I teach 4th and the girl drama is getting really bad. Every day, it's "she won't play with me", "she's not my friend anymore", "she told me not to play with the other girl". And on and on. My instinct is to tell them to solve the problem on their own, but then I hear from parents that their little girl is crying at home. The parents want me to "make them play together", and get the school counselor involved. Now, I do expect that the girls be polite to each other, but it's unrealistic to expect them all to be friends. All this unnecessary drama is driving me nuts. Help!
I had to deal with 6th grade girl drama that dealt with friendship and name calling. I pulled the girls out during a prep (there were about 4 or 5 of them) and sat them all down. Got the full story and then established that I expect them to get along even if they aren't all friends and that you can be friends with more than one person even if you aren't all friends. This seemed to fix the problem.
I had to deal with this with a bunch of my boys who started two rival skateboard clubs. I did the same thing with them and it worked then, too. With the boys there were about 10 or 12 involved.
My girls go to the guidance counselor. The GC is wonderful and is always willing to talk to them. She is starting a program with all my girls that teaches them what friends are and how to be friends to everyone. I am really excited to see what the program results will be. Good luck!!! Girl drama at any age is tough, but especially that age!
and now they've added fifth graders to my class so I am a multiage teacher. Boy, I thought fourth graders went through some preadolescent phases, but the fifth graders are going through so much more.
I hear the same complaints, but my rule is that I will never force you to be friends with someone else, but you can't exclude anyone either. They must practice kindness and support each other, not tear one another down. The students know the rules so they follow them. The fifth graders were in my class last year. They followed the same rule, but they were with another teacher for the first half of the year and they did not have that rule. Therefore, I am trying to re-establish my standards with them. After stating it several times and talking with groups who were not getting along, things have started to run more smoothly. Then, when someone tries to say something that would leave someone out, I remind him/her of the rule.
When I used to let students work out their own problems, they didn't and went home crying instead. My belief is that they need our guidance because they don't know how to solve friendship problems. We teach them about everything else, why not that since it is a normal part of school life? Hope that helps a bit.
Last year I had lots of drama with my 4th grade girls; actually the only year that has ever happened.
I scheduled time with the counselor and we both met with the drama troop ( ) for about 30-40 minutes about all the petty "friend" stuff that was going on. The counselor gave them ways to deal with the problem or just walk away and find new friends. Parents were notified of the meeting, why it occurred, and that this kind of behavior effects the learning environment in the classroom. Basically, the parents were told to encourage their girls to keep it out of the classroom or parent/student counseling may be the next option. It seemed to nip it in the bud as none of these parents wanted to all get together, miss work and have to spend their time at school because their girls can't get along.
I have the same problems with parents calling as well. Ugh. . I hate the girl drama. I usually pull the girls into the hallway and explain that they don't HAVE to be friends, but they do have to be civil to each other. I make it a BIG DEAL (just as big as boys hitting) if girls are talking behind each other's backs or spreading gossip or notes. I think that's just as bad as fighting (which is what the boys do). If all else fails, I send them all to the counselor. . . good luck!
I teach fifth and sixth. Girl drama is as much a part of my school day as math or science (laughing).
I think by these ages, we have to acquaint kids with the facts...and remind parents of them, too. Not everyone will be your friend. Not everyone will get along. However, that is not an excuse for rude or socially-cruel behavior.
I wish there was a cure-all but I have to deal with this issue every single year. The four items that have worked the best for me are ...
1) Encourage relationships amongst parents. I work in a small private prek-12 school; this is natural and easy for us. If parents know each other, they are more willing to handle these kinds of situations with some talk amongst themselves.
2) Call it what it is. If a kid is being mean, I tell it like it is. "This is gossip. What you are doing is hurtful and it is spreading misinformation...." As long as the emphasis is on the behavior, it's not wrong to deal with the elephant in the room.
3) Learn the roles that these kids are playing. Remember the movie Mean Girls and the book it is based upon? The book's title escapes me, but read that book. It does a beautiful job of defining the power structure in female relationships, and you'll find it very helpful to know what "role" you're dealing with when you handle these kids.
4) This is the big one ...Train your bystanders. A lot of the issue with girl-cruelty (or boy-cruelty) is the power these kids get. Bystanders who do nothing contribute to that power base. They're an audience for the cruel kids and their silence allows the problems or situations to continue. If you can train them as to their role in all of this, and how to handle it, you can switch the power base from the cruel kids to the bystanders. Then real change happens.
Unfortunately, I think that with these types of situations, it's usually more about planting seeds for the future than it is about true change. Best of luck.
It always seems like girls have drama. What I tell my girls, as well as my entire class, is that you do not all have to be friends. I do not expect them to have sleep overs with each other every weekend, etc. However, I do expect them to treat each other with respect and kindness.
I should work at Julliard because there is so much drama at my school. Not only do the kids get into it, moms do too. They email me constantly or pull me aside at arrival & dismissal and tell me all the terrible things someone is doing to their child when teachers aren't looking (of course). In the 30 years I parented 3 children, I never once called a teacher to solve my child's social problems, although I may have asked for advice with a specific situation. I guess I considered it my parenting duty to give my children some skills to solving conflict and not the teacher's.