My daughter is in 7th grade. We left a private school for homeschooling for 2 years. This year I put her back in public. She started this new adventure with an old friend. They were very close from 1st grade to 4th when they fell out a little. During homeschooling they got close again. There had been alot of drama while we were gone and everyone was blaming this girl, but I didn't believe it.

My daughter has been a specific type of dancer since Kindergarten (Irish Step Dance) it's unique and very special to her. She works incredibly hard at it and has alot of pride about it.

3 months ago the friend started taking classes, initially saying it was to improve her footwork for tennis. Well now she is always talking about it, telling people they dance together, having her Mom buy all the stuff (that my daughter had to earn through years of hard work) and just overall invading into a world that was special and personal for my daughter.

It may seem petty but it's really bothering her. It bothers me too in that it feels like an invasion. There's really nothing I can do about it but I'm struggling with what to tell my daughter.

I will add, there's alot of other nonsense too. Trying to drag her into boy and online drama etc. In a few short months I've realized I was wrong about her and now we feel stuck.


Thanks for all the input. I was definitely not very descriptive in my post, because it's hard to explain really. There's a lot to it and she doesn't enjoy the friendship anymore because she's not much for drama, social media etc... The friend has lots of other friends and activities. I don't necessarily have a problem with her taking up dance, but my daughter is FEELING invaded. It's genuinely upsetting her. She treats her like the "sidekick" and is very dominating in the friendship. I think my daughter is feeling this entering into the world that was her own special place. Make sense? She FEELS that the girl only wants it because she doesn't want my daughter to have something special that's only hers. I can't change any of this for her, but I guess I'm struggling with telling her to stop complaining and be happy about it, or telling her that her feelings are valid.

I've encouraged her to expand on the new friendships she's developed and to just try to ignore it. The good news is this overall new adventure into middle school has been pretty good so far. That's why this is a bit puzzling how much this is upsetting her 😕 but I get it at the same time.

5 Answers 5


About the dancing: I think you shouldn't care too much about her friends new interest in Irish step dance. You wrote that your daughter has put a lot of effort into it so her knowledge and skills have come a long way. You can't buy that with dancing shoes and some fancy dress. And after all, if your daughter enjoys this activity as much as your post says, then she would be better off ignoring her friends copycat behaviour and focus on improving her skills like all professionals should. In the end it's her friends decision what to do with her spare time. Enjoy and take pride in your own stuff, don't envy/begrudge others.

The other nonsense seems like a topic to sort out between them. And if it's really your daughters choice to end this friendship then I, as a father reckon, that this is an opportunity to gain personality. I'd say let her stand up for herself. Give her hints on what to say but let her talk to the friend. Maybe she could tell her she can't find sympathy or friendliness in her behavior and that's why she wants to end/pause it.

  • 2
    "Enjoy and take pride in your own stuff, don't envy/begrudge others." Solid advice. +1. Feb 1, 2018 at 0:24
  • It's hard, but this is not a place where the parents belong. Just like you say, gently guide the daughter but let her figure it out. This is an important dynamic to figure out because it's likely to happen again. I think OP can share some emotional intimacy with the daughter, telling her, "Her behavior has changed my attitude about her, too. I'm disappointed for you that she's not better at being a good friend." The fact is, this situation could end really unfairly or really well, and there's not much to do about it except learn a hard, grown-up lesson.
    – kmc
    Feb 2, 2018 at 17:28

You have mentioned that your daughter was best friends with this girl for many years. Maybe her friend enjoys dance (or) maybe she's there only because she wants to be with your daughter in that class (or) she just want to copy your kid. In any case, we really can't prevent others from learning what they want or prevent their parents from buying stuff for them.

If her friend enjoys dancing, she may continue it for some more time and your daughter will have to accept that. After all, there are many kids who learn the same activity, each at their own pace. If her friend doesn't enjoy dancing and she just joined it on some whim or to copy her friend, she would probably stop learning it in a few months so your daughter need not bother about it.

You should explain this to your daughter and tell her that years of hard work and practice is going to help her become a good dancer and that she doesn't need to bother about other people.

Regarding drama and fights, kids fight/patch up all the time. Unless there's a very serious problem, there's really no need for parents to interfere. All of us made friends via some kind of trial and error and learnt from each of those experiences so that's what your daughter would do. You must, however guide her on what's acceptable behavior and what's not (For example, even if her friend gets unlimited online time, she's allowed only half an hr )


To call the interest in dance an invasion is harsh. The friend could actually like dance and being involved with you daughter. Get the latest gear may just be family values.

Encourage your daughter that dance is for her and not be concerned about her friend's interest in dance.

As for other stuff if your daughter does not ask for help I would let her work it out. You can tell her she does not need to get involved in the drama.


Is your daughter really uncomfortable around her 'friend', and does she want an out? If your daughter is certain she wants the friend out of her life, you play the bad guy. Have your daughter tell her friend that you don't want them seeing each other again. It's a white lie to save your daughter some grief, and while it may make you look bad if it helps your daughter it's worth it.

  • There are times when the "my parents ..." excuse is appropriate, especially whene there is an imbalance of power. However, in this case it is more appropriate for the daughter to simply say "I want no part of your drama, go away."
    – pojo-guy
    Jan 31, 2018 at 13:22
  • 1
    Lies seem to create drama in the long run. Little lies seem to be found out pretty fast if the liar is generally honest too. I'm pretty skeptical of this plan, but if I was to try something like it, I would actually make the ban, and have the daughter report it honestly. Unless there is a deeper lesson I'm missing.
    – user26011
    Jan 31, 2018 at 16:53
  • I find this plan problematic as well, and arguably takes ownership of the decision away from the daughter.
    – zugzwang
    Jan 31, 2018 at 18:44
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    @DanClarke - It isn't the plan per se, but in 7th grade she should be able to deliver a decision like this on her own, or at least attempting it. I do second the honesty concern, and think someone who has been a friend for any stretch of time, even if they have strayed, deserves a face-to-face for something this significant. It deprives her a significant character development and general growth opportunity, among other things. No vote from me, either way.
    – zugzwang
    Jan 31, 2018 at 21:41
  • 1
    No this is her show, she's in 7th grade. I just want to give her good advice. She does want to back away from the friendship, but doesn't want to be dramatic about it either. I've told her to expand on her other friendships and go with her gut, but not to be afraid to speak her mind.
    – user31214
    Feb 1, 2018 at 3:32

In the case of the friend, what do you believe makes her act this way? Does she have many other friends? If not, perhaps she acts this way to feel accepted. It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I have to agree.

I was a socially awkward kid in high school. I didn't have many friends since I (willingly) attended a school further from my local high school due to the computer science focus there. It was there I met my first really good high school friend. He was in a band and had been since middle school along with another couple of guys that went to the high school also. He was the bass player. Several weeks into our friendship, I decided that I wanted to try to play bass too, so a bass was acquired for me and I began to learn.

I would constantly want to talk about music after that. What they liked. What they played. How they played it. What techniques they used. It started irritating some of the other guys but my one friend never quit being my friend even under the pressure of them disliking my behavior. He never shunned me away from continuing to learn. Even now, 12 years after I exited high school we still speak and if I go home, we usually go out on at least one occasion to hang out. He's still in a band in his spare time and although I've moved on, I still play guitar (no more bass) on occasion.

My point is ask your daughter the reason for her dislike of this behavior. Is it because she's getting copied? Is it because she sees her friend potentially becoming better than her? Ask your daughter to analyze the motivation and reasoning behind her being bothered by this behavior. Your daughter certainly isn't obligated to remain friends with someone just because it will hurt their feelings but maybe sometimes some people really just need a friend. If your daughter can stick through it right now, maybe her friend will lighten up on the copy-cat behavior and their friendship can blossom into something deeper and meaningful for the both of them rather than just a one-sided interest.

As for the boy/online drama, if your daughter doesn't like it or is bothered by it, tell her not to engage in it or ask the friend to not drag her into it. There is nothing wrong with honesty.


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