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To feel such anxiety over secondary school?

(17 Posts)
TheWitTank Tue 13-Sep-16 08:20:56

I actually feel a bit of a knob writing this -I know that I need to get a grip but I'm struggling! DD (just turned 11) has recently started secondary school. She is confident, kind and happy girl, very sure of herself, not afraid to speak up or of what people think of her. She is also very happy in her own company. She likes her friends, but will sometimes choose to sit alone/eat lunch alone etc. This is a choice and she seems (like me I suppose) to enjoy being alone and peaceful. She says she is enjoying school. The problem is me! I think I remember school too well-ours was a pit of bullying and social standing and was miserable for a lot of people. I was luckily amongst the popular crowd, but I feel such anxiety about my DD making friends and being happy. I could literally feel my heart breaking this morning when I dropped her off at the bus stop and she was standing alone with her headphones on with everyone else chatting away. I'm really not like this usually, I happily send mine off on trips and camps, but secondary has made me wobbly. How do I get a grip? Has anyone else had this or had a child that is happy to be a loner?

lalalonglegs Tue 13-Sep-16 08:34:33

She seems to be settling in well so your anxiety does seem a little irrational. Schools have changed massively since I was at a (very large and very rough) comp in the 80s, I think generally for the better. Do you know anyone with children higher up the school who could talk to you about their children's positive experiences to put your mind at risk.

Your daughter (if she is in England) has probably only been at school a week or so, there is plenty of time for her to find her own crowd. My daughter started last year and doesn't have friends at the bus stop but has lots who get on during the journey and others who come in from a different direction.

Seeline Tue 13-Sep-16 08:36:14

It is a worrying time - you sort of lose a certain amount of control/input in their lives compared to primary.
I think if your DD appears to be happy in herself, you probably don't need to worry. You say that you appreciate your own company, and that she is like you, so I wouldn't expect close friendships.
Neither of my DCs have close friends. They have a group of mates that they mix with according to what they are doing, club, lesson etc. They don't really extend those friendships out of school, but seem perfectly happy. I often think it helps with the fallouts that do happen, as there is always someone else around to chat to if they want.
If your DD started last week, then she probably hasn't had much time to start new friendships. Did she have any friends start with her?
Also, there may not be anyone from her class/year at the bus stop and IME chatting with older kids definitely comes later!!
As long as your DD knows she can chat to you about any problems, then I don't think you need to worry.

TheWitTank Tue 13-Sep-16 08:44:38

I absolutely think this is more about me than her. I think the loss of control has been hard for me -she is dyslexic and dyspraxic and I have always had a fairly large role in her education. Knowing that she is never going to be particularly academic (her writing is still hard to read with letters the wrong way round and occasional mirror writing) I can't stand the thought of her struggling miserably through lessons (projecting!). I've always told her it doesn't matter as long as she tries her best, and to me that really is true, but I just am so anxious about school.
She is a tough cookie -I just need that grip. Massively. Letting go is hard!

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 13-Sep-16 08:47:28

My daughter is in year 10. She has a small group of two or three close friends, but quite often chooses to spend lunch time alone. She says she finds the noise and bustle exhausting and needs a bit of space. It doesn't appear to have any adverse impact on her friendships - they are all similarly inclined. There are always lots of students saying hi to her and being friendly when we go to school events, so I have no reason to think she is being side-lined.

To be honest, I'm quite similar myself. I work in an open plan office and quite often take myself off for a walk at lunchtime to get away from the noise. It's irritating. I still have healthy working relationships with my colleagues.

Cocochoco Tue 13-Sep-16 08:51:39

A friend told me that the first term of y7 was the most stressful period of parenting she's ever experienced - and I would agree! my dd is in y8 which is a lot easier so far.

BertrandRussell Tue 13-Sep-16 08:55:47

I remember feeling exactly the same 9 years ago- and a wise mumsnetter's daughter said "Don't worry- she will find her tribe"

She did. But my heart was sore until it happened.

Then dd went to university and at the beginning was sad and friendless. That was even worse! And then she found her tribe there as well.

Look after yourself and look after her.

TheWitTank Tue 13-Sep-16 08:58:10

Thank you so much everyone -some brilliant advice and support here. I feel more at ease already.

CreamTeaFor4 Tue 13-Sep-16 08:59:40

flowers and sympathy for you OP, if it's any consolation I also found the first term of year 7 incredibly hard: kids were on the whole fine. But I was a bit of a mess and overwhelmed.

I had always been quite involved in primary school and watching the DCs make their way in secondary school (emotionally, with friends, with the workload) was very stressful.

I think it's just another step on the path of letting go. Watching them more and doing less for them. It gets easier as they settle into their teens (and possibly annoy the hell out of you).

kissmethere Tue 13-Sep-16 09:17:11

Same here. Ds said he just kind of sat on his own at break times and I e been all fretful that he isn't "finding his tribe" (great phrase btw). However eldest dd happened to be walking a little distance behind him the other day and on route home and said lots of kids were saying hi in passing to him so that was reassuring.
All we want is for them to be happy. Huge, huge step into Y7.

DoItTooJulia Tue 13-Sep-16 09:23:36

My ds has just started in year 7. I'm not usually over emotional about stuff but this has been surprisingly emotional for me.

I've had a couple of heart stopping moments-we lift share in the mornings (bus home) and I've had a text to say that he is absent from school and to phone to explain his absence. The school is 10 miles away. And both times it's been when the other parent has done drop off. He was in school, on the right room at the right time, but there's been an admin error.

Heart stopping stuff.

Watching him with his bag and blazer and planner and homework, his swift education in all matters sex on the bus home, it's just such an immense period of change and growing up. So I hear you. Hoping it all settled down soon-but in not holding my breath that I won't get the same text today!

DoItTooJulia Tue 13-Sep-16 09:24:08


ParadiseCity Tue 13-Sep-16 09:26:45

I'm also new to Y7 parenthood! I keep reminding myself that DS is with kids his own age. They are all as young and new as each other. He hasn't been sent into lessons with hulking great teenagers, he will only ever be amongst peers. Though he said he sat in between two 6 formers on the bus last week as was only space left and they just nodded at each other and it was fine. Bless.

The thing is school is SO different now to what it was like 'in my day' - plus I also think teenagers are fantastic on the whole.

Good luck OP flowers < for you not for DD as you've said yourself she is fine smile

Laniakea Tue 13-Sep-16 09:37:12

flowers OP

It is hard, she will be okay & if she's not you'll see it & help her smile

When my eldest started secondary it was the first time she'd been to school - she'd been home educated until then. The school she went to was out of catchment, she didn't know a single person there and she had an over hour commute (two trains & a bus). For the first term I felt sick every day.

She was fine! She had a lose group of various people she was friendly with - because she hadn't taken any of the primary school friend-politics with her she was friends with people from all groups & even boys! She joined some clubs and carried on being friendly with everyone. There were a few hiccups but nothing like I experienced at school - they have changed so much since the 80s.

She's in y11 now - has an amazing bunch of friends, is busy every weekend with parties & stuff, I love her school (it drives me crazy sometimes but I know she's happy & safe & learning). I still hate the commute though!

GoblinLittleOwl Tue 13-Sep-16 10:37:11

I absolutely think this is more about me than her.

RB68 Tue 13-Sep-16 10:54:19

Another newbie to yr 7 here and feeling sore for her. She has been quite upset and definitely misses her primary. She has plenty of people she knows but no close friends transferred with her. She does lack a bit of personal confidence although we have been working on that. She is getting the bus as well which is new and it didn't help it is a little erratic with times, leaving school early one day just as she was approaching it so had to be rescued and it didn't help I had the car in Doncaster some 2.5hrs away!! A few of her friends will come up next year as she was in a 5/6 mixed class and she seems to be chatting to people which is good. There were a number of larger primarys directly feeding to the school so many kids have groups of friends which haven't yet started mixing that well. Am hoping after a residential in November things will improve. Will be encouraging Hubbie to maybe have a few days of work that week and get a few days away ourselves (Just in the UK)

TheWitTank Tue 13-Sep-16 11:02:06

Thanks so much all -so much reassurance here and its lovely to know I'm not the only one feeling like this! I already feel better. She starts an after school club today which she has been looking forward to and that will hopefully allow her to meet lots of new friends.

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