I'M NOT YOUR FRIEND!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Em_Catz, May 17, 2014.

  1. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 17, 2014

    I'm never been 100% sure how to deal with this situation and would appreciate feedback and advice on how you all handle it.

    At least once or twice a week I'll have a child tell another one, "I'm not your friend!" which causes the other child to either burst into tears, verbally/physically lash out in anger, or run and tell the teacher (me). Sometimes all three and not necessarily in that order.

    Ways I've dealt with it:

    1. Reprimand the child who said "I'm not your friend" and have them apologize to the person they said it to

    2. Sit the class down and remind them that it hurts people's feelings and to think about how THEY would feel if someone told them that. Then I give the example that their feelings would be so hurt if Mrs. Catz said, "I'm not your teacher friend anymore!" so we don't do it to each other.

    3. Remind the class that it's okay to tell people we don't like things they DO, but not that we don't like THEM (ie: It's okay to say, "Johnny, I don't like when you pull my hair". It's not okay to say, "You pulled my hair Johnny so I don't like you anymore! You're not my friend!")

    4. When Susie is upset that Johnny said he's not her friend I'll sometimes say, "It sounds like Johnny isn't being very nice to you right now. Who is someone that is nice to you? Why don't you play with them instead and if Johnny still isn't being a nice friend later, just keep being friends with <other student>"

    When I think back to my own experiences as an elementary student and even as an adult, there are just some people who I didn't like and didn't like me. Obviously no one wants to feel un-liked, but I feel like as long as the person isn't disrespecting me or interfering with my goals I don't care.

    But how the heck do you teach that to a six year old? :confused:

    EDIT: Now I will say it does hurt my feelings if someone I like/respect didn't like me, Like if I overheard my P telling another teacher, "I can't STAND Mrs. Catz." then yeah, it would make me feel pretty bad.
     
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  3. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    May 17, 2014

    I have a little girl in my class who is nothing but drama, drama, drama.. She says this at least once a day to any other girl in my class. I have done all the things you have done and I still have no answers either. I know this girl has some real family issues and I try really hard to take that into consideration. She sits alone in class and she is not allowed to be by the person she causes the most problem for at any time but when they are outside and I don't see it. The parent of the girl she messes with is a good friend and asked me to keep them separate. I know the isolation is not good but it is working. I don't have as much girl drama. We only have 12 more days so if it's working I'm sticking to it.
     
  4. mkate

    mkate Comrade

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    May 18, 2014

    This is a tough one, but it sounds like your strategies are good ones for this age group. Do you know the blog "Books That Heal Kids"? She writes about different books that she uses in class to help kids deal with various social and emotional issues-- there may be something there that would be helpful.
     
  5. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    May 18, 2014

    I think when this happens the "victim" in the situation needs to realize it's not about them, but about the person who's saying it. What you're doing sounds good, but it strikes me what really hurts kids about this kind of statement isn't whether one particular other kid is their friend or not, but the implication that there's something inherently wrong with them.
     
  6. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    May 18, 2014

    I've told students that they don't have to be friends with everybody, but they do need to be kind and respectful to all.

    Realistically speaking, nobody is friends with everybody in their classroom/workplace/sports team.
     
  7. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    May 18, 2014

    :yeahthat:
     
  8. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 18, 2014

    Wow, I never thought about going at it from that angle. Like "If Johnny isn't wanting to be your friend it doesn't mean there's something wrong or a problem with you, but maybe Johnny is just having a bad day. Or there's been a misunderstanding." :thumb:

    :wub: I really, really like this one because it's so true. I think that should be more of the focus than, "everyone is everyone's friend in here" because that's not at all realistic. If my principal made me be friends with a paraprofessional i don't really care for, I'd be angry and feel like she was saying the way I felt didn't matter
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    May 18, 2014

    Em_Catz I think those are good initial responses. If it's a situation that is immediately over (it was just an insult because someone got mad), then I think you could leave it at that. However, if there is underlying relationship conflict, you may think about what strategies you might put in place to strengthen or repair those relationships - at least to the point of them being able to get along. Could be pairing them up strategically, doing "get to know you" activities with them or the class (e.g., having them interview each other about topics of interest), etc.
     
  10. ScienceEd

    ScienceEd Companion

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    May 18, 2014

    I've told my (biological) children that there will be people out there that might not like them. Some people who might not even like themselves, but they should not react to other people's like or dislike of them.

    Instead they should respond in a manner they know is right even if that person is mean, they need to NOT hit them, or say mean things back.

    We talk about how its easy to like people who are nice to you, but morally we need to learn how to work with and help those who may hurt us and not appreciate our actions.

    I make them think about their own actions and how they might have hurt someone or whenever they did something they weren't suppose to and the consequences.

    I also remind them that at the end of the day, no matter what anyone else in the world thinks or feels about them, I love them.
     
  11. brightstart123

    brightstart123 Rookie

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    May 19, 2014

    That's a really great idea that "If Johnny doesn’t want to be your friend it doesn't mean there's something wrong or a problem with you, but maybe Johnny is just having a bad day. Or there's been a misunderstanding." I totally agree that sometimes kids have a bad mood or they want something but they are unable to get it. At those times kids behave like this. A kid doesn’t mean it because they don't know the meaning. I have a child care center in which kids say that they are not friends and after sometime they started talking.
     
  12. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 19, 2014

    That's a good idea because I do have a few cases where it's on-going or I'll have one child who complains/cries each day that someone said they aren't his/her friend. :( I'm going to think about strategies, such as the one you suggested, and talk with my team plus google some ideas for on-going personality conflict.

    WOW, that's actually quite awesome and very true. I was talking to my hair dresser about this issue a few weeks ago and she said something similar but I like your wording MUCH MUCH better. (Her interpretation: "I tell my [biological] kids that there's no point in worrying about or trying to be everyone's friend because there's plenty of people out there who don't like you, even hate you and if they get the chance they'll hurt you. So if they tell you they don't like you, they're doing you a favor because now you don't have to figure it out on your own.") :eek:

    Isn't that so bizarre? I thought kids grow out of that after 4 or 5, but we've got kids at my school all the way in 4 - 6th grade who do that. In my experience, it seems girls are more likely than boys as they get older. At my level (1st grade) it seems to be both genders, but my girls do it more often and my boys are more likely to make up and go back to playing after a few minutes/hours
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    May 19, 2014

    Sounds like a plan :)
     
  14. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    May 21, 2014

    With that age, they may not be friends at 8:00, but by 8:05 it's all forgotten. I just tell them that we're all friends at school and if someone decides they don't want to do what you're doing, respect that and walk away for a little while. I also work with them on using kind words. That's huge in my school. Our principal even gets on the PA every now and then and reminds the kids to do that.
    Even so, I have a boy this year who is just vile to other kids. It's gone beyond "I'm not your friend" to mean, mean things. The parents just claim they never hear him using such language. He has no understanding or remorse.
     
  15. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    May 24, 2014

    I tend to try and find out why the words were said. Usually it is because of something the child who said "I am not your friend" had done to them by the other child. It may have been an accident or on purpose, the problem is IANYF child has no clue how to express his/her frustration and anger in the moment. So I usually start over and have them use I statements to let the other child know what upset the IANYF child. It usually solves it and they are done. If it does not really solve it then I sometimes also ask how long are they done with being friends to the other child and the answer is usually the moment not the long term. By the next recess or in the next five minutes the children are back to being friends.

    "I am not your friend" can be grouped with "I won't invite you to my birthday party" "your so annoying" or "your so mean" as the worst possible thing the child can think of in the moment to say how mad he/she is at the friend.
     
  16. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    May 25, 2014

    I have one boy in my class who used to say this to his friends when they did not do what he wanted. I finally told him that one day his friends are going to have enough of him hurting their feelings and they will choose not to be his friend. I also told him that if this happens that I cannot make them be his friend again. I then suggested that instead of saying "I am not your friend" that he should start saying, "I don't like it when..." or "I don't feel very happy and I want to be alone."
     
  17. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    May 26, 2014

    Thanks everyone for the great suggestions. There's only a few weeks left of our school year, but I want to use some of these suggestions and hopefully next year start with them again. It's funny because this whole "I'm not your friend" thing didn't start until about a month ago. Prior to that, no one in my class made those types of complaints.

    I'm trying to think back to previous years, but I don't remember my other classes doing that very often...I mean sure, I do recall kids having issues with other kids, but not the whole "I'm not your friend" thing
     
  18. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    May 31, 2014

    I won't have my first classroom until August, but I work at a before/after school program. I'm not one to make kids play together, because then the kid that is being forced to play is miserable, and the other kid is miserable because they know they aren't enjoying it. The only time that I really make everyone be included is if it is a group thing rather than just one or two people.

    Anyway, I tell my kids, "You don't have to be friends with everybody, but you have to respect everybody." As for the kid who isn't being included, I just tell them to find someone else to play with. I know it's sad, but I feel like we aren't doing anyone any favors if we force them to be friends. Life won't be like that in the real world, and often, I find that the kids who struggle to make any friends don't know how to treat others with respect. I will sometimes remind those kids, "You have to be a friend to make a friend!".
     

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