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?

Ineedmorepatience Mon 14-Jan-13 14:18:36

I love those one page profiles, I might introduce them at work to help with the transition process.

Dd3 has something similar in place at school , hers is called a passport. It has relevant info in the same as the profile.

It has helped her to feel more confident when working with teachers who dont know her well.

Sluginthejam Mon 14-Jan-13 11:19:11

Thanks very much sipper. I'll look through those. I have contacted the school, and am waiting to see their response.

sipper Mon 14-Jan-13 09:15:33

Hi Slug Sorry to read your 9yo having a difficult time.

Like other posters, I would definitely raise the issue with the school as they need to be made aware so they can keep a look out and actively tackle things if needed.

One of my DD's needs her confidence building. I've been reading about 'One Page Profiles' which I think sound like a great idea for self-esteem (also useful for child-centred learning).

This link sums it all up really well:
sueatkinsparentingcoach.com/one/

Some blurb on this page:
(Especially please see the short film at the very bottom of the page)
www.personalisingeducation.org/

More info on these pages:
www.personalisingeducation.org/one-page-profiles/
www.personalisingeducation.org/category/examples-of-one-page-profiles/

The film explains a lot. The profiles look really interesting. Simple, but seem like a great idea.

Media coverage:
www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2012/nov/28/school-personalised-learning-system-one-page-profile?CMP=twt_gu

I gave the info to my DD's school. I thought even if they didn't do it, perhaps I'd do it at home. But brilliantly the school have said they're going to do it! Perhaps your DD's school would too? It might be a helpful exercise and experience for all? Best wishes and I hope she has a happy time this year.

Goldmandra Sun 13-Jan-13 23:09:12

I have two DDs with AS and I've come to the conclusion that it's not my job to help them fit in.

It's my job to (very sensitively) help them to understand how others may perceive their behaviour, conversation and how they present themselves.

It's their job to decide whether they would like to change and try to fit in or to carry on doing what make them feel comfortable. I back them to the hilt whatever they decide.

Having a dx helped my DD immensely. She said it helped her feel that she wasn't just strange and that, having spent all her life feeling left out she now belonged to a group of people like he who she understood. She found it a big relief.

Kleinzeit Sun 13-Jan-13 23:00:04

Having social skills is a lot more important to avoid bullying than having the right schoolbag or a bra. Given that your DD has asked for more therapy, you could go along to the GP and mention your concerns, and also perhaps to the speech therapist, as part of deciding what kind of therapy would be most useful for her now. Some speech and language therapists deal with social skills and with other aspects of language like when to talk and what to say, and non-verbal things like eye contact and body language, therapies which are helpful for kids with Asperger’s as well as many others.

thornrose Sun 13-Jan-13 22:38:42

Slug, I can tell you love her unconditionally so she definitely knows.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 22:36:20

That's ok, holyfool. I feel that ideally what you say would be correct, and she shouldn't need to change. However if things are happier for her if she conforms, then that would possibly give a better outcome.

I am confident that she knows I love her unconditionally, I just want to make her life easier.

Sluginthejam Sun 13-Jan-13 22:31:22

Thank you all. I'll find out what her teachers feel with regards to SNs, and will keep going with practicing social skills. She has seemed a lot happier since she has talked about what has been going on, and I guess the next step is to see how the school handles the situation.

JustAHolyFool Sun 13-Jan-13 22:24:46

I see what you're saying Ineed . Maybe I judged the OP a bit harshly, sorry if I caused you any upset OP, you're obviously having a hard time.

All about balance isn't it?

Sorry again.

Ineedmorepatience Sun 13-Jan-13 22:16:48

I work hard to help my Dd3 fit in too and so do the SN team at her school.

We have spent alot of time working on greeting people socially, she has never said Hello or goodbye without being prompted and that makes her stand out with her peer group and their parents.

Teaching her to do this will not change who she is but it might help her to fit in socially and not appear rude and aloof.

Tbh, getting the dignosis has been a very positive step forward for us.

thornrose Sun 13-Jan-13 20:06:59

Rooney, I was so scared to tell dd she had Aspergers. I had to have counselling to get my head around it.
When I told her she was relieved, she finally knew why she had always felt different. I will never forget it, her first words were "Oh my god, I have a syndrome" grin

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.

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.

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 19:42:36

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

Indeed. Sorry sad

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 18:15:08

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

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

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.

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

victim*

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

Bit of victims blaming going on here.

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