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To think the school should care more about dd's happiness?

(30 Posts)
emkana Tue 21-Jun-11 23:34:19

dd has been struggling with friendship issues all through year 5. She also feels that she doesn't get the same recognition for her achievements in class as other children. The school basically just shrug their shoulders on the first issue, and deny that the second issue is true. Aibu to expect them to help dd to feel better about it, or is it my job as a parent to tell dd to get a grip?

worraliberty Tue 21-Jun-11 23:42:51

I don't mean to sound unkind emkana but from what I've read of the majority of your posts, you do seem to come across as a little 'pushy'

Does that sound fair? Obviously I can only go on what you type...but it's normally about your son's work not being displayed, your DD not being praised enough, your DD not having enough friends despite being quite selective about who she plays with etc...

Sometimes it's best to find a balance and that can involve taking one or two steps back.

I've probably explained this wrong, but you kind of remind me of one or two very well meaning parents who are just constantly finding fault with the 'treatment' of their children even when there's none to find.

FannyFifer Tue 21-Jun-11 23:45:13

Your job as a parent.

emkana Tue 21-Jun-11 23:47:24

No no that's okay I'm trying to get some perspective on this. Funnily enough I'm not really like that in real life, I never really bring things up with the school because I'm very shy and unpushy, and in fact wondering whether I should take my grievances to the school instead of only ever voicing them on mumsnet.

worraliberty Tue 21-Jun-11 23:51:08

It might be worth a word. I seem to remember you're a school Governor like me?

That should mean you know the staff well enough to speak to...perhaps a chat would put your mind at rest/uncover any problems?

emkana Tue 21-Jun-11 23:55:13

I'm a governor at the infants, dd is at the juniors. Dd is increasingly adamant that she wants to change school.

ModreB Wed 22-Jun-11 00:00:57

PFB. Get a grip. She is old enough to realise that life is not always pleasant, but get on with it. Her friendship "issues" may be because she is not a good friend, not that everyone is against her.

And, before you flame me, I am the parent of a DS who had the same problem at the same age.

And now aged 18yo has so got over himself.

lesley33 Wed 22-Jun-11 00:13:52

It depends. What do you mean about struggling with friendship issues? If she has age appropriate social skills and she is struggling with the normal falling out that happens with girls, then I think it is your job to help her deal with this. If there is a more serious underlying issue e.g. bullying or poor social skills, then the school should be working with you to address these.

You say that your DD doesn't think she gets the same recognition as others. What do you think? Is your DD misunderstanding what happens in the classroom or is she a sensitive child that needs more praise and encouragement than others? I just think you must have an idea of whether your DD is correct with this or not?

And why does your DD want to change schools?

lesley33 Wed 22-Jun-11 00:17:36

Should say that if your DD wants to change schools for major solid reasons fine. But if she wants to change skills because she is struggling with normal everyday issues e.g. x doesn't want to be my friend anymore. Then I think it would be a real bad idea to let her change schools - not that you have I know.

Children need to learn how to work through the normal everyday issues we all have to deal with. Although it is understandable to want to run away by changing schools, this wouldn't help her in the long run.

ilovesooty Wed 22-Jun-11 00:17:46

Unless she's being systematically bullied (which the school should of course deal with) I wouldn't encourage the changing of schools but would help her to sort out friendship issues where she is.

ilovesooty Wed 22-Jun-11 00:18:40

x posted with lesley33 there, sorry.

bubblecoral Wed 22-Jun-11 00:21:39

I think children often think that others get more recognition than they themselves do for achievement, and I think you should trust the school. They may appear to give more encouragement to the children that struggle, but that's because they need it more. Your dd would be better off learning confidence in herself, rather than needing to seek praise from others.

As for friendships, there isn't much the school can do about that, unless she is being bullied in some way. Children have to learn to find their own friendships, the school can't force people to be friends with her. Perhaps ypu could talk to her about what it means to be a good friend and find out why she struggles.

lesley33 Wed 22-Jun-11 00:31:26

I think you also need to check out whether your DD's friendship issues are just par for the course for this age group - talk to other mums to find out or post more detail here. Because at this age, girls will fall out with friends, decide someone else is their new best friend, etc.

And there really is nothing wrong with this. Yes children can get distressed about this and need some support, but they are learning how to make and keep friends and when you should break away from friends if they are making you unhappy for example. They need to learn these lessons.

LDNmummy Wed 22-Jun-11 00:39:46

This all seems very silly.

emkana Wed 22-Jun-11 07:25:55

Re recognition - dd tells me that others will get recognised in the reward system for things for which dd won't be. Difficult for me to check if that's true.

Re friendship - her best friend until last year dropped her when a new girl joined, another new girl joined who is frequently quite unkind to dd, she doesn't fit in with everybody and feels lonely and isolated.

Re changing schools - at another school locally dd has some very good friends from outside the school, so after talking about it for months I am seriously considering letting dd go there.

Al I am wondering is whether to just take dd out or whether to have one more go at asking the school to help dd feel better.

emkana Wed 22-Jun-11 07:26:53

Anybody not everybody

youarekidding Wed 22-Jun-11 07:39:48

I'm really not sure as I know the DC's perception of what goes on in school is different from the actual process. DC's this age still very much see the smaller picture with them in the middle of it.

What I can say though is the fact she knows and is friends with children from the other school perhaps means a move will be beneficial. I would have a chat with her about how she won't get on with everyone in life but tbh would any of us stay in a job where we didn't get on with our collegues if we could get the same job elsewhere and be happier?

Will she go to secondary with the dc's from the other school? Or will she go to one with pupils from current school? Thats worth considering as you could just be delayingthe having to deal with it if she'll end up back in school with them in a years time iyswim?

lesley33 Wed 22-Jun-11 07:44:48

I don't think it is reasonable to expect the school to tackle the issues you have described - sorry.

Her best friend dropped her - there is really nothing anyone can do about this. Children prefer some children to others and just like adults outgrow friendships. Another child is unkind - unless she is being bullied, then this is something she needs to learn to deal with. There are unkind people everywhere.

Some children will get recognition for things that she won't get recognition for in the reward system. For example, if a child is really shy, but plucks up courage to volunteer to hand out books to the class, then that should be recognised. Or a child struggles with sitting down for the whole lesson, but manages to, then that should be recognised.

I would be talking to her about how any reward system like this tries to recognise when children are doing things positive that they struggle with, but won't always reward someone who doesn't struggle with these issues. I actually think it is important she understands this as it will happen at any good school.

I understand the temptation to let her move schools to the other one where she already has friends. But I would be very cautious with this. What happens for example if she moves schools and then falls out with these friends? And just because she is friends out of school, doesn't mean that they will remain good friends in school time. However if you do decide to let her move schools, I think you need to be clear that you won't let her move again unless it was for a really big issue e.g. ongoing serious bullying.

ZZZenAgain Wed 22-Jun-11 07:49:13

cthe new girl who joined and is frequently unkind to dd, that is something the school could be asked to tackle.

The girl who usedto be dd's best friend and dropped her for the new girl, I would have spoken to the mum to see if there was anything we could do to help dd be still involved. Sometimes though they just want one close friend and there is nothing much that can be done about it. Sorry your dd is having a bad year altogether.

The recognition thing is difficult to judge. Can't see why this would be happening unless perhaps the teacher has taken a dislike to dd for whatever reason? Otherwise maybe it is just unintentional and if you have already brought it up, I don't think there is much that can be done there really. Can see how it would be upsetting for a dc to feel she is passed over where others are not.

Are there any problems between you and the class teacher? No harm in looking at the other school but there might be unpleasant dc there too

lesley33 Wed 22-Jun-11 07:54:54

Sorry zzzenagain - but I would really resent a mum asking me if I could help our DC's be friends again. Children shouldn't be unkind, but I actually think children have the right to choose their own friends - provided the friendship isn't harming them. I really don't think adults should interfere.

choccyp1g Wed 22-Jun-11 09:17:09

I'm going against the grain a bit here, but my first response to the OP is that yes, school should care about your DD being unhappy. Of course they can't put all their effort into making one child happy, but they should be keeping an eye on friendship issues, and making sure that all children are recognised appropriately.
Not sure where you go from here though, as school have already ignored the problem. I'd mention it at parents' night if you've got one coming up. Not in an accusing way, but point out that DD still says she is unhappy, ask if they have noticed it at school, what could you do about it together.

worraliberty Wed 22-Jun-11 09:22:06

It's my understanding (from a previous thread) that the friend didn't drop her, she just became very popular and had a 'following' that the OP's daughter didn't want to be a part of.

I really don't think it's anything the school or the girl's parents can deal with as it's the girl's friends/popularity that became the problem.

OP, all of these friendships generally change when the kids start senior school...all this may become a distant memory for her as she meets new friends.

howabout Wed 22-Jun-11 09:31:48

We are quite close to the summer holidays, so I would be inclined to let your DD muddle on and try to see it as character building. I have 2 DDs of similar ages and both your issues are familiar to me. Both of them have temporarily lost friends to the new girl at some point but eventually once said new girl settles in ended up with wider social networks.
I tend to support them by amusing them with all my minor niggles with the other playground Mums.
I encourage them to share in the achievement of the DCs getting recognition along the lines of they need the encouragement but you are already there.
You sound quite involved with the school and I do volunteer at school but worry that this undermines the DCs confidence in the authority of the teachers.
Also once DD gets to secondary school this issue is bound to recur so I don't think it is a good idea to wave a magic wand over it at this stage.
Sounds like you are doing a good job making sure she has friends outside of her school circle and this is bound to be a boost to her confidence.

cory Wed 22-Jun-11 09:38:21

Imo it is a good idea to have a plan before you go in to see the school as to what you want them to do and what they can do.

Telling the little girl she must drop her new friend and play with your dd is clearly both unfair and unrealistic- and you would not have been very happy if the school had done this to your dd when she first made her friend. Even telling someone who they must be friends with - well, we wouldn't accept it as adults and there is no reason a child should either.

Asking them to keep an eye out for any unkindness or bullying otoh is a reasonable request; if this new girl is being actively unkind she needs to be stopped.

Otoh asking if there is a mentoring system/place to go for children who have noone to play with is a perfectly reasonable thing to do and the school might want to think of such a scheme if they haven't already got one.

And just letting the teacher know that your dd is feeling a bit fragile atm.

Also chatting to your dd as a parent and explaining that these things happen, that friends change and you make new friends and it's tough for a bit and then you feel better.

Perhaps giving her some hints on how you can make new friends. Do you think she is very shy? Bossy? Only willing to play on her terms? Or do you think it might be a temporary problem and that she will make new friends if she is just encouraged to hang in and not lose heart? Could you encourage external interests to help her make new friends outside school? Sports? Drama?

As for the recognition, it is going to be virtually impossible to prove, you have only your dd's perception to go on and it's a fair bet that she doesn't notice when other children's achievements or good behaviour go unrewarded.

I think here you can do a lot as a parent by explaining what it's like to be teacher and have so many children to look after, that it is easy to miss things, but it doesn't really matter because her good behaviour and learning will serve her well in the long run.

I used to get this a lot from dd, probably at a rather younger age than yours, but it was very similar: I never get to be Star of the Week, I never get a good part in the school play though I'm the only one who can learn lines etc etc.

She may well have been right about every individual complaint for all I know (how can I know?) but I felt encouraging her to nurse grievances would not be the best way to help her. I found the actual complaint hardly ever mattered in the long run (who cares six months later if they got to be Mary or a reindeer?) but the right way of listening did matter. I worked on hard on cultivating the right vibes: "yes, dear, I can see you are upset, I can't know what's wrong or right, but I do sympathise and I am sure you'll feel better soon".

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Wed 22-Jun-11 09:40:16

The first thing I would do is ask your DD's teacher about the 'recognition system'. You can't question it if you don't understand it. Ask the teacher how it works and how your DD fits into it - and how the other children fit into it.

I'm sorry to ask this but, are you a parent that tends to 'over-praise'? If you think you might be, it could be that your daughter has an artificial idea of what 'rewards' and recognition generally is all about. That's something you'll have to address if you think it fits.

On the friendship issue, if your DD is very shy, could the teacher perhaps encourage a little 'group' working on projects? If she already does that, how does your DD participate? Does she muck-in with the others to sit on the sidelines waiting to be told what to do?

I think the first port of call is to your DD's teacher, just for a chat, to get the information so that you can understand how it all works there. Then when DD speaks to you about her day at school, you'll be able to help here and there as you'll have the knowledge of what's going on.

I also wouldn't countenance a change of school, not right now. If this isn't a problem with the school but more your DD's 'fitting in' abilities, she'll have the same problem elsewhere. Get to the root of the problem and tackle it.

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