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daughter really upset about forthcoming school trip

(312 Posts)
Dieu Wed 14-Oct-15 23:28:05

Hello everyone
My 14 year old daughter goes to a private girls' school, and is in short a really nice kid. She doesn't have a nasty bone, and does well to navigate some of the bitching that goes on at her school.
The school also has a separate boys' high, and occasionally the two come together for trips.
There is going to be a week long residential trip next year, and I have just broken the news to her that it's compulsory (and not optional, as she originally thought).
Her reaction was pretty bad, and she's really upset. She is terrified of being put together with the boys for that long. To be fair, as with any school (and gender!) some of them can be extremely nasty and their attitudes towards girls just awful. I think my daughter has seen a lot of it on social media, and it's the lack of escape on the trip that's worrying her.
Apparently the showers there are shared, and they wear their swimming costumes in them. SOME boys will think nothing of commenting on the girls' body shapes, etc. Of course my daughter is beautiful in my eyes, and in her own, but she knows herself that as someone who is tallest, ginger, not the skinniest etc, she could be a target for them.
She's normally a very reasonable, lovely girl but her reaction has worried me. Of course I tried to say all the right things, that the thought will be worse than the reality, that the boys probably won't care, that she shouldn't care etc. It sounded hollow though, and like I was trying to minimise her distress.
I'm normally a 'chin up and get on with it' parent and try not to pander to too much nonsense, but she's really scared and upset. She says she won't eat in front of the boys, so as not to attract nasty comments from them.
Gaaah. How would you prepare your teenage daughter for this trip?

Bodear Wed 14-Oct-15 23:45:22

I really feel for your daughter. Can you contact the school and confirm if what she has heard about showers is true? It sounds very inappropriate.

Dieu Wed 14-Oct-15 23:46:17

Thanks Bodear, and yes, will do.

grumpysquash Wed 14-Oct-15 23:46:26

There is absolutely no way that girls would have shared showers with boys, whether they are from another school or not.
It might be technically true that the same showers are used, but not at the same time! That would contravene safeguarding (amongst other things)
Even if they share a dining hall, I would imagine that the girls would sit on separate tables to the boys by choice.
I think your DD would actually eat if she was hungry, unless there are other issues surrounding food.

RoseWithoutAThorn Wed 14-Oct-15 23:54:04

I'm normally a 'chin up and get on with it' parent and try not to pander to too much nonsense,

Can I ask what you mean by this?

Justmyluck1 Wed 14-Oct-15 23:55:40

Mmm. Ok no residential trips are compulsory. It's against Ofsted safeguarding rules for boys and girls to share showers, can't believe I actually had to write that.

What sort of school is your dd at? Seriously I would move her. It sounds awful.

My teen dds are at a brilliant and professional state school. This wouldn't be tolerated for a second.

As for boys sexually commenting on the girls? Really? As in that's the norm?

Move her.

Fatmomma99 Wed 14-Oct-15 23:57:23

I think you should continue to wrap your DD up in cotton wool and protect her in any way from the real world (boys... ug! No girl should ever have to come into contact with them)! Don't worry, none of these things will ever come in real life, so don't send her on the trip and all will be well.

Justmyluck1 Wed 14-Oct-15 23:58:15

And I certainly wouldn't be preparing any daughter of mine for this trip
Good grief op. Where's your tiger radar?

Dieu Wed 14-Oct-15 23:59:48

What I mean is that I'm not a 'poor baby, of course I won't make you go' kind of mum. I sympathise with her, obviously, (and have a hell of a lot of empathy when thinking back to my own teenage days) but at the same time have to prepare her for the fact that this trip is going ahead, regardless of how she feels about it. It won't do her any favours if I go on about how rotten and unfair it is.

Kampeki Thu 15-Oct-15 00:00:24

Teenagers cannot be expected to share showers. I'm sure that this must be a misunderstanding.

It seems a little worrying, though, that your dd is so panicked about spending time with the boys. Is it just the shower issue that is bothering her? If so, I'm sure that you can reassure her (and yourself) on that point by checking with the school.

Dieu Thu 15-Oct-15 00:02:16

I have gently suggested to her that we look into other schools, but she has none of it. She has some firm friends and enjoys her lessons for the most part. It's the boy thing she's worried about.

Dieu Thu 15-Oct-15 00:06:17

I will look into the point about the showers. It could be that my daughter has this wrong, and that the Year above have been trying to put the fear into them.
I spoke with her form tutor who said that many of the children dread this trip initially, as many are out of their comfort zone with hillwalking, mountain biking etc, but then are buzzing at the end and come home raving about it.

Justmyluck1 Thu 15-Oct-15 00:07:05

Fat really? In my state comp real world the girls wouldn't be sharing showers with boys and would equally kick the arse off any boy commenting on their body shape.

I am so glad my kids went to to a mixed sex huge comp and escaped the shit I endured at a girls only grammar.

Kampeki Thu 15-Oct-15 00:09:58

Yes, unfortunately this kind of "othering" does seem common among pupils at single sex schools.

When I was 15, I regarded boys as ordinary human beings. My friend, who went to an all girls' school, seemed to think they were a different species.

Dieu Thu 15-Oct-15 00:09:59

As I said, she could have got this wrong and I will be looking into it. And as for kicking the boys' arses, well, not all girls have the confidence to do this. I started this thread in order to find ways to help her try.

TheDowagerCuntess Thu 15-Oct-15 00:11:11

A chat with her teacher or school would be appropriate.

I'd be blown away if they were seriously expecting girls and boys of this age to shower in the same room at the same time.

Kampeki Thu 15-Oct-15 00:12:20

OP, if you can reassure her about the shower issue, perhaps the greater exposure to boys during the residential week will help her to overcome her phobia of them?

If they're making derogatory comments about the girls' appearance, though, perhaps the school could help to address this?

Dieu Thu 15-Oct-15 00:13:00

Teacher emailed and I will report back!

Justmyluck1 Thu 15-Oct-15 00:14:54

The trouble with single sex Ed is they don't make friends with the opposite sec but are afraid/in awe/ scared of each other.

In a mixed sex environment the kids just make friends with who they like be they boy/girl and the mystery and Definatly the sex element is reduced.

No kid should go to a single sex school it's stupid really and doesn't prepare them for life as in you dds reaction and the boys inappropriate remarks.

Still op you are where you are.

No way would I send any child if mine in a school extra curricular trip away unless I was 100% happy they were safe/happy to go.

Still can't understand why it's compulsory?

Justmyluck1 Thu 15-Oct-15 00:17:34

Dieu please don't think I was criticising you as a parent! It's bloody hard of course. Just seeing it from you dds pov here and a bit angry in her behalf re the boys comments.

TheTigerIsOut Thu 15-Oct-15 00:17:58

I think there may not be much point in moving schools, as she may take her concerns wherever she goes.

Bitching in schools and nastiness in social media is widespread, don't think that only happens in her school (and no, it is not about it being private either, it happens also in state schools and even in those where they have a good reputation in dealing with it).Boys do exist and you cannot keep them out of her life forever. If your girl was a bit younger I would be telling you that you need to take her out more often, everybody fears what they don't know, and to make sure she interacts with boys more often, so she knows that they are, actually, people.

I think that this is not about finding the way to protect her from the outside world, but about finding ways empowering her to cope with the world outside. She really needs to increase her confidence.

lorelei9 Thu 15-Oct-15 00:19:24

Am I the only person surprised that the trip is compulsory? IT seems doubly odd that schools which separate genders then put them together in a situation like that.

and a week? I don't have kids but have never come across this with friends kids and now wonder if it is something my godchildren will face as their parents want them to go private for secondary.

Dieu Thu 15-Oct-15 00:28:01

Thanks Justmyluck1 smile

I never really wanted to send her to private school, but it's pretty much the norm where we live.
Some of it is bonkers and I myself have had many a raised eyebrow moment. That's why I spoke to her teacher today.
I love my daughter so incredibly much, and agree that her confidence needs to be increased. Believe it or not, it is better than it used to be.
If I'm being completely honest with you here, she has never really gelled well with many boys (not even at her state primary schools). She has always been shy and a bit defensive around them. Doesn't really trust them and thinks that they'll take the piss. She does have a few friends who are boys, but they're the non threatening types who tend to hang around with the girls through choice.
This thread has shown me that I need to address this, so thank you. I'm just not sure how.

TheTigerIsOut Thu 15-Oct-15 00:29:38

A week trip at that age, is not uncommon, Lorelei. My first mixed trip (at private school) was that long and we were 11 years okd. We had a great time, the only girl that cried and missed her mum, was the same girl that cried and missed her mum in any given school day.

State schools also have trips like that, it is pretty standard for secondary school age. Many of the children also travel with other children at that age with the guides or scouts.

Dieu Thu 15-Oct-15 00:30:27

Lorelei9, not all residential trips are compulsory of course (and certainly not the abroad ones, or the 'jollies' as I call them!) but all are expected to go on this UK one (once a year, in my daughter's year).

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