DEAR HARRIETTE: My middle school daughter is going through it. She is a happy, confident, strong young lady. She is also a very good student. Her problems are coming from her closest friends. There are three girls who have been her tight buddies for years, but recently they have been particularly mean to my daughter. They do things together and do not include her. They no longer wait for her at lunchtime so they can eat together. Occasionally, they show up as if nothing ever happened, but they snub her a lot.
Naturally, my daughter is hurt. She thought these girls were her best friends, only to discover that they only like her sometimes now. What can I do or say to her to help her through this difficult time? -- My Daughter Is Devastated, Seattle
DEAR MY DAUGHTER IS DEVASTATED: Sadly, mean-girl behavior is all too common during the middle school years in particular. What you can do is remind your daughter of how much you love and support her. Be an attentive listener so that you stay up on what's going on without prying too much. Suggest that she expand her friend group. Who else in her class or grade can she spend time with? She should open her eyes and look at her classmates differently. There may be girls right there who would like to spend time with her.
Encourage your daughter to participate in extracurricular activities outside of school so that she can build more relationships. If these girls continue to be mean and rude, she can decide to walk away from them entirely. If they don't treat her with respect, she needs to know that she does not have to keep them in her life.