Pushy Girl

2 Jun

Letterbalm Two Little GirlsDear LetterBalm: A new family moved into our neighborhood a few months ago. They seem to be very nice – we’ve been to each other’s home for coffee and potluck. They have a little girl the same age as our daughter. Their child attends school with our girl, and we’ve waited at the school bus stop together. Everything seems to be O.K. except that their daughter plays rough with our daughter when they have play dates together. My daughter has come home with skinned knees and dirty clothes, and she doesn’t want to play with the child so much. Now that summer is almost here, my neighbor will be expecting that our little girl will come over and play with hers. I don’t want to hurt her feelings – her daughter isn’t a bully, just active. What do I say to her?

–Concerned Mommie

This is one of those times for diplomacy. After all, your neighbors seem to be good folks, and their daughter isn’t a bad kid. Can you mute her rough play by supervising some play dates in your own backyard – dates that may include a table in the shade with crayons and coloring books or a storytelling circle? Can you include a few girls in the play date so as to distract the girl from focusing on one playmate (and, perhaps, tucker her out)? Remember, you are certainly within your rights as a mom to gently correct the child. Ms. L.B. believes you should guide your own daughter in ways she can mollify her playmate’s roughhousing. After careful observation, approach the child’s mom thusly:

Sheila, we’re so lucky that you moved into the neighborhood and that little Shelly is Carrie’s age. You’ve been a good neighbor from the get-go. So I feel I can speak honestly with you about something. It’s great that we have daughters who can play with each other – I love the idea of good old-fashioned backyard play dates. A lot of kids don’t have that today. But sometimes Shelly is a little too forceful with Carrie. She’s an active girl, and at that age kids don’t realize they may be playing too rough with their playmates. When the kids are at my house, I’ve included some activities that “wind them down” – things like a storytelling circle and playing with puppets. This seems to bring the level of play intensity down and have a calming effect. How do you handle Shelly’s energy?

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