Why does my 7 year old dd have no friends?

(44 Posts)
Orangeanddemons Thu 19-Sep-13 21:46:18

She has had issues since Year 1. More tears tonight, no one to play with at dinner time....as usual.

I just can't understand it, she's kind, caring, lively and friendly, but no one wants to play with her. She doesn't seem to have any social issues, in fact she seems to have very high emotional intelligence for her age. She is now starting to lose her self esteem, and I just do not know what to do..

OnaPromise Thu 19-Sep-13 21:52:04

Have you talked to the school about it?

alpinemeadow Thu 19-Sep-13 21:53:22

You poor things, how upsetting! have you been into the school to discuss it with them? If so, i'd go back, if not i'd go now, and say the situation is affecting dd's self esteem and ask how they can help. It can be helpful to come away with some agreed steps (eg school will pair her off with likely girls in lessons), or if not, a follow up meeting when they tell you what they've decided to do.

Also, what happens if you try inviting girls badk to play after school - do they accept the invites? If so it might be worth doing more of that - trying to cement friendships out of school.

OnaPromise Thu 19-Sep-13 21:53:43

Also does she do stuff outside of school, and if so, how is that for her?

alpinemeadow Thu 19-Sep-13 21:56:33

Another thing always sugested on mn, and i think very helpful, is to organise some out of school activities quite separate from school - music, drama, a sport? To give your dd another source of friends quite apart from school, so that her sense of self isn't totally tied up with school.

Orangeanddemons Thu 19-Sep-13 21:57:41

I went to school in Years one and two, and am about to go in tomorrow again in Year 3.

I've invited loads of girls round for tea etc, it is never reciprocated. She holds her own in lessons, but it's at dinner time that the problem is the worst, and always has been. No interventions so far have had any lasting success.

whodunnit Thu 19-Sep-13 22:03:07

poor thing. She has my sympathy, but I can't think of any good advice. It's heartbreaking not to be able to fix things like that, I know.

MacNCheese Thu 19-Sep-13 22:07:02

Could you get her involved in after school socialising something the woodcraft folk (its totally awesome IMO). Even if it doesn't help the school thing it might help her to have other friends.

Orangeanddemons Thu 19-Sep-13 22:09:50

She's just started Brownies, but we had tears after that. The local Woodcraft group is full.

OnaPromise Thu 19-Sep-13 22:10:07

I think high emotional intelligence/maturity can sometimes be a bit difficult in childhood, when other kids are maybe more 'childish'. It'll stand her in good stead when she's older, but I know that's not helping you now OP.

Hope the school can come up with something more effective.

alpinemeadow Thu 19-Sep-13 22:12:58

Do the teachers have any ideas about why this has happened? Quite often there is no particular reason, and it is sort of a vicious cycle - once people dont want to play with you, nor does the next person. Are there any other non-friended girls who teach could guide towards dd?
Is it a two or three form per year school - if so, would a change of class help?
Poor you, this type of thing can be heartbreaking. Do you have any nice cousins or family friends you can invite over this weekend to be with dd - give her a bit of a boost?

alpinemeadow Thu 19-Sep-13 22:21:14

Hmm, problem has gone on for two years. I know this is 'nuclear', but do you think you might have to consider a change of school - if that's even possible? I think occasionally a dc can get into a rut of other dcs just deciding they don't want to play with them - though that i think is more common at secondary school.
I'd bang on the door of woodcraft (metaphorically) or maybe see if there's a group further away. And speak to brownie leaders if that didn't go well tonight as they may be able to intervene - maybe even change her 'six' if the current one hasn't been welcoming.
But as well as brownies/woodcraft you might find an interest-based club is effective - chess, an art club? Something where they start out with a common interest?

Orangeanddemons Thu 19-Sep-13 22:24:02

There are 4 classes in each year. I think she is in a sort of stuck situation. I want her to change classes, but the infant school seemed not keen. Don't know about the primary yet.

I don't really want her to change school, and she doesn't. Is a good school with a nice ethos

kissmyheathenass Thu 19-Sep-13 22:28:52

My DD, 8 is the .same.She is fun and friendly but seems to miss out socially. her teacher last year was concerned and tried to engineer a couple of friendships but nothing really stuck. I can't bear cliques and steer cleared them st the school gates. I Wonder if this has had an impact as we don't mix with school families outside of school so maybe DD misses out. She is very mature and in her teachers words `rises above' the cliqueyness of the other girls.

kissmyheathenass Thu 19-Sep-13 22:31:58

Also we don't have invitations reciprocated which pisses me off big time. If you don't like my dd enough to have her round don't come here and eat all my food. angry

alpinemeadow Thu 19-Sep-13 22:32:48

Will you be discussing a change of class when you go in - that sounds as though it might be worth trying? Of course they may say 'give it time' in which case i'd point out that you've given it two years and it has now got to the stage where ddis being damaged by it (quite apart from her being miserable, which in my view is bad enough!)

alpinemeadow Thu 19-Sep-13 22:36:28

I don't think lack of reciprocation necessarily means the friendship isn't working though - if they accept the invites and have a good time, i'd carry on asking them. Lack of invites back can be for many reasons, not necessarily because the other dd doesn't like the dd, so i'd just plough on with those invitations as long as they're accepted a reasonable proportion of the time!

EugenesAxe Thu 19-Sep-13 23:17:14

Really hard to know and I'm sorry for you and your DD. I think everyone saying being 'too wise' being a hindrance may have a point. Otherwise you'll have to look at shallow reasons for it, such as how she looks/talks, what she wears, whether she tries too hard/ is needy in terms of seeking approval from others, whether the other girls are not her intellectual equal either way, whether they have a vague notion of a difference in social backgrounds.

Like kissmy I often wonder about my role as a parent in terms of setting up my DCs well for friendships. I sometimes feel a bit alien next to other DMs and tend to seek out other down-to-earth people as my friends. I think it's something to be considered for sure.

Could you ask a close friend to be brutally honest and not judge them for what they may theorise about you or your DD?

I've been blunt myself in this response so sorry if anything I've written has upset you. I'm literally thinking about what things girls at my school could have bothered about at that age. Actually, having an identity/personality outside whatever theme is the rage in the classroom might be an issue - they are still young but it seems to me school is all about not standing out from the crowd in some ways. Not that I would advocate your DD changing to conform to some theme - it only really worked in Grease - she may just need to wait until someone true, and strong-minded comes along that she bonds with and can have as a mutual support. That's kind of what I had with my best mate, whom I've known since pre-school - she enabled me to remain broadly untroubled by any school teasing I encountered.

BlackMogul Thu 19-Sep-13 23:50:23

I felt that my DD had similar issues. I was aware that she was a bit chatty and was keen on organising games in the playground but this led to no-one wanting to play with her because she wanted to be the leader all the time and, interestingly, so did the other children, hence clashes of personality. It took much longer than I thought it would for my DD to understand you had to take turns. After she got the hang of this, life improved in the playground. However, parents were a strong factor in choosing friends for their children, and my DD was not a chosen one! Party invitations were very rare and so were invitations out to tea, despite plenty coming round here to play. There was only really one child who was a true friend and she was going to another school at 11. We all decided, in year 5, that we could not follow this other lot to the High school and therefore, with DD's total agreement, looked at boarding schools for year 7. From day 1 there she made friends easily and never looked back. She has a huge number of friends now. She is the one everyone turns to to sort out a meal out or organise the birthday presents for special birthdays. She is just one of life's organisers. Sometimes the people and children at a school are just out of sync with you and your child. I fully realise not everyone can take drastic action as we did, but I am so glad we escaped! As you are in a much bigger school, keep searching. Do everything you can to have a life outside school. Music, dance, sport. The Brownies will be good if she gives it a chance. And........... It will get better. You just have to be in the right place to find those friends.

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 07:25:19

She can be needy, and can be bossy, but tbh they all seem bossy!

I avoid cliques too, I'm just not into that sort of thing, so maybe that's a problem, but it was never a problem with ds.

alpinemeadow Fri 20-Sep-13 08:06:10

Yes oranges and lemons, it is very difficult to tell why one person has a group of friends and another doesn't - as you say it's quite possible for someone with bossy/needy traits to have lots of friends! (obviously they have nice characteristics as well, but so does your dd!)
I think even at 7 one particular aspect that may lead a girl to be left out is if she isn't interested in 'girl' type things like clothes, pop music, (yes, even at 7) - some girls are very attuned to that lack of interest and it does put them off. But that may not apply to your dd anyway! There are usually a few others who aren't interested as well, though, if you can find them.
Have the classes stayed the same with the move from infants to key stage 2? If so i would be asking them about a change of class, as this one isn't working for your dd. or failing that a really concerted effort to get her together with some girls in the other 3 classes - organising pair 'tasks', group games at lunch time, maybe some work set 'across' the form so that she can work with others in the library. Good luck! Schools have so many demands on their time that a girl who causes no trouble but has no one to play with may not be the top of their to do list - so your dd is really lucky to have you to advocate for her!

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 09:08:30

Thanks so much for all your help. Saw teacher this am who is really lovely guy although looks about 10! They have a friendship room at lunchtimes, and a friendship lunch time supervisor. She will be referred to both.

Changing classes is something I will consider, but her teacher is so so nice

neenienana Fri 20-Sep-13 09:19:17

I was about to suggest a lunchtime club or playground buddies. I had similar issues with my son in yr 2, we had moved school in yr 1. I used to worry so much about him being on his own at playtime. Now going into yr 4, he is so confidant and has some good friends. I really tried to make friends with other mums and engineer playdates and that did seem to help. We are still not part of the gang so to speak but things are so much better. J think yr 2 is a tricky one for some kids. Good luck and keep talking to the teacher.

Ratatouille1977 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:32:40

I'm in the same boat with my dd2, she is 6. I have left her in tears this morning sad. She can be bossy, inflexible, in your face, needy but I think she also has a good heart. She is lacking of the essential social skills. We trying to help her as much as we can but it's like she doesn't want to know. She wants to be friend with a couple of girls who don't especially want to be friends with her, yet she doesn't let go.

I'm sorry for the hijack Orange, I'm sorry for your daughter.

devilinside Fri 20-Sep-13 09:41:37

I think emotional intelligence is hard to see in children. Just because she's kind and caring among adults, doesn't mean she's the same with other children. My DD is borderline asperger's and has always been a joy with adults, but over controlling and bossy with her peers. (something we are working on) Asperger's is so subtle in girls, so I think it's worth investigating, how is her imaginative play? (my dd never plays with toys, for example, it's all climbing, running, mixing up potions and computers)

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