DD has 'no friends' at school

(114 Posts)
RichardDawkinsAngel Thu 11-Apr-13 21:15:17

My DD is at a very small primary school - in fact there are only 4 girls in her year (Y1). Last term there was some nasty three on one bullying- I saw the class tracher and it seemed to get sorted, although there has been the odd comment, nothing that has been worth following up.

Today my DD was chatting to her little sister at the table about how her gran's dog is her best friend. DD2 innocently asked who her 'real' best friend was as you 'can't really be best friends with a dog'. DD1 said, conversationally, 'well, no one really. I want to be friends with x, y and z but they don't want to be friends with me so ....'

I would like to be able to tell her to go and play with soneone else but there IS no one else and it must be so miserable to have no friends at school. My DH says not to worry as she has friends outside school and doesn't seem unhappy but it is really bothering me ...

YoniWankEnobi Thu 11-Apr-13 22:45:26

Yes, put her on the list, as well as talk to the school.

Are there any clubs she could join? I'm sure that it just happened that there were three not nice girls, it happens sadly that it's nothing to do with your dd, just them being bullies.

How about Beavers? They go from 5+ and there should be a Beaver group (as there's probably a Scoit and Cub group nearby?) that could be good and get her making friends and going places with them, and generally a wider group of girls and boys then some schools can offer.

If she wants to do something like ballet or whatever, could you afford to do that (I had this with dd3 but we couldn't afford it, but an club type would probably help). So she can mix with nice, friendly children who want to be friends!

YoniWankEnobi Thu 11-Apr-13 22:47:45

Sorry, from 5 and 3/4!

Fudgemallowdelight Thu 11-Apr-13 22:49:01

I think that with such a tiny group of friends to choose from it is very possible that there is nothing that your dd is doing wrong at all. They may just not be particularly nice girls or they may just not be her type. I might have missed it, but is the school so small because it is private, or because you live somewhere very rural?

Fudgemallowdelight Thu 11-Apr-13 22:52:37

I think this is a real downside of small classes. I went to a girls' high school with 30 girls in my class and i worry slightly that my dds will only have 15 girls to choose from to be friends with in their mixed high school class!

katrinefonsmark Thu 11-Apr-13 22:55:02

You really need to move her. She is so likely to make friends in a larger school. She thinks she can't make friends and she can. Its not fair to leave her there. Contact LEA and get her on waiting list for other schools.

defineme Thu 11-Apr-13 22:55:22

My dd is much better since she has been 'mentored' by a ta at breaktimes and gets to chat about friendship and play games with her- I asked for that when she was refusing to go to school.
I also made sure she was moved tables.
She has also joined knitting and gardening club which keeps her lunchtimes busy.
I have also completed a self esteem workbook with her that I got off Amazon and done a lot of roleplaying about friendship/if someone says something nasty to you with the help of a book about friendships.

However, dd is in a big class and has changed friendship groups.
I would say that your dd has to either be friends with the boys or the y2 girls-invite them around. I think you could be consigning her to a miserable 6 years if this carries on.
I'd set a time limit and move her if things haven't improved.
There is nothing particularly unusual about my dd, she just had the misfortune to be sat on a table with a bully and her minions for 2 years.
I wish I'd acted sooner, but she couldn't express the extent of it for a long time.

EATmum Thu 11-Apr-13 23:01:27

One thought - when I was at school I was minded after school by the mum of another boy in my class. Although we had a fantastic friendship outside school, the strict gender divide of expectation meant that we wouldn't even chat to each other at school. So I wonder if a friendship might be cultivated outside school with one of the boys? Not sure how though, sorry. I do hope things improve for your DD.

thermalsinapril Thu 11-Apr-13 23:28:27

Sounds a good idea to consider moving to a different school.

manicinsomniac Thu 11-Apr-13 23:30:46

Is there anything about your daughter than children might see as 'different' and exclude her because of? Even something so simple as being smaller/taller or wearing glasses?

I'm surprised the teacher can't sort this out at aged 5 tbh. I didn't think 5 year olds were choosy with friends at all. Sad to hear it starts so young.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 11-Apr-13 23:33:08

I'd get her name down for a move ASAP, it isn't your daughter, probably just bad luck with so few potential friends.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Thu 11-Apr-13 23:42:46

Op, I would say there is absolutely nothing wrong with your dd, it's simply that she has had the misfortune of being in a small class with 3 cliquey mean girls. Are the mums all friends/cliquey?

Twentytotwo Thu 11-Apr-13 23:50:45

Please move her. Things won't get any better and honestly suggesting that it might be her and then moving her wouldn't help sounds like an excuse to let this drag on. Give her a chance of a normal school life.

minibird69 Thu 11-Apr-13 23:52:31

OP you say that you love the school, but really your DD is suffering every day and you should move her. "low level unkindness" is really horrible for a child to live with - I speak from personal experience - and you say these three girls bullied your DD last term so its more than "low level", its suppressed bullying. These development years will affect your daughter's social confidence for life and just as it was your responsibility to choose your daughter's school it is now your responsibility to let go of your dreams of a rural idyll (or whatever your expectations were) and get her out of there as soon as you possibly can

Twentytotwo Thu 11-Apr-13 23:54:57

And the chances are that once your DD is moved one of the three remaining girls will be pushed out. That's just too few girls to have a healthy dynamic if it's not being managed by the staff.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Fri 12-Apr-13 01:22:25

Great post minibird

ruthyroo Fri 12-Apr-13 06:03:37

Tricky. I grew up in the countryside and went to a tiny school with only four girls, no boys in my class. One of the girls joined later than the rest of us and for that reason alone she was often left out of games, last to be picked for teams and - I see now- isolated and excluded from our tight knit threesome. I have to say that life in the threesome was not fun either as we were ruled by the whims of the Queen Bee - who had a very unhappy home life and took it out on us. Girls can be very mean.

Anyway, the girl who was left out of our group made friends with the three girls in the class above. In practice the whole school pretty much played together. And as we got older the friendship patterns changed frequently - we all got excluded by the queen bee at some point.

Op - cant the teachers and parents step in and help? Especially as they are so young.

bigTillyMint Fri 12-Apr-13 06:21:24

Awww, your poor DDsad

I think you should go in and talk to the teacher - ask him/her if they have seen what is going on and if they have got any idea why it is happenning. If they havent realised, get them to observe and report back.

Then make a plan with the teacher/other parents if necessary.

SavoyCabbage Fri 12-Apr-13 06:27:28

I can't imagine being one of four girls. There are eight classes in my dd's year level!

I would forget about the girls together and focus on the boys. My nine year old has a best friend who is a boy. They both love drawing and making plays.

MrsHoarder Fri 12-Apr-13 06:30:39

Move her. I was in a group of 8 girls in my rural school and didn't make any friends for 4 years. It took another 8 years before I would believe people wanted to be friends rather than to set me up for a trick.

If you couldn't make friends in a group of 4 would you persist or move on and look elsewhere?

HollyBerryBush Fri 12-Apr-13 06:37:11

From experience, all children play together until the end of Y2, then there is a natural gender split at about the time they shift up into juniors.

For boys who aren't 'rough' and girls who are not quite so 'girly', that is the traumatic time as they get isolated from a natural friendship base by natural gender separations. The gentle boys don't want to be embroiled in chase and football, the more robust girls who do like those games soon find they aren't so welcome in either camp.

Of course not everybody wants or needs to be popular and in the thick of friendship crowds. Some people are just not that naturally gregarious. So long as they have outside clubs and activities where they are making friendship groups, then that's not so bad.

Moving up to secondary really broadens horizons; more people, more activities, more of a pool to mix with.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 06:47:55

It is a disadvantage of a small school- if she only has a choice of 3 it is very limiting and it only takes one of them to be the 'big fish in the small pond' to rule the roost and influence the others. It is much better for the DD to have a bigger school, among at least 3times as many girls there is far more chance of finding friends. It is not going to get better - or highly unlikely. You know your DD - being friendly with the boys may well work but that sort of advice to me as a DD would have made me feel even more isolated.
If you don't move her you need something she loves outside school which gives friends that she could see outside the club/activity so that she isn't reliant on school for friends.

trinity0097 Fri 12-Apr-13 06:59:28

This may sound harsh, but from my experience as a teacher children who are picked on like that often have an irritating (to the other children) feature, if you do go down the route of changing schools sometimes it can make no difference as they still carry that aspect of their behaviour/personality with them and it still annoys other children.

You need to delve deeper into how your daughter interacts with other children - could you take her to some kind of activity that involves children that she does not know and see how she interacts with them? She may be one of the unlucky few that there is no reason for the other girls not to like her, but I always think it is worth not automatically just blaming the other children. (Although I do of course not condone their behaviour)

abbyfromoz Fri 12-Apr-13 07:07:40

Trinity- How mean!!
It's never a child's fault if they are excluded or bullied hmm
OP sounds like your DD might need a self esteem boost.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 07:13:33

My experience as a teacher, in large and small schools, tells me that it is merely too small a pool.
I can think of several problems that wouldn't happen in bigger schools. One was 2boys who just didn't get on from day one and it carried right through to year 6 - they couldn't play together and yet they couldn't leave each other alone because they had the same friends.
The other was similar but it was 2girls, one was very mature and popular with the boys as well as the girls and she was the leader- there was one girl who wasn't happy to be led and fought against it and she was very unhappy- luckily the family moved and as she was a lovely girl I am sure she got on fine.
My cousin's DD was the only girl in her year, it didn't bother her because she had friends in the year above but year 6 was very lonely when she was left high and dry on her own and had never been in a friendship group with the year below.
It is quite wrong to say it is her fault! As an adult if I go to something I am far more likely to find like minded people in a group of 16 than a group of 4.
It isn't a question of blaming the other children- they just don't hit it off. You can't say to a DC- this child is 5yrs like you so you must get on- you would expect to introduce two adults and say 'you are both 42yrs- therefore you can be friends'! They may have nothing in common but that doesn't mean there is a character fault in either.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 07:15:01

Sorry - wouldn't not would!

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