Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pre-School Cliques

Mean girls.  What's a Mom to do?  I didn't actually see the movie, but I did see a pre-school version of it at the park today.  

New girls arrived at the park after about an hour of mostly boys running and sliding.  Tatum loves playing with the "big girls" (you know, 4 and 5 year olds).  When the new crew of girls came, Tatum asked me if she could play with them.  I told her to go ask them (presuming anyone would just leap at the chance to play with my adorable, brilliant little darling).

Tatum:  (shuffles some confident steps up to the new girls playing in the sand) Can I play with you? (smile)
Big Girls:  No we're sisters and you're not a sister.

Tatum:  I'm a sister, and Chase is my brother.

Big Girls:  You're not our sister.  

Tatum:  But, can I play with you?

Big Girls:  (big sigh...)  We said, you're not a sister.

Tatum turns and walks back to me.  Maybe only a Mom could see her shoulders slump a little bit..."Mommy they don't want to play with me."  I cringe inside, and up the ante on my sand castle making.

...a few minutes later...a new crew of girls arrive.  These girls appear out-going and friendly.  

Tatum asks to play with this crew.  Again, I watch in horror.

Tatum:  Can I play with you?

Big Girls:  No, we're on a play date and you're not.

What is it with these little cliques?  Already?

So my little angel had her heart broken on the playground twice.  

Now I know that everyone shouldn't be expected to share their sister, or they play date buddy... but come on.  It's the attitude that surprises me.  And as much as I wanted to intervene, nudge the big girls' parents so that they may apologize and insist their kids be friendly with everyone, I know that reality is that kids don't always share.  Kids don't always get along.  And maybe those kids really were sisters, or playdate buddies, but... snotty attitude in a pre-schooler is scary.

I think it hurt me more than it hurt her, but damn it's hard to watch.  


Cheri said...

Where were the frickin' parents? Talking on their cell phones, no doubt. Why weren't the parents parenting? This kind of stuff Drives Me Nuts. Kids do what they've been taught to do. (I learned that from Don.) Bad parenting is what you saw.

Tatum can come play with Laura.

Misty said...

Oh. GOSH. I know the feeling, and I hate to say it, but GIRLS are the worst, AND, it gets worse in school. It is heart breaking, I agree, and we've had to do a lot of teaching about what a good friend is. We've taught the kids if some one isn't kind, they have the right to choose a better friend...... It's one of the hardest things I've been through as a parent.

LaskiGal said...

Where do they get this? This meanness starts right on the playground, doesn't it? Maybe I was brought up to treat others as I wanted to be treated--I can't imagine treating anyone that way and certainly, not allowing my child to! Why!!! This makes me really sad.

I feel like going on a Kindness Crusade . . . when did we forget how to treat one another? When did we forget to show our children what it means to be kind. Ugh! I'm ranting. I'll stop--but know that I'm with you!

Trish said...

Oh my gawd... let me at em... I would have said something to the parents and/or the children.

I think boys are more likely to be physically aggressive which is easier to spot and correct. But girls use the more covert forms of aggression, and that's the stuff that hurts the most.

Tatum would probably be able to deal with a push from a boy better than rejection from the stupid mean girls.

Ohhh that makes me mad. Give her a big hug from Gran and Uncle Henry!

P.S. Uncle Henry is reading this and said he to let everyone know that HE is not the type of boy to be physically aggressive, even though he IS a boy and he DOES play on playgrounds.

Trish said...

Oh and my guess is that the parents weren't anywhere near. The kids were probably there with their nannies who used to be mean girls themselves. Hrummpf. Maybe kids in Colorado are nicer than the Del Kids!

Misty said...

I don't think the meanness starts on the playground, I think it starts at home. I feel as parents we have to be so diligent in teaching these little ones to be kind, and sadly, I think the "old fashioned" values have slipped away some how. Not to say that just because my kids are taught to be nice, they always are, but they do realize when they have been mean, and talk to me about it, which then turns into lessons of apologizing and forgiving. We have some boys that have it a bit hard in the neighborhood, and they like to hang at my house after school some days. They looked at me like I had 10 heads when I told them that they needed to apologize for speaking meanly to each other. They had NO IDEA of this concept. It's all together just TOO sad......

My Ice Cream Diary said...

When this would happen to my daughter I taught her the singling out trick. I would tell her, "Wait until you are close to one of the girls and compliment her on something, like her shoes, then ask her what her name is and introduce yourself." 7 times out of 10 this works and the new friend gets her into the group.

All those nature shows I watched really taught me a lot about pack mentality =)

Suzanne said...

I've been witnessing this alot lately at my daughter's preschool. The class is mostly boys with about 4 girls. The girls are a few months older than my daughter and much bigger than my daughter, and NONE of them will talk to her. It makes me so sad to witness it every day. Who would have thought that little girls could be so snotty at 5 years old?