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Unpopular but not unliked 10 year old DD - I need words of wisdom!

(16 Posts)
longdiling Thu 03-Sep-15 21:02:12

First day back at school for DD today and she's gone into year 6. She was excited to go back but was all tearful this evening and doesn't want to go to school. Nothing awful happened and she's not being picked on but she's one of those invisible kids you know?! She has a few friends but not loads. She's not the brightest or the most talented. Talk today was of choosing the prefects and she said she really wants to be chosen but she knows she won't be. She's never been chosen for anything, never made it into a team or a group for anything. I don't know what to say to make it better. Obviously I tell her the truth; that to me she's the most amazing, wonderful, lovely girl in the world. That I'd choose her for everything. I also lie and tell her that 'you never know you might get chosen'.

She ended up not sitting by anyone at dinner and was talking about how she knows not many people like her because they leave a space before sitting down. It breaks my heart a little bit. How do I bolster her confidence and make her feel better about things? Unfortunately her many, many strong points are things that her peers and society generally don't really value.

BabyGanoush Thu 03-Sep-15 21:07:51

Find out what her spark is.

What interests her, is there something she would like to try and learn?

My quirky child will start an archery course, he never fits the mould (a boy who doesn't like football!) but is finding out what makes him tick (for him it's technology, building tech stuff (he invents simple mechanisms and machines that work!).

Two things basically:

- the problem is not her, it's her peer group, she is unlucky, in secondary school it is so much easier to find like minded friends (it is!)

- find what makes her tick (her "spark") and run with it.

Everybody has something they love to do, or are good at (or could be good at if they tried).

At that age telling ehr that YOU think she's perfect no longer cuts it, make a plan instead. Focus on positive things that you can change.

TeenAndTween Thu 03-Sep-15 21:08:36

Do we share a DD?

<watching to see if anyone has any bright ideas>

Tinfoiled Thu 03-Sep-15 21:12:59

Yes I've got one of these. She's not back at school til Monday but is dreading it. Floats about with no close friends all the other girls are in established groups that dd isn't part of. I agree that outside interests are the key. We're going to enrol dd on a climbing class and she already loves baking and lego. It's heartbreaking when your child just doesn't seem to fit in. Unfortunately my dd is starting to display anxiety and is losing confidence about meeting new people or trying new things but we're going to have to push her a bit.

Tinfoiled Thu 03-Sep-15 21:16:49

A plus is that your dd is talking to you and being open with how she feels - this is a good thing. I try to be positive but I also validate my dd's feelings that it IS rubbish she feels left out with no one to play with or that she feels different to other girls. Being positive and coming up with plans together has it's place and is important but sometimes they just need to hear you say 'actually it is crap that you feel so bad at school and I'm sorry it's so hard for you'. If that makes sense?

Micah Thu 03-Sep-15 21:30:07

DD is a bit like this.

From reception though I have constantly reassured her that it's OK to play alone, or sit alone at dinner. That if she doesn't like certain children or the games they play it is fine to walk away and be by herself.

Be nice to everyone, don't get involved in politics. Find the other lonely child and play with them, don't hold out for the "in" crowd invite.

I was the same. Once I figured out that I didn't need to fit in, life got a lot easier, and I got a lot more confident. You also find that if you go off and find something interesting to do, even if it's only reading a book, and someone will ask you what you're doing.

Is she an introvert? I was miserable as a child about not having friends, not being asked to join in etc, until I realised I was miserable because people were telling me I should have friends, be sociable, so I put a lot of pressure on myself, which made things worse.

Yy to outside activities- sport, dance, brownies. Martial arts? Always good for confidence building. DD has made really good friends at her extra curricular activity.

YeOldeTrout Thu 03-Sep-15 21:31:51

So what are her many strengths and talents?

FiveGoMadInDorset Thu 03-Sep-15 21:34:43

Mine is the same

cuntycowfacemonkey Thu 03-Sep-15 21:40:55

I think the key is to build a good social circle outside of school doing activities your child enjoys and is good at. That way she is more likely to socialise with like minded children and build her confidence. She doesn't need lots of friends at school but if she has one or two help her to nurture those friendships with regular get togethers outside of school etc.

longdiling Thu 03-Sep-15 21:43:14

Thanks all, she does do music club which she enjoys but hasn't made friends through there unfortunately. I was thinking of signing her up for a local theatre school to help her confidence? I wouldn't say she's introverted, she enjoys being around other kids but seems young compared to her peers. They're all quite teenagery and she's very much a little girl still. I'm hoping things will improve in secondary but I'm kind of scared she'll get eaten alive.

Thanks again though, I agree it's a good idea to validate her feelings but also try and form a plan to help her deal with it.

cuntycowfacemonkey Thu 03-Sep-15 21:50:31

I think theatre school would be a great idea as it's very interactive and will really help build her confidence

JustDanceAddict Mon 07-Sep-15 09:40:45

My DD is 13 & a bit like this. The holidays have been hard as she found it difficult to make arrangements as she hasn't got that many friends she can see on her own. She's fine in school, as her group is made up of her 2 close friends and 3 others. We did talk about it in the holidays and she said she is going to try & cement some friendships with girls she is friendly with, but not close with yet. She also does drama out of school & has made friends there, but not ones she would socialise with out of the club. She has always struggled with friendships, since nursery. I'm not sure why either as she is very funny, kind & intelligent too. I think a lot of it is lack of confidence & being reserved. Girls like other girls who are open with their feelings. My son is 11 and is much more popular - but I can see why as he finds it much easier to talk to other kids, always wants to join in whatever is going on, etc.

dippycat007 Mon 07-Sep-15 11:47:35

If only all these lovely girls could be friends! This sounds just like my DD age 11. She has made good friends out of school through dance and drama and this has been a great help. She too is shy and reserved. Lots of people like her but no really close friendships. She has just started high school and is already feeling left out again while the louder, confident girls just get on with it. I keep trying to reassure her that not everyone is full of themselves and it's not a bad thing to be a bit quieter but it breaks my heart to see her feeling lonely sometimes.

Lullington Mon 07-Sep-15 11:59:34

cuntycowfacemonkey

I think the key is to build a good social circle outside of school doing activities your child enjoys and is good at. That way she is more likely to socialise with like minded children and build her confidence. She doesn't need lots of friends at school but if she has one or two help her to nurture those friendships with regular get togethers outside of school etc.

this. Baking and lego are fun but they are solitary hobbies

StickyProblem Mon 07-Sep-15 12:13:43

Mine is similar, except she's an imaginative introvert and really doesn't feel the lack of friends, but I worry it will all of a sudden bother her when she's older and there will be nothing she can do about it.

Theatre club has been brilliant for her to develop different friendships, find another superintrovert like herself (just one, and it's a boy) and also experience a different group dynamic. Good luck to you and your lovely girl!

WestLondonDeep Tue 20-Oct-15 09:46:48

I got this book from the library:

"Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls" Simmons, R

www.amazon.com/Odd-Girl-Out-Revised-Updated/dp/0547520190

It's long, based in America and the title is a bit alarming. It is not a difficult read and picks apart what girls go through. In summary, if there is bullying in any form (whispers, notes, silent) then name it and get the school (if it's at school) to act.

Otherwise, be there for them, listen to them, be ready to do practical things. But there is a limit to how much you can run their life. She has to be encouraged to do things her way rather than try and fit in with the queen bee at school.

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