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

Floralnomad Thu 15-Nov-12 17:06:31

Perhaps the school you chose to move her to was not the best choice. All girls and small could easily equate to friendship groups already well set and probably not a lot of regular new starters. That may well have been a difficult environment for someone who already has issues to integrate into . FWIW my daughter attended a small private school and had issues with friendships , although had loads of local friends , we removed her and sent her to a local primary in YR 5 and she settled really well and fitted in beautifully ( didn't know anyone before she started) . I sometimes think its just a matter of finding the right place and maybe you haven't found it yet . Good luck with your party ,I hope it goes well .

iseenodust Thu 15-Nov-12 17:27:03

I think the HT is being proactive bearing in mind the history which is a good thing. You clearly care very much. Your DD is in safe hands !

angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 17:48:22

I have spoken to her while we are making the buns.
She definitely thinks that everyone is her friend at the moment at the school despite the fact that she has not been invited to anyone's house yet - only 2 full class type parties.
We have invited one girl once which was great and another girl who cancelled on us twice which made me paranoid!

Old school called her bossy and trying o organise everyone. Of course other children don't like that which I have explained to her time and time again.

She is very sociable and i honestly can't believe she has these kind of problems sometimes.

Although she likes to be in control and I think she likes playing with the P1s and 2s ( perhaps she organises them I don't know). She seems to be more comfortable with slightly older girls so outside of school her friend are one or two school years ahead.

We don't have any neighbours to play with. On holidays she always makes friends easily at campsites or whatever.

Have a great book "the unwritten rules of friendship" which we shall try to tackle again.

But she thinks I am making a fuss that there is no need as she isn't rude or Unthoughtful to anyone so I wonder I'd it's in one ear and out the other.

I might try talking to her tennis coach - he is the only person who might get though to her.

Another thing, don't know if relevant. She is a stickler for rules, so uniform rules or perceiving others to be breaking rules seems to upset her.

At moment she is crying in living room because I am accusing her of being mean sad

Oh no sad

I really don't understand the problem. The HT spoke to you because she's bossy? That hardly warrants HT getting involved does it?

Children are very perceptive in my experience. If she was being isolated she'd know about it. As it is, she seems happy enough with her friends etc.

Ok so she hasn't been invited to parties but that could (and most likely will) change after her party. After all, she is new! But she may be invited back after this party.

I think there's some unnecessary worrying here. I apologise if I've missed something though!

Ineedalife Thu 15-Nov-12 18:08:57

Hi angel, I would be a bit concerned about your Dd stressing about the rules. When you say she is a stikler, would she tell someone they are breaking a rule or worse would she tell the teacher??

This is a real big social no no and will definitely not help her making friends, it would also suggest that she might as someone said upthread has a social communication disorder.

These are very easily missed in girls as they often appear to be sociable but they lack the skills to maintain friendships.

angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 18:13:44

No she is not being isolated at all. She loves this school and thinks se has lots of friends in class.

Her teacher told me last month that 4 or 5 girls in the class told her they didn't want to be say next to DD.
She said DD was mature compared to the others and so there were problems sometimes. My DD seemed to be the common denominator each time an as she is new and everyone was fine before

Today the HT phoned me out of the blue, she didn't mention anything specific just that the dynamics in class has changed and not for the better.

They have said they will work with us - but I don't really know what I should be doing.

I will try to speak to the teacher or HT tomorrow if I get a chance to clarify things.

Thx everyone for advice and comments

GotMyGoat Thu 15-Nov-12 18:36:24

Your dd sounds a bit like I was at school - I'm dyspraxic and only know understand how my behaviour must have appeared at school, people thinking i was being rude and talking down to them - i didn't understand at all.

angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 18:43:17

I have no ideas of dyspraxia - will google now but I fear it's maybe bad manners and lack of empathy or others feelings.

hmm...I'd be inclined to say I'd hold off on worrying too much until you receive some clarification about what exactly the problem is.

It all sounds very ambiguous! Good luck!

LIZS Thu 15-Nov-12 18:56:06

Being new is tough and she may feel the need to assert herself but an assessment may be worthwhile as it is a pattern of behaviour. Have you considered that she may be on the autistic spectrum for example? That can manifest in varying degrees and different ways but social/communication issues are fairly typical. Suggest a meeting with the Head/Form teacher and SENCO and ask for advice as to how to go forward. Also be aware that some private schools are not geared up to handle SEN well.

Lougle Thu 15-Nov-12 19:00:12

angelinterceptor, please don't think she has bad manners. I'm quite sure from your description that this is not the case.

Whatever the cause of the dynamics, they will need to be dealt with. However, if your DD does have social communication difficulties, rather than simply bad manners and a superscilious nature, then you will be trying to discipline her out of something that is far more ingrained than 'behaviour' and a completely different approach will be needed.

The only analogy I can think of, is telling someone who has asthma to get a grip and just run, when in fact they can hardly breathe.

pecans Thu 15-Nov-12 19:18:27

The girl in dd's class also is very into rules and telling everyone if they are breaking them, as was another girl in the previous school. But I think a lot of girls are into rules - both my dds certainly are, and they tell me every day who has been naughty etc (both of them can tell me exactly who is on the naughty side of the board each day, for example, and who is losing how many minutes of golden time).

Wanting to obey rules and noticing how other people break them aren't problematic - consistently telling other people off for their transgressions is annoying! That's what some girls need help with (and all of them need a bit of a lesson in just letting other people be). I have done quite a lot of 'was it your business to say that?' with dds.

I think reading the friendship book together sounds like a good starting point for your dd.

Bobyan Thu 15-Nov-12 21:07:14

Just out of interest, what happens if she gets told by another child that she isn't following the rules?

OldBagWantsNewBag Thu 15-Nov-12 22:28:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

angelinterceptor Wed 21-Nov-12 19:02:04

Update for everyone who was kind enough to offer advice last week (apologies for spelling as I'm on the phone).

The birthday party went well with 9 other girls from the class. It was at an outdoor activity centre, led by an instructor. She didn't boss her way round or insist on being first on anything which I might have expected. In fact she hung back and kept a shyer less able girl on some of the ropes assault type course.
I was very happy with her behaviour - in fact some of the other girls were more boisterous et

My DH overheard some of the girls saying they DD always gets the blame in school , but that's all he heard. Made us wonder though if the new girl is getting the blame for everything.

All the girls said they had a good time and I was with them for around 4 hours so plenty of time for something to kick off.

Today I had another call from the HT straight to voicemail so I will need to call her tomorrow. She said there was another incident today. I asked my DD and it sounds like nothing but little girls telling tales and getting the wrong end of the stick.

I am no further on but I think I will ask about referral or child psychologist if possible. She genuinely doesn't know why the other girls are making a fuss or complaining about her.

cory Wed 21-Nov-12 21:06:52

I think it might be an idea to press the head for further details. What does she actually say when she is being bossy? What does she do? If you are going to see a psychologist you will need to be able to give details of exactly the kind of behaviour that is going on. Being bossy could mean so many different things. Explain to the head that you want to support the school but you can only do so if you get a clear understanding of your dd's problems.

Lovingthecoast Wed 21-Nov-12 22:30:29

Ok, firstly, I am glad the party went well. Secondly, I'm just going to come out and ask if you have ever considered that she may have a mild social communication disorder. I ask because I have seen similar behaviour before and the girl in question had aspergers. I don't want to alarm you but as well as the social difficulties you also talked about her being a stickler for rules.

Girls with aspergers often present very differently to boys with the condition. Girls are very good at masking it and developing strategies which mask the condition. They often have no problems with speech and can be incredibly social, sometimes too social in a way that makes other children back away.

I would really speak to your gp and ask for a referral. If it is nothing, it's nothing and no harm done. But, if it does turn out that she has a social comm disorder then getting her help at this point before she goes to secondary school could make a massive difference to her life.

Good luck with it all.

angelinterceptor Thu 22-Nov-12 13:22:19

I haven't been able to get through to the HT today on the phone, so I will go in early before pick-up and see if I can make an appointment to see her soon.

I have no experience of Aspergers or anything like this, or any other condition.

I think it is likely something though - she is a really pleasant girl most of the time, I guess a little demanding, and now that I think about it, the GPs aren't falling over themselves to offer babysitting or help (but then both sets are busy, and I never really ask them).

She thinks everyone is out to get her now, she was really upset last night, thinks she will never fit in, or be liked. It breaks my heart to hear her say things like "there is something wrong with me, I'm different"

thanks for advice, its really very helpful to speak to someone about it - I think there is no harm in contacting GP, but I dont know how DD will feel about this.

LIZS Thu 22-Nov-12 15:22:59

Were it to turn out to be AS or something related she may find it a relief to be able to put a name to her stresses and that people want to help her cope.

Lovingthecoast Thu 22-Nov-12 19:44:02

Maybe this will help
[http://www.myaspergerschild.com/2011/02/female-version-of-aspergers.html here]
[http://www.livestrong.com/article/96987-aspergers-symptoms-girls/ and here]

Lovingthecoast Thu 22-Nov-12 19:46:54

Sorry, I'll try again,
[www.myaspergerschild.com/2011/02/female-version-of-aspergers here]
[www.livestrong.com/article/96987-aspergers-symptoms-girls and here]

Hope they work this time.

Lovingthecoast Thu 22-Nov-12 19:47:37

Sorry, bloody iPad. Just paste them into your bar.

Tryharder Thu 22-Nov-12 21:11:33

Your poor DD sad. I hope you able to reassure her that there is nothing wrong with her and that people do like her! How horrid to be told that people don't like you for you rather than because you have done something specifically nasty.

She sounds like my DS1 in personality, actually. He has all the negative and positive traits you describe. He doesn't get many birthday invitations either and doesn't have a group of close friends at school. But he gets on with everyone in his class most of the time, is relatively popular or at least not unpopular and is happy at school.

Do you think perhaps your DD suffers more due to being a girl as they tend to have "best friends" and small friendships groups whereas boys just muck in together? My son gets away with not having one particular close friend by being sort of friends with everyone but I do appreciate that girls are very different.

Do you also think that perhaps the headteacher is overreacting e.g give a dog a bad name and hang him? She knows your DD left that school for being unpopular and is automatically blaming her for this apparent change in the dynamics of your DD's class. I have seen teachers guilty of this several times e.g the "naughty" child gets into trouble for the smallest infraction that would be ignored in a "good" child. Your DH's overheard comment really rings alarm bells for me.

Perhaps your DD just isn't a popular person. As long as she's not nasty or bullying others then I can't see the issue. It would be very, very unfair of you to consider punishing her or somehow blaming her for being who she is. You can't ask her to change who she is and you should accept her for who she is personality faults and all.

I would be demanding a meeting with the headteacher and asking them what they are doing to do about the fact that your DD is being ignored and excluded (apparently). After all, she is a new class member and the school should actively encourage friendships and stamp down on petty bullying and meanness e.g. "I don't want to sit with her" etc.

Sorry for long post. But I think you need to take your DD's side more than you are doing. You are looking to blame her for being bossy or whatever. I think the school are doing your DD a great disservice and I would be up there tomorrow all guns blazing if I were you.

Please hug your DD, don't let her cry and think there is something wrong with her that she can't change.

socharlotte Fri 23-Nov-12 14:00:41

I think the HT is trying to be super-efficient, and nip any recurrence of your DDs troubles at her old school, in the bud.I think he is being overzealous.
Kids grow up rubbing the corners of each other (and they nearly all do have corners) Most of the time it needs no adult intervention.

confusedperson Fri 23-Nov-12 19:15:45

I do not have a particular advice, but my Reception year DS is often awkward with his peers at school (doesn't greet back, runs away in the middle conversation etc.). He appears either rude or shy. I do think he has some traits of the behavioral spectrum, not that I am strong believer in looking for disorders.
The only thing I know - for a school weak in SEN it will appear very subtle and they will not know how to deal with it. Private schools normally have very weak SEN support.
I would have gone somewhere with stronger SEN support. Your DD is probably perfectly normal, with her own awkwardness, but teachers understanding the situation would be better.

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