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 ...

MildDrPepperAddiction Thu 11-Apr-13 21:21:36

No real advice for you but didn't want to read and run. Your poor DD. Could you maybe arrange a playdate with the other girls to see if they get along outside school? They may just need someone to facilitate them getting to know each other better.

larks35 Thu 11-Apr-13 21:22:06

I would look to move her to a bigger school, is there any possibility of that? If not, I would be very pro-active in encouraging these other girls to accept your DD as their friend - tea parties, picnics, play sessions etc. I don't imagine your DD's class size is likely to change much over the years and it would be sad if she never felt like she had friends at school.

WorraLiberty Thu 11-Apr-13 21:22:28

Why is there no-one else?

Does she not get on with any of the boys either?

AgentZigzag Thu 11-Apr-13 21:24:38

That's really tricky when there's such a small group, and awful when you hear your DD say things like that.

What does she make of the lads in her class? Could you encourage her in that direction?

Ultimately though it's up to the teacher to use whatever techniques they've got to make sure your DD isn't being excluded. I would go back and tell them that although it's a bit better your DD is still on the outside.

You can't see this as a relative thing, your DD has a right to go to school without any of this shit, and 'low level' exclusion from the group can be just as bad as outright hostility.

Your DH has a point though about developing more friendships outside school, but they're at school for so long during the day that it can still make for a really long day/week/term.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 11-Apr-13 21:25:26

Oh I feel for her. My DD was at a tiny school too ...until year 2 when I finally got her into a larger one.

She was one of 4 girls too and it was hard. I also agree another school might be better...is there any other? THis type of thing could go on and on.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Apr-13 21:26:54

Is there no chance of moving to a bigger school with a bigger friendship pool? Other than that I would go the way of out of school activities.

Smokedsalmonbagel Thu 11-Apr-13 21:27:16

I was going to say what about the boys. I have a 6 year old DS who prefers playing with girls although I do worry he doesn't fit in with the boys.
Speak to the teacher and see if theres anyone she could be paired up with.

issypiggle Thu 11-Apr-13 21:27:22

make friends with boys, best option. sod the girls. thats what i did, played football and ran around like a loony

if she's got friends outside of school, i'm guessing they go to a different school, any chance of looking to move her there?

kids friendships change as often as the weather, next year they might all be friends. chat to the school see if they have any concerns.

RichardDawkinsAngel Thu 11-Apr-13 21:29:29

I have had the girls round - it is fine when they are here, though there has been some low level unkindness at the houses of the two who have returned the invites.

I love the school other than the peer group and all the schools near here are full anyway!

I have encouraged playing with the boys in the class - and with the girls in the years above and below, but yhe Y2 girls win't play with 'babies', the reception girls are a tight knit little group and, sadly, she doesn't want to play with the boys :-(

pamelat Thu 11-Apr-13 21:30:01

If no chance of moving to a bigger school I'd speak to the parents of the girls.

Assuming they are reasonable people they'll want to help. They need to know that their daughters behaviour is not acceptable and I'd arrange play dates with 1 girl at a time with your dd

I'm very sorry as I'd be heart broken. It must be very hard with so few children in the class.

exoticfruits Thu 11-Apr-13 21:32:26

When I was that age there was no way that I would have played with the boys- I had 2 brothers, that was enough.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Thu 11-Apr-13 21:33:34

I'm so sorry to hear this. It must be really upsetting for you and your DD. sad

I really would look into moving her. Even if other local schools are full there is no harm in popping her name on the waiting list. I don't think that the situation with the other 3 will get much better unfortunately. Yes, the teacher can try to make them play with your DD but I honestly don't think things will change long term in how they treat her.

In the meantime I would focus on friendships away from school; clubs and activities, meet up with friends that have children from other schools, and yes, like some of the others have suggested encourage her to play with the boys.

pictish Thu 11-Apr-13 21:34:36

aw...I feel for both of you. It's a tricky one isn't it?

b4bunnies Thu 11-Apr-13 21:43:30

i am so sorry. do try to move her if you can, or get her into lots of hobby-type classes etc so she's busy and has opportunities to meet other people.

i can empathise. i don't have any friends at school. and i'm a teacher.

RichardDawkinsAngel Thu 11-Apr-13 22:14:21

Thank you for all your replies. I will brave some more play dates this term (to be honest, I haven't been able to face any since the unkindness just before Xmas) and will try to encourage playing with the boys.

If things don't improve, I may pop her on the waiting list for one or two of the schools nearby.

I am worried that there is a 'reason' that the other girls don't want to be friends with my DD though I'm buggered if I know what it could be - and it feels disloyal to even write that down! But if there is some truth in that, would moving her help in the long run??

nancy75 Thu 11-Apr-13 22:19:10

How friendly are the mums of the other 3 with each other? Did the others know ea h other before they started school?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 11-Apr-13 22:24:47

Just pop her on the lists anyway! No harm can come of it....places can take two years to come up; by then you may not want it....so fine. Get on the lists now.

GladbagsGold Thu 11-Apr-13 22:26:22

My DD is in Y1 and half her best friends are boys. Try inviting her favourite boy home for a play date?

Dereksmalls Thu 11-Apr-13 22:32:15

I might have missed posts relating to this but can you move her to a larger school? I was in this situation at school, one other girl and five boys in my class. The other girl could be pretty manipulative but it was a case of stick with her or play alone. In contrast, my DD is in a much bigger school and her friends this year are completely different from those she played with last year - I was a bit worried about her last year but today she had a card in her bag stating she was a member of a little gang, all five girls in it had been given one by one of the other members. I think you are doing exactly the right thing in ensuring she has friendship groups out of school.

thebody Thu 11-Apr-13 22:35:46

Aw this is such a sad thread and one I recognise.

My oldest ds ( now 23) was unhappy at his middle school. He was matter if fact about it and we didn't realised the extent if his unhappiness until we found a diary which simply said' being teased all the time is like having the happiness sucked out of you'.

Truley awful. He left that year for a huge high school and absolutely loved it as the friendship pool was huge.

Please put your dd on the waiting list for a bigger school or even move house to a different catchment area.

Children can suffer more than they they let you know.

You may have a nasty queen bee at a small school and she rules the roost.

If moving not in the cards tackle all guns blazing, involve the school and tell them how your daughter feels! Arrange play dates and involve gge other parents, have a dinner party and involve kids and parents, network and be out there. Be in their faces and this makes sky bullying harder to carry out. Let the kids know you are there and

aware of their behaviour., ,

Good luck op.

formicaqueen Thu 11-Apr-13 22:37:59

I think it can just be down to bad luck. A small mixed group of girls where there aren't any really nice ones. I would seriously move her to a different school Your DH claims that it's not bothering her but how does he really know? Have you talked to her about it?

EndoplasmicReticulum Thu 11-Apr-13 22:38:58

This was me, 30 years ago. Five girls in my year, the other four made two neat pairs and I sat at the side of the playground with a book.

I was miserable. Ended up moving schools.

Dereksmalls Thu 11-Apr-13 22:41:06

Just noticed your post about the "reason" for this. I grew up thinking there I must be the "reason" my school "friend" was always in the huff. I don't think this would occur to my DD as if she's had difficulties with some children then she's been able to go and find someone else to play with.

My DF moved her daughter after her first year - she was one of the youngest and my DF felt she'd developed some unbalanced relationships with more dominant children that was making unhappy. All fine now, a fresh start, slightly older and less overawed has made a real difference.

If you think there may be a reason your DD isn't making friends then she will too and that's not a healthy place for her to be. She'll also be spending a lot of time on her own - fine if that's what she wants but if not she could be playing tig in another school.

Leeds2 Thu 11-Apr-13 22:43:28

My first thought would be to move her to a bigger school. 4 girls in one year group isn't, imo, healthy. I have had a friend experience this in an all girls private school, where 5 girls was the entire year group. Different problems, in that the girls were taught with the year above, then the year below etc and my friend felt that the year group was just being tolerated. She felt it was so small that they stood no chance of attracting new girls! In the end, the 5 became very fixed in who they would be friends with, to an extent that low level bullying became the norm. My friend moved her DD, and never looked back.

I would also look at lunchtime/after school clubs, so that your DD has chance to make friends with her classmates whilst doing something they are both interested in.

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!

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.

amidaiwish Fri 12-Apr-13 09:05:40

Is this just an infant school or is she there til yr6?
If the latter you def should get her out ASAP, 4 girls in a year, nightmare!

Catsize Fri 12-Apr-13 09:11:55

leggyblonde, totally agree. And I confess that I still sometimes have a problem thinking anyone might genuinely like me and I am now 35. And struggle to take a compliment. But I seem to have friends, albeit occasionally I query things with my partner and wonder if they are just putting up with me becasue they like my partner. Although I do have friends away from my marriage too. So I guess it does stick. But in this case, think the daughter should still be consulted in some sort of child-appropriate way. And she should never be told that the reason is lack of friends etc. In our adult world, moving a victim is frowned upon, but it is more difficult in a school.

Kinnane Fri 12-Apr-13 09:23:20

I would continue to invite all three girls to everything I could think of - and like others have said get to know the mums too. Also if you can afford it: swimming, dance class, football, computer club or tennis, anything like that where your little daughter will have so much going on she won't depend just on the three girls in her class for friendship. Also get together with cousins or neighbourhood children I think would broaden her circle.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Fri 12-Apr-13 09:32:30

Cat size - yes I agree about not telling her, just emphasise all the great things at the new school and make it about more opportunities. Even say 'we can stay in touch with your old friends' etc.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 09:35:39

Sounds like the school need a 'friendship bench',

There are 3 other girls-how can a friendship bench help?

I can't believe this thread! There is one problem -*only 3 other girls*. I wonder how many of us who had plenty of friends at school would have coped with a selection of 3 possibles, and the luck of the draw if you have anything in common with them?
It is going to be a problem throughout primary school and I would move her if at all possible. Failing that do lots out of school.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 09:37:30

It is terrible to make her feel that she might be lacking or difficult when there is a pool of only 3 girls.

seeker Fri 12-Apr-13 09:38:42

"Also if you can afford it: swimming, dance class, football, computer club or tennis, anything like that where your little daughter will have so much going on she won't depend just on the three girls in her class for friendship"

And for the 30 + hours a week she is at school? What's she going to do then?

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 09:55:52

I can think of several things that I go to where I would be miserable if I had to rely on friendships of just 3 of the people, I am just lucky that there are lots of others, and I can avoid. Luck might play a part and there might be 3 people where we instantly hit it off but there is far more chance that if 20 people attend I will find someone on my wave length.
To turn round and tell me that because there are 3 people my age that I can't really get on with is because of a fault in my personality is unfair-not to mention untrue.
Children are not friends with everyone, they have their preferences like anyone else. It is the reason that I never understand whole class parties, there may be 30 children in a class but some of them are never going to get together socially. We don't as adults and yet there seems to be a view-'you are all 6 yr olds-you must be friends'. It doesn't mean that you are unfriendly or bullying or even that you leave out-just that you have nothing in common. When I started secondary school I made 2 very close friends, who are still friends today-we saw something in each other that not only appealed, but stood the test of time. You can't say 'you are all 11yr olds therefore you can be friends'-it doesn't work like that.

pictish Fri 12-Apr-13 09:59:50

I think a change of school is good advice.
When we moved here, our ds1 went to the catchment school and didn't really settle.
We moved him, and the second school here was much better.
No regrets.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Fri 12-Apr-13 09:59:55

I'm quite surprised at Trinity's posts, given that she's a teacher and all! I do feel that Trinity's attitude is the attitude that many schools take towards bullying; "Oh it must be the victim doing something wrong". About a year ago I remember seeing a thread about bullying on another forum and a teacher said that the main way to deal with bullying was to teach the victim to cope with how they are being treated! I mean, really?!! angry

Also gobsmacked that Trinity has says at her school they 'couldn't stop a boy from being bullied'. What a marvellous school it sounds. Not.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Fri 12-Apr-13 10:02:41

Thinking back through the thread too, OP, did you mention to the mums the low level nastiness that was aimed at your DD when she went to the other girls' houses to play? I would definitely mention it to a mum if my DD had had a horrible time at someone else's housee.

CelticPixie Fri 12-Apr-13 10:05:52

I saw something similar whe I worked at a small church school. Five girls in the reception class and one, who was a lovely little girl but very quiet, got pushed out of the group. It was sad to see as I can remember having lots of friends at that age, but I went to a large school with about 30 to a class, so lots of girls.

Mumsyblouse Fri 12-Apr-13 10:06:28

I agree with everyone, three girls is just not a big enough pool, plus there are bound to be issues with three against one/two twos. My dd2 is in a class with only 8 girls and that's bad enough, they are not all developmentally at the same stage, they don't all 'gel' in terms of interests and ways of playing, and there are the usual tight groups of children whose parents socialise together (which is entirely reasonable) but it has left her very short of potential playmates. She plays a lot with the boys and dips in and out of the girl groups. But three is a terrible number, just not enough and I would move her otherwise her childhood to 11 is going to be dominated by a couple of girls who don't sound very nice.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 10:06:29

All schools have bullying-it is how they deal with it that counts and to say they can't stop it is simply not good enough.
Admittedly a child may be overbearing and bossy and this stops them getting friends, but you have to work with the child and get them working in groups and learning to take as well as give. The victim does not have to learn to cope with being a victim!

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 10:09:23

* I would definitely mention it to a mum if my DD had had a horrible time at someone else's housee.*

Yes, but it doesn't alter the fact that if there was a bigger friendship pool they would never choose to be at each other's house in the first place.The general thing is that if someone is horrible to you, you go and seek friendship elsewhere.

pictish Fri 12-Apr-13 10:09:34

Totally agree.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 10:13:42

A bigger group dilutes things that a small group make intense. I once had a rather bossy friend who would decide not to be my friend (this is going back a lot of years) it was a bit upsetting because there wasn't much choice. However once we moved to secondary school I merely went and joined another group. She never did it again-the dynamics were completely different.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 10:16:33

I mean that one day we were best friends and the next day she decided we were not best friends and it was sort of on/off , the odd way that girl's friendships go. Once she realised it didn't bother me she stopped doing it. It only stopped bothering me because there was more choice and it really didn't matter to me.

Catsize Fri 12-Apr-13 10:17:20

Thought en route to work that my 'issues' may in large part be due to having a pretty crap time at home too, so can't entirely blame school experiences for my stuff. Thought I should clarify.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Fri 12-Apr-13 10:21:13

Exoticfruits, I totally agree, and I've said the same thing as you earlier on in this thread. However I still would speak to the mum, as it's unacceptable for the child to behave in that way, and the mum should know really that her little darling is being unpleasant to a visiting child.

kerala Fri 12-Apr-13 10:51:31

Move her. Too few girls I agree with the majority. I went to a tiny village school and it was fine as there were 9 girls in my year mostly easy going so I had a happy time. My sister on the other hand was in a year of 3 girls.

My sister is the jolliest, most fun, kind popular person you could meet - as a teen and adult she has the most friends of anyone I know. But she had a miserable 7 years at primary school - one of the girls was having a difficult time at home and basically subtly tormented my poor sister for 7 years. The other girl was a weaker character who sided with the bully. My sister was trapped basically and should have been moved. Unlike most kids who quake at transferring to the enormous comp my sister was thrilled the whole world opened up for her and she made loads of nice uncomplicated friends she still sees today. Such a shame her childhood was marred by my parents "support the village school at any cost" stance she really paid the price for that one.

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 12:21:58

A good analogy is if MN decided to pay for 4 member to have a weekend away and they chose, at random, 4 women who were 37yrs old with DCs at primary school. 3 might have a lovely time and one might feel left out and hate it. It is very unfair to say that there was something 'wrong' with the one who didn't get on-with a completely different set she might have had a marvellous time and been life long friends.

Friendship is a very funny thing. My DSs all went to the same secondary school and the general thing was for them to fill in a sheet in yr 6 to say who they would like to be in a tutor group with. They didn't get all of them, but it at least ensured a friend.
When DS3 went they did a new thing-gave them a questionnaire to fill in and sorted them according to the answers. It caused so much upset, they never did it again! DS3 didn't get any friends. He doesn't play football, doesn't even like football so it immediately separated him because all his friends were not only footballers but good footballers. He ended up with a friend because one DS was so upset his mother got him changed. It wasn't just as if it was DS3 who got misplaced-it was across the board-they might as well have pulled names out of a hat.

The one thing that you do need is a large pool of potential friends-unless luck plays a huge part.

CruCru Fri 12-Apr-13 12:44:50

Please move her. I had this (pushed out of the girls' friendship group and not popular with the boys) at junior school and had a miserable time. Even now, if I meet someone who was at my junior school I feel uncomfortable and I'm now 35.

MrsMacFarlane Fri 12-Apr-13 14:12:40

Your daughter sounds like a lovely, well adjusted wee girl who has unfortunately not got many other girls in her class to play with. My DD was in a class with 20 other girls in, there were a group of 5 or 6 absolute witches in it throughout her primary school but she was in the very fortunate position of having 5 or 6 decent girls who where also in the class to form strong friendships with. I dread to think how she'd have suffered if only the "witches" had been available.

Take no notice of posters inferring your daughter is somehow to blame for her situation. She categorically isn't.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 12-Apr-13 15:38:53

OP... so sorry to read your post.

I wonder if the suggestion that you talk to the other girls' parents would be a good one (fathers as well as mothers). If my daughter were one of the ones excluding yours, I would want to know about it and I would do all I could to make sure that your daughter didn't carry on having to live her school days like this.

I agree with the other posters who say that your daughter sounds lovely and very well-adjusted.

Please update when you've decided what you'll do.

woozlebear Fri 12-Apr-13 15:49:39

My primary school years were like this - smallish school, 90% boys. For several years I only had 3 other girls in my year. All of them were two-faced awful bullying b*tches. Usual girl ploy of pretending to be my friends so no one had any idea. When I was little it was fine as my two best friends were boys, but both of them moved schools at 7 and after that boys and girls didn't want to mix. hmm I had a best friend outside school, but it was scant comfort.

Personally, the experience scarred me for life. I'd seriously consider moving schools.

RichardDawkinsAngel Fri 12-Apr-13 21:20:42

Thank you so much for all your responses - and I am sorry that so many of you had a tough time at primary school.

We live very rurally (think NW England) and most of the surrounding schools are also very small - three or four classes from 4 - 11. Add to that my job which is half an hour away - I need to be there at 8.30 and finish at five, three days a week - sorting out childcare has been a real challenge and reorganising it would be a nightmare. Plus, DD2 starts in September and getting two places elsewhere would be very tricky. But I definitely have not ruled it out.

I snuck into bed with my DD for a sleepy snuggle this morning and had a chat. She says she is happy and wants to stay there - and doesn't want to leave her teacher, who she loves.

She also said that there is one of the girls who she would like to have over again so I will organise that asap. That little girls mum seems quite nice too so I may try to forge an alliance there.

My DD does rainbows and gymnastics outside school so we will keep up with those.

Thank you again!

exoticfruits Fri 12-Apr-13 21:25:36

Sounds more positive. Hope all goes well.

This was my entire primary school experience. I was lonely & confused the whole time and had no confidence at all as a result when I started at a normal secondary with proper sized classes.

Try to get her into the bigger school now if at all possible & in the meantime, move heaven & earth to get her bonding with these other girls. Not as a group, but arrange play dates individually, make friends with their Mums & so on.

Auntlinny Fri 12-Apr-13 21:35:48

My children go to a really small school too. Think two classes in the whole school. I think that the school needs to take some action on this, perhaps in the form of circle time so that children get the chance to talk about friendships and the teachers set boundaries. I also feel that the older and younger girls need to come to the party and be strongly encouraged to play more widely. Perhaps 'family' groups across the school might help. This is not your daughters fault and the staff at school need to be much more proactive in helping children with their relationships.

minibird69 Fri 12-Apr-13 22:34:44

You have had a good deal of well balanced advice here and your Dd sounds great. You sound lovely too.

I think you need to really follow your gut feeling here and re-read your original and final post carefully and as if you were your own best friend.

Your DD has said her best friend is a dog so maybe the rainbows and gym arent really helping are they? And you are bothered by the situation (which is a good thing).

Please do try making the applications, then at least your DD has choices. If she is as solid as you say, she may be saying what she thinks you want to hear. Of course she will love her teacher if she has no friends at school and she knows you love the school.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I experienced low level unkindness. But mostly, they did not mean to be unkind and actually I was never bullied for no reason like your DD. I was just the deaf kid and I played by myself.

Still, I loved all my teachers. And my fabulous Mum always made sure I had big birthday parties and lots of group activities outside of school. And massive packed lunches for the lonely school trips.

And I still feel lonely in social situations even when I am surrounded by friends.

This period of your DD's life is so important and there are good reasons that choice of school causes so much angst among parents.

Good luck!

kerala Fri 12-Apr-13 22:54:15

I fear you want it to all be ok to suit your schedule and its your dd who will pay the price. Three girls not enough your child has done all she can to tell you it doesn't work for her.

seeker Fri 12-Apr-13 23:00:05

Please remember how much children want to please their parents.....

exoticfruits Sat 13-Apr-13 07:23:32

The school can be proactive, but you can't get over the fact that 4 girls are pushed together and if they had 20 girls they would most likely not have much to do with each other. I could work in an office with 4 women, get on reasonably but have nothing much in common and not particularly like them. I'm not sure that I would want 6yrs in that office, I would prefer to find one where I could have a good laugh with the staff and maybe socialise a bit outside work.

hwjm1945 Sat 13-Apr-13 08:12:51

You need to change this.even if it really disrupts work and I think you know it.four kids is too small a pool.risk is of setting up yr girl to be an outsider

Auntlinny Sat 13-Apr-13 11:12:19

Exoticfruits - but children often need help with friendships. I don't think that a child's friendships and an adult's relationship with colleagues are comparable. Lots of people seem to be saying that you should move your dd as the pool is 'too small'. Actually I disagree. Children can learn to get along and to find friends in any situation and I don't think that young children need lots of friends, just some. Your dd could be helped to sort this out and the other girls could be helped to behave more inclusively and that includes girls in other years. It is only in school we are expected to socialise only with others who are precisely our age. It is far more natural to have friends of all ages and the staff at school should strongly promote this, as the staff at my children's school do.

pamelat Sat 13-Apr-13 17:36:00

Replied earlier on thread to send my sympathy and advice but just wanted to counter one point that some responses have made re selection pool of friends etc

Dd has 15 girls in her class but has "chosen" 2 that just happen to be daughters of my closer friends. I'm sure that mixing with these people out of school, and the familiarity/comfort my dd feels around these 2, has played a part in that?

I think contact outside of school is really important.

lally28 Mon 01-Jul-13 08:04:19

Look- she is in y1- 'best friends' at that age means nothing. Just let her be, because popularity fluctuates on who has the coolest shoes or the best birthday party. She will make real friends in junior school.

Nanny0gg Mon 01-Jul-13 08:15:06

lally28 Another year of potential misery then?
When there are only 4 children there isn't much room for 'popularity fluctuation' and being excluded is the most horrible feeling to have at school.
I think the OP should 'divide and conquer' and try and push a friendship with the child her daughter likes.

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