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to wonder why my lovely DD is so unpopular?

(131 Posts)
Itsnearlysummertime Wed 30-Jan-13 09:53:20

DD1 is 9. In my opinion she is lovely. She has no friends. She hasn't been invited to a party in over 2 years. She has never been invited on a sleepover.

We have had problems with her fitting in at school and even considered moving her, but she doesn't want to move. I fear that if I move her against her will it will only make matters worse.

She goes to a small local school with only 1 class per year. There are about 14 girls in her class including herself. A few a 'queen bee' types with one more so than the others. The rarely acknowledge that she exists. There is a constant stream of sleepovers that she is never invited to and I can see that it is wearing her down. It's making her sad and withdrawn. She doesn't understand.

Other than not being very girly or being bothered about the latest fashion etc, she is just normal. Nice hair, pretty face, average build a bit taller than average.

What can make her so unpopular? I just don't get it. School don't see why it is, but acknowledge that it's happening.

I feel so so sad for her and want to help but just don't know how any more sad

IDreamedADreamOfSausageRolls Fri 01-Feb-13 19:59:03

last week she tried to play with some other girls and was told by ring leader that it was a secret club and she wasn't a member

This is classic tween girl bullying. Did you tell the teacher? What did she say? There is absolutely no excuse for it, particularly in such a small school. The teacher should be talking to the whole class about why this sort of thing as unacceptable, as well as having a private word with the ringleader/queen bee child.

Itsnearlysummertime Fri 01-Feb-13 15:21:24

merrycouthymow your DS sounds lovely. I bet you he thrives when he gets to grammar school.

Whilst I am proud of DD and relieved that she is happy as herself, it doesn't stop me wanting her to have more friendships with the girls.

I guess we need to take their example and be happy for who they are. DD just doesn't get girly things!!

MerryCouthyMows Fri 01-Feb-13 14:49:31

My DS1 is going through this at the moment. He's not in a 'small' school, it's 2-3FE usually, but his year was a very small birth year, and there is only one, very girl-heavy, class in his year.

It's not helped by the fact that academically, DS1 is working 4 years ahead of his peers, and seems to have different interests.

DS1 is interested in Dr. Who, computer games (not allowed violent 18 rated ones though, unlike the other boys in his class of 10-11yo's...), fast cars and science.

The other boys are only interested on football. Nothing else. And DS1 finds it boring after a while, he likes PLAYING football, but not endless conversations about football.

Plus we aren't living close by the school, and he isn't old enough to cross 4 main roads (one a main route into town directly coming off the A12!) to get to the park near the school that they all play in.

He's not even heading to the same Secondary as the others - he's likely to be heading to the Grammar school while they will all go to the local Academy.

I'm hoping that he can bear the last few months of Y6, and that when he gets to Secondary he will find some like-minded friends.

butterfingerz Fri 01-Feb-13 14:31:06

I was never popular but always had friends, I was just too shy and quiet. Luckily my friends were like minded souls and lovely girls... I guess I would have struggled if there were just the queen bee types of which there were quite a few in my primary class.

I did get bullied in secondary by the more popular girls, again I guess I was so quiet and I never told on them. Perhaps like you, my mum could never understand it as I was nice, normal looking, and had some really good friends but the bullying did wear me down after a while.

Do you think your dd is too quiet or shy? Is there something to boost her confidence? drama class etc.

Oh and I was never quiet at home so my mum never knew quite how bad I was at school!

kerala Fri 01-Feb-13 13:40:36

Good for her. My DH hasnt a single friend from his school days - he was totally in the wrong environment (he worked hard and was at quite a rough comp). He got to Cambridge and was amazed to find so many like minded people he has a huge gang of really great friends from university we see often and lots of friends hes since met through his work/kids etc. He was just in the wrong place for him when he was at school. Just wanted to say its not necessarily doom if your child doesnt shine socially at school but find ways to keep her happy and strong.

hillyhilly Fri 01-Feb-13 13:37:47

I read a post on here a while ago a post from a mum who'd made sure that her play dates were the absolute best that they could be, lots of interactive play, chocolates, maybe take a friend or two to the cinema or other "girly treats".
It's bribery in the end but it did work for her, also maybe have a chat with your dd about " fake it til you make it" ie fake not caring until you don't or fake being girly and interested in whatever they are if you want to join in.
Good luck, it's so hard, and as a previous poster said, girls are really not very nice quite often

Itsnearlysummertime Fri 01-Feb-13 13:32:34

Thanks again everyone for your messages. I am feeling more positive today after meeting with DDs teacher.

Her opinion is that DD is essentially a lovely kind empathetic girl. She is sometimes a bit brash, as in, lacks social boundaries i.e. if she sees something happening, say, in a group she will just barge on in with no regard for anyone else! They are working on this, and she is getting a bit better. She is a complete tomboy! She has nothing in common with the majority of the girls, who in the teachers words spend a lot of time "preening and talking about manicures in a very precocious fashion". The friendship with her 'boy' friend is very strong and is very much reciprocated by him.

So fingers crossed she will be ok. I suppose I just have to accept she isn't going to be popular with the girls. The teacher said they spend a lot of time falling out etc, so DD is probably best out of it. She appears (most of the time) to be happy in her own skin. To be honest I feel quite proud of her smile

maddening Thu 31-Jan-13 16:25:19

But while they are isolating her they are winning - and no one will step over the line.

If she has a friendship group then she isn't visibly isolated- won't seem "needy" as she will be happy and playing. She has a good friend, and potential for others even being boys. Look on groupon etc for discounts on fun activities for her and a couple of friends - get her out having fun.

it'll also be good for her to be comfortable with boys as friends going forward and especially once they hit high school.

dikkertjedap Thu 31-Jan-13 15:23:29

Are there any other schools near you you could consider? If so, I would change schools after the Easter Holidays.

We spend lots of time in class to deal with unkind behaviour, bullying, etc. - it is very very hard to change this type of behaviour, there does not seem to be a quick fix. Often it gets condoned at home and schools are fighting an uphill battle with little or no backup of the parents of the offender(s).

So my advice would be to cut your losses, to let her make a new start and to have her changing schools asap.

mrsjay Thu 31-Jan-13 15:09:35

I just fear the further she is alienated from all the girls in her class the harder it is to belong again. She has another 2 years to go through this. It may damage her and what if I could have stopped it and didn't? A heavy cross to bear.

Just want to say it may get a little worse before it gets better especially in the last year of primary they tend to get a big big for their boots been top of the school iyswim, but it is ok for her to be pals with boys it really is if you can encourage that friend ship invite him out for the day etc then I am sure she will be ok

might leave a bad taste in your mouth, but could you maybe invite queen bee to something especially exciting and fun with your dd? a theatre production, ice skating or something that would be a rare treat? it might help gain more popularity for your dd if they were seen chatting about it at school.

for what it is worth, I spent two years age 9-10 in a village school like you describe. I was put in the top year as I was quite clever, but then kept there two years as I was too young for secondary school. so all the older girls resented me being there and when they left the younger ones hated me too. worst school years of my life. the queen bee girls came to my birthday party and all deliberately bought me crap gifts (to the point that they had clearly unwrapped what their mothers sent and wrapped the same paper round junk). they all sniggered as I opened a coffee stained photo of Kylie minogue, a babys room picture, used colouring book, broken pens... country school girls can be little bitches and I got through those years with a lot of books for playtime.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Thu 31-Jan-13 11:51:11

What about encouraging her friendship with more of the boys in her school? Or kids in other years?

Are there any that live near you?

DeWe Thu 31-Jan-13 10:45:35

Don't be fooled into thinking a bigger school will necessarily help.
Dd1's school is 4 form entry. There may be more children to get on with, but, even with considerable encouraging, they do tend to stay friends with those in their form, and actually having a friend in a different form can cause problems (dd1 had this). Also it is much easier for bullying/nastiness to be hidden among the crowd.

Itsnearlysummertime Thu 31-Jan-13 10:21:03

Just want to thank everyone for all their advice. Got up this morning, done the school and came home now and having a good cry. Cathartic I think. Glad it's my day off.

I love the idea of hugging the clothes !! I done this this morning before she left.

I guess she is just more comfortable around boys and I just have to accept it. Perhaps it isn't anyone's fault. I would just like to see her happier that's all.

I just fear the further she is alienated from all the girls in her class the harder it is to belong again. She has another 2 years to go through this. It may damage her and what if I could have stopped it and didn't? A heavy cross to bear.

I love to hear the stories of all DDs/DSs that thrived and blossomed in High School. Thank you.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 30-Jan-13 22:32:54

I've only read page one but your op is so sad sad

At my children's school they do a thing with the kids who are being bullied etc which involves them helping out in the school nursery etc to boost their confidence and gives them something to do at break times. Does the school do anything like that?

I would also suggest clubs, after school ones in the school would give her the opportunity to mix with other kids without the whole class there. And also ones not linked to the school so she can make separate friends.

I would also carry on encouraging the friendship with the boy.

Do you have any friends with similar age children that you can have over.

stickygingerbread Wed 30-Jan-13 22:20:39

OP I think there has been great advice on this thread. Girls can be so hard, especially in groups.

My own addition is to note that the queen bee often excludes one person not for any personal flaw of the poor excluded one, but to consolidate her power over the other ones. They are the ones who are afraid to displease her or get exiled by befriending the excluded one. The qb needs someone to serve in that unattractive almost cinderella like misery as an example, to get the others dancing to her tune. It takes some spirit to rebel against the system.

mrsbunnylove Wed 30-Jan-13 22:11:05

interests and hobbies. get her as many as she can. book, small soft toy, lunch-box letters. hug her clothes before she puts them on so she knows you are hugging her all day.
is she into music? take her to see some bands. do cool things the others can't do. give her the opportunity to follow up her interests. it fills her time, and boosts her confidence, and makes her a very interesting person, too.

AgentZigzag Wed 30-Jan-13 22:03:09

You said about the viscous circle earlier, and I was worried about that too. DD used to take a book in to read at break if she found herself on her own, which could kind of look like she was choosing to read and be by herself (although this was helped by there being other DC all sat individually reading along this wall grin) but I didn't want her to look unapproachable and miss any opportunities to hang about with someone.

The more I think about it since she's left primary, the more wound up I get that, although they did take steps to tackle it (after trying different things for her to sort it, I went in myself) they didn't do a very good job. Just tried to palm it off on lots of 'strong personalities' in DDs year group. (I'm worried now because DD2 will eventually go there).

But at secondary the DC can go practically where they like within the school at break, they have rooms for those who don't have anyone to kick about with which have computers and things, and break time clubs, even an inclusion unit where they can go and talk about stuff that's bothering them.

The secondary school includes DD in a way that seemed beyond the reach of primary. Are younger children not worth the effort secondary children get? I can't work the difference out.

maddening Wed 30-Jan-13 22:00:07

Def focus on the friend - maybe see if he and the boy she helped today can come over for tea.

I reckon just her having a little group of friends will help her confidence.

Maybe a couple of group trips ice skating or cinema with her and the two boys - maybe invite one of the fringe members of the queen bee gang - if they experience her in a group setting doing something fun it might tip the balance. These followers are weak characters and easily swayed when queen bee isn't around.

mrsjay Wed 30-Jan-13 21:47:37

He's a great friend. They both ADORE Skylanders. Thy have spent many a night fighting monsters!

dd2 and her friend who is a boy talk about batman and dc comics and 'stuff' they get on really well and some of the girls in their year dont get that they are not going out or something, your dd sounds like she is going to be alright,

mrsjay Wed 30-Jan-13 21:43:28

yellow tulips puts it very well your dd does not need secret clubs or friends who want nothing to do with her speak to the teacher on friday but your dd has a friend hasn't she build her confidence that way, don't try and to 'make her fit in' it really won't work and she would probably be very unhappy

fromparistoberlin Wed 30-Jan-13 21:15:34

"She should, however, be allowed to play with others without one girl excluding her.

I agree, and i think mrs stews post was lovely

I can see it's easy to say "talk to teacher" but u clearly have tried sad

i think some good food for thought here, so think, re-group and good luck

simplesusan Wed 30-Jan-13 21:09:31

Some very good advice on here.
Encourage the friendship she has with her classmate.
I second the idea of out of school activities.
My dds used to dance at a local dance school.
Most of the girls went to another school and they virtually ignored my dds.
I moved them to another dance school, not because of this, where pupils come from many different schools. The difference is huge. I would say everyone gets on. My dds are never left out when they have to get into pairs. They have been invited to countless parties and the parents are lovely too!

Let your dd invite friends over for tea, don't keep score though. If she doesn't get a return invite let it go.

Itsnearlysummertime Wed 30-Jan-13 20:52:06

Thanks agentzigzag. It is thinking that it will get better that gets me through what is happening now. To be honest she seems fine when at home, so I'm holding onto that

AgentZigzag Wed 30-Jan-13 19:51:34

I've only read your posts OP, but so much of what you've said is similar to my 12 YO DD when she was in primary, and I felt exactly the same as you.

She started secondary in September, and after a couple of weeks of getting shit from a few girls who used to do the same at her primary (the school were very good about it when I told them, much better than primary) she's doing brilliantly.

Still get the same old he said/she said rubbish grin but I scan read that other posters have said the wider group can really help resolve the problems you've described, and I really agree with that.

It's not that much of a solution because this is happening to her now, but if you decide not to move her and just try and slog it out, there really can be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Of course there are things she can do to try and fit in (and some of them are reasonable, more social conventions rather than changing who she is), but in the end it's not her, it's them. Just keep on with that like a dog with a bone. There's nothing wrong at all with the core of what kind of a person your DD is, the thing I was most scared of is DD slipping into the 'there must be something wrong with me' and getting down on herself.

Good luck with whatever you decide smile

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