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DD reception has Zero confidence & no friends

(10 Posts)
fiftyshadesofgrot Thu 21-May-15 12:32:30

I want to start by saying Ive had some sound advice on MN and dont know where else to turn to. I wanted to inject humour into this post but can't as Im utterly heartbroken. Sorry for the essay and it is boring but I need advice. . .

Most of the mums on the school run were fairly friendly to begin with. Im sensitive at times but noticed they now avoid eye contact and no longer speak with me. It hurts and I get do become p*ssed off thinking about it. However Im 41 and can deal with it. What I can't deal with is DD being so unpopular : ( this kills me! I have no idea what to do. . .

Ive invited plenty of mums out and have had about 4 'get togethers' at our place - good food, booze, fun for the kids. Only 1 person invited me back. It

I was especially heartbroken when DD kept asking for 2 (popular) girls to come over to our place. Last week we bumped into this girl and her parents. DD said to the mum 'I would like to go to **s house'. I was so proud that DD had the confidence to ask this. The mum was so sweet and agreed saying it would happen soon. Based on this, I approached the mum at the school run, we exchanged numbers, 3 ignored text messages later . . .I got the message!

How do I explain to DD that it's inappropriate to stare & follow other children? How do I explain that when a child says they dont want to play with you. . . walk away? How do I explain that her world is not about being friends with the popular confident girls? I see her pain when she says hello to these children & they run away from her DD's face turns white, her shoulders drop and she is badly hurt. . .yet again.

Finally. . .and I hate myself for saying this, I witnessed DD following a very popular girl around the playground yesterday and it made me feel uncomfortable. . . I wanted to scope her up and take her home. DD is already being bullied, scratched, hit on her back, hit by water bottles, pushed e.t.c

Any advice would be grateful.

MerryMarigold Thu 21-May-15 12:43:47

I'm sorry, I can't help, just sympathise a little. I've been on both sides of the fence.

My ds1 had a terrible time in Reception, both academically and socially. He was eventually diagnosed with developmental delay which affects co-ordination, difficulty sitting still, spacial awareness as well as academic ability. Most of his friends from nursery (and my Mum friends) were very clever and basically bullied him (saying his drawings were rubbish, he couldn't read etc etc)/ ignored him etc. One child, his best friend, tore up the birthday invitation my ds1 gave him. This continued to the end of Y1 when they mixed the classes up. This was a huge blessing and I got him away from that group of boys (who are still the popular, clever, sporty ones). He has clawed his way to the middle of the class, with a lot of effort, and now has friends in the class too. He is so much happier, but those 2 years of damage have had an irreversible effect on him. He's not very confident and his friends are not always kind, but this hurts a lot more than it may hurt another child.

I would say, get your dd out of that class asap even if it means moving schools. I so regret not moving him at the end of YR, but I thought it would get better, I thought it was flash in the pan, or that he'd have the same problems elsewhere. Instead, I subjected him to another year of the 'abuse' (and because it was very rarely physical, it wasn't taken so seriously by the school).

On the other hand, my ds2 is one of those popular ones - great at football, clever, sociable, mature. There is a boy in his class who invites him round a lot, and ds2 has been to his house - but he doesn't really like going or just plays with his big brother. We've had him round too, but ds2 doesn't really play with him, and it's a bit painful. This boy has some mild 'additional needs' too (I went on school trip with him the other day and he really reminded me of my ds1). It's hard to explain to a 6yo that they need to play with someone they don't really get on with, and is on a completely different level. However, I to insist he is kind to that boy, but he can't play with him at playtime etc. if they want to play different things, and really ds2 is just on another level. I now have a smidgen more sympathy for the kids who bullied ds1 as I can see it now, how hard it is for a parent to manage/ teach a 6yo to be kind to someone that is annoying them. I really, really feel for those kids though, who struggle at school and struggle with friendships.

I really do hope your dd can find some lovely friends. Is there another child who is less 'popular' that you could stick her together with? Someone she can really get along with.

addictedtosugar Thu 21-May-15 12:55:26

Have you spoken to the school about your daughter being "bullied, scratched, hit on her back, hit by water bottles, pushed". Thats not acceptable, and the school needs to stop this kind of behaviour. If they can't, can you get her into another school, as this one doesn't sound like its right for her.

Early in Reception, DS1 came home one day, as said he had been asked to look after another boy in his class, as noone was playing with other child. School obviously chose well, as 18 months on, the pair are good friends, and the other little boy is well integrated in a group of boys. Would school help identify someone who would in all likelyhood get on with your daughter?

FWIW, I wouldn't have drinks / food etc with many of DS1 friends parents. Its up to him to make the friends, and me to be polite and welcoming to their parents, but I don't need to socialise with them, iyswim?

You sound like a lovely Mummy to be caring about your daughter like this.

MerryMarigold Thu 21-May-15 13:01:19

In our case, that didn't really work, addicted as part of ds1's needs meant he was extremely attached to those he'd gone to nursery with and kind of refused other friendships. I tried it all, massive parties, other kids round, etc. etc. Nothing 'worked' and it was exhausting. The best thing was to get him away from them and to get him friends elsewhere (out of school clubs).

fiftyshadesofgrot Thu 21-May-15 13:07:54

Im blubbering at your reply so it has hit a nerve! The behaviours you mention about your Ds1 are identical to my DD. May I ask how you went about getting the diagnosis? The thought of your Ds1's birthday invite being torn up is devastating. I never thought being a loving mum would be this hard! Its so rubbish at times isn't it?

Moving on. . . Its brilliant to hear your Ds1 is getting along better now and you ought to take note that you were a big part of that. Well done you!

DD's school is good on the whole but doesnt seem to give the time to any child outside of the ordinary. We've had a diagnosed language delay for DD but I know her problems go much further than this.

Its funny as I have a 2.7yr DS in nursery who is popular, fun and looked up to by his friends. He is not afraid of much and knows how to play with anyone. Im not at the stage you are with being sympathetic with these 'popular children' and their attitude towards my DD but thanks for the insight & perspective. In time Im sure I'll understand more.

There are a couple of girls who are not popular due to differences in culture/colour (sorry to say this but it is the truth). DD is going to 1 of their birthday party's in 2 weeks! Another heartbreaking story is that when an invitation, was in DD's book bag the popular girl gave out birthday invites in class the very same day. DD, of course thought she was invited to the popular girls party. . .

fiftyshadesofgrot Thu 21-May-15 13:25:13

Thank you too - addictedtosugar. I agree with you in that it is up to DD to make friends and for me to follow and help her. Im going to be polite, smile & join in when necessary. I thought I was hindering DD's social development by not being part of the in crowd. It seems as if its too late for me to join in anyway, they no longer speak with me! Saying Im a lovely Mummy has lifted me. Thanks.

MerryMarigold Thu 21-May-15 13:47:09

It really is so heartbreaking. It changed ds1 forever. He is a very sensitive child, but was always a very, very (unusually!) happy child. He became depressed in YR summer term and Y1, slept badly and now has eating problems which have persisted, though go up and down.

The diagnosis came mostly from school referrals, but it's taken a long time. Ds1 is in Y4 now (and ds2 in Y1). To be honest, it was only really when the SENCO taught ds1 in Y1 that she started believing me. Also, when it's your first child, you don't really know what they ought to be able to do, or think, oh well they will catch up. I used to be a very laidback parent! The first referral was to CAMHS because of his sleeping and eating problems. They also investigate ADHD. Then he was also referred to Occupational Therapy, where they discovered his fine and gross motor skills had quite major problems, so they gave him 6 weeks (maximum you get round here!) and also a programme to help with sensory processing. They also referred him to a Paediatrician. The Paed diagnosed the developmental delay. He was also referred back for ADHD at the end of Y3 and this year they decided he did have mild ADHD which affects his concentration. He's had a cognitive test (basically an intelligence test) which showed he is average for most things, but his processing speed is exceptionally slow (93% of kids are faster!) and his working memory is not great either (68% of kids are faster). That's the summary, but it's been a long, hard road and learning to accept it/ him. I have twins and he is much more behaviourally challenged than both of them together. It's hard, sometimes things are more pronounced than other times. His current best friend has been stealing from us (bits of lego) and so finally I have decided to move house for a new start! (Dh wanted to for ages, but I was holding off). Who knows...

I really do think the class makes a big, big difference - the pool of children. It's weird because one of the boys who broke ds1's heart has a brother the same age as my ds2 and he would have been such a perfect friend for ds1. If only they had been born in reverse!

Do try and get your dd some other friends, it doesn't matter their race or colour as long as they can get along and she feels like she belongs. She may hanker after the popular ones, but I think ds1 has understood he will never be that, painful and hard and self-esteem damaging as it is. I just want him to feel like he belongs somewhere. He does also have friends outside school, which is very important in these situations. Can your dd go to Brownies or dancing?

MerryMarigold Thu 21-May-15 13:59:58

For me, one of the main benefits of getting a diagnosis is helping teachers treat him with a bit more patience and consideration. He's had 2 great teachers out of 5! He used to get it from 'friends' AND teachers, poor child.

On the positive side, it has taught him to work hard as he has to try so hard everyday just to keep up. He's also very disciplined in some ways (he decided to give up chocolate for lent and stuck to it!). Also, his current junior school are great and have really focused on building up his confidence. You need to talk to teachers about it every year though.

Sorry to ramble. I really feel for you. I remember that heartbroken feeling, I did feel the same way as when I'd broken up with a boyfriend when dealing with my ds1 and the rejection he was experiencing. It has got so much better, and I have got better at dealing with it. Also A LOT of talking and 'special 1:1 time' is vital so that she feels special/ valued and amazing at home. And if she plays up at home, you know where it's coming from so try and be as patient as you can.

Hugs to you's hard for both of you.

Heartofgold25 Thu 21-May-15 14:17:06

Fiftyshades, I could not fail but be moved by your post.

I have 2 dds and so have plenty of experience, but if you could just send you huge hugs from afar and tell you not to worry, it is early days still in the school setting and always a shock to the system.
It is very common for children to copy and run after each other in this way, it does not mean she is dependent on them or is looking for approval they are just working out how to play and interact. I have watched so many children do this over the years. The older children in the year tend to rule the roost and all the younger ones follow on. I think your dd is just working out how to make friends and play in a new setting, often a very bumpy ride. I did go through role play with mine at this age, so that they could introduce themselves to other children and how to deal with it politely when others say no etc. All children will experience this, and as time passes power structures change and move. It will not stay like this forever, your dd will find her own friends and groups and you will be governed by that mainly in terms of mum friends in time.

I think you have made a huge effort to organise evening dinners and parties etc, and if the other mums were really not fond of you they would not have come at all. Many parents are just really tired, have new babies, elderly parents, full time jobs and may simply be unable to invite you back or still be planning to. Over the years we have been invited to many things but could not always return the favour simply due to exhaustion, but really liked the parents. I would definitely follow up the one friend who did invite you to her house, you don't need whole groups just one or two very good friends often work well if not better. Groups of mothers have their downsides as well as the upsides, better to be friends with everyone.

Make sure you see your own personal friends and lots of your family, easy friendships that are good for your dd and you, they will give you strength and help your dd with friendships etc, and feel confidence in herself. School is just one small dimension of yours/dd's life, and there are so many other areas in which friendships can flourish happily. Sign up your dd to a local brownies so she makes local friends, invite the neighbours over, make a massive effort with all your other friends so that you feel there is balance as now it is appears to be too dependent on the workings of school. At the end of the day your dd is simply there to learn and nothing more, some will always keep school at arms length.

If the scratching and biting is a worry, speak to the teacher, this should be stamped out straight away.

Starting school is a major milestone for both of you, and you sound like a really nice person, so try to relax and not overly worry, your dd will find her own special friends in time, you will discover the mums that can be trusted and relied on, and it will settle down. I hope this helps a little! So sorry it is so difficult for you but I am sure it will get better if you care a little less about others and focus on the ones that are kind to you and your dd, and plan lovely school holidays!!

juliascurr Thu 21-May-15 16:43:40

don't let it drag on without constructive action from the school
don't rule out moving school

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