Life Advice



Ask Amy: Young bully weaponizes friendship

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My daughter, in third grade, made friends with a second-grader, “Lucy,” who lives across the street. They go to the same school.

The two girls were getting along great when all of a sudden Lucy started making friends with all my daughter’s classmates, and then telling her that the other kids don’t want to be her friend.

She also heard Lucy tell another girl that my daughter is ugly. She came home sobbing.

I know this happens all the time, but it's wrong.

This little girl has spent a lot of time at our house. Her mom is a school counselor. Should I talk to the mom?

(My daughter doesn't want to go to this school anymore – she’s only in third grade!)


I'm afraid this woman might be one of those mothers who thinks her child does nothing wrong, since she counsels kids as a profession.

– Outraged in Omaha

Dear Outraged: Friendship is the primary currency in primary school, and the dynamic you describe is one way that children believe they attain status. Little “Lucy” is on a dangerous path of her own, and this behavior should be corrected.

Yes, you should speak with this other mother about the dynamic between the two. You don’t seem to know her well, but because she is a school counselor, she might have insight or fresh ideas for how to handle this drama. If she minimizes this – or perhaps even contributes to it – then you’ll know to avoid both mother and daughter.


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