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How can I best advise my DD on dealing with social cliques and social media at secondary school?

(107 Posts)
OccidentalPurist Sun 31-Mar-19 00:35:41

This is more an Am I being unreasonably concerned (and sorry for the long post!).

When my DD left junior for secondary last September she was a very happy, bright, creative and slightly eccentric girl with a lot of friends. Until recently I’d got the impression that things were continuing as normal at secondary school, but I had a rather worrying conversation with her today.

Since starting the Spring term she has become rather pale, grumpy and emotional. Me and my DH initially put it down to hormones, but today she (and her best friend) really opened up about the pressure they feel under to be popular at school and, in particular, on Instagram. It really threw me and I’m worried that this is only going to get worse.

My DD is in a class with her best friend from junior school, but there is a large, dominant group of girls there from another school, who seem to lord it over the rest of them and whom everyone seems to want approval from, including the boys. This on its own I could offer advice on, as I remember it happening at times in my school, but now it comes with a whole other strata of pressure from Instagram as well.

My DD and her friend follow these girls on Instagram and they have three times the followers my DD has and get hundreds more likes and many comments etc. Just writing this is making me think how ridiculous it is, as it’s not real life, but I’m not a 12 year old girl in 2019 and I really don’t think telling her to just come off Instagram is the answer, as she would be known as that girl who’s no longer on Instagram etc.

My maim worry is that, until now, my DD was the sort of person who was so above this sort of rubbish, but that it’s just so pervasive and overwhelming at secondary level that she’s going to end up being some sort of compromised and watered down version of herself just so she can ‘fit in’, in real life and on social media.

Instagram is such a recent phenomenon and I just wondered if there were any mums out there whose DDs were currently navigating it or who had ‘come out the other side’ who could perhaps offer me some advice, reassurance or anecdotes I could pass on to my DD!

OccidentalPurist Tue 02-Apr-19 19:08:59

@Namestheyareachangin I teared up a bit reading your inspiring post - I'm going to read it to my daughter this evening before bed, thanks.

Smartieshavetheanswer Tue 02-Apr-19 19:26:08

Agreed, Names. That really does sum things up nicely. I'll also remember your words when consoling my pupils in school.

Namestheyareachangin Tue 02-Apr-19 20:23:44

@smarties hope it helps some. For what it's worth, teachers who recognised hat I had something different about me and treated me with a modicum of respect made ALL the difference. I had English teachers who would personally lend me books they had enjoyed because they saw I would appreciate them, a deputy head who would come and have a proper friendly chat to me at lunchtime if I was on my own (sadly but proudly I ended up being invited to his funeral by his family when I was 14) - it gave me something approximating friendship and an intimation that the things I liked and valued were respected by some more than all the things I wasn't and couldn't be a part of. Only made me more "weird" in the eyes of some of course grin but it meant a lot to me. I'm sure you having their backs means a lot to your pupils flowers

Islands81 Tue 02-Apr-19 20:26:43

OP - well she’s been a lot happier since she left school that’s for sure. She does feel quite socially isolated. Currently waiting for the panel to decide on an EHCP so hopefully I will be able to get her into a specialist Aspergers school in September.

She is soooooooo over the top in the mean girls profile that you’d have to be seriously hard of thinking to believe she is serious. Which I guess unfortunately a lot of ‘mean girls’ are, if they’re anything like they were in the 90s when I was at school.

kateandme Tue 02-Apr-19 22:28:10

jameela jamil is a great one to look at.she is calling out body and photo and diet shamers.she is calling out race and bullies.she put posts of her skin colour,of her stretch marks.she recently did a post on the kardashans shameful laxative shakes they push! shes wonderful.she also has a separate account called I_weigh on Instagram where woman put all they are with a picture up (apart from weight) so someone will post and put...a nurse,mum,freind,kind hearted,powerful,scarred etc its really inspirational.
would looking at someone like her help?

OccidentalPurist Tue 02-Apr-19 22:35:29

@Islands81 there is a girl in my DD's class with Aspergers who she has had a couple of play dates with (if you can still call them that!).

She's beautiful and so bright with lovely parents, but struggles at school sometimes. My DD and her old friends from junior are really sympathetic to her, but the alpha ones not so much unfortunately.

kateandme Tue 02-Apr-19 22:38:26

ask her honestly to think of the future.where does she think Instagram group will be.will their 'beautiful' posers be important.will they look back on them with pride.will they help them become a good friend.be a good mother or partner.will they get them the job they want or the real deep freidnships people love to have.or will your daughter who is creative and kind and sensitive who is funny and warm and an individual be the one to go and bloom.being attached to there rating wont earn them a life.it wont earn them passions.it wont get them to travel.it wont help them drive or ride bikes.it wont help them learn new things.its trapping them inside and inch wide screen.put it into list terms of all they will gain and lose by being who they are.and how amazing your daughter is for seein this and doing her own thing,mapping her own life.
keep giving her confidence in other ways.
always remind her to tell you if she has seen or read something that irks her.no matter how big,small,interesting or silly if it effect her she can talk about it.

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