AIBU to feel like a horrible mother for not being able to help DD?

(44 Posts)
cingolimama Tue 19-Apr-16 10:17:21

God, what a horrible morning. My lovely Y6 DD cried solidly this morning from the moment she woke up and begged me to keep her off from school. She's feeling gutted about friendships - girls being mean and petty and excluding her regularly. DD's a sensitive soul and really takes things to heart. Part of me really cherishes that side of her, and part of me desperately wishes she'd toughen up, just a little, for her own sake (and ok, selfishly, mine too).

Just to clarify, this isn't bullying, it's just kids being horrible (and probably hormonal). This morning I thought it would be setting a bad precedent, and also sending the wrong message to her about how to face down both meanies and general difficulities, so I insisted (with lots of hugs and tear wiping) that she go to school. But now I'm not so sure...

If anyone has been through similar, please tell me she'll get through this.

Whitegrenache Tue 19-Apr-16 10:20:01

Currently going through this with my dd in year 5. I support her, and currently encouraging other friendship outside school and this seems to be working. My dd is a tough cookie but sensitive too but I keep telling her how wonderful she is and that she has lots of friends outside school and to stay positive. It's horrible though x

cingolimama Tue 19-Apr-16 10:25:09

Thanks White. It helps to know others are going through similar things.

FanjofortheMammaries Tue 19-Apr-16 10:26:12

I went through similar and never even told my mum. I got through it just fine. Sounds like you are giving her great support and she will be fine.

BertieBotts Tue 19-Apr-16 10:32:10

Exclusion is bullying, and it's horrible. Speak to the teacher.

Does she do any activities out of school? It can help enormously to just have another friendship group. That way if there is drama happening in one group, she's somewhat safe with the other group! That was the biggest thing which helped me through my school years which were pretty destructive.

MackerelOfFact Tue 19-Apr-16 10:47:04

Oh bless her. I remember being there myself.

If she's an overthinker (like I was/am) then getting back out there and facing the friends will be 100% the best thing she can do. If she stays away, she will fret and worry more and get even more anxious about returning to school the following day. I bet you anything that by lunchtime the situation will have either changed or she'll have realised that it's not as bad as it seemed this morning.

If it escalates to bullying though, make sure it gets tackled, obviously.

cingolimama Tue 19-Apr-16 10:55:50

Yes Bertie she's very involved in music (borough orchestra, Saturday school etc) so that does help a lot, and she has friends outside of school.

Is exclusion bullying? Serious question.

I feel we have to (somehow) make our kids resilient, rather than protecting them from every slight or horrible remark, so I've only ever once approached the school about bullying, and it was a totally different situation involving a larger boy who was physically intimidating.

cingolimama Tue 19-Apr-16 10:58:28

Thanks Mackerel. What, iyo, would "escalate to bullying" mean? What would have to happen for you to define it as such?

GoblinLittleOwl Tue 19-Apr-16 11:10:56

You did right to send her.
If she is in Y6 presumably she will be going to secondary school soon where all the existing 'friendship' groups break down and she will make new friends.

BertieBotts Tue 19-Apr-16 11:25:47

Exclusion is yes, especially if it's a concentrated effort. It's worth mentioning I think, because it might be just thoughtlessness that they aren't noticing, in which case the teacher having a word with everyone about including others, or setting up some group games or activities can help, or it might be nastiness, in which case the "ringleader" girls should be spoken to, because it's really not on for them to be treating other pupils like that, especially at primary where it's a relatively small pond. Would be useful for them to get a heads up that they will be going to secondary school soon and they will be little fish in a big pond there.

Being permanently excluded from what is going on makes you feel like you're worthless, that you have no value, you aren't accepted, that there is nothing about you worth knowing. It completely kills self confidence and needs stamping out. Whether that's by her directly addressing it (might be an unfair expectation depending on the situation) or whether it's the teacher either having a general word with the whole class or engineering things so that she gets to spend some time with some children who are more accepting and splitting up groups which are problematic, it's a simple enough thing to do and it can help. She doesn't need to be liked by everyone, I agree, and that's a good lesson to learn that you can't always be friends with everyone at once but if she's distressed to the point of not wanting to go to school, it's a serious issue. School isn't really like the real world where you can just move on to another group of people or stop associating with people who are making you feel shit, you're forced to interact with them every day and there often aren't other people you can speak to.

Year six is a big deal and it's horrible feeling like you don't fit in when emotions are running high at the end and everyone is doing their memories of primary school thing. I'd speak to the teacher, just to make them aware if nothing else. I do agree with teaching resilience, but it's not the situation or the place, IMO.

VestalVirgin Tue 19-Apr-16 11:46:14

I feel we have to (somehow) make our kids resilient, rather than protecting them from every slight or horrible remark

You are aware that it doesn't work like this?

I was bullied in school. I am not resilient, I am a complete mess and suffer from social anxiety. Children become resilient by being able to build good self-esteem, not by getting used to bullying.

That said, I would have been happy if I had just been excluded.

She's probably upset because she is used to having friends (I never was). I agree with BertieBotts on out of school activities. If she has friends outside of school, the exclusion in school won't bother her as much.

JerryFerry Tue 19-Apr-16 11:59:43

I don't understand this at all. It is not ok for the other girls to be excluding her, that is exactly bullying, and I think she clearly needs help from you and the teacher.

MackerelOfFact Tue 19-Apr-16 12:13:00

cingolimama It does, TBH, sound like bullying already from what you've described. I was just going on your assessment of the situation since you know the ins and outs.

I think bullying generally has to be sustained, premeditated and involve the same person/people, whereas simple preteen disagreements would likely be infrequent, unintended and may involve any member of the friendship group. I think that's probably the main difference. But if it's upsetting your DD, by all means chat to a teacher, even if it's just to give them the heads up, as BertieBoots says.

They are kind of at an age though where things can be blown out of all proportion, from both sides. Not that it makes it OK.

Janecc Tue 19-Apr-16 12:17:21

I'm sorry sorry your DD is going through a tough time.
This happened to DD when she was in year 1. Instigated by parents no less. One child stopped playing with her for more than 6 months because of it, she and DD had been inseparable beforehand. It took Dd a year to really get back on track and we had a really unpleasant time, tears, nerves and tummy aches - this girl was pressuring everyone else into not to play with DD too. She still isn't invited on playdates with 2 of her 3 close friends and the mother of the 3rd favours the other children as well. At first, DD didn't want any other friends and in the end, I got her very busy in all sorts of after school activities. She made new friends outside school at these activities. We talked a lot about the parents not being kind to her, about how people are grown up on the outside but children on the inside, whose parents didn't teach them the stuff they needed to know. She still plays with these 3 children at school and we have slowly picked up a bunch of play date friends from school as and when she has been willing to broaden her horizons (which I also engendered wherever possible with parents I trust to treat my DD with respect). DD and I talk regularly and openly about the lack of play date situation and I don't judge the parents when im with her even though I'd really like to because I think accepting other people's behaviour without getting upset by it is something we could all do with learning.
I know your DD is a lot older and the approach will be different. All I'm saying is that the more she has other choices of friends to fall back on and people other than the mean children, the more confidence that she will have. Bullying is taken a lot more seriously than in the past and your DD is on the end of some insidious treatment, poor thing.
Tbh, even though this was incredibly hard, my child has come out stronger, has great esteem and a better understanding of the dynamics of friendships than she ever would have had she been still stuck exclusively in the friendship group. So in a strange sort of way, just over 2 yrs on, I'm glad it happened.

Naoko Tue 19-Apr-16 12:32:24

You were right to send her to school, but you do need to do something. Exclusion is bullying, and it does NOT toughen kids up to sit it out. As a poster above says, it just makes you anxious and miserable, and that can affect you well into adulthood. Go and talk to the teacher so they can sort it out. 'You just need to toughen up' was the message I was given for years by adults who then proceeded to do absolutely nothing to help. I didn't toughen up, whatever that means, I just felt miserable and betrayed.

Also no amount of ignoring bullies makes them stop. 'Just ignore them, they'll get bored' is total nonsense as an antibullying strategy because it does not work.

Go and fight your daughter's corner. 'Go to school, and we'll help you so that the things that make you miserable stop' is a much more proactive and positive message than 'go to school, you should toughen up, you feel miserable because you're too soft, not because these kids are horrible to you'.

Janecc Tue 19-Apr-16 12:32:56

VestalVirgin. With you all the way. I was bullied, more than just exclusion, often didn't have friends to play with, was socially inept. I learnt so much from the experience of my DD as detailed above. I was sort of friendly with all of the mothers and thought I was an actual friend of one of the mothers but I've been kicked to the kerb by all 3 and they are now quite friendly. I've had a lot of counselling recently, well I've had lots of counselling st various points in my life. I am now picking up some actual real friends, who are OK to talk to me from time to time about their troubles and me about mine. Women, who don't go round bullying others in the school playground or expect you to be in their gang.
No people do not learn to face bullying and become resilient by being bullied. They learn that there is no one to rely on but themselves and that the world is cruel and people are not to be trusted, that any second now they will likely be verbally attacked or worse.

bewarethewalkers Tue 19-Apr-16 12:43:55

I'm going through this with my Yr 1 daughter. She is a tough little cookie yesterday but Sunday night she was begging me to keep her home. She couldn't tell me why she didn't want to go to school (my radar immediately thought of bullying) and said its just because she doesn't like it. She has a couple of friends who she adores but falls in and out of love with! I felt like shit for sending her to school but as she is only six I didn't want to start sending out the message that it's ok to hide from things you need to do. Keep an eye on your daughter (I'm sure you already do) and make sure it's not sliding into bullying. I've got a parents evening this week so am going to ask how my daughter is mixing.

blobbityblob Tue 19-Apr-16 12:57:57

I have a Y5 dd. If it's got to the point of her crying and not wanting to go in, I'd go and speak to the teacher.

She has a right to feel comfortable at school and somebody or something is preventing that happening.

Nanny0gg Tue 19-Apr-16 13:35:47

Is exclusion bullying? Serious question.

Yes. With bells on.

cingolimama Tue 19-Apr-16 14:08:54

Ok, many thanks to you all for your thoughts on this. I will approach the school.

cingolimama Tue 19-Apr-16 14:11:31

Any further ideas on what to say/what not to say would be hugely helpful. I realise I'm really angry and fear my own rage at DD's situation will spill over and I'll sound like a loon.

Janecc Tue 19-Apr-16 14:31:22

Unless you are speaking to the teacher about some crap or other like some mums twice weekly, you will not be considered a loon. I balled my eyes out. The comment came back months later that I was handling the situation a lot better these days. The school monitored DD and gave her a sticker chart when she got to school with no fuss. This went on for the rest of yr1 as it was tricky to get her there. Rewards are always good.
Firstly do you want DD there? I would approach her class teacher for a private chat, I expect an afternoon directly after school would be better - maybe today?. Give the school a call now if you think you may need an appointment. Your dds a lot older than mine was so she can explain probably adequately to the teacher if you want her there. Just tell them what your DD has said and ask them how they can tackle it and what if any tips they have for you. They will be aware of certain elements of troublemakers anyway - you may not be the first. It will be fine.

LetsGoToTheHills Tue 19-Apr-16 14:42:53

I would catch the teacher at the end of the day, ask for a quick word (inside the classroom!), say DD was really upset this morning and didn't want to come to school, and ask whether the three of you together can try and sort it out. Good luck!

VenusRising Tue 19-Apr-16 14:49:26

I'm glad you're waking up to the fact your dd is being bullied.

Bullying is any ongoing, unwanted behaviour.the school should adopt a full school policy to work through this. For eg workshops on what friendships are and how to support peers who are being victimised.

Make sure your dd can invite those of her pals who are being supportive over to ha g out.

Flowers to allflowers

I'm also a survivor of exclusion type bullying and no amount of "toughen yourself up" talking to did me any good at all. Some people are not tough, and will never be, and hurray for that.

Accecpt your dd is a sensitive person, who is feeling overwhelmed and upset. You can't change her by pep talks. Just wiping her tears and sending her off to be slaughtered isn't seeing her for the amazing girl she is, and is putting her at risk.

I'm delighted that I am a sensitive introvert, but life can be difficult when you're growing up as one.
Your dd needs your absolute support, not a pep talk or a tissue on how to pull her socks up and toughen it out.

She's being bullied, let her take time out to gather her strength, and insist the school has a "whole school" programme into bullying with especial emphasis on peer support they can put into operation immediately.

the Finnish KiVa programme has been scientifically proved to work.
Insist the principal has a look.

bewarethewalkers Tue 19-Apr-16 14:52:45

Good luck OP flowers

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