Trying to sort out the 'little things' that could attract bullying

(61 Posts)
Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 10:49:13

My 9 yo dd has been coming home complaining about two girls in her class. She has had poor speech, but whilst much better now, it still isn't perfect, especially when she's excited or stressed. I also suspect she may have aspergers, but never quite fits the profiles I've read about, and the school has never mentioned anything apart from her speech.

These two girls have, according to her, been mocking her, told her she's weird and not cool, says the things she likes are babyish ( they're not, but the one girl does have stuff which i dont want my dd to have yet. ie high heels, bras etc . They've told her she's irritating and annoying, and to go away.

The problem is, it's a small school - less than 10 kids in their year, and these girls have been playing with my dd's best friend, so my dd is feeling very isolated.

Without wanting to emphasise her 'quirkiness', I want to make sure we try and control as many of the common things kids will pick on, eg, hygiene, manners etc, so any ideas of what else to subtly target?

lljkk Sun 13-Jan-13 10:59:24

It's a bitchy age.
Anything you can do to build her confidence will help.
Judo was great for DD, because it's about managing conflicts, keeping your cool, accepting defeats but trying again, not being afraid of confrontation.

usualsuspect Sun 13-Jan-13 11:01:42

You need to sort out the bullying with the school,not change your DD.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 11:03:15

She is pretty bright, so but when we pointed out that she was better at maths and reading, she just said ' but that makes me a nerd'. She's also sporty but one of the other girls does acrobatics, which is obviously a lot cooler than being good at badminton or skiing.

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 11:03:52

I agree it gives totally the wrong message to your dd if you try to make her change, she will not be able to have any individuality at all if she has to appease everyone else sad

It's not the answer

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 11:04:36

I wish I knew what was though. I am so sorry she is going through this.

usualsuspect Sun 13-Jan-13 11:06:17

It is awful when your children are being bullied.Is the school aware of the situation?

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 11:07:45

I am planning to speak to the school as well. However, I do see that she has idiosyncrasies that children outside the school see, so I want to try and lessen those as well, and tackle both sides of the problem.

I suppose what I find upsetting, is that I can see why she is a natural target, and I want to take measures to sort those reasons out.

edam Sun 13-Jan-13 11:10:41

Have a look at Kidscape the anti-bullying charity. Your dd's school will have an anti-bullying policy - do talk to her teacher about this. I have a thread running in primary education at the moment because ds is being bullied btw... it's miserable, isn't it? I have a lump in my throat even thinking about it.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 11:11:43

Ihave mentioned that she is upset about the girls trying to split her up from her best friend, but we only heard the rest of it this weekend.

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 11:18:08

Yes that is understandable - of course it is - but children will find something about anyone if they are determined.

You must make sure she doesn't think it is because of her. It's patently not.

No such thing as a natural target. sad

How about trying to strengthen her, to make sure she has some confidence about these issues, rather than taking the reactive line and trying to get rid of them?

I mean say it was her speech - instead of trying to make her sound like them, celebrating the fact she has that unique voice of her own.

Can you see where I am coming from?

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 11:18:43

What are the issues you perceive btw? Can we help with anything specific?

Your DD sounds lovely, by the way.

If you are talking about strengthening her friendship skills, DD has this book which we used to start conversations to increase her confidence.
www.amazon.co.uk/Friends-Keeping-Friendship-Posters-American/dp/1593691548

Or you can download some cards here that you could use to start some conversations with your DD:
www.minds-in-bloom.com/2012/01/free-social-skills-friendship-cards.html

Are there any activities she can go to which would have some other children who aren't from the same school, to ease the pressure-cooker aspect of it?

DD goes to Brownies and loves it. She has managed to get loads of badges through application and hard work, which has really boosted her confidence.

kiwigirl42 Sun 13-Jan-13 11:39:22

My son has quirks and does get picked on at times. We acknowledge his quirkiness and ensure he knows that these are the things that make him so special and that we wouldn't have him any other way. We make sure he knows that school is just a small part of his life and that he will soon be past petty kids. He is at high school now and punched the nose of the last kid who bullied him and has 2 good friends who are just as quirky as him grin

singingmum Sun 13-Jan-13 11:58:03

My DD is 12 and weird (her word) and she loves it. Although HE which people think means no bullying she has been bullied by a very vindictive girl on our estate who has removed my dd's friend. My dd just said ok well if you don't like me its ok I have other friends.
My dd celebrates her little differences. She's into gothic clothing and costume and loves medical programmes and crime drama. She believes in being nice to those who aren't nice as she knows from what we have taught her that it annoys the idiots as they can't throw stuff that's not there.
We would not make her change something that makes her who she is just to fit in as we think that in the end it's her quirks that make her special.
She does now attend a drama class which pushes the same belief, that you have to accept yourself and be yourself as in the end those that matter will accept you for you.
Don't get your dd to change anything about herself as its the bullies that need to change. If you don't teach her that it is them not her then she will never gain confidence to be who she is

Ineedmorepatience Sun 13-Jan-13 12:01:44

Hi slug, I am answering this as the parent of a girl with Aspergers. Tbh girls often dont meet the criteria because it has been written with boys in mind as there are allegedly more boys than girls with aspergers.

I have to say on MNSN and in my support group we have a much more even split than the publisied 4 to 1.

I am mentioning this because as girls get older and in some cases nastier being quirky can become a massive problem.

I decided to seek a diagnosis for Dd3 partly because I had significant concerns about her surviving secondary school. Socially Dd3 is roughly 2 yrs behind her peers, if this doesnt change in the next 2 yrs she will go to secondary with social skills similar to a 9 yr old.

I know she is going to struggle with the transition and with the unstructured times.

If you genuinely have concerns about you Dd having aspergers I would recommend that you get some advice.

The senco at school may be able to help although they often lack knowledge of girls with the condition.

The best place for advice is the special needs children board here on mumsnet. There is a wealth of friendly knowledge over there and there is usually someone who can answer questions about any concerns you have.

Sorry this is so long.

Good luck whatever you decide to do smile

Ineedmorepatience Sun 13-Jan-13 12:04:37

Oh and I meant to say, getting a dx for my Dd3 actually made it much easier to encourage her to be who she is and not to try to force her to conform to the "norm" (whatever that is).smile

thornrose Sun 13-Jan-13 12:31:29

I have a dd with Aspergers, she managed quite well at primary school and had a small group of friends. Now she has started high school she is struggling massively as her old friends have "ditched" her sadly.
If she didn't have a diagnosis I dread to think how she would cope as she needs way more support than I expected.
My dd doesn't fit the profiles either, like Ineed said, girls present quite differently. I would second the suggestion you get some advice.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 12:43:14

Thanks for all your responses.

She did have problems with her sinuses, which ended up having to be scraped under GA, but these problems caused her to have a semi permanently blocked nose for a while, so she was constantly sniffing.

It's really hard to explain the other things - more mannerisms, and talking gibberish - which she doesn't do at home, but does to people she's not confident with. It seems like she imitates how grown-ups chat, but it just comes across a bit weird? I don't think I'm explaining myself particularly well.

I have numerous times googled aspergers, but haven't been sure if actually trying to get a diagnosis would seem as though I'm telling her that I think there is something strange about her. The school have never mentioned anything apart from her speech.

She has also asked me to get her more speech therapy, as she taped herself speaking, and got really upset as it didn't sound like she thought she did.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 12:43:57

Did you get advice through the school or through the health visitor?

JustAHolyFool Sun 13-Jan-13 12:47:38

Please please please don't try to change her. My mum did this to me and it fucked me up more than any bullying did.

badguider Sun 13-Jan-13 12:48:31

"cool" is totally and utterly subjective - there's no rule book that says acrobatics is cooler than skiing, in fact, i'd totally disagree there.
The ONLY thing that controls 'cool' is confidence, if i were you i wouldn't try to change your DD at all except to build her self-confidence.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 13:02:58

It's not that I'm trying to change her. It's just I see how people react to her - children and adults - and I want to see if I can help her behave in a manner which is not going to produce rolled eyes, or embarrassed silences.

If I didn't think it was causing her problems or likely to in the future, I would leave well alone. She has done lots of activities outside school, and is very friendly and very good fun if people give her a chance.

I know she's not happy at the moment, and apart from making sure her table manners etc are ok, I haven't tried to change her. I do feel I need to acknowledge her differences though, so I can support her, rather than ignore it.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 13-Jan-13 14:04:12

My Dd3 is also fun and a very good friend to a small select group of both boys and girls who like her for who she is.

She would have had aspergers with or without a diagnosis but at least with it she is getting some support which helps her to understand why she is different.

I think by 10 most children wouldbe beginning to realise that they are different but could be finding it difficult to understand why.

If your Dd does have aspergers then she may not have the ability to put her feelings in to words.

I didnt get any support from Dd3's original school so I went to my GP to ask for an assessment.
If your Dd's school is supportive,I would start there with the SENCO.

Good lucksmile

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