their marital troubles than a 9 year old is ready for. I know in my head that it's due to her own lack of confidence that feels she has to do this, but I don't like the way she is managing to erode my daughter's self confidence. 

I managed to evade play dates over the summer in the hopes that their friendship would cool naturally but now school has started up again and the stories of what her friend tells her have started up as well. '...says I need to change my hair. '...says I shouldn't wear this.' '...says I have to stop eating that or I'm going to get fat.'

I've tried putting distance between them by being busy every time a play date is suggested, but they are still together at school every day. Any advice? 

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This is such a tough position to be in and I am so sorry your daughter has to go through this. Rosalind Wiseman wrote Queen Bees and Wannabees and it's all about girls and why they treat each this way. You should definitely check it out. This video also explains how you can help girls feel more confident and helping your daughter value her strengths and the things that really matter. It also seems like this other girl doesn't have very good role models so maybe you can help her friend understand these things better too. I hope this helps! 


It's so tricky and I know this might not be the best way to go about this, but have you tried having a talk with the other girl's parents?  They might have no idea this is happening. 


Another way your daughter can meet new friends and feel included in a group environment is through local sports leagues. Growing up I always played soccer and the girls on the team came from diverse backgrounds. Once we stepped onto the field, we were all just soccer players having fun. Practices always provided a cool opportunity to make friends with people I otherwise might not have met. This could work for your daughter too! She might come to realize that there are better people out there with whom she can be friends.