DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 10-year-old daughter was close friends with a 12-year-old girl in her class. Now, my daughter told me she has stopped talking to her friend because she consistently says “mean things,” uses profanity and physically displays jealousy (grabbing her arm) if my daughter pays attention to other friends.
My daughter said she has blocked her friend from communicating with her, and specifically requested that I respect her wishes and not communicate with the friend’s mother (whom I don’t have any relationship with).
I work in the law enforcement profession, and know that the friend’s family is involved in domestic disputes and other negative behaviors. I am torn, because my heart is sad that her friend behaves this way and that my daughter lost a friend, but I am proud of my daughter for making what I feel to be a mature, positive decision.
I can’t help but want to “meddle” and talk to the friend’s parents, but I want to respect my daughter’s wish to leave it alone. What advice do you have?
GENTLE READER: That you meddle, but indirectly and with discretion.
If you have real reason to believe that your daughter’s friend might be in danger, it seems to Miss Manners that your moral -- and professional -- obligation is to get involved. Since you are in law enforcement, you could see if it is possible to pass the task along to someone else with whom you work and trust. That way, it cannot be directly traced to you -- either by your daughter or by the girl’s family.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)