Social Question

keobooks's avatar

Is there some "nice" way to get my four year old to stop asking to play with a neighbor girl?

Asked by keobooks (14296points) October 3rd, 2014

For some reason, my daughter adores the neighbor girl two houses down the street. Unfortunately, the feeling isn’t mutual. This girl is a few years older and she teases and makes fun of my daughter. She tells other kids in the neighborhood not to play with her.

I have no idea why, but she’s pretty mean to my daughter and always has been. She’s asked my daughter to play in the back yard with her and some other kids. Then the kids all go into the house and leave my daughter outside and say she’s not allowed to go in. I watch over the fence and I see my daughter playing by herself in their back yard while the other kids were eating Popsicles in the front yard.

The other kids are nice to my daughter when this girl isn’t around. But when she is around, my daughter is a pariah. Usually, they just ignore her, but sometimes they will join the older girl in teasing her.

My daughter, for whatever reason has no clue this girl is being mean to her. Maybe it’s her age, I don’t know. She always wants to play with this girl. She wanted to invite this girl to her birthday party. She calls her a best buddy. I just cringe when she asks to go play at her house. But I don’t have the heart to tell my daughter this kid doesn’t like her.

Today, my daughter wheedled and whined to go see the girl and I finally gave up and took her. The girl came to the door and said she’d be outside to play “in a minute.” She had this creepy smile and I knew she wouldn’t come outside. My daughter stood in the yard and refused to go home for the longest time. She finally came in, but kept checking at the window to see if the girl came outside. The girl finally came out with her mother about 2 hours later and said they were going to the movies. The car never left the driveway. Nobody went to the movies.

So, what the heck do I do in this situation? My daughter just loves this girl and it’s breaking my heart to see her get trampled on by her.

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29 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Wow tough call, even at the tender age of four I think all you can do is wait till your daughter sees it for herself.
In the meantime encourage other friendships that do look good for your daughter.

LornaLove's avatar

Ugh this is a tough one. I’d tell my daughter that I don’t like the girls attitude, then explain why. It is rude to exclude people, it is rude to leave a guest in the garden etc., Say you don’t condone rude behavior and you forbid her to visit her.(She’s 4 she might need adult reasoning here).

stanleybmanly's avatar

I would probably hold the girl’s parents suspect for not noticing their offspring’s behavior in picking on your little girl. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt by assuming they haven’t noticed the terrible treatment of your daughter. But the very lack of attention is itself a big red flag. I don’t know how old the evil one is, but if a neighbor’s four year old were playing in my back yard, his or her parents have every right to expect me to be aware of the kid’s whereabouts. There’s no need to comment on the path you should choose if you are convinced that the kid’s mother is aware of her child’s behavior. You could strive to shift the battlefield to your turf, by outdoing the mean and manipulative little girl at your place. It might require effort, but if your place is more fun, the balance might shift markedly popularity wise. but even so, I would either exclude the demon, or let her know in no uncertain terms that you’re on to her, and quick banishment is the certain punishment for the slightest misstep.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

We have a neighbor girl who pretty much did the exact same thing to the child we were fostering, and she was also two to three years older. For no reason at all, she would say extremely rude things, and would also exclude our foster child whenever there was group play. However, she would still knock on our door to ask if Cindy (fake name for our foster child, for legal reasons, for the time being) could come out and play. At first, we informed our foster child to tell her why what the girl was doing wasn’t kind and that she would stop playing with her entirely if she kept being so rude. Needless to say, it didn’t work. So the next time the neighbor girl came over to ask if Cindy could come out to play, we laid down the law. Told her to treat Cindy how she would like to be treated herself, said we had personally witnessed (because we did) how rude she could be, and said that if her behavior didn’t stop that Cindy would not be allowed to play with someone so rude. It worked.

It was still decided, later on, that Cindy would not play with her anyway – because the neighbor girl was just too inappropriate in general. Cussed, talked about things she shouldn’t have, was too mean to animals, etc. Considering Cindy already had some severe emotional problems coupled with behavior issues, there wasn’t really any other choice to make. Bad influences just can’t be overlooked in this particular situation.

ibstubro's avatar

Have some really cool kid parties at your house. Fun games, fun food, fun people. They don’t have to be huge, but they need to be fun. Let the kids gets sloppy making a pinata, then invite them back to decorate it. Back again to thwap it.

Don’t invite the snot to the first 2–3. Then invite her. If she tries to take control of the party, send her home.

If @jonsblonde shows up, she’ll tell you that the easiest way to control your kid’s upbringing is to host it.

Aethelwine's avatar

What @ibstubro said. GA

Your monthly popsicle bill will increase significantly, but it’s worth it.

ibstubro's avatar

Of course, the @blondsjon in me answers, “I’d climb the fence, run to the street, and demand of the Popsicle eating little bitch, “WHERE is the @keopamphlet ?!?” WHY?
Equally valid, but less neighborly.

JLeslie's avatar

Isn’t it amazing how sociopaths often are the life of the party and like magnets in social situations. People are drawn to them even though they are awful. I see it with children and with adults for that matter.

I guess luckily your daughter isn’t feeling hurt by this other girls mean behavior. I would encourage your daughter to play with other girls and especially to invite ther girls over to play. If she is having friends over she prbably won’t think about the girl next door as much.

Unfortunately, many of us are drawn to the people who show us indifference. The power play works all too often. I don’t even know how to fix it except to hope that we eventually grow out of it. Some people never do. Longing for acceptance and attention from those who seem disinterested in us, or who show us some fun and then turn out to be fair weather is not uncommon. Girls ache for positive attention from inattentive parents, girls want to be a part of the popular group, women pine after bad men, for whatever reason I think girls are more susceptible to it.

pleiades's avatar

She’s so young just keep her in positive spirits. I’d suggest prompting her the other way. If she asks to play with the neighborhood bully, maybe try suggesting a different activity with her. We have to protect our kids from these sorts of things. I mean this in the sense that your daughter could either be told that the other girl is a bully and she will be sad. Or she can carry on her happy go lucky and focus on other progressive things perhaps learning something or taking lessons in some activity? 4 years old… Hmm.. perhaps there is a park in which there are amateur softball or soccer teams around? I’d get her involved in that kind of stuff. It builds character and she’ll still have a sense of community even if its not with her direct neighbor. I firmly believe in this quote. “I need to be where I’m wanted.”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“I have no idea why…”

That can be overcome by talking to the girl, or her parents.

osoraro's avatar

You’re the parent. Tell her that she can’t play with her anymore and that you’re sorry. You don’t need to explain.

KNOWITALL's avatar

How about telling your daughter to wait for the other girl to ask to play first? Friendship takes two.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

my daughter is having the same problem with my 9 year old grandson. There is this creepy older kid who is always asking my grandson to come out and play. My daughter has tons of excuses like he has homework to do, Taekwondo practice, music lessons, you name it.

This kid mainly has no supervision and is allowed out at all hours alone. This is a real problem when living on the same street. This kid also makes fun of my grandson when no one is looking. others have told my daughter.

In the summer my daughter always makes plans to get her son and her other children off the block as early as possible to go to the beach or come to my house for the day.

anyway, your choices are to continue to say no until your daughter realized that this kid is bad news. Or (which is my choice) you can have a sit down with your daughter and tell her your concerns about this kid. Just tell your daughter the truth about how bad this kid is.

In our case his parents seem to never be there. It’s almost like he is “Raised by wolves”. Another younger kid on the block said this bigger kid showed him some dirty pictures on his Ipad. The younger child did not understand and was scared. He also seems to try to befriend the younger kids on the block.

For some reason my daughter doesn’t want to have “the sit down” with her son but every chance I get I tell my grandson that this neighbor kid is no good.

janbb's avatar

We had recurring issues in our neighborhood when the boys were young with one troublemaker who also was “raised by wolves.’ From the time he and his sister were about 3 and 4, they were out in the street all day. The boy did become kind of the leader of the pack when they were slightly older and all the kids played outside together. To forbid my older son to play with him would have prevented him from playing with all the kids. When my younger son was a bit older, he was scared to go outside if TJ was there which was heartbreaking. At that point, we had some more money so we were looking to remodel or move and that made us decide on moving. There is no one great solution to such a situation.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@janbb the kid on this block goes by a two letter name also something like TJ.

Thankfully most of the parents on the block don’t allow their kids to play with this boy. He walks a fine line with what he does and goes under the radar. My daughter however is super paranoid and never lets her kids out of her sight. She probably gets that from her mother. :)

keobooks's avatar

I think the main problem is that the other parent and I are about the only stay at home moms in the neighborhood. There is a certain period of time between when this girl comes home from school and about 5:30 that she’s the only game in town. I think my daughter may also be smitten because she’s gorgeous. She’s an amazingly angelic looking cherub with the cutest smile ever. I think my girl is drawn to that.

The mom is odd. She’s a widow and she’s not the most attentive mom, but I get the feeling that she’s REALLY harsh at times with her kids. The only reason I think this is because once I threatened to tell the kid’s mom that she was being a bully and she totally panicked and grovelled and begged for me not to tell her mom. I’ve also heard yelling at their house when the door was open in the summertime.

Also should note that she’s pretty popular in the neighborhood, but she doesn’t particularly like me that much. She’s also an amazingly gorgeous woman who works hard on her body, clothes and makeup. I’m a bit of a dowdy slob. I sometimes wonder if the kids bullying comes because she hears her mom say not to flattering things about me and transfers that to my daughter.

I try to distract my daughter with toys and games, but if she hears the kids squealing and shrieking outside (you know, that typical little kid shriek when they are having a blast) she is SO drawn to it and starts to cry and whine about going to the girl’s house. I think I may have to resort to going to the park or to another location until other kids and parents come home.

It’s kind of sad. Her little sister is VERY sweet to my daughter. Sometimes she’s the only one that plays with her when the other kids ignore her. I wish I could just have the littler girl over sometimes.

CWOTUS's avatar

Do you think your daughter might benefit from watching reruns of Leave It to Beaver and watching how Eddie Haskell treats the Beave, then starting a discussion with her? That might be a difficult discussion to start with a 4-year-old, but the television examples will be clear to her, at least.

keobooks's avatar

@CWOTUS Good idea for when she’s older, but I think she’d have no clue what was going on in the show right now. She’s at an age where she likes to watch shows at that level, but if you ask her what’s going on, she has no idea.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@keobooks “It’s kind of sad. Her little sister is VERY sweet to my daughter. Sometimes she’s the only one that plays with her when the other kids ignore her. I wish I could just have the littler girl over sometimes.”

Can’t you? That sounds like a fine idea, especially if they are closer in age.

keobooks's avatar

I may try that. The two girls are like bread and butter for the most part. You never see one without the other close by. It never occurred to me the set could be broken up. And yeah the older girl is 3 years older than my girl and the younger one is less than a year older.

JLeslie's avatar

Gorgeous does work a lot of the time. That’s the magnet factor again.

@KNOWITALL At first glance I loved your suggestion. So simple and made so much sense. Then I thought about how my MIL sits back and always waits for everyone else to invite her, call her, make the first move, and now I perceive as someone who makes little effort to fill her social calendar and as someone who does not reciprocate the way normal friends amd even family members usually do in reationships. At least not what I am used to. She still will never call us up and say, “I’m thinking of coming to visit, will you be ariund early November?” No, we have to formally invite her For a specific visit even though my husband and I have said over and over she is welcome any time, for as long as she wants she can come and stay with me tomorrow if she called us up, and she can stay for months, for forever. Yet still, my husband and I have been accused of not being family oriented enough and not inviting her enough. I have girlfriends who I have not seen in 20 years call and say they will be in Tampa let’s get together, but my MIL can’t do it.

That’s a long way of me saying the underlying message might not be a good one if we tell a young girl to wait until someone else calls her to play. Even though in this particular situation I think it is a brilliant idea at face value.

@keobooks My sister and I were 2.5 years apart and we almost always played together, but we also played separately. If a neighbor was closer to my sisters age sometimes just she went over to play with her and sometimes it was both of us. It wasn’t a hard fast rule.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@keobooks You say the kid looks like an angel. very pretty and cherub looking with a beautiful smile. Did you ever see that old Movie,“The Bad Seed”? YIKES!!

janbb's avatar

How about suggesting to the Mom that her older daughter is too old to [play with your daughter but that you would like to have the younger one come over on her own to play? I wouldn’t go into any details about her behavior but would leave it at that.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JlEslie iT’s a pretty good lesson to learn at any age. Being needy is not attractive to many people. ;)

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I agree with that. But, also making friends take effort and being proactive.

keobooks's avatar

My husband decided on his own to have a talk with my daughter. He sat her down and said that the girl next door didn’t act like a friend to her and so maybe she shouldn’t treat her like a friend. I have no idea if she got it. We’ll see later this week whether or not she begs to see the girl again.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Keobooks Sounds like she has two great parents, she’s a lucky girl.

JLeslie's avatar

So cute.

ibstubro's avatar

I had no idea your husband was so..take charge, @keobooks

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