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My Daughter (9)has 2 friends with whom she is very close to. They are very much like Sisters. One of the girls is a habitual liar. The girls are all aware of the character flaw, however, this same "friend" continually trys to embarass my daughter with lies and by pointing out "mistakes" Both she and I are not too sure how to deal with this? any advise?


Tina Nocera Replied: Why is it that girls have such a hard time being friends? Think about how challenging this becomes as they get older. In our technology pervasive age, cyber-bullying becomes common. All we can do is teach our children the right way to behave and treat people with respect. Unfortunately, sometimes the lessons are too close to home and often painful. Even so, look for the opportunity to say to your daughter, "How does that make you feel?" This will give her a chance to express that in words, and show her that you really care. Next tell her that she should never to do that to someone else because it is unkind to make someone feel that way. Finally, explain to her that she has a choice in making friends. People that make you feel badly are not your friends, and that friends should lift you up, not tear you down. Introduce her to new activities and new people so she can follow your advice. My heart goes out to you - the phrase 'mean girls' takes on new meaning when it affects your child.
Posted On 2008-06-21 12:10:21
Mary Lyon Replied: This sounds like a cry for attention, which isn't surprising - given the dynamic here. Often it's difficult to maintain peace in our time when you're in a group of three - two tend to pair off against one all too easily. I'd say "don't feed the animals." Don't encourage or reward the bad behavior. As soon as your daughter realizes that the "friend" is telling lies, change the subject. Ignore it completely. Don't even acknowledge it or respond. Act as though nothing had been said. Same thing with the fault-finding. Starve the bad behavior for attention. On the other hand, when the "friend" is telling the truth or behaving as a real friend, that's to be encouraged. Reinforce the good conduct with your attention. Ask questions. Be interested in what she's saying. Participate fully in that particular discussion, and build on it. But stone cold noninvolvement if the lying or the criticizing begins. The reaction should be immediate, either way. If the "friend" asks what's going on here (GOOD! That means she's noticed you're sending her a message),point out that there are so many other things that you enjoy doing with her much more, and that make you happy to be with her (such as - when she's truthful and truly supportive as a friend) and that you'd rather indulge in those things. Keep it positive. Think of it almost as though you're redirecting the course of a river. Reinforce the good behavior, discourage the bad. I also witnessed one wise dad's technique with his son - who always had a problem telling the truth. The dad started to make almost a game out of it. Whenever one of those tall tales started, the response always was - "that was a good story. Very interesting. You made that up, right?" In that way, what was reinforced was the public recognition that this WAS, indeed, just a story. The dad then followed it up with "okay. Now, what REALLY happened?" The kid would follow it with the real truth of what had actually occurred.
Posted On 2004-10-07 09:07:12
Beverly Willett Replied: It sounds like your daughter's friend has self-esteem issues -- embarrassing your daughter may be her misguided way of trying to bolster her own self-image. Deep down she probably admires your daughter; indeed, you admit the girls are close. So first make sure your daughter knows the lies and "mistakes" are not about her. Next, suggest that your daughter try ignoring the rude behavior. Acknowledging inappropriate behavior often reinforces it; ignore it and this attention-seeker might just disappear on its own. Instead, encourage your daughter to give her friend a genuine compliment from time to time. After all, if the girls are close, your daughter sees some good qualities in her friend. Once she becomes more confident with herself, your daughter's friend will have less need to attack anyone else. These sorts of issues can be quite challenging, especially for a 9-year-old. But, it sounds like your daughter is mature and level-headed (after all, she's seeking out your advice!) so it's worth a try as a first resort. If things start to get out of hand -- e.g. your daughter's own self-esteem starts to suffer or nasty rumors start circulating -- that's the time to step in and call the friend's parents.
Posted On 2004-10-07 09:04:45
Sylvia Rimm, Ph.D. Replied: A threesome among girls is always tricky. One often gets left out. I expect that may be happening with the girl who lies feeling left out, thus pointing out your daughter's mistakes to make her look bad. The girl who is doing the lying must have other nice qualities that keep your daughter and her other friend liking her. If the dishonesty becomes too frequent, it may be better if your daughter assertively explains that she can't be friends with her if she continues to lie so much she can't be trusted. On the other hand, if the girl who is lying, is the one who gets left out all the time, it may be that if your daughter and her other friend made efforts to include her, it would help her to get over her lying. Either way, it's important for your daughter to tell the girl who's lying that she wants to trust her or a friendship won't work. From your perspective as a mother, if you think this girl is dishonest regularly, encourage your daughter to discontinue the friendship unless the girl stops lying. By adolescence, lying can get your daughter into plenty of trouble and lying by close friends can become contagious.
Posted On 2004-10-07 09:03:57
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