My 11 year old dd is always being picked on. Please help.

(92 Posts)
manicstreetpreacher Tue 06-Nov-12 16:33:05

Hi there!

My 11 year old dd seems to have a target on her back. Without going into long winded explanations, she has had a hard time of it since about year 3 in primary. We've changed schools because of it, she won't defend herself because she tried it once by saying something back at a girl who'd been goading her all day who then went to teacher and guess who got blamed? She also won't defend herself for fear of being called snitch or incurring the wrath of the other person's friends.

By the end of year 4 she had lost her best friend because the class queen bee took it upon herself to spread lies. This friend had been with her since nursery and she was heartbroken for several weeks afterwards. This ultimately led to a change of school despite us covvering every other avenbue first without success.

She's come home tonight completely fed up, sick of the fact that nobody likes her and that people pick on her for no reason. She's even had boys doing it too. Today, for instance, in her PE lesson she told me about a girl who was verbally horrid to her all afternoon yet nobody stepped in to do a thing about it.

My heart breaks for her, I really don't know where it's going to finish up - I feel as though home ed may be the only answer for her. Nobody seems to like her. She never gets asked anywhere and nobody ever accepts our invites to tea etc.

Also, her new secondary is very big and whilst I don't want to be going in every five minutes like some demented mum from hell I don't really know what else to do.

I feel like I have really badly failed her. I can't understand why this keeps happening to her. I wish she would fight back even if it meant getting into trouble - at least the people that pick on her might think before they did it again if so.

Just had enough really. Any advice would be greatly received.

homeagain Sat 17-Nov-12 03:21:04

I'm so sorry you and your daughter are having such a horrible time - she sounds a sweetie. have been having similar problems with my ds, and discovered Kidscape, which runs courses for bullied children to help them to cope. The co-ordinator told us that the children they see are invariably the delightful, well-mannered ones. But they are incredibly supportive and it was a great day. They're taught how to establish eye-contact, and face the bullies down without being aggressive themselves etc. They will also fast-track you if things are really bad. Might be worth it? At the very least it might help your daughter to see that she's not alone. It costs £20 to cover admin costs. I hope things get easier - you're not alone, though I know it can feel that way sometimes.

BooksandaCuppa Wed 14-Nov-12 20:13:25

To OP and all others in same situation:

Don't at all give up on asking school to take each and every incident seriously. A good school will have rigorous policies in place to deal with the situation. Their duty of care is first and foremost to make sure your dcs are safe. If they are failing in that duty, they are not a good school. There should always be somewhere safe where your dcs can go: library/learning support/peer listeners

I work in a secondary school and the staff there care very much about our children's safety; we have children excluded (internally or externally) for incidents far less serious than some of those mentioned here. Take it to the Head if HOY/tutors are not helpful. After that, take it to the Governors. Easier said than done, I know, but failing that, you need to move schools.

madhairday Wed 14-Nov-12 19:06:04

That's great Viva. So glad the school have acted on it. Hope your dd continues to be happier.

My dd seems happier too since she faced up to the bully. The girl has been fairly neutral with her today, a much happier state of affairs.

Are you ok manic? Please do come back, you have support here

VivaLeBeaver Wed 14-Nov-12 17:04:45

Manic if you're still reading this thread I wanted to say not to give up.

I was unsure about going to the school but it seems to have worked.

The two girls that have been bullying dd were taken out of lessons today. The girl who was spreading rumours was taken out this morning and then at lunch came up to dd denying she had spread any rumours. Which was a lie, but it sounds like she won't be doing it again.

The girl who has been hitting dd was taken out of lessons this afternoon and came back sobbing. So it sounds like whatever was said to her was quite serious. Hopefully it will make a difference.

Dd is feeling a bit more positive.

Spalva Wed 14-Nov-12 13:45:57

I wish we could edit!

I wanted to add that at the point I took her out of school she was 9, just turning 10, and talking about wanting to die.

I realize now that I could have played a much greater role in helping her to socialise or getting her professional help. It was hard because we were/are expatriates and help in our language was not to be found. But I do know there were things I could have done to help her (body language, mainly, but also not criticising the girls in her class and being more proactive about getting those girls -- even the bullies -- to our home for more one-on-one play so they could get out of the pack mentality). I had a tendency to just snub the girls/boys who were being mean and I honestly wish I hadn't done that because it didn't help dd's own attitude towards those kids.

Spalva Wed 14-Nov-12 13:35:11

Manic, my dd is out now. We will either HE or wait to find a better school.

When dd was 8 she was suffering through that physical and verbal abuse I already mentioned. We had decided to move country. At that point, I found out that my mother was dxd with breast cancer. I went to see her, had my first mammo, found out I had it as well. Dd spent some time with me and then left to start school in new country (same French school system, though). The abuse started up again. This time: three girls spitting in her face every time she walked by and one threatening to bring a knife to school to use on her (found out about that over a year later). I was in another country having chemo. When done, I got to the new country and changed schools (international school). It started up again. I knew that a lot had to do with dd's body language. At that point she slouched and looked away any time a kid came near. She finished that school year and I took her out to HE. One of the first things she did was go out and get dreadlocks. At the beginning of that school year she met a boy who is still her best friend, though he now lives in the States. They talk about Star Wars and computers and apps and astronautics and tell stories...She spent one year unschooling. Then she told me she wanted to try school again, to show that she could do it. She went into the same tiny private school that her best friend was at. We found money to do it. She tested through the roof on reasoning and logic and English -- though her math score was dismal. And then things were fine. She had one or two ugly episodes with the class jerk but her time at that school will be remembered always. She ended up being on a championship robotics team, the mathcounts team, winning the science fair and the MATH day competition.

By the way, after two years of a very good school her math score went way back up but her logic and reason score went way down. :-))

Do not hesitate to take your dd out and give her time to process all that has happened. It's called de-schooling in unschooling. Academically, she will be fine if she spends six months doing nothing else than telling your horror stories and following her own interests (I KNOW how emotionally draining those horror stories are; people, it is not easy to listen to these stories especially if you have a close relationship with your child because they will come constantly for a while and seem to take up every ounce of parenting effort you can give). After a while away from all of this she will discover herself and find her way.

Dd wants to go to the ZAP day in London, so I am signing her up.

THERhubarb Wed 14-Nov-12 12:07:01

"Yes, you're probably right. There maybe is something wrong with her and I will probably have to try HE. I've sure as hell tried everything else. Maybe I should put her up for adoption, someone else might do a better job than I have.

I fucking give up. "

Well if you feel like that, I wonder how your daughter feels? hmm

I'm sorry Manic but I think you need to look at your attitude here too. You may try to big your daughter up, but if these are the kind of vibes that she is getting from you then you might as well be running into a brick wall.

This is about your daughter, so why have you turned it all about you? You have suddenly become the victim. A parent who has tried everything, who implies that her dd is a failure by the very tone of her posts and who now talks about giving up on her.

Yes I'm sure you will say that's just frustration talking, but you've been given a lot of time on this thread and people have posted a lot of good advice. You seem to have an excuse for everything though.

I feel very very sorry for your dd. I hope you'll read through the posts again and instead of reacting, just think about them.

Astelia Wed 14-Nov-12 09:59:00

I don't get why the school aren't coming down heavily on the perpetrators here manic. I can only speak for my school but we track these sort of instances so if it happens repeatedly the bullies will be come down hard on. If it hasn't stopped after the HOY becomes aware of it and speaks to the culprit(s) they go through school disciplinary and their parents are called in.

Please keep a record of every comment, silent treatment, mean stare, stealing of belongings, intimidation. When presented with the evidence the school must act.

Visualarts Tue 13-Nov-12 22:29:53

Manic, takeonboard made such a good point about it affecting the whole family - it has made you so low. But really don't blame yourself, you are being such a caring parent. and as others have said, your dd is probably just a bit different, therefore has become a target.

i'm sure there is a theory that in any situation involving a lot of people kept together, there may be a 'natural' tendency for one or two to get targeted - adults are subject to greater constraints (convention, legal, social), so it doesn't happen so much. So one answer may be to ensure the students have greater constraints - come in, school! What are they going to do to stop it? And how are they going to help her rebuild her self esteem (asking her to help with 'responsible' stuff, encouraging her to do a suitable club?)

There are various books about how to cope with school probs - expect you've tried loads, but it might be worth having a look if not?

VivaLeBeaver Tue 13-Nov-12 20:17:49

I tell dd a saying that my boss used to tell me when I was young. Soar with the eagles don't scuttle with the chickens. It always makes her laugh.

madhairday Tue 13-Nov-12 19:37:34

That's good Viva. My dd also stood up to the girl today, asked her why she hated her and asked her if she could be nicer to her. The girl shrugged and denied a bit but ended up saying she would be nicer from now on. So proud of dd, for standing up to her. We'll see how it goes.

manic, don't give up. There are children that just get picked on, as you can see from many posts on this thread, nothing 'wrong' so to speak (I don't think of my dd's dyspraxia as something wrong, just something a bit different) but out of the norm. Coupled with being very quiet that can make someone a target, sadly. Don't blame yourself because you've loved and cared for her, and are trying to help her all you can.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 13-Nov-12 18:07:08

I'm sure there isn't anything wrong with her. She's probably just a bit different, if you don't fit the norm at the beginning of secondary school it can be social disaster.

My dd is a bit of a geek. She's not into Justin biber, make up, etc. she's more into manga and mine craft and animals. Saying that she is very fashionable, I've made sure she's got the right clothes as I know how much kids are judged on their clothes.

But I'm glad she's not obsessed with make up, etc. I see girls her age on fb, posting loads of pictures where they're pulling the duck face with full slap. Dd is happy been her own person, not following the crowd. Well she would be if it wasn't for the nastiness.

That doesn't mean that it's "her" or that she has issues. But it's more than a bit annoying that other kids aren't more accepting of someone a bit different. I'm not saying they have to be friends, but there's no need for nastiness.

On a brighter note dd has told her HOY about the false rumours that are been spread. She's also stood up to the girl this morning and told her to leave her alone, that she's going to end up expelled the way she's going. hmm grin

She said the girl walked away after she said that, so hopefully it hasn't made things worse.

This girl lives in our village and I think if I do see her I'm going to be tempted to politely and calmly tell her to leave my dd alone.

manicstreetpreacher Tue 13-Nov-12 16:57:08

No, there are hardly any little shits in the world at all when everything is rosy in your garden. I realise that.

I didn't go into all the details in my original post but she has had counselling (18 months under CAHMS) and was called a weirdo by a girl in her class at primary school who overheard her talking to the teacher about it, this led to more namecalling. She won't go for any more counselling now, flatly refuses. Everything we do to try and help her just seems to meet with a dead end, we have been condtantly bigging her up for the last two years but she won't hear of it - every time she feels happy something happens for her to spoil it.

Yes, you're probably right. There maybe is something wrong with her and I will probably have to try HE. I've sure as hell tried everything else. Maybe I should put her up for adoption, someone else might do a better job than I have.

I fucking give up.

Astelia Tue 13-Nov-12 13:36:00

The world isn't full of little shits, there will be one or two in every hundred that are nasty to others, the other ninety eight are nice most of the time.

I agree that some kind of social skills training can help in knowing what to say to the bully, it can help in making friends too. Sometimes adults feel they don't know what to say in certain situations and find it useful to have some pointers on body language and conversation openers. Children can find it helpful too.

Hopeforever Tue 13-Nov-12 12:09:52

Every person is different and so every person who has written their experience and that of their child is different to.

Please msp don't throw away the comments from people who say PERHAPS the way your child reacts makes them more prone to bullying. It's not a bad reflection on you or on your DD, it's just life.

CBT is a great way forward for some people, it doesn't involve lots of sharing and talking, but it's new ideas and ways to rethink common difficult situations.

madhairday Tue 13-Nov-12 12:08:46

manic - I can hear your heartbreak for your dd through your posts, and am so sorry for what you and her are going through. But you must not blame yourself in the way you are doing. You are a loving mum who have brought up a thoughtful and caring dd.

There are little shits out there, in every school, but they are a minority, the problem is that with the whole pack mentality thing the other, perfectly nice girls are afraid to go against the 'queen bee' and so keep quiet or follow her example. Much of it is based on wanting to be seen as ok and normal themselves, and so they sacrifice the picked on person. You will occasionally get a very strong child who would stand up for the bullied one but it's more unusual. You could say they are all little shits by the mere fact of their complicity but in reality they are simply trying to survive. Not an excuse, apart from their immaturity and inability to know what to do with such situations.

This doesn't detract from the fact that our dds are the ones being targeted and suffering because of such set ups. And it's in these situations schools should be working hard to mediate and yes, punish the perpetrators, because they shouldn't be getting away with what they do.

I'm sad there are so many on this thread with similar experiences, but in some senses it's reassuring to have the solidarity and encouragement of each other. Maybe we should make this a longer term support thread for those facing this.

For me, it's made me see that I do actually need to talk to the school, whatever dd says. We cannot just stand by in case of looking pushy or paranoid. I was bullied myself and my self esteem was shot to pieces for years. It took a long time to become happy with who I am. I don't want my dd's teenage years to be similarly blighted.

Keep hanging in, manic.

THERhubarb Tue 13-Nov-12 12:03:43

The world IS full of little shits though. Sometimes we can only tackle the little shits once we've made changes within ourselves so that we are less emotionally affected by their actions and words.

In an ideal world, all little shits would be hung out to dry, but this is far from an ideal world. It's a cruel world and we need to raise our children to be strong and confident enough to get through life without too much trauma.

APMF Tue 13-Nov-12 11:49:41

Rhubarb is saying what I am saying but in a more diplomatic way smile

APMF Tue 13-Nov-12 11:45:52

OP - As a parent, if my DC experienced social problems at the old school, at the new school, at extra curricular activities etc I would be looking to see if my DC had problems with social interaction skills and whether professional help was available. I certainly would not be telling myself that the world is full of little shits that insist on targeting your DD.

I'm sorry if this isn't what you wanted to hear.

THERhubarb Tue 13-Nov-12 11:06:29

I hope you don't take any of that the wrong way btw OP. My dd is 12 and is also very quiet. She is teased because she doesn't wear Miss Sexy trousers as part of her uniform, because she doesn't concentrate on her appearance or watch X Factor or swoon over Justin Bieber. In short she is different.

She can also be prone to a lot of negative thinking so in a way she may feel that she deserves this ill treatment because she's rubbish and a failure. We've tried very hard to change her perception of herself and we're now at the stage where the girls no longer actively tease her, they just leave her alone. This is because dd doesn't react, she isn't bothered by what they say or think and this shows now.

We've had to build up her confidence and self-esteem by constantly pointing out what she was good at. She has been sending emails to her aunt who is a brilliant self-taught artist and who has really bolstered dd's confidence. She also has an uncle who thinks the world of her and constantly tells her how wonderful she is. I think if it was just us doing this she wouldn't take much notice but when the praise is coming from others, it does make a difference.

Can you not have a word with your extended family and friends and get some of them to take an interest in your dd? Does she share interests with any of them? If she likes writing can she not send some of her stuff to a friend who is also good at writing for some much needed praise? Could someone take her to the cinema? Or can she go on a shopping trip with an aunt?

Just people taking an interest in you as a child can help raise your confidence no end.

Yes you could deal with the bullies and you should deal with them but there are bullies everywhere, at school, in youth groups, in the workplace, at college, University etc. What your aim should be is to boost her confidence to such a level that she knows she is valued and loved and no longer cares what these people think.

I sincerely hope that my advice is taken in the right way and that things start to improve for both you and your dd. Don't think you have failed, sometimes kids do take after their parents so if you were negative as a child she may have taken after you, or sometimes it can be one incident that just spirals. But the fact that you are on here, asking for advice means that you are actively seeking help for your dd, so keep doing that!

THERhubarb Tue 13-Nov-12 10:55:46

Seriously I would consider CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

Some kids have a really low opinion of themselves and when they hit puberty this can get even worse with all those hormones swimming around. They think they are rubbish at everything, you compliment them and they turn it into a negative. They seem to attract bullies because of this negative self-loathing cloud that hangs over them.

Of course the bullies need to be dealt with but first the child needs to gain a little bit of confidence and start to love themselves, only when they start to see themselves in a different light can they effectively deal with bullies like this.

I know how exhausting it can be to continually have to turn their negatives into positives but this is worth doing at home. Compliment them on their appearance, rave over their homework, set them challenges at home (like cooking a meal) and even if it's a disaster, find one thing they did really well and praise them for that. They won't accept the praise, they will say they are rubbish and their disasters prove that but keep going anyway.

And have a word with the GP about getting them some help. Young Minds is a great charity that can give free advice to parents and point you in the right direction.

Trouble is, once your child has got themselves into a negative rut then it's very hard to get out of it and sometimes they need a little outside help to achieve that. Once they are teenagers, they no longer take the word of their parents so it's useful to have someone else who can challenge their way of thinking and turn it around.

Hope that helps a bit.

Astelia Tue 13-Nov-12 10:47:06

I recently went on a bullying training course run by Robert Pereira, an Australian educational consultant. He did a number of classes in the school with various year groups getting students to think about scenarios like when someone got a really nasty text message or was laid into on their first day at a new school. He let the students explore the motivations and helped them to empathise with the victim.

He made many points when speaking to the adults, one being that 95% of girls are nice to each other most of the time and the second being don't blame the teachers as unless you tell them what is going on they won't have a clue as girls are so devious. He said you can't force a bully to be nice but you can encourage the nice children not to side with the bully, through work on empathising. Of course schools should be working to cut out the bullying too- but it is very insidious. If there was an easy answer it would have been found years ago.

Unfortunately it only takes one girl (and some sheep like, scared followers) to make life totally miserable for someone. The triggers can be anything- but particularly things which threaten the queen bee (like someone being very pretty or having nice hair or being successful in some way) will really set them up as a target.

Being well spoken or having nice stationery, all these things can be a trigger. It is very sad.

Manic do keep talking to the school and get them to keep a record of what is going on. They should then stamp on repeat offences. See if you can google Robert and you might find something useful on his website.

takeonboard Tue 13-Nov-12 10:43:38

There is so much good advice on here, bullying affects the whole family as you know it has affected your self esteem as a parent too. Don't give up on contacting the school your DD needs and deserves their help.

Kidscape are a great organisation specifically helping bullied children, have a look at their website and definitely contact them about your daughter attending a ZAP course they are in London but are attended by kids from all over the UK and some from oversea's. A zap course would be a great start to rebuilding your DD's self esteem, ask for Linda Frost - you will feel better after speaking to her, honestly!

www.kidscape.org.uk/

DawnOfTheDee Tue 13-Nov-12 10:34:19

I think I can (sort of) see what AMPF is trying to say.

Both me and my sister (3yrs older than me) were bullied at school and my sister responded to this in much the way your DD is. In a way it becomes a vicious circle as isolating yourself, thinking everyone is going to be nasty before you get there, becoming too introverted seems to feed back into the bullying cycle. It just made her even more of a target....so she'd isolate herself more....and on and on.

My DSis also did rub people up the wrong way. Not by being bossy but she could never see how certain things she did antagonised the situation even more.

You're right in that 'rubbing people up the wrong way says more about them'. I totally agree and my heart breaks for your daughter who is having such a horrible time at the hands of the bullies.

However, learning how to deal with people and learning coping strategies are still important.

It's good that your DD talks to you about this though. I second visualarts in that I think you ringing the school and trying to work with them is what you should try first before home ed. It's still very early in the school year (i'm assuming she's just started secondary school?) and now is a good time to tackle the problem.

I sincerely hope things improve for your DD.

Visualarts Tue 13-Nov-12 10:04:46

Mhd it is odd though, why don't we want school to think we are a pushy parent, which actually in this case would mean a parent who is desperately worried about her child (in viva's exxample, and others on this thread)?

We wouldn't be embarrassed to complain about much less important stuff (ie 'this dress i bought tore after one outing, please can i have my money back') so why should parents feel it will go against them to keep pushing for their children's happiness, which is (obv) so much more important? (I don't know the answer! Just puzzled by it)

So yes viva, i would as mhd suggests keep ringing!
Mhd, i've seen on other threads posters advising that even where their dc didn't want dps to go to school it did actually improve things. Not saying it def would in this case (and can see why you'd be wary after other school) but worth bearing in mind.

Op, i hope things are better today. Your dd sounds lovely, and you sound so caring as well.

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