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To be so upset for DD that her friends are being so awful to her?

(79 Posts)
JumblyWumbly Tue 08-Mar-16 10:00:01

DD is 11 and is in year 6 at school.

I am biased but she is a lovely girl; very friendly, open and upbeat, and has always been really popular at school and had lots of party invitations and got invited to lots of other childrens' houses to play.

She has had the same group of friends pretty much through school since reception. There are 6 of them in the friendship group and there have never really been any problems other than the very occasional temporary spat. They've all always been lovely girls and they've all always got on really well. Teachers have always commented on what a nice, strong group of friends they are.

At the beginning of this year a different girl, who has also been in their year since reception, started hanging around with them all. I'll call her Chloe. DD had always got on well with this girl and liked her, but since September Chloe has really become a queen bee of this group (something that the group didn't particularly seem to have before), and has really taken a dislike to DD and has become nastier and nastier to her. Over the months the others, who all think Chloe is amazing, have jumped on the bandwagon too and are nasty and snidey to DD a lot. They are very protective about Chloe and will do whatever she says, and if DD ever sticks up for herself they jump in to defend Chloe and are even nastier to DD.

It is just constant things; taking DD's lunch and hiding it on a regular basis, calling her names, doing things to her and then saying it's her being horrible, sending her horrible texts, little physical things like pulling her hair, etc. I have spoken to DD's teacher about it, who is lovely about it and has offered to speak to the girls but DD doesn't want her to as she thinks it will make it worse. The girls also all go to an activity one night per week and they have started doing it to her there too, last week they all kept spraying her with something they were using to do a cookery activity and she came home covered in food. It's an activity run by volunteers so I can't exactly go in there and speak to the leaders about it unfortunately. Also most of these are going to a different secondary school to DD, so they use this as a stick to beat DD with and call her names about the school she is going to and say that the school is rubbish.

DD has started to hang around with others girls at school, and has 'friends' to spend time with, but I can tell that she is just so sad about how these girls, her longterm friends, have behaved and are still behaving. She was upset last night and I have again offered to speak to the teacher but she doesn't want me to as she thinks it will make things worse and her last few months at the school will be more unpleasant, which I understand but at the same time I want the school to stop the behaviour!

I am friendly with the mums of these girls but haven't mentioned it to any of them, as I don't think it would be a good idea and would cause extra drama and increase the problem.

I just feel so sad for DD, and so upset. She's always loved school and felt a real sense of belonging and had good friends and now it's just awful for her sad

What do I do?

tiggytape Tue 08-Mar-16 10:11:08

I am sorry to hear about your DD
Year 6 can be really tough - hormones, SATS, secondary school stresses and a familiarity-breeding-contempt claustrophobia from being in the same class as 29 other people for nearly 7 years.

However there is no excusing the bullying your DD is suffering. And it is bullying.
The exclusion tactics, removing her property and physical things (however minor) on a repeated basis are bullying and should be taken very seriously by the school. I know she is scared of making it worse but with no consequences, why would these girls stop when they get spiteful delight out of it? Try to persuade her to let her teacher intervene but, even if DD won't agree, the school needs to intervene anyway.

It is very bad for DD's well being to be treated in this way but it is also unacceptable for others to get away with it even if their victim is too scared to speak out. What they are doing is very serious and should be treated as such.
If you can, record what DD tells you with dates and times and names and details. Speak to her teacher and say it is time to start tackling this now but keep your records in case you need to escalate it later.

It's an activity run by volunteers so I can't exactly go in there and speak to the leaders about it unfortunately.
Volunteers working with children have the same responsibility as people who are salaried and work with children. They have the same duty to keep her safe but, more importantly they will want to. Make sure they are aware of what has happened and what is happening at school so they can keep an eye on things and intervene when necessary.

Flyonthewindscreen Tue 08-Mar-16 10:11:35

I would speak to school. I don't see how much worse you could make things for your DD and these bullies should not be allowed to get away with it. Don't mention it to their mothers, let school sort it.

Your poor DD having her last months at primary spoilt. It sounds like Chloe has targeted your DD as a rival in the popularity stakes and wants her out of the gang . I would arrange some really nice outings for DD and her new friends to give her a boost.

JumblyWumbly Tue 08-Mar-16 10:16:25

Thank you both so much for the replies!

You are right, the teacher needs to intervene now. I will make an appointment to see her tonight or tomorrow after school and say it needs to be tackled now. The teacher is great so I think she will deal with it really well.

I meant to say too they also keep saying DD is fat, as she is very tall for her age, which I think is another important thing they need to tackle.

I think Chloe is quite jealous of DD and set out to make DD upset and out her from the group sad

exLtEveDallas Tue 08-Mar-16 10:21:45

DD went through this at the end of last school year. She didn't want me to say anything either, and it was compounded by me working at the school at the time. In the end it all came to a head when DH actually witnessed something horrible and blew up.

Fair play, the school were excellent and dealt with it very well. The only fly in the ointment was the HT telling me that we should have said something much earlier - and she was right.

Sometimes we have to go against our children's wishes simply because we know better. They will understand eventually.

Good luck.

notagiraffe Tue 08-Mar-16 10:26:25

Your poor DD. There must be some hormonal spike in Yr 6. They all turn into primates. There is a lot of fear about moving on and it's common for people to start rejecting anyone who isn't moving up to the same school with them - happened to both my DC. (who are both fine, love their new school, have great friends but keep up with almost no one from their primary school days.

It is really hard for her. I know children for whom yr 6 stayed hard and the long standing primary friendships never recovered. In a way, it's good that she's going to a different school from them so the bullying can'ttip ove rinto Yr 7 as that can be a serious problem when they are all out of their depth in a new school.

Can you make contract with mums at the new school and arrange for her to meet up with some girls she'll be mixing with in September, so she at least feels confident in the new year group.

Keep on developing friendships with the other girls in her year and give her lots of encouragement to stand up for herself. The teachers need to be vigilant - hair pulling, food theft and similar are really aggressive and they need to get caught and get into serious trouble for it.

Chocolatteaddict1 Tue 08-Mar-16 10:27:12

If your friends with their mums I would say something. You would be able to gauge what they feel the situation is like (if they know about it) and see if it's worth salvaging.

I'd absolutely speak to her teacher. She needs a safe space in school to learn and as her parent you have to ensure that.

It might be that's this is the end of the line for this friendship group with dd going to another school it will at least give her some respite.

Another reason I would speak to the girls parents is that this if you live close to each other this could escalate to out of school bullying (which is already happening) and even if dd does started a new school it could still continue.

These things are normally easy to sort out if calm adults intervene but sometimes if left in helped can spiral out of control, which I've seen happen to young member off my family. Usually mothers are quite shocked and embarrassed when they read/see whst their little loveys have been up to.

tiggytape Tue 08-Mar-16 10:34:01

The chocolatteaddict - the general advice not to involve other parents is for two reasons really:
1. The bullying is happening at school not when the parents are supervising the children involved. The other parents are not there to witness it or to deal with it. Any actions need to start at school (and hopefully supported by other parents at home).

2. Other parents will be defensive and it won't help. No parent ever says "I am so sorry to hear that my daughter is a horrible little bully and I will tell her to stop immediately."
What they normally say is "Chloe says she didn't pull your DD's hair, it got caught in her watch and your DD is trying to cause trouble" or "Chloe says that your DD started the name calling first" or "Chloe is an angel child who would never do any of this so your DD must just be insecure / oversensitive / jealous."

tiggytape Tue 08-Mar-16 10:36:40

And when a group of girls bully one girl, the others all back each other up.
So even if one mum initially believes it and responds favourably, she will soon hear the other mums of the other bullies saying that their DD's are innocent and it is all lies.
Only the school know what is going on and only the school can be impartial in dealing with it.

JumblyWumbly Tue 08-Mar-16 10:36:56

I am a bit wary of speaking to the mothers as there was a mum who spoke to another mum about their child being nasty when the kids were in year 4 (these weren't children from DD's particular group of friends), and it escalated into a huge falling out between the mums. I really don't want that kind of drama. The mums of DD's friends are all nice enough but I think being tackled about your child's behaviour can bring out the worst in some parents unfortunately.

Chocolatteaddict1 Tue 08-Mar-16 10:42:32

I'm my experience tiggy that's not true.

Stock answers on MN are not always for the best or the law of the land. The op has known this group of girls for a long time so must know their parents enough to say ' hi xx have you got five mins to have a quick chat about the girls'... These are not random kids or parents.

I wouldn't approach 'chloe' parents at as the op seems to have no relationship with her unlike the other long term friends.

And you wrong - Ive seen/known parents apologise if their kids are being mean and deal with the matter accordingly.

APlaceOnTheCouch Tue 08-Mar-16 10:44:27

You have to go back to the school. If you have any doubts about the teacher's ability to deal with it, then go to the HT. If it's as constant as it seems then the teacher should be able to catch them in the act and give them into trouble without it seeming like it came from your DD and without giving them the opportunity to gang up against your DD's version of events.

tbh the teacher should have done that after you spoke to her the first time. She should have been more alert to their dynamic, and if she witnesses events then she doesn't need your permission to raise the issue.

toastandbutterandjam Tue 08-Mar-16 10:45:23

I just want you to know, you are not alone OP!

We had a very similar problem with Dsis when she was in year 5 - it didn't end well for us though. Dsis was punched in the face, thrown down the stairs, lunch taken from her, name calling, just general spitefulness. She ended up sitting on her own at playtime, parents started shouting at me, waiting for me outside the gates etc.. Had me in tears one day blush

We were actually friends with the parents of the children doing these awful things as well, but that is another story angry

I wont explain in detail how it ended, but Dsis had to be removed from the school. The school did nothing to resolve it.

I really hope you manage to get things sorted out for you and your DD soon. I know how horrible it can be and Dsis still suffers the effects of everything that happened. I hope you are okay too OP as I know how hard it can be to see children go through these things. I understand how upset you must be feeling.

Sending lots of loveflowers

HPsauciness Tue 08-Mar-16 10:45:46

At my dds school, there would be no offering to speak about it, the girls would all be in a 'antibullying session' by lunchtime! (Not sure what it's called, but they have a great program). Children are not allowed to do even one of these things more than once or twice- so exclude nastily, call names, pull hair, without getting pulled up and in a discussion group in which the boundaries would be very clear indeed. Action is immediate and there's zero tolerance (not saying this resolves anything, but it's extremely helpful for children to get such clear boundaries).

I would be up there at the school immediately today asking for some help to resolve this, it's not resolvable by you but it is most definitely bullying. I would also have a word with the Guides or Scouts or whatever group they are in, covered in food is totally unacceptable and again, action needs to be take here.

This is spiralling out of control, it's not one thing, so it needs dealing with directly rather than just hoping it will all go away (as Chloe is bonding the group over bullying your child!)

Chocolatteaddict1 Tue 08-Mar-16 10:47:34

op obviously you know the situation better than anyone else. I can't see any situation where I wouldn't be able to approach anothe parent who I was friendly with about a sensitive subject and talk about it in a non confrontational way and looking for a solution rather than accusations.

My eldest is 21 this summer and I've never had a fall out with another mother.

MyLocal Tue 08-Mar-16 10:48:17

Oh god, I feel your pain.

As the mother of a daughter who has gone through similar at various stages of her life, and with friends also with daughters who have gone through similar, I can only reassure you that you are not alone. This is massively common in girls, and will probably happen again at 13 then maybe 15 with various different friendship groups until they outgrow it. DD last bitch fest situation was age 17 in the sixth form before the long term friends all gradually realised that Queen Bee was actually Queen Bitch and cutting those from the group that wouldn't comply with "her way".

If it's any consolation it all came to a head just before they started Uni and now Queen Bitch is the friendless one, although her Tweets and FB posts would give the impression that everyone has ganged up on her.

At 18, finally, there is peace, maturity and happiness and DD has learnt that if someone makes her miserable she tells them, then cuts them off, never to be forgiven.

hang in there

Emochild Tue 08-Mar-16 10:49:54

If the after school activity is guides then please talk to the leaders

It's really difficult to know if behaviour is horseplay or bullying if you only see them for 2 hours a week but there is so much that can be done if we are aware of it

LoveBoursin Tue 08-Mar-16 10:50:06

This is bullying.
I would talk to the school again and let them in no uncertain terms that this should not be tolerated. You could even cite their antibullying policy.

But I would also teach your dd to stand up for herself. At the moment, it works because your dd takes it all in the chin and says nothing back. She excluded herself from the friendship group (and tbh, its probably the best thing she could have done) burt still feels sad and I suspect ashamed/guilty of what is happening. Afetr all why her and not the others?

IndridCold Tue 08-Mar-16 10:51:56

Totally unacceptable, nasty bullying. I would be making an appointment to see her teacher this afternoon. Of course your poor DD thinks this will make things worse, but it won't.

Don't speak to the other parents.

tiggytape Tue 08-Mar-16 10:52:22

I am glad you have had positive experiences of being able to resolve ongoing bullying amicably with other parents - it is not a usual outcome or recommended course of action.
Schools advise against parents doing this as frequently it makes things much worse.
And Bullying UK also says "It's important not to take matters into your own hands and to confront the bully's parents. This can lead to serious arguments."

And understandably OP is also uncomfortable about approaching them and fears a hostile response so it seems more appropriate for her to go the formal route of dealing with the school in a calm and factual manner as most schools and organisations advise parents to do. It also keeps everything on a professional footing so meetings and discussions can be recorded and agreed upon at a later date if needed.

puzzledbyadream Tue 08-Mar-16 10:52:32

As a former Cub leader, definitely speak to the volunteers! They need to know that bullying is going on so that they can deal with it.

Berthatydfil Tue 08-Mar-16 10:52:39

Go to the school you can do it without your dd knowing.
Tell them she's being made to feel unhappy by the low level bullying - the unkindness hiding her lunch etc. Ask for the antibullying policy, I wouldn't approach the parents.
Do the same for the activity - if it's guides ur similar even though they are volunteers they should have had training.

tiggytape Tue 08-Mar-16 10:52:57

(that was to Chocolatteaddict1)

stopfuckingshoutingatme Tue 08-Mar-16 10:56:55

just to say its bullying, and it needs addressing ASAP

fucking little cows (sorry) should get hauled over the coals, don't underplay it and ensure they are spoken to

address with school, and with the group. adults can, and will do a he amount to address this

they need telling that's its vile and disgusting behaviour- and their parents need telling

If I heard that my DS was doing this I would go apeshit, and that's what needs to happen

we put up with this when we were kids, its 2016 and we happily have more robust zero tolerance policy

and its not low level. its bullying. don't undermine it flowers

Canshopwillshop Tue 08-Mar-16 10:58:45

I posted about an almost identical problem just last week. Sorry, I don't know how to do a link to my post but if you search in chat the post is called 'DD's friend has turned against her'. It might help to read it. In DD's case, the bullying only lasted a few days but I have still notified the school and they have asked for print outs of the nasty text messages. I have asked DD's teacher not to say anything directly to the girls involved at this stage as things do seem to have settled for now. Instead the teacher is going to do a general session on bullying/cyber bullying to remind pupils how serious it is.

I think in your case though, I would definitely be asking the school to deal with these girls directly as its been going on so long. Like your DD, mine did not want the school involved for fear of making things worse but posters warned me that if we did nothing, the message to the bullies is that they can get away with it and the message to your DD is to stay silent and suffer - as a parent you have got to teach her to stand up for herself.

Other good advice I had was to read the school's bullying policy and buy a book called 'Bullies, Big mouths and so called friends' by Jenny Alxander. My DD is working her way through this at the moment.

Good luck, it seems as though year 6 is renowned for this sort of thing. Just what they need on top of SATS!

Finally, I think your DD should count herself lucky that she isn't going to the same secondary school as these girls. I know it will be hard to convince her at the moment but hopefull she will make some decent friendships in year 7.

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