Coaching Your Daughter Through Friend Drama

One, my daughter learned that people are fickle, and even close friends aren’t always predictable. This is why Jesus should be #1, because if she makes her friends her god – putting them on a pedestal they’re not meant to be on – they’ll inevitably let her down.

Two, my daughter learned how it feels to be ostracized. She felt the embarrassment of being in the margins. Six months later, when her friend got kicked out of her friend group, she didn’t jump on the bandwagon of being cold to her. She stood by her during a lonely time.

And three, my daughter learned why kindness matters, both the kindness shown to her and the kindness she’d shown to the girls who took care of her. So often girls are only nice to their core group, and when that group changes or turns, they have nowhere to go. Nobody will take them in because they were exclusive or mean.

6. Seek truth, not victory.

I don’t always recommend calling the other mom when two girls have conflict, but sometimes – especially when girls are young and don’t have conflict resolution skills – this can be helpful.

When my daughter was in third grade, she and a good friend started fighting. Since the mom and I were friends, we talked, and what started as a calm conversation quickly got heated as we both felt attacked. In my head, an alarm went off. I realized my daughter and I might both lose good friends if we continued in this uncivil direction. I invited the mom and her daughter to our house so we could talk it out.

Before they came, I calmed down, swallowed my pride, prayed, and asked God to give me the right words. I reminded myself that I loved my friend and her child. Since our daughters had differing stories, my goal was to seek truth, not victory, and apologize for anything that my child or I did wrong.

Parents get defensive when you attack their child, and their loyalty is with their family. Other moms love their daughter as much as you love yours, so if you act like your daughter is an angel and their daughter is a villain, if you don’t believe your daughter could be hurtful (intentionally or not), things will blow up. I’d been dragged into a fight between two angry moms the year before, and I’d seen the heat escalate with every accusation they threw out.

When my friend and her daughter arrived, we all hugged and then allowed each girl to tell her side of the story. We reminded them that they had a friendship worth fighting for, and rather than point fingers, they should focus on how the other person’s actions made them feel.

It’s often said that when two people disagree, the truth is in the middle, and that was the case here. Neither girl was lying; they just had different perceptions of the same events. We ended on a great note, and I was thankful my daughter had this experience of talking things out.

7. Talk about healthy relationships and setting boundaries with hurtful people.

Some people are good for your daughter, and some are not. In every season, there may be someone who makes her feel small, ignores her, tests her patience, or wants her to fail.

Not every conflict can be resolved. Not every hurtful person will stop being hurtful. Your daughter won’t click with everyone, and that’s okay. She doesn’t have to be best friends with everyone, but she can be kind. She can do the right thing even when other girls don’t.

Friend drama hurts because girls are trusting. They’re starting to see the best and worst in humanity, and as they pull away from family, friendships gain importance. Girls want to belong and feel known, and when friendships go well, there is no better feeling, but when friendships go south – and your daughter discovers that the girls she bared her soul to have undermined her, gossiped about her, hurt her, or written her off – it’s a shock to the system.

You can’t take away your daughter’s pain, but you can walk through it with her. You can point her to people and hobbies that bring her joy, whether that’s a weekend at grandpa’s farm or creating art in the garage. When the time is right, you can share stories and perspective. You can ask questions like, “What do you think might be going on in their life to make them act that way?” to help her imagine the countless scenarios that don’t excuse mean behavior but can help explain it.

The fact is, some girls won’t like your daughter. Some girls can’t be trusted with too many details of her life. Some girls get on power trips and expect blind obedience. Some girls bond through gossip, bullying, and leaving someone out. Some groups operate like gangs. Some girls are just mean.

Still, good friends do exist, so help your daughter find them. Remind her how even hurtful people serve a purpose teaching her who she doesn’t want to be and what friends she doesn’t want to have. While some girls can be loved up close and personal, others are best loved from a safe and healthy distance.

8. Help her understand that conflict is a part of life. She can’t control how anyone else behaves, but she can control her reactions.

God rewards faithfulness, and when your daughter does the right thing – talking out problems one-on-one, apologizing when she is wrong, not retaliating to mean behavior or burning bridges that will haunt her, letting little offenses slide – it puts her on a path that God can bless. The blessing often comes as peace and being able to like herself at the end of the day.

As moms, we expect our daughters to master the skills that grown women haven’t mastered. We get frustrated, yet we often fail to give our daughters the tools to respond maturely.

Little girls who don’t get along become big girls who don’t get along, so let’s coach our daughters on this crucial skill. Let’s remember that being able to resolve conflict is the #1 predictor of success in marriage (according to America’s top couples’ therapist) and when we teach this skill, we set our daughters up to win.

Even on your daughter’s worst day, God adores her. He never gives up on her, and this truth is a lifeline. It may take a friendship rift for her to realize why she needs Jesus, why He’s the only reliable anchor when a storm hits, and if that’s her big takeaway from a fallout, consider it a gift. God never wastes pain, and even the heartache of friendship can help your daughter grow in faith and become the young woman she’s meant to be.


This piece originally appeared at, published with permission. 

Kari Kampakis
Kari Kampakis
Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis is a mom of four girls, as well as an author, speaker, and blogger from Birmingham, Alabama. Her new book for moms, LOVE HER WELL: 10 WAYS TO FIND JOY AND CONNECTION WITH YOUR TEENAGE DAUGHTER, launches August 18 and can be pre-ordered through online retailers. Her two books for teen and tween girls, Liked: Whose Approval Are You Living For? and 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, have used widely across the country for youth group studies. Join Kari on FacebookTwitter, and The Girl Mom Podcast, or by visiting

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