Seeking Feedback From the Tribe: Ways to Combat That Never-ending Issue of Kids Being Excluded by S Roberts

Tribe Talk Parenting
6 years ago

Seeking Feedback From the Tribe: Ways to Combat That Never-ending Issue of Kids Being Excluded

Bella joined my son's class midway through third grade, but didn't receive quite the reception from the girls one would hope for. Even though she's one of the most intelligent, genuine, inquisitive, witty, artistic (she has her own animated cartoon YouTube channel) and confident individuals I've ever met, it's mainly because she doesn't fit the mold of a girly girl. She is, however, my son's best friend, but that hasn't kept her from feeling left out after being excluded from parties thrown by the girls repeatedly over the years. It's even worse for her mother, as any mother can understand. 

Well, Bella's birthday is August 29 and she's always had a party where she invited all her classmates, but this year she isn't having it. Her mom is one of my few good friends, so I called her and she said, "Every time there's a party and Bella isn't invited I'm going to throw a party that's even cooler."  I not only backed her on it but am throwing Bella a birthday party with her friends who are boys along with a rented cotton candy machine to hit the "cool" if not "coolest" mark. 

I've since thought, though, that I'd like to get feedback, opinions and/or ideas from the tribe on how you might handle this situation. (Please share advice below!)

Elisa Schmitz
You are so wonderfully supportive, Stacey Roberts Bagwell ! How wonderful that Bella has a great best friend and parents around her that care so much. Has anyone spoken with any of the girls' (who are excluding) parents? I wonder if they realize what's happening. I think I would like to be made aware if this were happening in my kid's class. I like to think that, ultimately, the parents could help steer their children to doing what's right. Also, letting the teachers know may help? I wonder if Kelli Schulte Sheryl Gould Eirene Heidelberger Mercedes Samudio Kim Kusiciel Heather Bragg and our other parent coaches and teachers may have some ideas to share? Thank you and hugs to Bella and her crew! :-)
Kelli Porcaro
I think as parents it is so hard to witness your own child being excluded. Stacey, way to go on raising your son to be an includer.

One thing that stands out to me in your post is that it's clear how you and your friend feel, but how does Bella feel? You mention she feels left out, but what else? Sometimes we want to jump into fix it mode, and make everything right based on what we perceive to be right. But instead, I'd suggest being more curious to hear how Bella feels about it.

Encourage her to talk about and name her feelings. What thoughts are triggered by those feelings? How do those feelings and thoughts impact her actions? What's most important to Bella right now? What would she like to change? What options does she have? What does SHE want to do? I hope that helps!!
Eirene Heidelberger
I suggest Bella and Mom set up individual playdates to get the bonding started. Often simple 1:1 time is all kids need to move the inclusion party to the school yard.
S Roberts
Sadly this has been going on since 3rd grade, they will start 8th grade tomorrow. It's a small private school, but teachers/admin don't get involved unless it comes down to teasing on a hurtful level or bullying. Parents? You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
Kelli Schulte you are right how we parents tend to try to make it better in the way we think will work. Bella's parents are stellar when it comes to making themselves available to listening and I know that's not an issue.
So this comes down to how her mom is acting in a very emotionally charged way and me loving Bella taking the lead and showing her how it's done.....what do I mean by that? I'm pretty much known as the bad#%* mom who lets her kid invite only the kids he wants to to his birthday parties. That's the only party he cares to have and can't do big groups. I've taken a lot of heat but I will always put my kid's wellbeing before anyone else's. But is for Dina and me to be taking this approach and the kids pretty much knowing sending the wrong message to them or telling them it's ok to exclude those who are only your friend when you throw a party?

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