Help please, wonderful DD having a v tough time

(30 Posts)
OneLieIn Fri 25-Jan-13 15:16:39

Oh wise people, please help.

DD (year 7) has had the same friends for 4 or 5 years. The group dynamic changed as it does with girls. So rather than being a tight knit group of 4, it is three against 1.

There's been a lot of lying by the three "We're not doing this" type stuff when really they are so that DD doesn't know. There's been a lot of v hurtful comments "you are our lapdog", "we wish you were dead" and some minor mean physical exclusion, pushing DD off a bench, pulling her chair away as she sat down, saying I will pair with you in PE, then refusing at the last minute so DD is left alone.

DD is isolated, alone. She eats lunch alone. BUT she loves these girls and wants to be their friend. DH and I are encouraging her to stand up for herself and remove herself so she doesn't keep getting hurt emotionally by their cruelty. One of the girls said "I will talk to you before school, but can't talk to you in school", so DD stopped going to that girl's house before school.

How can I help her? She looks terrible, dark circles, has a constant headache and wants Calpol every day, is still eating well, but I am worried.

I stepped in before Christmas and texted the other mums (who are all lovely people and friends of mine) with mixed response. I have called the class teacher and am waiting for a callback.

How can I help?

OhGood Fri 25-Jan-13 15:24:45

Hi OneLieIn sorry I have no advice but it sounds horrible, for her and for you to have to watch it. Heartbreaking, and you sound like you're being very level-headed. God, I am going to have to toughen up, I have a DD who is 3 and this would make me want to Go Round There and...well, I don't know. Good luck.

JuliaScurr Fri 25-Jan-13 15:27:59

youngminds.org

very helpful to friends and to me

fuzzysnout Fri 25-Jan-13 15:32:26

I would suggest contacting whoever is in charge of pastoral care for your DD - normally head of year / head of house/ community depending on the school set up. They will be better placed to take action than the form tutor.

Sadly these problems are very common amongst girls of this age & they will be very experienced in dealing with them.

BinarySolo Fri 25-Jan-13 15:33:16

What did the other mums say? I'd be horrified if a child of mine was doing this.

Girls are like this. Encourage your daughter to make new friends. Hopefully the teacher will help too. I'm guessing there's a ringleader amongst them if one is willing to talk to her outside school. Maybe approach the mum of that girl again?

I remember being excluded by friends at primary school and it felt like the end of the world. My mom's pearl of wisdom was: you don't own people. You can't make the girls be friends again.

VariousBartimaeus Fri 25-Jan-13 15:41:00

I don't have any real advice but would just say let your house be a safe zone she can escape to.

I was bullied by "friends" and non friends for years. Having the bullying girls round to my house (when they were "friends") was so stressful and awful, I never knew what they would point and laugh at etc.

In general, I really appreciated my loving family and felt so good when I could shut the door and know that inside I was safe (I hated school).

Does she have a mobile or internet access where the bullying could be going on at home? I'd keep an eye on that to be honest. I'm so grateful I grew up without the technology which would have meant bullying invading my home.

Hope it gets better for your DD.

OneLieIn Fri 25-Jan-13 16:05:12

You're right about the technology. There's a lot of texting and messaging going on. My dd has read some of them out when I have asked her and they are a mixed bag, some good, some not and some plain mean. I need to persuade her to give me open access to her phone.... Not too sure how to do that.

I was looking on a website and it suggested she keeps a diary of what they do and say and how it makes her feel and what she wants to happen.

OneLieIn Fri 25-Jan-13 16:57:00

Binarysolo, do you really think girls are like this? I think these girls are being very cruel and mean

BinarySolo Fri 25-Jan-13 19:45:43

Obviously not all girls but I think it happens a lot.

When I was about 13 I was friends with a group of 3 other girls everything was fine and we used to go to a youth club together. I was ill for a week and when I went back to school they'd made up loads of 'in' jokes about me at the youth club. I felt totally humiliated and betrayed. There was no reason for it. I done nothing. Some girls are just really spiteful and take great pleasure in leaving someone out.

OneLieIn Fri 25-Jan-13 20:43:29

Sounds like dd! The worst thing is its her bday soon and she is hesitating over what to do and you can see her worrying about it. Also she is thinking about whether she will be invited to one of the other girls house... I don't have the heart to say that is really unlikely sad

Poor thing it's a tough lesson to learn.

Magdalena45 Sat 26-Jan-13 00:42:39

Your poor dd. All girls can be mean at times but this is not okay. I'm guessing one of these girls may be ring leading and the others join in (better her than me kind of thing). I work with kids (and my daughter's been bullied) and it's really important to reassure your daughter that it's not her fault (I'm sure you are!) Sometimes schools etc can inadvertantly make the victim feel like they're doing something wrong... Research does not bear this out, it's often random. I do think school needs to address the other girls' behaviour but I also think that, as far as possible it would be good to support your daughter to make new friends. I would try to help her think about (even if they stop picking on her) are these the kinds of friends she wants. It is really hard, I know! Hang in there. At a minimum, at least she has a loving mum to support her and in the long run that helps alot!

My dd found year 7 really difficult and I think that a lot of this goes on, hierachy adjusting and plain old bullying. I would speak to tutor/mentor and try and build a framework for her out of school too, so that her self esteem is not so reliant on the small group.
I wouldn't contact the other parents again, it never goes well and sometimes makes it worse ( been there).

Can she join a club out of school? Are there any other girls that she could try and approach in school?

It's so upsetting to see your child treated badly.

OneLieIn Sat 26-Jan-13 09:15:08

magdalena what do you mean by "Sometimes schools etc can inadvertantly make the victim feel like they're doing something wrong."

The school hasn't contacted me yet. One of her teachers knows about it already as dd broke down in PE and cried. The teacher took her out and they had a good chat.

You are right about making her think of other friends and whether she would even want friends like this. I asked her about DS and if this was happening to him what she would say to him (she loves to tell him what to do!) and she said Leave the friends alone.

We have after school clubs, but we live in quite a small place and all of the girls do all of the same stuff so she will never be away from them really, which is tough.

I am not getting involved with the other parents. We have had the occasional drink together and I am sure that will happen again, I guess I will go along.

OneLieIn Sat 26-Jan-13 09:20:26

toughasold what helped your daughter?

I am really worried about the effect on her wellbeing. She looks TERRIBLE, haunted is probably the only word I can think of, pale, dark circles worse than mine (and that is saying something wink) sad and v lethargic compared to her 6 months ago, full of bounce, fun, shiny eyes, keen to do stuff, laughing a lot.

And I guess her wellbeing affects her work too at school, although truthfully I don't care about this too much. I care much more about her wellbeing, because when dd is happy, she will work well.

cocolepew United States Sat 26-Jan-13 09:30:07

Your poor DD. This hapened to my DD. I think the best thing is to get her to walk away from these 'friends'. Definitely speak to the school and make sure they keep an eye out for any type of bullying towards her. Encourage her to make new friends. DD had to be blunt and asked another group of girls if she could play with them because her friends had turned against her. They were fine about it and accepted her into the group.

Block the girls numbers in her phone.

If it continues keep on at the school, they will have a bullyibg policy which they should be following.

DuchessFanny Sat 26-Jan-13 09:40:59

She needs to completely detach from them ... So yes while at school and clubs she will be in the same place, but tell her not to engage with them in any way .. Block their numbers on her phone / block fb

They are using her as sport and if she is no longer available for that they will turn on each other, which could make her see what kind of people they are and not worthy to be HER friend.

Can she also arrange some sort of getting together with a different friend after school ?

Remember most girls have been through this, so she's not the first and sadly not the last - but not alone ! ( good that she talks to you !) x

Magdalena45 Sat 26-Jan-13 12:15:13

What I meant about the school is that schools do stuff like sit them all down together or ask the victim if their behaviour is contributing (without any reason to think it is). The first thing is not often helpful (especially if they sit all four down, as your daughter is outnumbered). Even if they sit her and another girl down it's intimidating and kids know what to say in front of adults. What is happening is completely unacceptable (pushing someone off a bench is assault) and school should be stepping in swiftly. It is a good idea for your daughter to carry a notebook to write down incidents. That way, if she finds it hard to say, she can show it to the teacher.
I think one of the most important things is to keep reassuring her that this is not happening because there is something wrong with her. The other girls may be picking on her simply because she's nicer than them. When my daughter's gone through it, we've talked about how being nasty sometimes seems to help some girls be popular at this age but that as an adult it's not a successful strategy. We talk about whether it's worth it to become that kind of person, etc (all about trying to protect their self esteem during a difficult time)
Does your school have cyber mentors or peer support? If not she might want to try cyber mentors website for support?
Sorry for such a long post, just hate bullying so much!

OneLieIn Sat 26-Jan-13 12:15:30

Sport's such a hard word, but I guess that is what they are doing. She is providing them with a cruel form of entertainment. confused

BCBG Sat 26-Jan-13 12:45:04

Not sure what I will say can help, but here goes. I have four dcs, and have been through this with both girls at the same (YR5-7) stage. When my youngest was experiencing this she became as withdrawn and unwell as your daughter sounds. the fact that your daughter is able to tell you is important, as mine hid it for ages. I have to say that her school was fantastic, and their first strategy was to sit all the girls in the year down together and have an exploratory talk. However, she carried on being isolated and teased until one day when the girls were caught more or less redhanded. The teacher who caught them gave them such a verbal lashing that they all burst into tears. They appeared to have had very little 'real' understanding of the damage they were doing - it had become almost a 'joke' habit to them. One particular girl was the ringleader, and she is the only one who can still be tricky. Generally, and I can only speak for my DD, finding that the school stood up for her was a huge part of her getting over it, and the whole group of girls are quite close now. There is probably a single perpetrator in your case too. I really do feel that you need to go in and sit down with the Year Head and form teacher and ask the school what they intend to do to stop it happening. Separately, your DD needs to be encouraged to ignore it, and them, but I know how hard that can be. Duchessfanny has a good point - I would block all phone numbers pronto. Deal firmly with this, but I would avoid making much contact with individual parents because they are likely to be defensive. Much better if the school has a sensible anti-bullying policy. I hope it does.

I went in to the school and was very firm about the need for it to be dealt with. I provided evidence in the form of notes and screenshots of online bullying. I agree with the poster who said that at that age it is sometimes the nasty girls who seem most popular.

I encouraged her to pretend that they were invisible and that she had a barrier around her, also to try and encourage her to invite other girls back that she wouldn't have considered friends before.

JuliaScurr Sat 26-Jan-13 13:05:43

hope you and dd have a nice w/e

do try youngminds.org, they're good

think of something too expensive to invite friends to for her b'day?

consider moving school?

OneLieIn Sat 26-Jan-13 14:08:28

Yes there's a natural break at the end of year 8 as they go off to senior school (three tier system). So pulling her out at the end of year 7 to go to a different school where she would know others and can stay til she is 18 is an option I am considering.

Blocking her phone numbers is going to be interesting, she feels that they are still her friends and this will be a big step for her in admitting they aren't.

For her birthday we are going away for the weekend on a family thing where we can be with those who love her, we will do a Go Ape tree adventure too for some fun. One of the other girls has a birthday at the same time and is having a party. Dd is hanging out for an invite, but there's no way it's going to happen and even if it does, she shouldn't go. So maybe I will arrange the weekend away to clash so that she doesn't have a choice?

It's a good idea thanks to get screenshots of some of the texts too.

God I just want to shake these other girls, scream at them.

And she absolutely doesn't tell me everything because she thinks dh and I are blaming them. Which we are.

Primrose123 Sat 26-Jan-13 14:21:56

Hi OP. My DD was bullied like this, although the girls involved were not her friends, they just started picking on her. As you mentioned above, it was like a game or sport, it was fun to them, but made my DD very unhappy and withdrawn. At the end of Year 6 we moved her to a different secondary school, and for the last 5 years she has loved her new school, has loads of friends and is doing well academically.

Unfortunately she still encounters the girls from her old school, and they haven't changed unfortunately. The worst of the bullies turned up a while ago at an after school activity where DD and I were volunteering. DD turned into a quivering wreck, it was awful to see that this girl still had the power to scare her. When we got home we found that the girl had written lots of lies on facebook about my DD. It made me glad that she had moved schools though, otherwise every day in school would have been like that for her. Apparently the main bully hasn't changed, she picks on other girls now, yet she can be very sweet and lovely in front of the teachers, so they don't realise she is like that.

Even if your DD is invited to the other girl's party, I don't think you should let her go, because surely she will just be the butt of their jokes the whole time and have a really awful time.

I agree, you can't make girls like another girl, and I think the only option is to get her to find new friends in school. I know that's not easy. sad

Bunbaker Sat 26-Jan-13 14:55:04

Girls of this age can be nasty. You absolutely need to contact the head of year/learning mentor/year tutor about this and tell them everything that you have said on here. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable. DD had this problem and the year 7 learning mentor was brilliant. Unfortunately DD's bully has continued to sabotage DD's friendships and now DD has sought friendship with other girls who are in different classes.

She is in year 8 and the learning mentor has asked the head of year that she and her bully are put into different classes for every subject in year 9 as they move everyone around a lot for year 9 anyway.

DeWe Mon 28-Jan-13 10:24:45

Dd1 had similar problems in year 6 with her long standing best friend. Problem was the bf had also blocked dd1's any potential other friends, while dd1 welcomed any friends of bf. So dd1 was very much on her own and didn't feel she had anyone to come back on so was tagging round after bf while bf told lies about her and was nasty. Bf's mum thinks sun shines out of you know where so that wasn't going to get anywhere.

Basically she's gone to a different school in year 7 to most of her old school and it's given her the confidence to make different friends. So I would look to moving her. If you can find a secondary that goes up to 18yo then it saves moving her twice, also she can tell those girls that she's moving because you decided you prefer that school system, rather than because of them, when they may feel they win.

I was bullied by a group of girls in a very similar way to this. The more I tried to be friendly with them (roll over to their demands), the worse it got. It got physical, they broke into my house, stole from me etc... Only when I got tough, stopped showing them I cared did it stop after 4 years. My mum speaking to the school and some of their parents really did nothing as much of what they did flew under the radar.

What helped me was outside of school activities that boosted my confidence. My counselling would have helped if I had not still been in the school around these same girls, I tried, but it left me too raw, unprotected and emotionally more vulnerable to their attacks.

It had a huge effect in my confidence for years. Unfortunately for me some of the friends and social activities that I became involved in in order to be liked/have friends later on were less than positive.

If I were you I would get your daughter involved in something like a martial art or drama group that would give her more confidence and remove her from the school ASAP. It could happen again elsewhere, but at least she will have a chance for the seed of confidence to grow and take root without it being pruned out of existence by the behaviour of this group of girls.

I wish I had moved school when I had the chance. My brother had a similar experience and did move school, made lovely new friends and didn't have a lot of the issues I had.

Oh and I forgot to say that as her parent it is your say about her phone, she has to allow you open access or no phone. If you can block numbers great if not new phone, that line of communication/abuse must be stopped or it will be a way for them to erode any new found confidence she has. The same for online methods too.

OneLieIn Mon 28-Jan-13 12:51:16

Thanks all. *stitch@ you are right about the phone and we had a chat about it last night, let's test it and see.

Yesterday dd got a text from one of the three, the one who was her bff saying how she was sorry and she wanted to make it up to her and would dd forgive her? DD was amazingly excited that all was suddenly right with the world until we spoke to her and said think about what you want her to do and make sure she knows. You want her to stand up for you when the others are mean, to be a proper friend. dd didn't want to say that so just said about how hurt her feelings had been.

I cannot help but think this will be bad. We reminded her about "You are our lapdog" and how she must stand up for herself. Only by standing up for herself has the bff come to any sense (if it is true).

OMG, pre-teen girls...

Labro Thu 31-Jan-13 15:19:25

Unfortunately its not just girls. My ds is going through similar at the hands of a ringleader boy. It all came to a head yesterday as he was caught red handed by a teacher. I thought that would mean that the head would be involved, instead I received a message that ringleader would be sent to the head 'if' he did it again! Ringleader has been told this 4 times now. I've pointed out to the school that empty threats are useless, they tried to say ringleader and the others didn't fully understand and thought it was a joke, but thats rubbish, my ds understands hurtful behaviour and not to do it so surely they do??? Hoping your dd is able to find a new friendship group xx

Magdalena45 Fri 01-Feb-13 13:21:46

Just wondered how you are getting on?

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