Just had a phone call from DDs headteacher

(65 Posts)
angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 14:16:30

My DD is age 9 this weekend - and really struggling to fit in socially at school. This time last year we spent months worrying about whether to move schools or not for a fresh start etc.

Finally decided yes, she would do better in a smaller school, fresh start, all girls - moved about 6 months ago.

I thought everything was OK, but it seems not now that I have had the call from the head.

Other girls dont want to play with her, or sit with her in class etc.

I have tried with her, I know she is impatient and we have worked through books on speaking to others nicely, and treating everyone with respect.

Is she doomed, will she ever grow out of this - or is it just going to get worse?
Her dad will go crazy if he finds out - its costing us ££ to send her to this school and he will think waste of time.

Does anyone have any practical advice, or just something new for us to try with her?

Like should we withhold extra-curicular stuff, like use it as a reward - or is this the completely wrong thing to do?

Really worrying now, as she has invited half the class to a birthday party this weekend - and I hope they haven't been sent under duress from the parents, and dont really want to be coming.

thanks if you have read this far - just want some advice please

trice Thu 15-Nov-12 14:21:00

What did the ht suggest? Does your dd have any hobbies or interests? If she has had troubles socially could it make her act aggressive as a self defense mechanism? What is she like at home?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 15-Nov-12 14:22:09

Did you discuss her issues when you started her at the school? Have the school put any strategies in place to help her learn to socialise better?

learnandsay Thu 15-Nov-12 14:26:26

Hello, I'm sorry that you've had problems. Can you be a bit more specific? What type of things does your daughter say which do not show respect for others, and is the saying of such things typical?

How does being impatient impede her progress in making friends specifically?

Why do you think that other girls wouldn't want to sit next to her in class?

Is she an only child? If not how does she interact with siblings/cousins?

Head said "Other girls don't want to play with her or sit with her."

I very much hope the HT followed that sentence up with her plan of action and said they will not tolerate one pupil being excluded by their peers!

How awful for your DD and for you too. You say your thought things were going well at this school. Is your daughter not aware that anything is wrong?

angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 14:30:13

Yes, the new school knew she moved in middle of term last year because she wasnt getting on socially. eg no friends at all, no birthday invites etc - the old school were not interested in offering advice or help.

HT said she has spoken to her alone, and to the class - and they are having anti-bullying whole of next week too, which kind of ties in.

She said DD has been speaking to class mates without respect, and she said it was behaviour she would see in older girls more oftern, say in the final year at primary.

She plays sport after school and drama at weekends - but I dont know whether to use these as 'rewards' for better behaviour, or try something else?

I have to go now to pick her up at 3pm, am dreading the other mums ( I dont really know any of them anyway as we are still new) but paranoid that they all think my DD is illmannered and rude.

RillaBlythe Thu 15-Nov-12 14:31:53

I wouldn't withdraw her from extra curricular. You want to optimise her chances for learning & practising good social behaviour, I would have thought.

Felicitywascold Thu 15-Nov-12 14:34:17

I wouldn't withhold extra curricular stuff. It would be counter productive as they are social learning opportunities.

Does she have friends out of school?

Felicitywascold Thu 15-Nov-12 14:34:33

X post!

iseenodust Thu 15-Nov-12 14:36:58

You say she does drama. Any opportunity to use role play to show the effect of her manner?

DeWe Thu 15-Nov-12 14:37:09

The head must have said more than that. confused

Is he saying that the other children are just excluding her?
Or is he saying that your dd is "being nasty" and the other children are being upset by her? I know that sounds mean on my part, but "being impatient" could mean anything from she won't wait for them to go to dinner (because she wants to be first in the line-but then isn't sitting with them, which is not nasty, although children can interpret that) or she's saying things like "you can't do that... see how quickly I can do it. You're such a baby..." (which is upsetting and nasty)

Either way it sounds like you need a meeting of you, the head, and the form teacher for how you are moving this forward. It's not enough to say "they're not getting on"; the school and you have to work to make sure they do get on. Help your dd to be less impatient, and the other children to be more tolerant, they must be measures in place to do this.

If she's socially been struggling for some time, she may well need extra help learning to interact in a "normal" way. She may sound very aggressive to the other girls as a natural defense to the way she's been treated in the past.

DeWe Thu 15-Nov-12 14:37:55

Sorry, x-post

Floggingmolly Thu 15-Nov-12 14:41:39

Did you actually raise an issue with the HT and ask for feedback?
He surely didn't ring to tell you this out of a clear blue sky confused
Or is your dd being disruptive?

Viviennemary Thu 15-Nov-12 14:43:24

Your DD doesn't sound a very happy child. Or have I got this wrong? What about neighbours children and other children like her cousins if she has any. Does she get on OK with them. It's difficult to tell whether it's the other children being nasty or are they avoiding your DD because she is nasty to them. Till you get to the bottom of the reasons I don't think you can begin to tackle the problem.

madwomanintheattic Thu 15-Nov-12 14:43:49

Has anyone ever considered a social communication disorder?

It's not really possible to tell from your description - ie is she deliberately being a bitch, or is she unthinkingly cruel because she is brutally honest, and genuinely doesn't understand that honesty isn't always the best policy?

Is she saying 'your handwriting is very bad, Chloe. It looks like a two year olds', and if so, why? You need to know the motivation (or not) behind the reasons she is being excluded.

Some children are catastrophically rude because they have really very low self esteem, and are trying desperately to big themselves up - and others genuinely do think they are bees knees grin and everyone else is inferior. Others still speak as they see stuff, and don't understand that people might find that offensive, because Chloe really does have astonishingly bad handwriting, and they are telling the truth.... Why would anyone be offended by the truth?

I suspect she would have been better off in a state school, as in a private you are probably going to end up paying for any additional interventions required.

The ht should be discussing the school strategies with you as to how they intend to move forward. Friendship circles, one to one or small group work, and possibly assessment by an educational psychologist. Full assessment - including full iq testing, and a battery that includes social communication stuff.

And as I suspect that the school will not be offering to pay for that, you may need to consider getting a private evaluation done, or going to your gp and requesting a referral to developmental paediatrician or camhs, and a psych veal that way.

What is your gut feeling?

Is she an overconfident and full of herself kid?

Is she under confident and bigs herself up to try and make people like her?

Has she always been like this?

Any developmental red flags along the way?

What does the ht intend for school to do to fix this issue?

piprabbit Thu 15-Nov-12 14:44:05

I'm sorry if I've misunderstood, but your posts read as though the HT phones to tell you that your DD is being bullied and that you are considering punishing her for being excluded by her classmates.
Or have I got it wildly wrong and your DD is doing the bullying?

Does she have behavioural problems or is she just not getting on with people?

What is she like at home or in her other activities?

Bonsoir Thu 15-Nov-12 14:46:24

Maybe you and she should see a psychologist?

pecans Thu 15-Nov-12 14:52:53

There's a girl like this in dd's class. She was shockingly overbearing at dd's party (shouting at another girl who she had never even met before) and seems to be always telling other dc what to do, as if she is in a position of authority over them. She can also be very kind when anyone is in trouble (though I guess this is when she feels powerful - there is a definite control issue there). My niece has a similar issue (and actually changed schools like your dd).

What to do? It's really tricky because so many small girls seem very very bossy (not to mention us mothers!!). I definitely would continue with the extra-curricular activities to help her manage groups, and I would be asking the head and teacher for advice and asking her teacher to give me specific and regular feedback on her behaviour. I would be asking dd about specific conflicts - in a 'how else might you have dealt with that' kind of way. I would also ask her to keep a mental note of how she spoke to people, and to see if she could think of a time when she spoke nicely or calmly to another girl each day - eg make it a nice challenge for her. I would also be trying to teach her her to just keep quiet in times of stress or irritation - yoga, simple breathing as you count to ten or five etc.

Her bday party is an opportunity to give other girls a good time - so I would explain that as the host it is absolutely her responsibility to be kind and generous to others, and to speak nicely at all times. If possible, set up a playdate too, and do some kind of controlled activity - I always do baking and decorating cakes and cookies when friendships feel a bit tricky. It is a nice thing for girls to do together (with me), and is not too intense.

pecans Thu 15-Nov-12 14:54:34

Another thought is that it could have something to do with hormones. Hard to manage feelings when you are hormonal, and girls of 8/9 do seem to get hormonal quite often.

madwomanintheattic Thu 15-Nov-12 14:59:04

It sounds as though the dd has always had these traits, though pecans.

I wouldn't be stopping extra curricula r's tbh. But I would be discussing her behaviour with the instructors at all of them, for both feedback, and also to implement the same strategies that you and school come up with - and to ask for their support in helping dd understand the respectful way to behave - ie she must take her turn in drama class and not talk over everyone else/ whatever is the issue.

I think her birthday party is a great opportunity for a new friendship group to be cemented, but you need to be absolutely on top of preparing her for her role (host, not star of the show) and redirect her into ensuring her guests have a good time... She can blow the candles out, natch. grin

angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 16:35:34

Gosh where to start, thanks everyone.

I picked her up as usual today - she was happy and smiling and unprompted said she had been to see HT today and that she wanted to talk to her about the old school and friendships etc. DD didn't say or think she was in any trouble.

The HT said she phoned me today as they want to nip any potential trouble in the bud as it were. She said DD is behaving like an older girl and the others might not like it.

I don't think there is any bullying issues but I do think it sounds like my DD has no manners and I find that a bit embarrassing as its a reflection of my parenting.

Am dreading the party now - but your comments about using this as an opportunity to be nice, have a good time and be a good host ate something we will work on for sure.

I really do think she is oblivious to anyone not liking her at the new school - but in some ways that makes me sadder for her. I just feel like crying sad

Off to make buns now as she can bring them in tomorrow for her birthday and she has planned this all week so don't want to stop her.

I am going to re read all these helpful messages again later

Lougle Thu 15-Nov-12 16:43:08

angelinterceptor how would you describe your DD?

My first instinct is that you must not punish your DD for not fitting in. If she is genuinely not being deliberately unkind, then you are simply punishing her for something that she is already being punished for by consequences.

Do you think it's possible that she has a SN of some sort?

mummytime Belgium Thu 15-Nov-12 16:51:04

I would also really consider that she may have an SN. If she really doesn't understand how her behaviour is perceived or that others may not like her.

I would certainly consider going to see the GP to get a referral to a specialist paediatrician.

3b1g Thu 15-Nov-12 16:51:29

How difficult for you, I do sympathise. Does the school have an inclusion manager or special needs coordinator? If so, I would ask to meet with them for advice on how to boost her social skills, they may be able to suggest some games etc.
As this is the second school this has happened at, it is not just a passing phase, and I think if it were my child, I would want her assessed by an educational pyschologist (who can observe her interacting with peers). They may also be able to suggest strategies to help her, as well as ruling out underlying social communication disorders. I really hope you get the answers and support you need for her.

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