Judge Jay-Jay help a mum sort out her child’s tricky bullying situation

More FM radio diva Jay-Jay Feeney delivers her verdict on your biggest dilemmas
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Kids aren’t alright

Dear Jay-Jay,
I have a friend who is super-competitive about our kids and it’s driving me crazy! Our girls have been friends for years and recently our daughter Hannah (names changed to prevent dramas!) came home to say that my friend’s daughter Ella is being mean to her, excluding her from games at school and refusing to sit next to her in class. I told my friend about it, hoping we could work something out together, but she’s adamant that any meanness or problem is coming from Hannah – not Ella. How can I get her to understand that her daughter needs to take some responsibility? I’m worried this will ruin our friendship.
Cath, Waikato

Hi Cath,
Eek, this is so difficult! Most reasonable parents would at least offer to have a chat with their child, but if your friend isn’t going to do anything about this, then it’s up to you and Hannah, I’m afraid.

Talk to Hannah about the specific things that Ella is doing and how she can manage each behaviour. It could be that Ella is showing off in front of other friends or that she really is moving away from Hannah and doesn’t know how to go about this the right way. Friendships come and go as we grow up, and this may very well be one of those. However, that doesn’t solve the bullying issue.

Depending on the severity of the confrontation, when Ella is saying mean things, ask Hannah if she feels brave enough to stand up for herself and say something like, “Ella, I thought we were friends. Why are you being so mean?” Or Hannah could simply walk away, ignoring the behaviour. If the bullying is more severe, encourage Hannah to talk to a teacher and consider meeting with the principal yourself.

With the issue of Ella excluding Hannah from games and not sitting with her, suggest Hannah plays with other friends in class who she likes. It’s OK to have more than one friend! Ella may even get a little bit jealous and start including Hannah again.

The evil side of me would get Hannah to invite Ella over and you have a chat to them both together (without taking anyone’s side) to see if you can mediate, but that could come back to bite you if it goes wrong, so proceed with caution! I hope you can find a resolution to this and that it doesn’t affect your relationship with Ella’s mum.
All the best, Jay-Jay

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