Queen Bees and Drama Queens

The girl scowls at her friend and her voice is nearly a hiss as she whispers to avoid being overheard by the teacher…”If you sit with her, I won’t be your friend ANY MORE!”

Her friend, a sweet-faced little girl with long brown hair, replies with a whimper. “But, but…”

I thought Miss C would be able to avoid the petty girl games until at least junior high, but I witness the manipulative power plays in her kindergarten classroom every Friday morning that I volunteer. You can tell who has future queen bee drama queen potential just by spending an hour with a group of 5 and 6-year-olds. Even though her teacher keeps me very busy with cutting or collating and stapling from a corner table, I can’t help but overhear the conversational undertow that the little girls get sucked into. The boys are more physical. They fidget and twiddle and pace and tap and pick and scratch. The girls seem to blow off steam through manipulation and mind games. Of course they have their physical habits, too: tossing of hair, batting of eyelashes, rolling of eyes, crossing of arms, and pouting. Oh the pouting! Do girls pout in the womb?

Children at Miss C’s elementary school who are eating with a guest (usually a parent) are allowed to invite one friend up on the stage in the cafeteria to eat with them. The boys seem to go about this all very diplomatically and with zero drama. They’re much more into their sandwiches and chocolate milk than political power plays destined to shape future friendships. For the queen bee girl in Miss C’s class it is nothing short of full drama and time to flaunt her power of manipulation over her friends. Thankfully Miss C does not seem to be too deeply entrenched in the circle of girls, three in particular, that one second declare their undying devotion and friendship and the next second practically hiss their disdain, vowing to withdraw their friendship for an eternity. It’s exhausting, really.

On Friday Miss C, my clever girl, avoided the emotional crosshairs that invite such arguments by inviting a boy to eat lunch with us.

So do boys engage in this back and forth “I won’t be your friend any more?” Why are girls more prone to this type behavior? As parents do we unwittingly encourage this kind of deal or no deal negotiating between girls? I’ve caught Miss C, unfortunately, saying these types of things to baby sister, and, oh just stab me in my mommy heart with a broken crayon already, she’s also threatened to withhold her friendship and love to me.


  1. Loralee says:

    Hmm…Maybe I am glad I didn’t have any friends as a child.

    I certainly was at the hands of the “Bee’s” more than my fair share.

    I have boys and one of them is pretty emotional. He isn’t a manipulator, but he has major mood swings and often witholds affection out of hurt.l

    Loralee’s last blog post..Sideblog:Fixed link

  2. Ellen says:

    Ugh, Baby is not even 1 but I still dread school days for this reason. How do you give your child the self-assurance and kindness so that they don’t care if they’re put down and don’t put down others to feel better? I didn’t have it. I was certainly in the lower social circles and was happy with my great group of friends, but I have always cared what others think and remember middle school days putting down others to elevate myself.

    Ellen’s last blog post..Florida Vacation

  3. Blonde Mom says:

    I was definitely not a “Queen Bee,” either. More like a worker bee or good girl bee.

    Miss C seems to be that way, too, thankfully at school. She just saves up the sass for me. 😉

  4. Jill says:

    I actually saw this same behavior when my daughter was 3 and I dropped her off for mom’s morning out. One of the other girls said “we don’t want to play with you.” It broke my heart! I walked out of there in tears and in disbelief that this was happening at such a young age. I, too, didn’t think this happened until middle school.

    She is now 5, and much of it still happens in her class, but thankfully we have a teacher that tries to nip it and I am committed to stopping it as soon as I see it rear it’s ugly head, too. Especially when it happens at home. In fact, just today we dealt with only using words that are helpful and encouraging to one another. I’ve just said, “what are we working on today?” I think the more they practice it, the more it will become second nature.

    Now I am not at all saying I am good at this, but I do have a friend that is. She will very often interject when her young kids are playing and help them to say things kinder or nicer. You know, sort of model it for them. I think a lot of times, it is easy for us to just let them go off and play and not really help show them how to be kind to each other. So, that’s my two cents.

    Jill’s last blog post..A SMASH!

  5. Amy says:

    I hated this when my daughter was growing up! (And I remember the one friend up on the stage lunches too! Why can’t the parents just sit with the kids at the regular tables???)

    So far I don’t see it in my son (he’s 5) and his guy friends. His biggest problem seems to be “girls loving him”, as he puts it with much disgust.

    Amy’s last blog post..Spring!

  6. bill says:

    My daughter encountered that. We worried a bit before realizing that things are very transient at her age (then). This was helped by realizing that we were more bothered than she was. She didn’t like it, and at times she cried, but it was usually gone by the next day.

  7. Mrs. Flinger says:

    LB is very much a “Queen Bee”. I don’t know where she gets it, I swear. I wanted a girl who played softball and soccer, not a princess. But the boys she plays with aren’t like that all. I think it’s a girl thing. At least I hope so since O is a male.

    Mrs. Flinger’s last blog post..Speaking his language

  8. Lisa says:

    Girls can be beyond wicked. You are scaring me though…I thought I had at least until 2nd grade….

    Don’t you wonder what Queen Bee’s Mama is like???

    Lisa’s last blog post..Road trip

  9. Nancy says:

    Oh, I’ve seen this with Mimi’s class too. In fact, we saw it last year in day care. And I was so glad she’d be free of the two “frenemies” from day care when she started kindergarten — and then a week after school started, one of them showed up in her new class.

    I can hardly believe this social crap starts so early. Who needs it?

    Nancy’s last blog post..My heart hurts

  10. Molly says:

    Girls can be just awful and hurtful. I remember experiencing it myself and I had a front row seat when I taught 6th grade. I have had numerous conversation with female students about friendship and how hurtful words can be. I am so not looking forward to this with Ladybug!

    Molly’s last blog post..Sex, Drugs, and Parenthood

  11. Jenni says:

    I hate this! Why do girls have to be this way? I remember having a girl friend trio and one was always the odd girl out.

    But, thankfully, I had a mom who constantly told us how horrible gossiping was and how important it was to be kind to the kids who had no friends.

    I think by middle school I was much more stable than a lot of my friends just because of my mom’s incredible influence.

    Jenni’s last blog post..Next Time, I’ll Let Her Finish

  12. Amanda says:

    I am dealing with this at Hannah’s school.I hate that this starts early but it’s true.

    Read to Miss C runaway bunny. That’s a good lesson on unconditional love.

    Amanda’s last blog post..It’s A Date

  13. Jennifer says:

    I so dread next year when my oldest in in school full day and has lunch. I so hope she’s not odd man out, ya know. And don’t worry you’re not the only one whose child threatens to withhold their friendship…my youngest tells me at least weekly that she doesn’t love me anymore. She says that and she won’t be her best friend to her sister often too. I just respond “Well, I love you and that’s enough for both of us.” to put her in her place…lol!

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Baby Shoes Giveaway

  14. Amy says:

    Ethan will be entering kindgergarten next year, but I have only heard him mention once or twice that he has had problems with anybody. It is usually “so and so said they wouldn’t be my friend anymore.” It isn’t anything more dramatic than that. I am so sorry it is starting already. I am sure I will discover that when Emily starts school 🙁

  15. Blonde Mom says:

    The good thing is Miss C’s teacher taketh no crap. She taketh no whining. But I didn’t feel comfortable saying anything to the girls who were quietly bickering the other day. It was right before lunch and ALL the kids, including Miss C, were wound up.

    I try to encourage both my girls to share and play nice, not whine or tease.

    Can’t we all just get along? Sigh… 😉

  16. Pattie says:

    I am glad to hear the reacher doesn’t allow this to go on.

    I was surprised when my Kindergarten aged daughter came home and told me that one little girl wouldn’t let another little girl play with anyone else because she was “only her friend”, and excluded my daughter. I remember thinking “how can this be happening already? Thankfully, that was an isolated incident. My son is in the second grade and I can tell you that he has never come home and told my anything like that.

  17. Jill says:

    My 2 year old son has daily knock-down/drag-outs with two other boys in his class. He tells me about “time out” like it’s a badge of honor. He tells me, “Grant hit me. Adam BAM!” And punches the air. No drama with the toddler boys thus far. Just a a couple of left hooks and they’re friends again.

    Jill’s last blog post..Prince Adam

  18. Queen of Shake Shake says:

    My seven year old has pulled the “I don’t love you!” when he is angry at me.

    I’ve been to lunch several times with him and I have seen some argument between the boys of who sits by who. (or whom? eh, so what) But I’ve yet to hear threats of withdrawing friendship. However, I’m just there at lunch, not in the classroom.

    I can remember these types of girls in early elementary school too. It’s sad.

    Queen of Shake Shake’s last blog post..Changing My Name from Queen of Shake-Shake

  19. PreSchool Mama says:

    I think it’s because women are conditioned, even in these days to see other women as competition. It’s sad that it can be seen so early in girls. I taught preschool for two years, and the boys were just so “straightforward” in their fights. The girls were another matter altogether!

    PreSchool Mama’s last blog post..Plan a Tea Party With Your PreSchooler

  20. Halina Goldstein says:

    I work part time in a kindergarten here in Denmark. Although less frequent, I have witnessed a lot of times when boys would play the same manipulative games as girls. “If I can’t have your sword you’re not my friend anymore” or, better still “…you can’t come to my birthday!”.

    I watch these and other intense emotional dramas played out by 3-6 years old children with amazement. Basically, they’re exploring and playing with emotions in the same way they explore every other aspect of life: wholeheartedly and without control. It’s beautiful in a way because they don’t judge themselves for doing so – they just do it.
    The judgment comes later on…

    And, a child that explores such states doesn’t necessarily become a “bad selfish manipulative” person. So don’t despair! 🙂

    Many greetings


    Halina Goldstein’s last blog post..Unconditional love wanted

  21. Lavinia Graham says:

    I think 1 of your adverts caused my internet browser to resize, you might would like to put that in your blacklist. Queen Bees and Drama Queens is really a cool name for a blog BTW 😉

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