Just logged on after a couple of years not using MN for some collective wisdom . DD (almost 10) is very sad recently, talks a lot about being lonely at school, she even latched onto something I was saying to a friend of mine about her school and asked if she could move schools. She is quite shy and is drawn to strong characters, who since 2nd half of last sch year often seem to do the dirty on her - after weeks of being best buddies, they will suddenly say they don't like her any more, and are nasty to her at school, ignore her, etc. The girls in her class seem to have paired off and all 3 of the girls she was closest to until recently (since preschool) have paired off with others she never had much to do with. The pairs thing is exacerbated by them sitting in pairs at desks and sharing lockers in pairs. She is v. bossy at home and I have suggested she consider how she behaves towards her friends because if she treats them like her sister (DD2) then they might not like it. Actually I suspect its a reaction to that treatment from them. I have also suggested inviting people here more, not ruling out boys, and striking up contacts with people she might not have done before. The problem is they have quite a lot of homework and she does loads of extra-curric stuff which she won't give up, so there is little time to invite people round. SHe does have friends outside school but it's school that's bothering her. But I have drawn the line at buying her a puppy "to have something of my own to love, so that I wouldn't be so sad" - we have 2 dogs who never get played with and she has her own guinea pig, who she does like cuddling, as well as a baby sister (DD3) who she adores but who is fast growing up with a mind of her own and now screams if you try to coerce her into anything... I am sad for her because I had this at school but until recently she always had friends and I thought she would avoid it. Any advice?
I wonder if it would be worth talking to school? I know a friend's ds had a similar problem around that age. They spoke to the teacher, who once he knew about the issue was very good about finding a slightly older boy to buddy up with him, bring him into group games etc.
I think it is hard for teachers to always spot the difference between children going off alone/reading alone at lunchtime because they want some quiet down-time, and children alone because they don't have anyone to hang out with.
Have to say that the pairs at desks / lockers in pairs sounds like a recipe for trouble, though!
I just found a note hidden under her desk at home: "dear St Nicholas, you are always giving presents; this is a present for you to say thank you. I don't have many friends, but maybe you could be my friend, a kind of older friend. How about it? Always believing in you, M" (This is a translation - we live abroad and she's bilingual)
What do I do with this???
I think you're right about speaking to the teacher. This is a difficult year for them - a change from the one-teacher-for-everything model to subjects, more homework, etc. Lots of stress... I am trying to get her to see the positives, join in with others, etc.
We'll have to see: teacher seems v. nice and approachable (new), but there are none of the pastoral care initiatives here that I see talked about on MN. It's very much like when I was at school 30 yrs ago... Her last teacher's approach to problems like this was to haul in the perpetrators and ask: Why did you do XYZ to [victim]? :D
Does her school have an "emotional literacy support assistant"? My DD had regular friendship issued in junior school & received a lot of help from an ELSA. Now at the first sign of problems I ask her "what would Mrs B say?"
I wish! No such add-ons here - there is a school "pedagogue" who does "talks" on stuff like drugs, TV, stranger danger etc. but now she's in Yr 4 (here - in the UK I think she'd be in Yr5) she doesn't have lessons with her any more - and I think she's probably better off to be honest :D Anyone with a less refined approach to child emotional/pastoral care issues I have yet to meet (except perhaps my MIL, but that's another story ... :D :D )