My 11 year old dd is always being picked on. Please help.(92 Posts)
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.
Awww, your poor DD.
Over the time that this has been happening, I guess you have been talking to the school(s) about it? What have they said?
Tillymint, the first school were useless. I became very disillusioned by them as Queen Bee's mum was on the pta and her gran on the board of governors, the child herself extremely popular with both the kids and the adults and as a result we never stood a chance. I still think a lot of this has contributed to dd's problems and as a result her lack of self esteem has obviously made her an easy target. She's never quite gotten over it all.
The second primary school were great at first but then kind of wrote her off as being oversensitive. I couldn't be bothered to argue by then. I knew for a fact there was one girl there giving her crap and the others went along with it for an easy life. She just doesn't really fit in and I knew she'd have problems at secondary school. I was in there last term because a lad from her second primary school started giving her abuse in front of his mates.
Nobody helps her. If my dd saw that kind of thing happeniong to someone else she would go out of her way to comfort them - but it seems that it just isn't cool to like her!
I'm seriously considering home ed - it's a shame I have to really - every child should have the right to a decent education in a caring safe environment but I really don't know what's wrong with kids these these days. Either I've done something wrong by bringing my dd up to be nice or I care too much. Perhaps I just shouldn't give a damn? No one else seems to.
Have you spoken to her secondary about it? Might be worth a try at least?
I'm so sorry your daughter is being bullied like this, but I'm glad to hear she has her mum who loves her, values her and is on her side. Please try and re-build her self-esteem... Lack of it can ruin a life.
I'm sorry, I don't have any relevant advice, I just wanted to post because your post has gone pretty much unseen and I just wanted you to know that people do care.
Fwiw, I'd take her out of school now with a loose plan to going back after Xmas and having 8 weeks to consider our options.
You haven't done anything wrong and you don't care too much.
Our ds's story is very similar to your dd's including the change of primary school. He would now be in year 6 but we took him out due to ongoing bullying/exclusion by peers and also dyslexia which all added to his stress over school.
All I can say is that home ed in the caring safe environment of home has been a big success for us. We are still finding our own way to go about things and adapting to a best fit for us as a family, but our ds is getting his self esteem back and is loving being away from the restrictions of school. We are learning about all manner of things, quite possibly none of which are on the national curriculum, and feel much happier and more relaxed.
Yesterday for example we visited a scrapstore where all the ingredients to make a rocket where discovered and collected - ready for our trip to the space centre next week. Then we walked with the dogs on the beach. We seriously discussed homelessness, litter, tides, amongst other things, before sharing a chapter read out loud each from our latest reading book sitting in the car in the sun with a flask of hot chocolate.
Home to make soup together then a snuggle on the sofa to learn about William 1st which is where we have got up to in our chronological history studies.
Today we walked through the woods with rope and sparklers with another lovely home ed family with a ds of the same age. Lots of learning, lots of fun, zero bullying.
Becky that sounds incredible!
Op, when I said "go back", I didn't mean to that school - but instead to "education" whatever form it may take.
Below is a message I posted on a primary school thread. My DD is at secondary school now. She is outgoing and makes friends easily. However she still has problems with some girls from primary school.
DD will stick up for herself but usually will just ignore them. Whatever she does makes no difference to how these girls treat her. One of the queen bees is quite introverted/nervous away from her group of friends. I wonder whether there is jealousy from her towards my DD.
I do however think sometimes children do need to stand up for themselves whatever the consequences. If she doesnt they may carry on if they think they can get away with it.
Are their any peer mentors at your DD's school? Someone for her to talk to their may help.
I'm sure if she was at my DD's school, my DD would certainly befriend her!.
*When my DD was in primary, she stayed out of all the cliques and never took sides. She has a mind of her own and has never been a follower.
However she would be excluded by various girls for not choosing a side or being bitchy behind others back .For this reason she was unpopular. The mean girls were invited to all the parties.
Her teacher one parents evening told me she was far more mature than other girls her age.
I used to think sometimes that if she was more like them she would fit in and perhaps school would be easier for her.
All i know is that girls can be very mean and spiteful. Not sure what the answer is though!*
Hairbearbunch32's post about her DD could have been written about my DD. She is now in year 11, is happy and popular. She carved her own path, not joining any cliques which bought problems of its own.
She was an easy target when young and not one of the "cool kids".
I am trying to think when it all changed. Possibly when the grils had matured and grown up.
She was physically bullied by one girl whose parent was a teacher at the school. Before I went in and made a fuss I talked to DD about how to handle it. We practised the words, the body language, the eye contact until DD felt confident about tackling her. Guess what - DD spoke and acted as we had planned and the girl left her alone ever since. the real "victory" for DD was the growth in self esteem she received for managing it herself.
I agree with all posters who say to focus on building her self esteem.
Good wishes to you both. Your DD sounds delightful and soemone that my DD would have chosen for a friend.
Thank you Sonnet. Good to hear about your DD. Hopefully as the girls do mature things will improve!
I've spent the last couple of years trying to build her confidence but as soon as I build it up some little shit sends it down again. She's actually started to believe that she is useless and incapable of being liked because every time she picks herself back up the same thing happens again and again.
Also, she isn't a 'follower' as described by Hairbear. My dd calls them 'sheep', they do the wrong thing to fit in because it 's easier, they get left alone that way. Woe betide the girl who breaks the mould and decides to think for herself.
I wouldn't consider myself a perfect parent but I've started to wonder just how many people are making an effort to bring their kids up in the right way when the vast percentage of them are so bloody horrible.
@ beckythump - you have certainly given me food for thought. HE would have to be a last resort for me as it seems very daunting but at the end of the day if it was the only thing to do then I would do it.
I have heard this so often. Girls seem to be far worse because of the Queen Bee scenario but some boys stand out as well. DS1 was always teased and made fun of for being geeky. Year 9 was the turning point when he seemed to Gell with a lovely group of similar friends.
My niece sounds like your DD. Lovely girl who refuses to be a sheep. She is however very over sensitive, perhaps as a result of the bullying?
Sometimes though, you have to compromise just a little to fit in.
beckythump that all sounds lovely but all the stuff you describe is the sort of normal family thing I would do with my child in addition to school.
I read something in the paper last week I think about some sort of counselling for children who find it difficult to cope with playground bullying. It was in The Telegraph. Might be worth a read.
Forgot to mention she has had counselling. But it didn't really help because she clammed up and wouldn't talk to them.
Does the secondary school have any kind of counselling service for the students where your dd could go to discuss assertiveness? Or any kind of buddy system, mentoring from 6th formers, or advocacy?
If your dd is getting nowhere taking this to her form teacher, can she make an appointment to see her head of year? The school needs to help with this from both angles; helping all the students be acceptably assertive, and also treating others how you would want to be treated (with respect, and not excluding anyone).
Children don't arrive at secondary school with such social schools and self control. It should be part of the school's policy and teaching to encourage better behaviour. What do the staff say they are doing about it/ will do about it?
Hm...How about taking her to something like karate, where is is apparently about sport but things like attitude, assertiveness, self confidence and respect are also taught?
Could you switch to a different school?
That was the cure for me & DS when we suffered similar.
Problems tend to dissipate a bit around year 9 as the "queen bee" gets herself a boyfriend and it is then not cool to pick on other kids, just to be snogging outside school at lunchtime - that's how it worked at our school anyhow.....
So keep your fingers crossed!
I reminded my DD that she is nice - the other is horrid and everyone knows it underneath. and that as her "nemesis" wants to work in childcare to remind her that she is old enough to be held criminally responsible for her actions - so could end up being banned from her family business should anyone go to the police.... The campaign against DD didn't stop - but it was lessened by that - and NEVER violent....
We enrolled her in some self defence classes in year 5 and she stopped after 4 weeks because one of the girls there was laughing at her because she was clumsy doing the moves. She refuses to attend anything extra curricular or clubs etc because she would rather be by herself where it's safer.
Some great parent I've turned out to be!
Yes, the school has systems in place but in my experience it's all hot air. I'm reluctant to keep going round in circles like I have many times before. Her year coordinator is aware if her problems and she has said I can contact her but I just feel like I should be concentrating on getting dd to fight back rather than reporting every little slight - it is a jungle out there and the sods are obviously feeding off the fact that she is weak. It's the only explanation I have - she's been called fat (she's as thin as a rake), ugly (she is quite pretty), gay, geeky, everything you can think of. The latest one today is that she 'talks funny'.
She's one of the nicest kids you could wish to meet and my heart is breaking. I can't help but wonder if she'd be better off being bought up by someone else as I have quite clearly failed. There comes a point when you just get sick of it and can't take much more.
This is so bloody awful for your DD. Poor girl.
Does it start of well but then go pear shaped? What seems to be the trigger for the bullying?
The trigger seems to be her existence! I really, really don't know other than the fact that they can obviously sniff out someone who won't retaliate.
She doesn't smell either. And her clothes are clean and of good quality.
F****d if I know.
SecretSquirrels I used to think like that too about home education. Our reality however when ds was at school was battles and cajoling in the morning to get up and breakfasted, teeth washed, bag and lunch ready for school. Followed by a sullen monosyllabic stressed child at the end of the day who just wanted to watch TV. Followed by battles and cajoling to do homework/reading and chivvying up to bed at a sensible bedtime because of school the next day.
Even holidays and weekends were times when anything remotely like reading/writing/schoolwork was shunned completely because 'it's the holidays'.
It is so very much different now. Ds gets up when he is hungry for breakfast, is relaxed and excited about what we are going to do and full of plans. He goes to bed when he is ready to and loves late night reading and researching.
I think he is develpoing a trust and a self-esteem/motivation now that was so missing before.
manic, stop blaming yourself! It's not you (or your daughter) it's them! How can it possibly be your fault that all these children keep treating your daughter like this?
Does she do any after school clubs, or have any other interests you can help her pursue? I am just thinking that perhaps, while there are no friends to take up a great deal of her time at present, perhaps it would be an opportunity for her to take up a new interest or two? Learn an instrument? Do something she's always wanted to have a go at, or find out more about? Try out some new sports? My DD was in a roughly similar situation and took up a new sport. It has been hard going (it is a tough sport) and she has stuck it out for several years and now she has a great bunch of friends, and is part of a club of people of all ages, with a family atmosphere. as such there's a certain amount of ribbing and joking and teasing which she takes as a fun part of the whole place, and the teasing or being left out at school no longer gets to her. (she's helping me write this!)
Never mind about any other girl being a Queen Bee, your dd is your queen bee, and when bees get lemons, they make lemon flavoured honey. Or something. (My DD says when you get lemons, send them back you don't want them. Or throw them back. hard. Or...make Nutella and have everyone guessing how did it.)
Some thoughts - first, your dd sounds lovely and v mature. Ufortunately, there are nasty, insecure kids there who will pick on any kid who daresto stand out for any reason (having been picked on once before could be enough). But it is NOT your dd's fault or your fault in any way.
When my dd experienced mild bullying, I taught her that bullies bully becaue of their own self-esteem issues and that she should feel sorry for them. It was easier as in her case this was self-evidently true - a boy who bullied when he had hearing problems, another when new to the school and one whose mother had deveoped MS. So they were dealing with their own demons. It's not alwaysso obvious - but your dd needs to know it's not her it's THEM and needs to have her self-esteem boosted big time - in my dd's case, having a teacher who recognised her self-esteem was low and did her best to boost it by making her being clever seem cool not nerdy and giving her special encouragement for this, made a huge differemce.
Plus good friends out of school - from activities, family, friends' kids - so she can ignore it. It will pass - I teach 16-18 year olds and some of them were telling me about terrible bullying they'd faced - but they were all past it and over it now. 11-12 year olds can be cruel - because they are insecure and immature. They will grow up!
manicstreetpreacher, you are describing my own eldest dd, so my heart is just breaking for you because I know exactly what it means to be the mother of such a child.
My dd started to be bullied at age 5, though you could say she was already disliked by other children as early as 4 (a prominent memory of mine is going to a birthday party when she was 4 and the birthday girls running to the gate, all excited, and then saying, "Oh, it's just so-and-so" and walking off while my dd held out their gifts). She was excluded and verbally abused at school from the moment she started. When she was 6 she was physically abused by the boys (once, two held her arms up while the third kicked her in the crotch, hard...the school did absolutely nothing). We kept at it, despite my belief that home education is superior) because of circumstances that pretty much required us to send her to school. I finally took her out for a year and did home ed. After that, she wanted to return to show that she could do it. We put her in a new school (a tiny one) and she blossomed. She had the best year ever last year (Yr 7) with not one incidence of bullying. And then we made the stupid decision to move here to the UK and we're back at it again and all those victories and huge accomplishments from last year are already dying away after only four or five weeks of school.
Like your dd she simply can't relate to the other kids at school. She doesn't talk about what they talk about, she's not interested in what they're interested in...
My daughter is the kindest, most loyal friend anyone could ever want. She is so neat and interesting, so poetic and just wonderful.
I wish they could meet!
Oh, and I would also like to reassure you. I have a younger dd who is 7 now and she is like a friend magnet, though a very kind one. They were parented the same way -- though, of course, first children are always sort of experimented on. Honestly, I will always be thankful that I had another child because the guilt I felt over my first dd was so heavy! Now I can see that there is just something in these girls' nature that makes it so they don't fit the moulds of society.
Also, we are reading My Name is Mina by David Almond and I bet you two would just love it the way we do!
I took my dd out of her unsuitable school in year 8. Home edded her (sort of) for a term. Then a place came up in a much better school. She's much happier now.
Home educating was a horrible experience for me because my dd is uncooperative, lazy and aggressive. Your dd sounds absolutely delightful, and if I was in your shoes I'd have her out of school in a flash. She would be a great candidate for home education. And I'm sure a place would come up in a better school sometime this year.
Have you considered moving her to an independent school? Almost all offer some kind of bursary system. Although girls in any school can be mean, in the independent sector children are generally more tolerant of those that are just nice kids (rather than 'cool' kids), and a healthy work ethic is encouraged!
I think if you meet some people who home ed or chat online about it, it might seem less daunting. If you tried it, there's a good chance you would find it easier than you expect. IME most people do find it easier and more pleasant and more socially fulfilling than they expected.
But suppose that your worst fears about home education did come true. Suppose it was difficult for you, and that your dd lost the opportunity to learn to get on with groups of preteens. Would that be a total disaster?
Your daughter's self esteem would still soar in the absence of daily taunting. She would be spending much of her time with someone who loves her absolutely and who will never turn on her. She would still get practice in how to get on with adults, which is bound to be a more useful life skill in her adult life than getting on with herds of eleven year olds. Perhaps it would be a worthwhile trade-off. A few years away from school could do her the world of good.
I came to home education for different reasons, but I have noticed that the home educated teens I have met over the last ten years appear to have remarkably strong self esteem. It's hard to figure out exactly why this should be so. Perhaps the freedom from the extreme group pressure which is often found at schools could be a factor.
It's a phenomenon which Susan Sheffer explores in her fascinating book "A Sense of Self: Listening to Homeschooled Adolescent Girls". Sheffer is an American author, but the girls she studied were home educated in a similar way to British girls so the book felt relevant to me. (Sometimes American "homeschooling" can feel very different to British home education, though there are similarities.) Sheffer observed that while studies of schoolgirls have shown that an individual girl's self-esteem tends to drop steadily throughout adolescence, and that schoolgirls as a group have a worse self-image than previous generations of girls, the homeschooled girls she knew appeared to be immune from this trend. Her extensive interviews with these girls on a range of subjects showed that they were comfortable with who they were and that they became more confident with every passing year. This applied both to girls who had never been to school and to those who had left school several years previously. It would be interesting to pinpoint the reasons for this and see whether this information could be used to alter the school environment so that schoolchildren might have an equally positive experience of adolescence.
I think that if I weren't already keen on home ed for other reasons, this book would have drawn me toward it. After all, what better gift could you give a young woman than confidence and a sense of inner peace? If she is happy in her own skin, everything else is just icing on the cake.
OP, I'll whisper this quietly. I never really fitted in at school either at primary or secondary. I never really liked pop music or Jackie or PE or sport and wasn't that fussed about boys, I didn't really like the stuff in Chelsea Girl that everyone else wore and didn't want the same haircut. I wasn't bullied badly but I knew I didn't fit in and I didn't have many close friends or go to many parties. I was hopeless at sport and middling clever and nothing special. Until I was about 16 I was the plainish, skinny bespectacled one.
Then I blossomed and the day I left school was the start of my life. I had a brilliant time at College, and when I started work I started to do very well. Not because I wanted to be like the others but because I wanted to do well and so I made myself fit into the culture, got my head down and became the successful one who got what all the others wanted.
Looking back I was different and ultimately I achieved because I was different and so did DH who I am well aware was regarded as a bit "weird" by many of his contemporaries at school and has few friends from those days although his sportiness provided him with cred.
DS who is almost 18 is a social animal and totally alpha. DD is quiet and quirky but has always been happy rather like me being a bit of an island. She had the most miserable time in years 7 and 8 at secondary where she was shocked by the unkindness although not the butt of it by a significant minority. We moved schools to somewhere small and pastoral which deals well with quirky girls. There is still bitching as there always will be with teenage girls but it is at a lower level and the environment is kinder and more supportive.
There's nothing wrong with your daughter she just doesn't sound like a pack animal or that she runs with the herd and that's what schools are designed for. Forget not that the people who run them and work in them tend to have been very happy at school and so the system perpetuates itself.
HE girls may have better self-esteem, but the ones I've known still had many issues with self-esteem, confidence & socially. One of them complained slightly bitterly how HE had left her too sheltered to know how to deal with outside world. One of the most adamant HEing mums I know was telling me how she guided her DD thru attacks of low self-esteem as a normal teenage phase (guidance I absorbed for future reference). HE is no perfect cure, either.
Such helpful posts -- even though I'm not the OP. Thank you everyone!
"HE is no perfect cure, either." Perhaps not for everyone. However, it is a simple and effective solution for many kids who find school very unpleasant.
I realise that the young people I know who came out of school in their teens - the ones who say that this decision transformed their lives for the better - are not representative of the population at large. If they had liked school, if they had even found it fairly tolerable, they wouldn't have left. Once people are wrapped up in the school world, doing what the majority of other people are doing, they rarely leave unless things have got very bad for them.
But where a young person is as thoroughly miserable at school as the OP's daughter seems to be, it hardly seems likely that HE would be worse than staying on. It could be the answer. There is probably only one way to find out, and that is to try it.
Also, she isn't a 'follower' as described by Hairbear. My dd calls them 'sheep', they do the wrong thing to fit in because it 's easier, they get left alone that way. Woe betide the girl who breaks the mould and decides to think for herself.
She sounds like my dd.
We took the choice not to send her to the more popular secondary, and she went to one where she ended up in a form with no one she knew. That's actually been a great thing for her, because it allowed her to make new friends without her feeling that she was being watched and criticized. She now seems to be reasonable comfortable in a small friendship group of boys and girls. In my interfering way I'd love her to come home saying "can I go to X with my friends" which she hasn't, but she seems much happier this year.
Can I say a massive, massive thank you to all of you for your input and opinions? I've taken it all on board and will see how things progress with a view to maybe doing home ed temporarily.
You've all been so lovely. Another forum I've been on wasn't quite so nice and I expected a bit of flak here so thanks very much. The fact that you have all given me some of your time to help means a lot. x
Please update us as to what you decide and how it works out. Good wishes to you both
Have you come across Rachel Simmons' book and resources 'Odd Girl Out'? She has some good stuff on her website, and her books is very goo, I think.
I found her stuff because I too have an 11 yr old DD who is experiencing similar issues - although not quite as bad as what you're describing. We've been working with her on new strategies for coping with bullying - because that is what this is - with bells on.
I meant to say her book is very good.... ( not goo) oops!
We took the choice not to send her to the more popular secondary, and she went to one where she ended up in a form with no one she knew. That's actually been a great thing for her, because it allowed her to make new friends without her feeling that she was being watched and criticized
My lovely DS seems to have continual problems with the boys in his class too (year 6) and so we too are sending him to a school where none of his peers are going to....personally I think it will be really good for him to have a new start and hopefully forge some new friendships.
I will probably get severely flamed for even suggesting it but is it possible that the 'problem' is with your daughter? It's just that everywhere your DD goes she seems to encounter a 'queen bee' or some 'little shit' and everyone ends up turning against her.
In year 6 a girl transferred in mid year. I got talking to the mum and she told a similar story to yours. Hence the transfer. The mum was quite nice so I tried to push my DD towards hers but my DD would have none of it. The new girl, said DD, was very bossy. If the girls didn't play the game she wanted she would say nasty things to them and then tell the teacher that she was being picked on. Being aware of her history, the teacher would tell off the girls for bullying the new girl. After a month of similar incidents the girl was in a situation similar to that at the school she had left.
I am not saying that the other kids are justified in being mean to your DD. I am not saying your DD deserves it. What I am saying is that maybe you should consider whether your DD is simply rubbing people up the wrong way.
OP I really do empathise as my dd has always been the same too, and it is heartbreaking to see them go through this.
She was bullied through primary school, we moved several times (not because of this, because of dh's work) but each time found it hard to 'fit in'.
She was diagnosed with dyspraxia which explained a lot of her difficulties. Your post about children laughing at her in a martial arts class because she was clumsy makes me wonder about this as she sounds similar to my dd. Have you looked into the possibility of dyspraxia at all? It can have big effects on a child's social maturity, ability to make friends etc.Even if it's not this at all though, there are some children who are just a little different, who don't run with the pack as a pp said.
She's in y7 now and has been generally ok so far, we did a lot of work together on friendships, dealing with bullies etc. BUt there is one girl undermining her every move, and spreading rumours about her (she was in her y6 class) - dd also has very bad psoriasis and this girl has been telling the others she is dirty and contagious and no one should go near her, teasing her and calling it 'the <dd's name> touch' How vile can some children be. DD is just like yours though, not wanting to involve teachers, she wants to just get on with it and not be seen as a snitch. She doesn't even want to involve the SENCO and be seen as 'SN'. It's so sad that it should be this way but it is forced on so many.
Your dd sounds lovely and you sound a lovely mum. I too have gone through the guilt thing and felt I let her down, but in fact our dd's are lucky to have mothers that care so very deeply.
I wish you all the best and hope this can be resolved soon in the best way.
Loads of sympathy msp, this sounds so horrible. Nothing you've done wrong, i'm sure - some dcs just are less prone to be 'in' than others! What i'm not clear about is how involved school is in the problem - if i were you i would go in and ask what they intend to do now to help sort it out. Not saying it's easy for school but it is part of their role.
You've said dd won't go to school clubs - i can understand why, but i really think this might help because she 's likely to meet dcs with similar interests. Would it work to suggest she goes once to try, with no obligation to go again- maybe even a financial incentive to go once!
Also agree with poster who said foster lots of out of school friends - family, friends' children, local 'quirky' groups eg do you have a local wildlife group? Not that wildlife is quirky, but you know what i mean - less obvious than sport! I know these aren 't miracle solution - but anything to dilute the school experience!
Had similar with dd, he'edded for 2 terms then found good primary who actually DID SOMETHING TO HELP, not ust blame us
dd now cured,happy at secondary
Julia if it wouldn't out you, what did the school do to help? It is so encouraging to hear of the school being able to sort it out - maybe it could help op (and others!) if she wants to press school to help, to know what specific steps school could consider taking that have worked elsewhere?
Also - So glad it worked and your dd is now happy!
friendship groups where they could discuss what friendship involves
attached to Children's Centre - psych trained play worer who taught ids how to play together
social/emotional stuff embedded in all teaching
schools need to recognise children don't all realise how to mae friends, they must be actively taught
Manic, I feel for you and your dd. My Yr7 dd is in the same boat.
In fact I've just been on the phone today to head of Yr7 who's very nice. She was punched 2x by the same girl last week. HOY is going to talk to the girl and tell her if it happens again she'll be suspended. She's also going to talk to dd and tell her that she must report such incidents.
DD came home upset today as she said a friend of this girl is spreading rumours about her at school - saying that she pooed herself last week, etc. So other kids are laughing at dd about it. DD is more upset about this than the punching from the 1st girl.
I know what you mean about not feeling like you can ring up about every little thing, but where do you draw the line? I've told dd to tell teh HOY about the false rumours when HOY talks to her tomorrow. And also that a boy was hitting her and calling her a twat on the bus today.
It seems that because 2 popular girls have taken a dislike to dd that everyone else is joining in. One of these 2 popular girls is serious trouble - she spends most of her time in isolation already rather than been allowed into class. She's not bothered by this and boasts about how cool isolation is, dd says the other girls in the year are all in awe of Isolation girl and think she's really cool! So I don't think that school punishments are going to have much effect.
Your porr DD Viva
Why are girls so bloody horrible?
APMF - thank you so very much for that suggestion.
I wish my dd was bossy and domineering - in my experience the girls that fall into these categories are the ones who have most friends.
My dd won't say boo to a goose - her confidence is shot to pieces to the point where she just keeps her head down and hopes for the best. I can hardly get her to leave the house other than going to school. She won't join any clubs or do anything to attemp to make new friends as she is cyncial, jaded and distrusting aged 11. Exact words 'They'll only turn out to be nasty there so what's the point?
I hope to God your dd never has similar problems because, let me tell you it is crap! There's not a day goes by that I don't punish myself for failing her and wishing that I had bought her up to be an absolute bitch because you sure as hell don't get anywhere these days by being a nice guy.
Everyone else, thank you and I am so sorry to hear that you are in the same boat. Hugs to all your dds and dss. xx
Manic it sounds awful for your dd. strikes me one of the things the school could do is have a teacher who runs a 'promising' club to ask her to go along to it - maybe drama, science, anything your dd is interested in really. A teacher invite is maybe more likely to persuade her?
Viva that also sounds awful - I would def tell the school about the latest incidents, even if your dd does as well, and ask what they are going to do about them, and then follow them up. Many sympathies to you and your dd as well,
OP - I'm sorry that you found my comments offensive but it appeared to me that you weren't lacking in supportive posts so I thought I try to offer you a different perspective.
I am not saying that your DD is bossy or that she deserves the treatment she gets from other kids. I'm just saying that you should perhaps observe your DD and see how she interact with other children and also talk to the class teacher and ask for her insight.
It is something you should consider rather than unquestioningly accept that all the chidren your DD comes into contact with are 'little shits'.
The problem is though is that if one popular girl decides that your dd is a target then other girls will join in. There is very much a pack mentality with it all.
The other girls join in picking on the victim, possibly just glad it's not them. They know if they stick up for the victim they risk becoming a target. So they try and outdo each other in nastiness.
Bullying and its existence is based on the perception of the bullied person. In the public sector at least if employees were being tormented by stories of pooing themselves the perpetrators would fact disciplinary action.
It is a great shame in my opinion that school children are given so little guidance about what is acceptable in the real world.
I am so sorry some of your daughters are suffering like this. They are still children and they can't realistically act as their own advocates; you desperately need to do it for them; in the same way that a worker or employee has a trades union rep.
married I agree, it does seem they get away with so much, it's wrong
dd had another hard time today with this girl who shouldered in on dd and her friend, took her friend off and told dd nobody liked her or wanted to be with her. Friend didn't know what to do but did then later come and hang out with dd. It's just horrible to see them go through this stuff.
Realistically how much can apparent contact the school when they're in secondary school?
I've rung today as dd has been punched on more than once occasion last week.
I've told her to tell her HOY tomorrow about the nasty rumours and about the boy who hit her this afternoon. But should I ring the school about issues like this? I don't want to be ringing up every 5 mins saying that X has said this, y has said that. But is dd just meant to put up with someone saying stuff about her every day with the purpose of humiliating her?
Mhd that's so awful for your dd, though friend sounds nice. Would it help to speak to the school and ask for action? Miw makes a good point, that would not be permitted at work, why should children have to put up with it?
Viva my answer would be no your dd shouldnt have to put up with it, so yes report and ask what school is going to do about it. i know it feels difficult though - for some reason there seems to be quite a strong ethos that you shouldnt complain too much to a school. But sometimes you have to!
Meanwhile does your dd have any nice friendships you can nurture by inviting them round, encouraging to go to cinema etc?
Thanks. Yes dd does have 3 or 4 good friends which I'm thankful for. I know she's luckier than some. It's still shit to be getting punched, having the piss taken out of constantly by others.
I agree, it's terrible - your poor dd (and you!) it is strange how most of us are a bit reluctant to complain to school - I don't know why this is, maybe a throwback to the days of 'don't tell tales.' I hope your dd's hoy sorts things out quickly - she does sound as though she's on the case?
In a decent school (secondary) you shouldn't have to phone ever five minutes, because the first time you report an incident it is dealt with swiftly and firmly.
For example: my DD returned to school after a day off sick. A boy greeted her by calling her a "witch". She told me about it that night. I phoned the HOY next day. DD was talked to, and reassured. The boy was instantly put in detention, he was warned not to say anything to DD. When he did jeer at her, she went to the HOY, and he was put in isolation.
This year he is much less trouble (although according to DD, he is still a "sexist pig").
Your DD really needs to have an extra-curricula activity with a different set of children.
You might also want to contact "Red Balloon", for some specialist help.
I love marriedinwhite's long post further up the thread. It is true that some of us just don't much suit being a child. I didn't. DS1 doesn't. If you refuse to be a sheep and pretend to fit in for the sake of it, you will be isolated and jeered at. But in adulthood, the same qualities can lead to a much more interesting life than most people even dream of.
That's not much comfort for your DDs right now, but long term, I really hope it works out in their favour.
Visualarts thanks. DD is very reluctant for me to talk to school, thinks it will make it a lot worse (it did in y6 because the teacher was hopeless and made it so much worse ) So not sure what to do, but leaning towards having a quiet word with either her form tutor or the SENCO if this carries on.
Viva, it's hard isn't it, you don't want the school to feel you are a pushy parent, but then again you want to stand up for your dd. She should not have to suffer this kind of thing. I would keep ringing, because they should be doing more, meaning you shouldn't have to ring so often iyswim.
I'm just frustrated because my dd has become a broken person who now thinks it's normal to be treated like crap. It is hard not to think that all the other girls are 'shits' when your heart breaks every day. It isn't her fault she's weak - if her being weak rubs other kids up the wrong way then it says more about them than it does her as far as I'm concerned.
Like I said earlier, I should have bought her up to be an absolute cow - they never seem to run into any problems.
And as for 'seeing how she interacts' - she doesn't. She'd rather be alone because it's safer that way.
I'm obviously wasting my time trying to explain.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Rhubarb is saying what I am saying but in a more diplomatic way
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
"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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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