dd colluding with bullying

(7 Posts)
SpookyRachel Sun 17-Apr-16 22:21:37

So, not an unusual situation: dd (10) is part of a friendship group of girls who have developed some really unpleasant bullying dynamics over the last 3 or 4 years. There are two ringleaders, and two girls who take turns as victim: dd and another girl (who dd is not close to).

I am a bit in despair about what to do about this situation. dd has rock-bottom self-esteem and believes she is very lucky to be in this group and that she basically has to suck up to these girls all the time to keep her place. She won't walk away from them. I think she is quite seriously depressed, and has been for quite a while. I am trying to get some help for her with that but can't find anything yet - CAMHS inaccessible and local counselling service won't see children under 11. The school doesn't seem able to help.

Even worse, dd colludes with the meanness when it is the other girl's turn to be victim. She admits this to me, in floods of tears, saying she really doesn't want to do this but when she sticks up for the other girl she gets bullied more. When it is dd's turn, the other girl doesn't stick up for her either.

I'm obviously horrified at the thought of my girl bullying, and have made clear how completely unacceptable bullying is. But I worry if I just keep saying, in effect, "Don't you dare do that", she will just stop telling me about it. (And if she did, I wouldn't hear about it - other girls' parents have strong policy of non-involvement.) I treasure that right now she is very honest with me, and want to keep that so that she doesn't feel totally alone with this. But of course, it IS unacceptable.

Has anybody else been there and found constructive ways forward?

Hassled Sun 17-Apr-16 22:25:12

Talk to the school - do it tomorrow. This is awful for you, for your DD and for the other victim; you can't stop it but the school will have experience and will know how to deal with it without repercussions for your DD.

SpookyRachel Sun 17-Apr-16 22:40:25

Thanks, Hassled. I have talked to the school so, so many times over the years. Nothing has ever really happened. The girls make sure they keep under the teachers' radar, and think things like anti-bullying week are a huge joke. The form teacher is very aware and has talked sympathetically with my dd about it a couple of times - but keeps saying to me that she will talk to the SENCO who is 'an expert'. (I deal a fair bit with the SENCO because of my younger daughter and don't share this optimism that she can or will do anything to help.)

I guess it's very hard for the school to do anything when they don't see the behaviour and dd won't walk away from her 'friends'. I did try talking to the ringleader's mother (who is a good friend) a few years back and immediately got the, "Not my lovely sensitive girl" so backed right off. I've also tried a couple of times talking with the other victim's parents, thinking we could talk to the girls together about how they could support each other and refuse to play divide and rule games. But they firmly don't want to get involved, and it sounds as though their dd doesn't really talk to them about it anyway.

I'm so worried about dd. She thinks she is absolute rubbish, and has been sad and angry for so long now. She has all this shit at school, and then she comes home and has a little sister who has quite significant problems and demands a huge amount of attention. And she spends every other weekend with her dad who is not the nurturing type and gets annoyed with her. And she is going through puberty, which she hates. She feels invisible and overlooked everywhere, and that she can only be liked if she denies her own sense of self. I have two unhappy children and I feel so desperately failed.

Sorry for the vent.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 17-Apr-16 22:55:38

Is she in yr 5 or yr 6? If in yr 6 I would seriously consider pulling out for the rest of the term and home educate and discuss with secondary. Request to be in different classes.

If in yr5 it is more tricky. You need to start involving the Head, if that fails the governors. If the teacher has acknowledged the problem then she is aware of it and should have acted. If it wasn't for your younger dd then I would also look into moving schools, although if she is also not having her needs met then maybe a different school would suit her too. We moved dd last year and the difference was almost instant and amazing to see her shine again. It feels like a big step at the time but she shouldn't spend the last year of primary unhappy and you also want her to see how friendships should work to set her up for the transition. Still make sure that you talk to the secondary so she isn't reunited with them there.

3-4 years of bullying isn't going to stop without some dramatic interventions.

SpookyRachel Mon 18-Apr-16 22:07:13

Thanks, shouldwestay. Sadly she's Y5. Good news though is that the secondary has a policy of NOT keeping friends together, which I saw as very harsh a few years ago and I now think is excellent!

You have stiffened my resolve: I will have one last go with the teacher and then maybe take it to the head. He is new and seems very motivated.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 19-Apr-16 09:14:15

To be honest after that history of bullying and lack of action I would ask for a joint meeting with the teacher and head. A new head is a good thing as he is probably less likely to side automatically with the teacher (even if he appears to in a meeting). He will hopefully also have a can do attitude.

Is it a one form entry? Would moving classes be a possibility? Think about what would be your best solution to the problem. Are there any other friendships which could be encouraged. Even in yr 6 dd1 seems to be forging new friendships and alliances with girls she hasn't played with since reception and who aren't going to the same secondary school.

Tamarandave Sun 15-May-16 16:07:58

If I may say so, I think your terms of reference are misjudged. Your daughter is not 'colluding' with the bullies but is, as both victim and perpetrator, attempting to appease the bullies and there are also guilt issues here.
In other words, she has said to herself that she will put up with being the victim of bullying for most of the time, as long as she is allowed a break now and again, and allowed to dish it out for a while. There also is Sysiphusian element to this whereby she feels guilty about the times she is the bully and accepts her turn to be bullied as punishment/atonement. Either way she gains nothing from this vicious descending spiral and only sinks further into self hate and depression.
In my opinion she may benefit from seeing a child psychologist

As for the school. Its the usual shameful story of doing little or nothing to address the situation. I would not waste another second with the teachers or the school or any other authority, but remove her immediately, even just for a term as another messenger has suggested. This pattern needs to be stopped for her, and for the other girl.

In the meantime give your DD lots of jobs, chores and as much responsibility as she can handle ( I know its not fashionable) but it really builds self confidence, self worth and helps mentally and emotionally. Also avoid any anger at home so that she has a safe, happy place to be at any time.

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