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how can I help my 12yr old dd to become happier/content/have friends etc

(41 Posts)
Gatekeeper Thu 19-Jun-14 14:54:25

dd was upset last night; she says she feels like a 'third wheel' in any friendships at school and not part of anything. She is in yr 7 and says she is a misfit. Most of the other girls in her year are seriously into clothes, make-up, boys and image. They all seem identikit to me with their pouts and Groucho Marx eyebrows. A lot of them are seriously over indulged and have all the labels and lots of spending money. We are ok but not much spare for stuff like that

She is having trouble with 'clicking' with people and forming friendships, not helped by the fact that she hates 1D and boybands, but loves Manga and anime and is perceived as being quirky or a bit wierd

It doesn't help that the school encatchment has a wide radius so anyone who she is vaguely friendly with lives miles away and not on a direct bus route.

not much in the way of afterschool clubs and besides, she has to get the school bus home.

I felt my heart break for her when she was asking a few girls to meet up at a central point one Saturday for her birthday; the deal was that we would stand them a meal at Nandos (or wherever) and a visit to the 1950's style ice cream parlour (v. popular with her year). All refused saying the had other plans but I saw their postings on dd's facebook page later saying "Bored" "Nothing to do " etc and not one wished her a Happy Birthday- I felt like crying for her..

She is lovely..quirky, funny, clever and beautiful- she is emotional, & lacks confidence. I am worried that she doesn't go out much , spending most of her time writing stories or drawing and living too much in her head, becoming a bit obsessive about certain manga characters etc

Would love some advice on this please; am feeling a bit teary today

jeee Tue 24-Jun-14 10:35:26

You seem very negative about the other girls - "identikit.... with their pouts and Groucho Marx eyebrows." Some of these "identikit" girls will feel just as isolated as your DD - I think you maybe need to encourage your DD to look behind the make-up. She might just find that there are girls out there who don't look like her... but are very similar (albeit under a thick layer of foundation).

Gatekeeper Tue 24-Jun-14 11:10:42

jeee I take your point but can only go on what dd has told me, that they tend to be tedious to the extreme in their conversations (to her) in their speech and are rather condescending and sneery about dd calling her 'geeky' and 'nerdish'

Makes me come over all "Grrr- the little madams" etc etc grin

TheAmyrlin Tue 24-Jun-14 11:30:09

My DD, yr7, is also into anime. But she watches it with DS who is 16. My DD has decided that she doesn't want to be popular or hang round with the popular kids. Mainly because they seem to get into trouble, don't do well at school and are not very nice.
Does she play any musical instruments? If she does, joining a youth orchestra may be a good idea. You get more of the 'quirky & geeky' interesting kids in them. My DD loves the youth orchestra she attends. ( though that may have something to do with the tuck shop!)

Takver Tue 24-Jun-14 15:01:54

"I'm worried this will be my ds at secondary - his form will have no- one he knows, hates sports"

Don't panic too much - dd has made some good friends among the boys, and as I say in her form it seems like the girls are the sporty bunch on average, with the boys being more varied in their interests. DD now has a boyfriend (!) who goes to poetry club with her grin

shadypines Wed 25-Jun-14 20:50:02

Hugs to you Gatekeeper, Bellini and Turkey, infact all of you worried about your DDs and DS in similar situations. And Gatekeeper your DD sounds lovely, she really does,
it's great you tell her something positive everyday, keep it going, every little helps.

I think we all know the feeling of being awake at 4am adding to our grey hair numbers, I certainly do.

OP she sounds similar to my D (12yr) too, she had a great struggle all the way through Primary to find any friends as she was never into 'girly' stuff, boybands (she loves Little Mix though!), she is talkative but not good at conversations IYSWIM, she's querky and gets really emotional about serious topics (esp animal welfare), she loves art but is more into Pokémon and writing stories. She is now finding a few nice friends at high school, yr 7, but has never had anyone home and has no one here except her brother. From my experience with her I would say encourage your daughter to be her own person and like what she likes, that said, even if she doesn't like the particular things the other girls talk about, it might do her no harm to take a passing interest. I think this is part of growing up too, we can't all like the same things but we have to rub along with all sorts. It would be nice if she could meet someone with similar interests so stick at trying to find clubs both inside and outside school.

Would she be interested in having a pen friend, I have seen people asking this question on here if they think their DCs might get along?

Oh and what I said earlier about giving her more confidence and saying positive stuff, I recently watched the film The Help with DD. Have you seen it, I was quoting it to DD the other day when she was telling me she thought she was ugly and some lines from the film really helped to make her feel more confident ( if you've not seen it apologies as you won't know what the heck I'm on about!)

Your story about Nandos was upsetting for me to read so I can imagine how awful you must have felt. This is really really mean ( I HATE Facebook). Your DD deserves better people if you ask me. Keep strong. and more hugs flowers

proudmama2772 Thu 26-Jun-14 09:51:31

Gatekeeper. My heart goes out to you.

There are so many kids that can fall into this situation, even kids that are doing well socially in one school can change schools and be in the same boat as your daughter.

We're all a bit quirky, but as adults generally more accepting of idiosyncrasies. It sounds like she is dealing with rejection and keeps speaking about the popular girls because she is looping around the issue. She needs to make her peace with realizing there is actually nothing wrong with her and she is not defective. She is just a bit unlucky in her current social circumstance. I would tell her that a lot of people find themselves in her situation and are perfectly normal. Kids start getting nicer.

As I'm writing this I know it is all much more easily said than done. it's a hardship I went through at her age myself - having moved to a new area into a fee paying school where all the kids had known each other since toddlers. I wish I had had a Mum as concerned with helping as you are

Susiesue61 Sat 28-Jun-14 06:12:26

I'm sitting here because I can't sleep, fretting about Dd and friends! She is 12 and really into sport, she plays football and cricket to a good standard. She has only gone up with 1 friend from primary school who she has stayed friends with, but they don't really do much out of school. She seems to have a group of friends who all do sleepovers etc without including her, although I have had them all here. She does talk about lots of other girls, and when I've seen her at school things, she seems to know everyone.

Last night, we went to my friends daughter's birthday party. She is also 12 and one of the popular girls at her school. Luckily one of Dd's school friends also knows her and was invited. Dd was so nervous, looked like MrsUncomfortable and refused to go back for a sleep because another girl was going. She was fine with her friend though.

This is very waffly! What I'm getting at is, it breaks my heart how my daughter has gone from having lots of friends at primary and being invited to lots of things, to having not been invited to one party or trip out in a whole year. She does have quite a negative attitude to other people and I don't think that helps. Is this unusual for year 7?

Sorry if this doesnt fit on this thread blush

twentyten Sat 28-Jun-14 11:25:10

Awe susie. It's so hard- and to all you others in similar situations. We just want to fix everything for them like we could when they were very small. It's hard. All we can do is try and equip them the best we can with skills, resources and unconditional love.

Takver Sat 28-Jun-14 16:27:18

Susiesue, I think maybe they don't do as much stuff out of school in yr 7 as in primary, especially if they live further apart.

DD took a fair while to settle in secondary, but she genuinely seems happy and to have friends that she really likes - but in the whole year there's been one sleepover with a friend and one birthday party (the latter in the first week of school) apart from her own.

She sees non-school friends at weekends/holidays, but doesn't make any effort to meet up with school friends, even though we've said they're always welcome here & we'd happily provide transport or bus fares if she wanted to go to their house / into town shopping, swimming or whatever.

Earlybird Sat 28-Jun-14 17:34:47

Sympathies. I have a dd aged 13, who has experienced (still is) some of the things you describe.

Can you help her revive a friendship with someone she's lost touch with from primary school?
Is there anyone who lives locally - doesn't have to be a classmate.
Do you have any friends with daughters of a similar age? It can be lovely to do some mother/daughter things - just let the girls go off while you have a natter with your friend.

My dd - just like yours - complains of feeling left out, but can be hesitant to try new things. I've insisted that dd give several new things a go. Fair enough if she doesn't like them, but at least, try them out. Can you do the same with your dd? She might find something she likes, and then perhaps can find a friend there.

Sometimes I arrange for dd and a friend to do activity based things that are not dependent on them making conversation. So, we've taken friends swimming, gone to the cinema, gone 10 pin bowling, seen an art exhibition, done paint-your-own-pottery, cooking at home, etc. Almost all of these are on weekends or over school breaks when people tend to be more available and not so caught up in the school friendship groups.

One last idea: dd is not sporty, but I am encouraging her to stay fit. Once a week, she and a girl from school go to the local leisure centre and take a zumba class. They are by far the youngest in the class, but there is a fun/young instructor who they enjoy. They then go for a drink at a nearby coffee shop, and I pick them up from there. It is an activity that brings them together outside school for a few hours every week, and both girls look forward to that time in their schedule.

Good luck, and let us know how you/dd get on. This can be a tricky age socially.

Susiesue61 Sat 28-Jun-14 20:20:20

Thank you all for taking the trouble to reply. I think part of her issue is that her primary school friends have all moved on and she feels embarassed to be clinging on to them.

We've had a lovely day today, the opposite of yesterday. Just me her and Ds who's 8, we've pottered round and done some shopping, no pressure to socialise or not be herself. And tomorrow she's playing cricket which is totally her thing smile

I need to focus on her being happy , rather than on what everyone else is doing. And thanks Takver, for reminding me that they're not all out at parties every weekend!

She will meet a kindred spirit at some point, I'm sure

ExCinnamon Sat 28-Jun-14 20:42:21

Hi Op, I have a 15yo DD who was and still is exactly like yours.
Into anime, manga, fan fiction, writing her stories and drawing.
Not interested in make up, boys, clothes.

Today I went clothes shopping for her for her work experience.

She does play in several youth orchestras and has found a different set of friends there, all from different schools and different ages.

She has never tried to fit in, has no self esteem problems but does feel alone and isolated. No wonder if all the other girls at school talk about is stuff she's not remotely interested in - and she refuses to talk about.

She never talks about the other girls though, she's not interested in them, they are frequently in trouble, have boyfriends etc. She lives in a parallel universe, but has made it comfortable there and is mostly happy in her skin.
I think this is most important. Your DD should stop trying to fit in where she won't be really happy, but try and find people who share her interests so she can be who she really is. And so she can develop into the person she is meant to be.

perthmom Thu 31-Jul-14 06:14:26

My DD talks about the "popular girls" too, of which she is definitely not one. She is bright, lovely, kind and intelligent but not into boys yet and not into "being cool" and hanging around trying to look cool or haughty or whatever it is these kids think they're doing. She did have 2 good friends, but unfortunately she has now become the third wheel and they're both being bitchy towards her and whispering about her. She quite often spends lunchtime alone and it breaks my heart too, as I also wasn't popular at school. She can carry on a conversation with adults and is almost more at ease with adults than her peers. She starts high school next year and I really hope she finds friends / a friend that she clicks with. I have recently enrolled her in drama classes outside school to help with her confidence and also enable her to meet people who are not part of the school clique.

shadypines Thu 31-Jul-14 20:54:56

Perthmom your DD sounds lovely, good on you about the drama class, that will be great. If you read my earlier post in this thread she sounds a lot like my DD who has just found some friends first year at High school, I used to be so sad for her in primary sad.

Virtual hugs to you and for your DD

perthmom Sat 02-Aug-14 02:54:48

Thank you Shadypines, I'm hoping high school will be better.

fonduechinoise Sun 07-Sep-14 08:44:04

Is yr dd happier a few months on? Our DDs seem very similar. Sadly i live abroad so can't suggest a meet up! My dd loves mangas too! She has lots of self confidence issues. She is quirky too, i tell her the world would be boring if we were all the same type of people. No suggestion to offer but thinking of you and yr dd.

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