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?

Catchingmockingbirds Sun 13-Jan-13 14:10:30

Ds has ASD, unfortunately he's got a big chance of being bullied so he's been going to Tae Kwon Do since he was 4.

thegreylady Sun 13-Jan-13 15:54:58

Make sure her clothes and equipment-bag etc are in line with the trnd of the moment-sounds simple [I dont mean expensive designer stuff] but those are the 'picked on' things at first.
That done ask her what she would like to do eg set up an outing for your dd and her friend.
If she has an ASD dx eventually you can move forward from there but atm you havent so dont jump into a label before you need to.

Catchingmockingbirds Sun 13-Jan-13 16:53:13

"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."

You wouldn't be telling her there's something strange about her, you'd be helping her get the appropriate support that she would need and be entitled to if she did have AS. Getting a dx is very difficult when you're older and she may need help if she goes to uni or any other time in the future. If she is AS then having a reason for struggling with certain things is invaluable, and she may also really appreciate having other like-minded people to relate to in support groups/online support pages.

Parents don't seek a dx to put a label on their children, they seek it to maximise their DC's chances of getting the help and support that they need. The 'labelling' train of thought is ridiculous and belittles the struggles that both dc and parents go through IMO.

JustAHolyFool Sun 13-Jan-13 16:56:28

"Make sure her clothes and equipment-bag etc are in line with the trnd of the moment-sounds simple [I dont mean expensive designer stuff] but those are the 'picked on' things at first."

That is horrible advice sad

"Fit in and you'll be fine" - what the hell are we teaching our children?

fivesacrowd Sun 13-Jan-13 17:17:43

My dd is 9 too and I had long chat with her teacher on Friday about bully in her class. Teachers opinion is that its all part of growing up and girls tend to be horrible a this age. Kind of agree with her in a way. My dd is bullied because she refuses to be the bullies friend, let her dictate how she wears her hair, what bag she has, what lunch she brings etc. She's picked on because she's confident and self assured (youngest of 3) and weirdly never bullied about the hearing aids she wears. She says that she doesn't tell her teacher when this girl is horrible to her because it happens every day and she doesn't want to keep telling the teacher the same thing over and over again - hence chat on Friday.
My advice op is stay strong, let the school know and hope they deal with it. It's all part of growing up unfortunately and I hope that if she can learn to cope with it now, it'll make life easier when she reaches high school and the bullying really kicks in.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 17:37:48

I actually agree with what thegreylady is saying to a certain extent. She is getting picked on anyway, so if by making sure her lunch box and bags are 'acceptable' it gives the bullies one less thing to pick on, then fair enough.

She is convinced they will all like her if only she could get her ears pierced, which I find more concerning. I've told her she can for her birthday, but not before, and explained that earrings should not make any difference to proper friendships.

JustAHolyFool Sun 13-Jan-13 17:41:20

But what message are you sending her OP? If people don't like you, change yourself until they do.

I understand it's a really hard situation, but giving her the confidence to be herself will stand her in far better stead both now and in the future.

googietheegg Sun 13-Jan-13 17:48:10

I'd add that some things can make bullying more likely - a girl with a moustache or v hairy legs, bad clothes/school bag, poor hygiene, a v 'different' packed lunch, 'embarrassing' or v fat parents picking them up in a really bad car ... Loads of stuff. I'd make sure its nothing you can change first.

googietheegg Sun 13-Jan-13 17:49:44

It's fine to have the right stuff. As adults we wouldn't want to start a new job in a crappy suit with a tatty bag would we? It's just real life

JustAHolyFool Sun 13-Jan-13 17:59:13

I'm not suggesting sending the girl to school in rags. I'm suggesting the girl chooses what she wants rather than picks things because she thinks it will make her popular.

iklboo Sun 13-Jan-13 18:00:57

If all I could afford when I started new job was crappy suit & tatty bag it'd have to do until payday. I wouldn't expect to be bullied by my colleagues about it.

usualsuspect Sun 13-Jan-13 18:03:06

Bit of victims blaming going on here.

usualsuspect Sun 13-Jan-13 18:03:37

victim*

sydlexic Sun 13-Jan-13 18:11:42

My DS got off the school bus year 7 ran over and held my hand. I told him not to do that in front of his friends as they may laugh at him. He said then they are not my friends and their opinion counts for nothing. I think he was right.

Don't change your DD, try to find her some like minded friends either in or out of school.

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 18:14:24

Yes sad I think the OP needs some confidence in her daughter, and in sticking to this standpoint. It's very hard to cave under pressure and think it's your own child's fault.

It took me ages to realise that I was all they had - I used to joke about ds1, when he was a baby and always apologise on his behalf, in hindsight it was awful, who ever stood up for him? I don't mean like the woman someone described, always having a go at him - but just joking and so on. 'Oh he always does that' etc.

We are all they have. If we won't stand up for them who will.

Fwiw I was a fairly odd child. My parents didn't say much - my mother agreed I was odd, my sister certainly told me they were right to pick on me.

I grew up believing I'm odd and will never be acceptable - very damaged, and I find making friends very very hard indeed. I'm always scared of them realising what I am really like, ie not acceptable, somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Only years later did I find that people who knew me at school, friends, colleagues and so on actually thought I was really cool - different in some ways but in a good way. I still can't believe them because the damage is done.

You need to be there right with her, believe in her, be the person at her side, watching her back, loving her. She sounds gorgeous.

and all the things I tried desperately to change about myself when I was young? Now I look back and I cry because those things were great. sad

I wonder if somehow, not meant to upset you but her self esteem is pretty low because she senses your doubts over her acceptability? I know how you feel, really I do. But you need to get past it in order to help her.

the worst thing possible for attracting a bully is low self esteem and we get that from the people closest to us x

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 18:15:08

Sorry, first sentences make no sense - very hard NOT to cave under pressure, I meant.

JustAHolyFool Sun 13-Jan-13 18:26:54

Rooney sad I feel the same. I really resent my family for just compounding how I felt at school. Yes, I was a little odd, always had the wrong clothes/shoes/bag, but I wore what I liked and I was really resolute about it.

My mum and brother would just say it was no wonder no-one liked me.

Shit times.

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 18:29:58

Indeed. Sorry sad

DeWe Sun 13-Jan-13 19:02:45

I get what the OP is trying to say. She's not saying that her dd needs to change, or there's anything wrong with her, but just wondering how she can help minimise bullying by little things.

My dd1 is very much the cat the walked by herself. She still wears her hair in 2 plaits in year 7, was one of the only girls left wearing summer uniform in year 6, lots of little things like that, which mark her out as different. Last year, in year 6, there were a few times when she commented that she was different because XXX. I'd say "do you want to do/have XXX" and she'd say "no, I like whatever I have".
This year she's begun noticing what others have and following if she likes it.

Strangely she is much more comfortable in herself and around others now she is making little attempts to be like them. She is still herself, and still there are some things she likes and won't change (like hair in 2 plaits) but trying to fit in in little ways has raised her self esteem rather than knocked it.

sunshine401 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:09:11

Why are you trying to change your DD? You need to go to school and the bullying needs to be stopped. Bullying is NOT acceptable and parents need to go in to the school and not give up till it has stopped. By trying to change your DD to stop the bullies is not on and is totally sending out the wrong message to your child.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 19:26:02

I agree the bullying needs to be stopped. But if there is a bigger picture, then I'm trying to work out how to address it. She is a lovely funny girl, and those who know her well, she all that side to her. But I don't want her to be sidelined because people won't give her the chance. And in the size of school, it really isn't a case of finding a new group of friends.

I do take on board about not letting her feel that I think she needs to change, but , if there is a condition for which she could get support, then should I not look into it.

For what it's worth, my dh just feels that she just gets too nervous with people she doesn't know well, and that that is why she sometimes acts differently. It could be true.

thornrose Sun 13-Jan-13 19:42:36

Slug - I hear what you are saying about the bigger picture.
I "teach" my dd social skills without even thinking, all the time. Little things, prompts about staring, walking too close to people etc.
I don't believe I am encouraging her to change in order to fit in. I believe I'm giving her a chance for people to get to know her.
I think that's what you are trying to do?

TheLightPassenger Sun 13-Jan-13 19:51:03

I agree with Thornrose. It's a delicate balance re:possible/probable SN- it's not about changing your child, but about trying to make sure they have age appropriate social skills as far as possible, while at the same time encouraging their self esteem. About giving your child the ability to fit in/conform if that's what they choose to do.

Possibly some sort of drama classes or public speaking/debating classes might help if she tends to speak too fast etc when stressed.

thornrose Sun 13-Jan-13 19:58:18

It is indeed a delicate balance.
In many ways I push my dd out of her comfort zone because she expresses very clearly that she is not happy being considered "quirky". I'm sure people will disagree but I feel it's the right thing for her.

RooneyMara Sun 13-Jan-13 20:00:06

Yes of course it is right to look into any condition she may have. I've probably been on the autistic spectrum all my life and never had a formal diagnosis.

Coping mechanisms mean that I appear pretty normal at a first impression. I just compensate by staying out of social situations as much as I can as too much of it has a bad effect on me - I can't cope with too much input.

Having a diagnosis early in life would really have helped me.

I hope you manage to figure out what is going on with her, and to help her feel less unusual and more confident.

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