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To have had (another) little cry about my dd's lack of friends

(118 Posts)
emkana Sun 12-Jun-11 21:45:06

She's very serious and very keen on doing well at school, and just doesn't fit in with the girls in her class. Its been really hard for her for the past year. Shes coming up to the end of year five. I don't know what to advise her other than to tough it out until she gets to secondary - not that it will necessarily get easier then. sad

Swarski Sun 12-Jun-11 21:47:37

Does she do any activities outside of school? Could she join a chess club is she likes serious activities or something like that and make friends there?

cjbartlett Sun 12-Jun-11 21:48:42

Or brownies?

baskingseals Sun 12-Jun-11 21:50:02

does she actually want friends?
some children don't.

i can really understand why you are upset. have you still got friends from primary shcool? is there anything else bothering you? is she quite happy?

MavisEnderby Sun 12-Jun-11 21:51:21

Big hugs xx I was never the popular girl at school but feel it was character building!!!I had a few close friends but was never in the popular set!Seconday school same but the friends I had were good.I feel it has helped me cope with all the shite that has been thrown at me,somewhat (sn child and dp dying) and has made me independent in a lot of ways! I bet she is a tough cookie and when she gets older her individuality and not following the herd will stand her in good stead.I have found that as you get older you find many more close friends xx

pineapple70 Sun 12-Jun-11 21:51:47

Poor you, that must be very upsetting for you!
Have you spoken to the teachers. Do they have a Learning Mentor at the school? Could they help by pairing her up with another child/children to do something like a little job helping the office staff or a project - tending the flowerbeds or something fun they'd both/all find interesting together???

Helzapoppin Sun 12-Jun-11 21:53:23

YANBU- just make sure she doesn't see you. Agree with Swarski- look for ou of school activites that she might enjoy- doesn't have to be Girl Guides and the like. Have a look at Woodcraft Folk, young ornathologists, a writing group or even more 'grown up' activities such as bellringing. I work with lots of young people who, for one reason or another find it hard to fit in and finding an interest (and hopefully a little group of friends) out of school does make a real difference.

PhishFoodAddiction Sun 12-Jun-11 21:54:38

I was going to suggest brownies or an out of school club. Maybe find likeminded children in a group that focuses on her interests.

Is there no-one in her class that she gets on with? Could you maybe invite one of her classmates round for tea or something so they can see what she's like out of school?

I already worry about my DD1 making friends and she doesn't start reception until September blush she's very focused on activities at nursery so doesn't join in too much with the other kids. I've been letting her invite a friend round to play which seems to be helping her a bit.

emkana Sun 12-Jun-11 21:59:34

She does have friends outside school at brownies etc, but finds it hard that she doesnt really have one good friend at school.

sunshineandbooks Sun 12-Jun-11 21:59:39

Sorry to hear about this. It's so hard when you see your DC upset and you can't do anything about it. sad

On the plus side I think that as an adult she will probably fare better than the popular girls. Popularity is a double-edged sword. You can become hooked on approval and crash and burn with devastating consequences if you do something to suddenly lose it. Your DD will actually have more freedom of thought and behaviour because she is less popular.

However, she's a child and doesn't know that yet and I bet it hurts. sad Do you think there are any reasons for her lack of friends that need addressing? Is she lacking in social skills or confidence that you could work on together to improve, or is it simply that she's not one of the herd and that sets her apart? Could she fare better by developing some friendships with any of the boys in her class?

If you're worried, I'd chat to the teacher just to get her to keep an eye on DD and to make sure that things don't escalate, but I think the key here is to get her social circle as wide as possible so that she has a greater variety of friends to choose from.

She's got a loving mum and that counts for a lot. smile

MavisEnderby Sun 12-Jun-11 22:00:20

I thnk Rainbows/brownies a really good idea.ds goes to Beavers and loves it!

emkana Sun 12-Jun-11 22:03:05

I think the issue is that she doesn't really do silly, in the way that ten year old girls do. So the other girls maybe find her boring? Also, she is top of the class and works very very hard, and I don't think that makes children popular at that age.

MumblingRagDoll Sun 12-Jun-11 22:07:40

I had a friend like your DD...when I was 16 I met her at youth theatre...she was SO hard working...not popular at school but at youth theatre she really began to shine. Her humour came into play in a way which hadn't been really important to other kids before then...so meeting kids who she was not at school with and wh had preconcieved ideas about her being a geek...she could be herself.

She's a very uccesful writer now..went to Oxford. Think of that....many kids like your DD who are bright...they struggle socially...igh school could change it all! Has she any interest in anything like drama which might build her confidence?

emkana Sun 12-Jun-11 22:12:25

She plays the violin and enjoys that, she plays in an orchestra on a saturday.

baskingseals Sun 12-Jun-11 22:15:27

the girls in dd's class - year 4, are unbelievably fickle. they change best friends like we do knickers. sometimes i don't think it's particulary healthy for dd. they are also not very trustworthy - extracting secrets and embarassing things from each other to be used like weapons at a later date.

i think what i'm trying to say is that the grass is not always greener. 9/10 yo friendships can be fraught with all sorts of undercurrents.

true happiness or a least some kind of peace comes from within. encourage your dd to do the things SHE enjoys doing and be the person she is. sooner or later she will meet people that she clicks with.

most people don't find friends for life a primary school.

PlanetEarth Sun 12-Jun-11 22:17:46

I know how you feel, but sorry no advice sad. I think that Brownies etc. don't necessarily help, as kids need friends within their class at school. It's tough when your child is always the one left over when they have to work in pairs, or when they have no-one to play with at break. My DD has had trouble as she doesn't really fit in with kids her age (who think they're too cool for school) - she gets on well with younger kids and adults. She has some younger friends at school and then when she plays with one of them the kids in her class mock her and ask why she's playing with a younger child. I told her to tell them that her friend is not a stuck-up-cliquey-cow like them is a nice person and a great friend!

emkana Sun 12-Jun-11 22:20:45

Dd told me today that playtime only becomes bearable once the infants come out, because then she plays with her brother and his little friends - who are in reception. sad

I told dd today how proud I am of her for not changing to try and fit in - and I really, really am. Just so wish I could make it easier for her.

chopchopbusybusy Sun 12-Jun-11 22:22:40

My DDs have both had friendship issues. It's really hard to deal with. Is it because your DD doesn't have a best friend? Does she socialise with the others?
If she does socialise then I'd encourage her to invite some of them round after school. Does she have a birthday coming up? Party invites are usually accepted at that age.
DD1 was incredibly shy at that age - selectively mute - she is now in 6th form and although she will never be one of the popular girls she has some great friends - she's just got back from an end of AS level trip with one newish friend and had a great time. She has no problem with being a nerd - or is it a geek - not sure - one is offensive and one isn't! I think that aspect becomes easier at upper school when they are separated into sets.

baskingseals Sun 12-Jun-11 22:25:14

by reassuring her, you are making it easier for her.
you cannot breathe her breaths for her, however much you feel for her, you have to give her the strength and self-belief to deal with it herself. that's your job.

LeQueen Sun 12-Jun-11 22:27:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AgentZigzag Sun 12-Jun-11 22:38:04

I'm saying this as a person who didn't fit in at school, I had friends, but still had a pretty hard time of it, but when I read you saying to your DD that she shouldn't try and change to try and fit in, I have to say I think you're wrong.

I tell my 10 YO DD that people should accept her for who she is and if they don't like her then that's their problem not hers, and from that point of view I can understand what you're saying.

But then you're posting saying your DD doesn't have any close friends at her school, so is it possible that you can do something to enable her to make connections with the other DC? Perhaps role playing some opening lines of how to start talking to the other DC?

I don't mean fundamentally changing your DD, but sometimes you do have to modify your behaviour to have relationships with groups of other people.

I kind of have similar with DD in trying to help her negotiate what can be the extremely complex interactions that go on in lessons/playtimes, so I know how difficult it is.

I would also encourage her not to play with the reception children at playtime because she's excluding herself from her peer group so there'd be no possibility of anything changing, hard as that might be for her.

emkana Sun 12-Jun-11 22:43:43

This is the set up:

One girl, who used to be dd's best friend until lady year, has turned into a kind of queen bee and has a group of girls following her around the playground. Dd doesn't want to join in with that.

One group of three girls dd does try to play with, but they keep doing things like saying to dd "wait here, we just need to go obpver there to discuss a secret" then they never come back.

Two girls talk about boys all the time - dd not at all interested.

One group of girls are the "naughty" ones whonfrequently misbehave in class, dd definitely doesn't want to play with them.

So there we are. As I say to dd, even if I could make them want to be dd's friend, I wouldn't know who to pick!

emkana Sun 12-Jun-11 22:44:29

Last year, not lady year

osd Sun 12-Jun-11 22:56:56

This reminds me of my school days and that makes me very sad. But secondary school was better, in primary i wasn't a village kid and that was enough to make me different. Secondary there was a bigger mix, more cliques but i still flitted in and out of them. But as i got older although it annoyed me it never bothered me or upset me, like it did when i was little. I still don't fit in at school and i'm parent, i can't do school gate gossip i am always left out or lost, but i have an amazing husband, 3 lovely kids and have applied to foster, so don't worry she will come into her own. Be supportive and loving and talk to her but allow her to realise that friends come and go and thats healthy and in a way she really maybe is better of, my DH fell into the wrong crowd, the MOD saved him. So just give her the advice that she has grown out of them and is more ready for secondary. All the best to your daughter.

AgentZigzag Sun 12-Jun-11 23:00:07

I'm not meaning this in a horrible way at all emkana, but if your DD's choosing not to play with each of the DC for different reasons, then the 'problem' lies with your DD and not the other children.

Of course they should play nicely and inclusively, but to be part of a group your DD does have to adapt to what they're doing/talking about a bit, or she will find herself out on a limb.

DD's not interested in a lot of the crap they talk about at her school either x-factor/celebs/footy and has different interests (mostly Jaqueline Wilson), but that's not the other DCs fault, if DD doesn't want to be walking around on her own she has to find something in common with the others. (BTW, if she does find herself knocking about on her own, she just reads a book at playtime, apparently quite a few do it, all sat on a wall grin how things have changed since my day grin).

Also, and I do it as well so I'm not judging, you say you wouldn't know who to pick as they all sound nightmareish, perhaps you could try to teach her to think differently about the other DC? Looking at why they're behaving like that, or looking for positive points about them?

There's no easy answers though, I hate having to see DD having to go though the torture that school can be sometimes, but they are learning important things about how the shitty world works when they get to be an adult and how to make the best of themselves in it.

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