Advising child regarding ‘annoying’ classmate

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Post  Fri, Jun 14 2019, 12:19 pm
My third grader is BH very socially comfortable and successful. She has a ‘best’ friend and a whole slew of regular friends in her class. There is one (socially awkward?) classmate who has been bothering her on a daily basis during recess and lunch probably for the last month or so, and I’m not sure what message I should be giving my daughter at this time. By bothering, I mean that my daughter tells me while she is conversing with friends and one of them is mid sentence, this girl will walk over and loudly start talking about whatever is on her mind and expect to be welcomed to the conversation. While my daughter is eating lunch and schmoozing with whomever is seated next to her, this girl will get up from her place and insert herself between my daughter and her neighbor and forcefully talk or laugh loudly and want to join the schmooze.
I have spent weeks discussing kids who have no friends or poor social skills and how lucky she is that these things come easy to her. How lonely this girl must be, how hungry she is for friends/friendship. And my sweetie sensitive daughter has been trying SO hard to ignore the annoying behavior and just carry on her conversations, acknowledging the tag along and somewhat including her, definitely not being rude or pushing her away, etc. But my daughter is really unhappy and keeps bringing this up for further discussion with me. She told me she discussed this with her best friend- that they need to be sensitive and inclusive and how lucky they are to have many friends, but best friend is significantly less mature than my daughter and really didn’t see the need to tolerate a tag along, much less specifically be nice to her and solicit her input in conversations. So my daughter told her to try to ignore the annoying-ness and be nice, which is what it sounds like they are trying to handle.
Last week the teacher paired this girl with my daughter for a project and gives them time to work on it in class. My daughter says the girl refuses to get anything done during class time because she wants them to arrange play dates and do it at home. She has been calling every night this week to discuss the play date logistics (we told her Friday after school is perfect) and I can tell from my daughter’s end of the conversation how difficult she is to have a conversation with Sad but regardless, I have continued to coach my daughter to be patient and tolerant, and she really really is! More than I could handle for sure (my daughter had way better social skills than I do)!
Anyway, my daughter is seriously unhappy with this situation and the only thing I have left to tell her is “less than a week left until summer vacation and you won’t have to deal with this anymore!” which is really not the best message.
Any advice?
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Post  Fri, Jun 14 2019, 12:40 pm
Did you talk to the teacher? It’s interesting to hear what she thinks about this situation.
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Post  Fri, Jun 14 2019, 1:14 pm
You are amazing, OP. Your daughter will develop good middos, kindness, empathy, etc...you are giving her priceless gifts.

That being said, it's okay for her to set boundaries and have breaks from this girl, too. I would recommend speaking to the teacher - make sure this girl is not your child's default buddy from now on, as that is too much to expect from your child.

Speaking from experience.
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Post  Fri, Jun 14 2019, 1:27 pm
You must advocate for your child and teach her how to set limits.
She is not a doormat to be trod on.

I am a very kind person; my heart is broken for the lonely socially awkward child, but you are your daughter's mother and her only advocate.

I made this mistake with my daughter who is now 16 and she tell me now that the forced "friendship" traumatized her.

Now my ten year old is terrorized by a girl who won't leave her alone, calls her over and over, demanding play dates, study time, etc. I called her mother but this was unhelpful. Often my daughter doesn't answer the phone or I cover for her and say she's unavailable.

Ask the teacher to separate them in class and at lunch. Validate your daughter and let her know that she does not have to put up with this bothersome behavior which can be abusive.

Help your child anyway you can and if you care about the other child, tell her mother she needs social skills training which in the long run, will be her best path to have future friendships and end the pain.
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Post  Fri, Jun 14 2019, 2:15 pm
You are amazing. I’m tearing up reading your responses. I typed a bunch of disjointed random pieces of a complicated situation and you all completely understood. I was expecting to be bombarded with people telling me how elitist I sound and how sad for the girl desperate for a friendship, but you all really get it! My daughter has needs too and it’s scary how unsettling it is to have empathy for someone with very poor social awareness and boundaries. Yes, I should talk to the teacher. Thank you and good Shabbos.
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