Yr8 Daughter is Miserable -- What Can I Do?

(32 Posts)
Spalva Thu 08-Nov-12 10:02:22

This is a long story -- one I've shared in two other posts here. Short: we moved to the UK (Essex) in late August; dd did not get any of our top-choice schools; she is in a local state school where behaviour is not very good; all of it is a huge adjustment for her, coming from a different country, a tiny school, being multilingual, very bright, etc; I appealed to our top choice school and lost; she is on waiting list for that school.

So...she has not made one friend. She is very lonesome and very homesick (last country was not our home but she considers it to be so). The kids at school taunt her for not hiking up her skirt (one girl actually said, "I'm loving the length of your skirt!" then giggling with her group of friends), for not having any friends (they come to her and ask her why she's alone, she replies that she hasn't any friends yet, they say awwwww and walk off). She says yesterday a boy purposefully poured water on her feet, saying Oops! in a very sarcastic tone. I try to help her but she's 12 and sensitive and just wants a friend! There was a girl downstairs from us who was talking to her but now she's not anymore. There was a boy who said she's pretty and was always happy to see her who is now not speaking to her anymore, either.

All this would probably be fine if she was academically challenged because she loves school and that would make up for a lot. She says she feels the school is actually opposite to what it says its specialisation is. She is extremely keen on those subjects but she feels her teachers actually hate those subjects. They seem to have put her in a low set in English despite the fact that I reassured them several times that she is in the top 3 percentile (they think she is an English-learner despite the fact that I am American). She chose to read Emma in class because that was the only book on the entire list that she hadn't already read. She says English class is so disruptive that she can't concentrate to read and nothing gets done.
She doesn't really understand the whole system very well and nobody has taken the time to explain things like sets and how the grading works, etc.

The school has very few interesting clubs. Her form tutor (he's wonderful) keeps urging her to join but there are no science-related clubs, no robotics, no rocketry, no animation, no website building, etc. She would play basketball but it's netball and she has no clue about that sport. There is no school newspaper. I'm just mentioning ones she was involved in the tiny school she was at before.

There is no space in any other school around here. I'm almost certainly going to take her out and home educate by the end of the week. I do have her academic review to attend this afternoon, so I'm hoping to sort some things out.

What would you do? How can I help her? How can I find a better school for her? I'm confused, stressed and quite lonesome myself, actually, since I haven't made any friends yet either. I suppose I'm also just looking for some sympathy here.

Copthallresident Tue 13-Nov-12 00:22:50

racing heart I am sure that is partly true, and without discipline it has always gone a bit Lord Of The Flies but I also think a lot of these children are the casualties of the parents. Not being given attention, being the focus of parental ambition, not having been exposed to the importance of showing respect for others and being open minded about difference, being exposed to trauma as a result of the way their parents carry on all result in children who have huge insecurities. IME all these children who are "strong characters" or "exclusive" are driven by their own insecurity.

Spalva Tue 13-Nov-12 09:17:24

You're right about scouts, racingheart.

I do, however, stand by my statement that some parents simply can't face the reality that their children are behaving this way. I've been at tiny schools, so able to talk directly with certain parents. It was almost always, "That's not like him/her." "Yes, it is," I wanted to say.

Spalva Tue 13-Nov-12 09:19:09

Didn't see your post, Coptahallresident. I wholeheartedly agree; plenty of studies to back that up, too.

ZZZenAgain Wed 14-Nov-12 18:58:58

if the academics and afternoon clubs were the problem but she had friends at school and it was a nice social environment, I would leave her there until another school place came up. Since you have neither a positive social side to her schooling, nor is the academic side of things good, I do think you are right to HE her As others have said, take her to all the clubs you can find that she might enjoy or previously enjoyed at her old school, let her settle in to her new home without all this stress and unpleasantness, and try to meet other families with 3rd culture kids.

I hope you get a place you are happy with before long. Must be very worrying for you.

BillComptonstrousers Wed 14-Nov-12 19:19:33

I could have wrote the exact same post as I'm going through the same situation. Y8 DD in awful school due to us moving from north to south, waiting lists for everywhere else miles long and no hope of getting in anytime soon. We are going to look at private schools next week, even though it will take every penny of our spare money. But I can't just leave her there anymore, she can't believe the way pupils talk to the pupils, people her age coming out of the school gates covered in make up and lighting up cigarettes, just awful! I really really feel for you sad

Spalva Wed 14-Nov-12 20:24:28

Oh thank you ZZZenAgain for your kind thoughts. I have taken her out since Monday and we've had a lovely three days of Shakespeare, Astronautics, Algebra, prototype-making investigations, sewing and cooking. The days are hardly long enough, really. Scouts is still there and I am still searching around for other activities.

BillComptonstrousers -- Yes, sounds very familiar. I could compare dd's school to sending my 12 yo to my hometown's (in the US) very worst high school (high school in the States being for 14-18). I wish I could even come up with some spare money, but this time around I just can't. The very best of luck to you!

racingheart Wed 14-Nov-12 21:40:24

copthall I agree with you. There is a huge amount a parent can and should do to make sure their child doesn't or never would bully others. Teaching empathy, morals, self restraint, independent thought - all of that. But I have noticed that bullying is rife at schools where the staff claim they have no problems with bullying. Particular where the head teachers say that, and have no proper method of dealing with it. This is true of our school, which, luckily, is generally a very laid back, easy going place, but when bullying does rear up, it's left unchecked.

On one occasion a very nice boy started bullying my son. I had very clear words with him on what I thought of that behaviour - how it made my son and me feel and what impressions it gave us of him. He never did it again. No one at school had told him it was wrong. Another child - very popular, with very socially successful parents, was absolutely without a moral compass - this came from having parents who thought he was perfect - and he has been a bully throughout school.

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