Cliques - not just for big kids anymore
A clique is defined as a small, exclusive group of people; coterie; set. The key word here is 'exclusive'. To be shut out of a group of peers is a painful experience for anyone. For a child, it can be devastating.
When I was a kid, this phenomenon of children banishing other children from the group didn't begin in earnest until at least junior high school. I vividly recall the sadness and confusion I felt when ostracized from the girls I wanted to befriend. It hurt my feelings, but I was old enough to recognize that it really wasn't about me. These girls were knocking others down in order to build themselves up.
For my daughter, it began in elementary school and had a much deeper effect on her. At the age of eight, her self-esteem was battered by the whims of a certain little girl who ruled the others. It hurt Christy very much and the resulting lack of confidence stayed with her throughout her school years and probably into adulthood.
To my utter horror, Ellie has already begun experiencing this emotional manipulation in her kindergarten class. At that age, I have to wonder where a child would learn this behavior. Are these kids who set themselves above and apart from the others emulating their parents' behavior? Are they learning this from television and movies? I suspect it is a combination of all of the above and I am struggling with how to combat it.
How do you help a six year old maintain her sense of self-worth when her peers are intent on crushing it?