How can I help her be happy?

(12 Posts)
alwaysonmymind Fri 17-Jan-14 21:44:40

My DD is in Year 5 and 9. Her birthday is at the end of summer, so she is one of the youngest. I have seen her change this year from a child who loves school to one where she has regularly asked if she can go to a new school.

She is very kind but not very confident. She has put herself forward for all the positions open in school - class council etc and every time she feels that the loud, popular (in her mind) get chosen. Her application for class council was lost so while others stood up and read their bid for votes she had to try and remember what she had written. She came home and cried that night. This was at the beginning of the year and yesterday, when she was feeling very low, said that she knew nobody voted for her. It obviously hurts sad.

She mixes a lot with 2 other girls but says she feels like she is left out a lot. I suspect that 3 doesnt mix very well.

The school goes on a trip abroad later this year but for a variety of reasons she is not going and all her friends are. Cue lots of excited chat of what they will be doing, who they will be sharing with etc. This is natural but now she feels even more left out than ever. They aren't going til the summer term and obviously the excitement will go through peaks. The return will prolong this left out feeling, I fear.

She has sat and broke her heart this evening and I don't know what to say to make it better. She seems to understand the reasons why she can't go - she has even said that she doesn't want to go but I know she would love it. Then comes the pleas to send her somewhere else.

She just is so desperate to be liked by others. I have let her have sleep overs to encourage special times with individual girls but the happiness never lasts.

Her younger sister says that she often is by herself at lunchtime or she plays with Reception children. Would speaking to her teacher be an idea? I just feel so sad that I dont know what to do to make her feel happy.

alwaysonmymind Fri 17-Jan-14 21:45:28

Oh God sorry about the saga. Must edit my train of thought sometimes!

LastingLight Sat 18-Jan-14 09:56:00

That must be really hard for poor dd. Have you tried organising play dates with one child at a time so that she can try to make friends outside the pressure of school?

lljkk Sat 18-Jan-14 10:11:00

This is a terrible age for kids to recognise the social pecking order and where they are in it, which can be simply awful when you know you're near the bottom.

School council election definitely is a popularity contest, just one of those tough lessons.

Anything that builds confidence in any area is a great idea if she'll do it. I'm a big fan of martial arts because it teaches them to handle conflict (mental side). Or drama, or music, anything she is willing to try that will make her feel good about herself. Confidence in one area spills over into others, you see.

Speaking from personal experience and having watched DC go thru this.

Things can change a huge amount when they go to secondary, but not always for the better, so don't bank on that.

alwaysonmymind Sat 18-Jan-14 11:57:50

Thank you so much for the replies. It is very hard to watch her be upset. I literally drag her to school in the morning. She goes to breakfast club and they have said she often cries.

I am beginning to be concerned for her mental health. She had a nightmare last night and woke up crying and shouting for me. This has never happened. In her dream she was alone and couldn't find anyone. She was shaking and I could have cried with her. It says a lot about her mind trying to work stuff out I think.

She does drama and enjoys that but school is a huge part of everyday life that it is consuming her, I think.

I have decided to ask to speak to her teacher. They have a duty of care to the pupils when they are in school but I feel that they won't be able to do a lot about it. The end of the summer term is 6 months away but that is a long long time when you are 9

TheGirlOnTheLanding Sat 18-Jan-14 12:11:45

Poor DD. My heart goes out to you both.

I think talking to the teacher is a good idea - if they are good, and know the class well, they should be able to facilitate opportunities for friendship building in class. They may also be aware of another girl who is in the same boat. It isn't petty or trivial if she's that unhappy: it affects ability to learn as well as being miserable.

Our DD felt a bit like this last year, but has settled this year, I think partly due to classes being reorganised and 'best friendships' readjusting. She still doesn't have a BFF which she sometimes gets sad about, but she has a wider group of friends than last year and is happier as a result. Her teacher this year has done quite a lot of pair working and group working on projects where pupils are put together, rather than choosing their best buddy, and I think that has helped.

I hope things get better for you: you're right 6 months feels endless at 9 but things may well change, especially if there's help from the school.

pandora987 Sun 19-Jan-14 17:59:38

Does the school have family advisor /welfare person (cant remember what they are called), but the 2 schools my DD went to had one and they were really helpful when DD was upset about friendships and teasing etc. In the end we did change her school and it was the best thing as she had a fresh start and now is happy with more friends even though she hasn't really got a best friend. She is better able to cope with put downs or perceived rejection from a group of 3 for example.
Talking to the school really helped and if you feel she's displaying anxiety/ more serious distress than a GP referral to CAMHS can also be really beneficial. CAMHS will help her with coping strategies and allow her to talk through her feelings.
It must be really hard to watch your DD being upset. At this age friendships mean so much to them.
MY DD was exactly like this, but is now in Year 6 and nearly 11 and has definitely got more confident and better able to cope with the ups and downs of pre teen friendship groups as she's got older. Hope your DD gets happier too. Good luck

DumSpiroSpero Sun 19-Jan-14 21:11:43

I'm so.sorry you and your DD are going though this - it's horrible to see them unhappy.

Definitely speak to the school. My DD didn't have problems on the same scale but was in a very difficult 'threesome' situation for a long time. Fortunately it came to a head about a year ago and her teacher.at the time was amazing at subtly steering things into a better place. It turned out that another girl in her class was in the same boat and they are now best friends, plus she has a wider mixture of friends generally, including a few boys which I think is a good thing tbh.

Does your DD do any activities out of school? Our saving grace at the time was that she has several well estsblished non-school friends so even if she hada rubbish week at school there was usually an.outing or sleepover to look forward to at the weekend. It also helped a lot with her confidence.

craggyhollow Wed 22-Jan-14 09:59:16

My dd is younger but has similar issues

This year she has started two sports clubs out of school. She's proved to be quite good at both sports and very sweetly has made a couple of good friends there. It helps.

I've been throwing carefully-chosen books at my DD(10) as she is a voracious reader and won't listen to anything I say. She has also never achieved school council and would genuinely be interested in it and is v sensible. The FB groups 'A Mighty Girl' and 'Towards the Stars' have been brilliant inspiration for books and films with great female role models and guides to various problems and scenarios. There's a publisher's range called The Smart Girl's Guide to... that has lots of useful titles - have a search on Ebay.
She's quite aware of larger social issues too which (I hope) helps her keep things in perspective. Emotional resilience is a skill that can be learnt, it's not a personality trait that people have or lack.

alwaysonmymind Sat 25-Jan-14 11:03:15

Thank you all for the useful comments.

She has to learn to be resilient and probably by going through a bit of a hard time to do so. I know that sounds harsh but I would love to take the crappy, 'I'm not good enough' feeling away from her but I can't. All I can do is to keep positive and keep talking to her. I have started to talk through scenarios with her, me playing the protagonist, and her saying what she could do.
This did work this week when they were in the playground and she felt brave enough to suggest they play her game. Well another child said ok and they all played her game. Doesn't sound like much doesn't it? But I think she felt accepted for a short while.

I want her to read more books too so will look at those suggestions

sicily1921 Tue 18-Feb-14 12:31:20

Hi Always, I was really upset to read your post, also as I can identify a lot of what you say with my DD, who has just turned 12yr.

I would definitely see the teacher as others have said, they should be able to help in these situations including keeping an eye on things at playtime.

To deal with my DD I encourage her confidence all I can and tell her how wonderful and loved she is. Re the council thing I would tell her that lots of people get voted into positions that they might not necessarily deserve, tell her it does NOT mean she wouldn't have made a fantastic councillor. Unfortunately it is often the ones with the loudest gobs 'popular' ones who get voted. Give her a few examples if you can of famous people who have done well but at an early stage told they were rubbish (I can only think of David Bowie at this point but there are prob lots more! Sorry!)

Those books may be good too and I'm even going to look into them for my DD. I hope this has helped. Take care, thinking of you and your DD.

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