Not a big poster, but have name changed for this. Not sure where best to post!? Sorry it's long!
DD2, recently turned 12. Just to give background, she has always had a lovely nature, easy going, funny sweet girl. She does have a life-long serious medical condition, but this is managed well and while we had some problems when she was a bit younger where it was stressful and more difficult to cope with for a time, for a good while now her treatment has been settled and under control and she copes very well. We have talked with her and her paed cons in case she has still been finding it psychologically difficult to deal with, but we are reassured there is no anxiety about it. So all well, we thought, nice to see her doing well and happy.
She loves school and has been doing well. There has been some big changes and fall-outs in the last year in her friend groups and they have just moved to high school. She has had 2 or 3 separate friend groups for a while as dd likes everyone, but as lots of the other girls don't get on, hence the different groups, she would spend time with friends in each group. Some of the more domineering girls have given her a very hard time over this, you know the sort of thing, 'I won't be friends with you if you speak to her, and I'll make sure x, y and z stop being friends with you too', and so on.
One friend group consisting of many of her best and long term friends and led by one domineering girl, fell out with her when dd2 befriended another girl who was moved into dd's form and who had no other friends. She resisted dumping the new friend at the group leader's say so out of principle but it has been very upsetting for her.
There is one other girl she has been friends with for several years who also blows hot and cold with her. My dd adores her and gets very upset when she has been off at times. I'll call her M.
So dd has been getting hormonal and her behaviour is changing at home, becoming very moody and snappy. I have older dcs so used to this change. This summer she seemed quite down and several times engaged in secretive conversations with a cousin who is in her class and part of her friend group. Asked her a few times if she was OK and she reassured there was nothing wrong though I wasn't convinced.
Back at school, this seemed to get worse, and now I have accidentally come across some notes which I saw while clearing her bed. Her and dd1 are very messy, they make things and draw, write songs, poetry etc. I just put to the side if I'm clearing up as there is always stuff laying around, just fun stuff, not private usually so I would look to see if it looks like something to keep or bin. She says in them that she is a lesbian, and has had feelings for M more than friendship and clearly she had confided to her cousin.
I had another longer sensitive (I hope) talk with her, in which I didn't let on that I knew anything specifically, but told her I noticed she seemed down and if there was anything worrying her or she wanted to talk about she could tell me and trust me but she said nothing.
Unfortunately she chose to confide in friends and as you might imagine word has now spread at school that she (thinks she) is a lesbian, so she is now the subject of gossip. She also has siblings at the school. I wish she had felt she could talk to me, I'm a very open person and she is normally, so I'd hoped she would.
I've done a little bit of looking on her's and her friends' Facebook pages, she doesn't use it much, but I have seen some gossip and comments. Not sure if the feelings for M have passed, but there were also new comments about her feelings for another girl, T, and comments telling her to back off from T as it was upsetting T.
Before this she had been talking about liking and fancying boys, just in a fun 12 year old way. At this age, I imagine it's normal to have crushes on friends (girls) and be confused by these strong feelings but I have no personal experience of it. At the moment I'm concerned about her being gossip fodder and losing more friends and her emotional wellbeing. She's only 12, and I'm worried about all this weighing on her at her age, and with her illness.
Sorry this is long, hope it makes sense and many thanks if you have got to the end.
I would really like to talk to her, and would like some perspective and advice on the most sensitive way to approach this, and the school situation.
I was wondering if you'd be violating confidences to bring up gossip, or putting things to her that sound and are just made up. I know how much it would annoy me if someone brought up obvious gossip about me. I think all sexual feelings are embarrassing & awkward, I think might be best to leave it to her if possible to bring up how especially awkward same-sex crushes are. Mostly just invite her to talk & be a good listener.