She used to be a happy child, but this has hit her hard. How can I help her to stay resilient? Annalisa Barbieri advises a reader

My daughter is eight and has two siblings. Another girl, F, of the same age, has been a constant presence in her life since birth. Because of this, in the first couple of years at school, they would often refer to each other as best friends and go to each other’s homes for play dates. The relationship seemed fractious at times, with F appearing to be more in charge in general. I put some of the difficulties down to their age and the fact that there was also a third girl, S, in the group. When I discussed it briefly with F and S’s mums, the feeling was that the usual problems of a three-way relationship came into play at times and that my daughter and S seemed to take it in turns to feel left out.

However, in the past couple of years, it has become clear that F does not want to be friends with my daughter. The difficulty is that my daughter feels bonded to her and is very hurt by this. In conversations with her, she has said it makes her feel very sad, that it makes her not like herself, and that she wishes she didn’t exist.

The best hope for your daughter’s resilience is her relationship with you

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