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 ...

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 07:17:24

If you have that sort of problem in a school with more than one form entry you change the DD into another class- it is very common to do this and the advantage of a big school that you can.

trinity0097 Fri 12-Apr-13 07:21:52

It might not be her fault, I did say I did not condone the behaviour of the bullies, but children can predispose themselves to being picked on if their behaviour/actions are irritating to the other children. In my last school a child moved schools on a managed transfer as we had been unable to stop him being bullied, despite numerous interventions, so he went to another, where there was no cross-over of catchments, he was also bullied there after a few weeks because of his behaviour towards them which he was unwilling to change. This was a severe case and not exactly the same as the OP, but I do think that sometimes people forget that children can be annoying, and they might not be annoying when just interacting with adults, but with other children they might be.

HollyBerryBush Fri 12-Apr-13 07:26:15

The op says this in her first line:

My DD is at a very small primary school - in fact there are only 4 girls in her year (Y1).

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 12-Apr-13 07:27:41

Trinity - that is victim blaming without you having any knowledge of any of the kids.

It is attitudes like that that is responsible for much bullying and unkindness going untackled. Good teachers don't say crap like that.

trinity0097 Fri 12-Apr-13 07:32:07

Good teachers try their best to stop the bullying and address the issues that caused the bullying in the first place, I have never said that the bully's should not be dealt with, but lots of people suggested moving schools and the problem would be solved, and I know that whilst that sometimes works it sometimes doesn't because the child concerned does not behave in a way that the puts them in a positive light with other children. Young children do not have the social skills that an older teen/adult would have in being able to overlook something they find irritating.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 07:38:16

Four girls in a class is like a family and siblings fighting. Too few children who know each other too well and have nowhere to go to avoid. If they all 'gel' well it is fine- but the odds are that 4 random DCs won't. That is not to say that there is anything 'wrong' with any if them. If they were diluted by an influx of another 8 girls the dynamics would change.

HollyBerryBush Fri 12-Apr-13 07:39:08

Trinity isn't victim blaming at all. She's pointing out that people have personality traits. Children have them too. Traits, positive or negative, are not suddenly acquired in the adult world.

Some parents are prone to seeing their own children through rose tinted spectacles.

FWIW DS3 (ASD) was bullied dreadfully (no school support) for being somewhat irritating and quirky. That was his unfortunate personality trait. So I moved him to a school with better reputation with SEN provision. He can now manage his traits so he doesn't wind everyone up in his immediate vicinity to the point they want to deck him all the time.

It was immediately noticeable on day one at primary school. All he said to another boy was "can I play football with you?" (there was a game going on) and the response was "you're weird". It's almost like an unseen electrical impulse he gives off. Girls like him because he's gentle, boys can't stand the sight of him unless they are ASD themselves.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 07:42:28

She sounds lovely to me from OP - I can't see anything in there that says she is bossy, overbearing , too shy etc etc.
I don't think it is fair to blame the victim!

jamdonut Fri 12-Apr-13 07:48:56

I agree with trinity.

jamdonut Fri 12-Apr-13 07:54:11

And I know several children like this.
They don't understand why people won't be friends with them, but other children find them annoying. You can't make people be friends, sad though that is.

sashh Fri 12-Apr-13 07:58:54

Sounds like the school need a 'friendship bench',

I also think you don't need friends in school, you can have them in brownies, gymnastics, ballet etc etc.

cheeseandpineapple Fri 12-Apr-13 08:03:09

Trinity has a point, some kids don't realise that they might be doing something which alienates other children. Not saying that's the case here but I know this from experience with my son. He often wants to dominate and take the lead, he's socially less mature than the other kids in his class. He's learning the hard way that he needs to alter his behaviour and whilst he is doing that, unfortunately a pattern of exclusion can evolve even when the child in question has adapted. That's a challenge, breaking the pattern.

Also some kids are very sensitive, they might perceive exclusion or slights which weren't intended, again I have that with my son. I've been present when he's convinced himself that he's been treated unfavourably and takes issue and conversely I've been there when I can see that his friends have become intolerant of him and exclude him when he hasn't been doing anything untoward but the pattern's been formed.

I agree with the suggestions that you should discreetly watch out to see how your daughter is interacting with others and then help coach her either to adapt if she needs to and if genuinely you can't see anything which might be a reason for the alienation, speak to the teacher again and ask her/him exactly how they will deal with this eg is one to one with each child an option for them to say its tough being only 4 girls in the year and they need to make sure everyone's included in what they do in breaks etc otherwise they can feel left out and have their feelings hurt. The teacher can also get them to talk about any issues discreetly and individually.

Also keep maintaining your child's self esteem, emphasise that she has friends outside of school and make sure they have opportunities to see them regularly. It's really brutal if your child's self esteem and confidence gets knocked or bruised. Sounds like your DD is fine and philosophical so no issues on that front fortunately.

Maybe the other girls are simply less pleasant than your DD. That happens too and in fact you may not want your DD to be particularly friendly with them in case she picks up their bad habits.

V difficult having such a small group. We have the same issue, only a small number of girls in one year group but fortunately they get on really well and the school takes steps to ensure they feel like a unit.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 12-Apr-13 08:11:11

How is 'children who are picked on like that often have an irritating feature' not victim blaming????

I have never heard such utter shit tbh, this is a small school with a tiny pool of children, the first thought should be more people = more potential friends. First thought should not be 'oh that child is bound to be annoying in some way'.

No one is saying everyone can like every other child, we are saying a bigger school gives more options.

And Holly - the boys who 'can't stand the sight of him' should be encouraged to be more tolerant.

No wonder so many adults are horrible to others when people expect so,little of children.

melika Fri 12-Apr-13 08:14:11

Both my DSs had girls as friends and as someone said, friends change like the weather. ~So don't worry about her.

Theicingontop Fri 12-Apr-13 08:18:27

I would bet money on it not being your daughter's 'fault', OP.

In such a small group of girls, there's bound to be one who's pushed out. If nothing else than to provide themselves with someone to talk about, a figure of entertainment.

I was in a small group of girls at the same age, in a small school, and was pushed out for not being girly enough. The seven or so girls in my year had very strict conditions attached to being included, and I did not fulfill them. I was too scruffy, my hairclips weren't sparkly, my shoes weren't shiny etc etc...

I did find I fitted in better with the boys, and that didn't change when we moved to middle school either. Though I did make more girl friends when there were more around. If joining in with the boys isn't an option for your daughter, don't keep her in there for longer than is necessary. It is an awful whack to your confidence.

Bonsoir Fri 12-Apr-13 08:19:44

I think a year group of 4 girls is way too small for comfort.

HollyBerryBush Fri 12-Apr-13 08:24:44

As I said, Some parents wear rose tinted specs.

Plenty of threads on here where people cant stand the sight of other people. A fact of nature, not everyone will get on with everyone else all of the time. We all have different personalities, if we didn't we would be clones.

seeker Fri 12-Apr-13 08:27:46

Put her on the waiting list for other schools now. Don't wait. She's got five and a half years of primary school to go- you can't possibly survive that long with only 4 potential girl friends!

Catsize Fri 12-Apr-13 08:28:29

I went to a small village school and was bullied. Sme of the teachers and dinner ladies even laughed at some of the stuff people did to me. I was miserable. Mum reported the bullying in my final year to the teacher who colluded with the bullies. Not great. She just satme down on my own and said 'are you being bullied'. Of course I said nothing, and she said 'no, right, good then' and left it at that. Previously, my mother had been told that bullying didn't happen at the school (?!). When I went to secondary school, Mum specifically asked that head honcho bully not be in my form, and guess what? Yep, my first day at big school was awful and I went home in tears. Head bully was moved to a different class, which probably contributed to the bullying continuing. At times, I considered myself to have no friends, but developed close friendships with individuals at other times. Can you encourage friendships between your daughter and those in other year groups?
I now have lots of friends and am very sociable. Hard for others to believe the position I was in during my formative years.
With adult hindsight, I can sort of see why my bullying happened - I was very tall, bright and verbally defensive in light of the bullying. Back in the day, brighter kids weren't catered for and I was frustrated. Having said all this, I was always nice to people! And I am not justifying bullying!
I would not be hasty in moving your daughter unless you talk to her. Not necessarily about her friends etc. but on a 'we have found another lovely school. Would you like to have a look at it, or are you happy where you are?' kind of thing.
I wish you all the best. Do keep us posted - it must be very upsetting.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 12-Apr-13 08:30:21

Doesn't matter if you don't like someone, you treat them with kindness and patience. If we are not even setting out those values for our children, it is not a big surprise there are so many nasty adults around.

Some parents seem to wear shit-tinted spectacles!

SavoyCabbage Fri 12-Apr-13 08:32:39

There are definitely some children who are harder to get on with than others. My dd2 is a bossy boots. In one of her friendships this works out fine as her friend is quiet, shy and dies not like to take the lead but in another it doesn't as that friend is also a bossy boots. So there are too many 'leaders' and they all fall out.

I was in exactly the same position as your DD for years and I agree with those saying move her. If she as friends upside school then it's not her. Move her As soon as another shchool has space so she doesn't develop long term social confidence problems. 6 hours a day 5 days a week is a hellishly long time to be excluded and a couple of evenings a week at brownies etc just doesn't balance it out.

MrsHoarder Fri 12-Apr-13 08:36:12

Trinity you might have a point if she was struggling in a 4 form entry, but the advice would probably be very different then. In a school that small there isn't a possibility to mix with other children if you don't gel with the first group.

catsize that's just it, after a few years you develop defence mechanisms that perpetuate the problem. For years at high school I just couldn't be sure if someone was being genuine or nasty because I was so used to the latter. Hence why I'd go for an early move fro a bigger school if possible, to avoid that.

thebody Fri 12-Apr-13 09:02:17

Well for me doing nothing wouldn't be an option.

Option 1. Move her to another school or if they are full move house to a different catchment, people move all the time for schools.

Option 2. Stay but start a network campaign. Get to know the other mums, there's only 4 of them, ask others to tea, play, have a BBQ or party and ask the kids and parents to come. Involve the school and tell them how your dd feels.

But don't do nothing.

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