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is it ok to be different - will this phase pass?

(12 Posts)
Meanderer Mon 19-Dec-16 12:24:14

My DD (almost 12) is in y7 so is new to high school. She's not really plugged into popular consumer culture (we don't do shopping as a leisure activity and don't watch much TV - strictly and masterchef and films mainly!) and is really happy with non-mainstream music, charity shop clothes shopping, and not into brands or what's 'in'. She doesn't actively reject it I don't think, just not really pulled into that world as we haven't exposed her to it - her Dad and I actively dislike it (we're quite tree huggy) although she has an ipad and a smartphone, an Instagram account so is not a complete luddite. she loves to play minecraft too. She takes interest in her appearance but has her own definite style.

Also quite mature in some ways (almost all her after school activities are adult groups) but 'young' in others (ie not really streetwise or into teen stuff like a lot of 11/12 yolds)

The problem is this possibly distances her from the majority of kids at her new school, especially the 'popular' ones. She hasn't made new friends (has one from her old school who is similarly 'different'). Should I encourage her to relax about this and let it happen in time, or should her Dad and I make efforts to 'integrate' her more into popular culture? I have a feeling it will backfire because it's a world that I'm not sure she'd be very comfortable in, and we can't afford it either...

I'm thinking/hoping it's probably a short term thing that will pass once the children all get to know each other a bit better and become more discerning and comfortable in their own skin - there's a lot of concern about relationships to the 'popular' group at the moment. Will that pass and how long does it go on?!!

BackforGood Tue 20-Dec-16 00:27:58

My dc sound not dissimilar to your dd (although your dd has more 'tech' than mine ever did). They have never had any issues with friends. Indeed secondary school tends to provide a bigger 'pool' than Primary school, for you to find friends who are similar.
Remember friends don't always have to come from within school.
What does she do out of school ?
Many of my dcs' friendships have been forged through their hobbies - where, by definition others will be interested in the same thing(s) as they are.

ETanny Tue 20-Dec-16 09:59:53

Has she complained at all about not being popular or 'different'?
If she's happy, leave her be. If she wants to try more mainstream things then ask her what she wants to try.

My eldest DD is 9 and her entire year is 18 children. She has maybe 1 friend. She, like your daughter isn't really into mainstream culture and doesn't really like anything sterotypically girlie. She likes lego dimensions, minecraft and boardgames.

We've always encouraged her to do what makes her happy not what peer pressure tells her she should like.

TheSecondOfHerName Tue 20-Dec-16 10:06:56

Just let her be herself. She will find her people. DD (12) is 'young for her age' and has interests that are different from many of her peers. As well as Minecraft, she likes anime and has recently joined a school email group about it.

Meanderer Wed 21-Dec-16 16:54:06

Thanks I'm reassured by your replies. She's aware of feelong left out and different and it does bother her...but I'm inclined to encourage her to ride it out. She does have a couple of friends outside school...clubs wise though she does adult things so misses out on that opportunity.

corythatwas Fri 23-Dec-16 19:16:03

Absolutely fine to be her own person and do her own thing- but I do wonder if your language isn't a bit judgey? How is watching films not as much part of consumer culture as listening to popular music? Do the trees care if the music is popular or alternative?

I am mentioning this because I was brought up in a very cultured (and quite luddite) family, and have realised afterwards that my real problem in socialising was not that I did different things but that I secretly thought those things were superior and that we were a bit special because we did them. Those were the vibes that I had picked up at home and it took me a very long time to finally rid myself of them. Though I was too polite to actually say so, those other children knew.

multivac Fri 23-Dec-16 19:19:20

We don't watch Strictly or Masterchef. I realise that they are both massively popular, but it's never occurred to me that we should 'introduce' our 12-year-olds to them. We're not interested in them, so we don't. Nor do we try and turn that into some kind of virtue.

multivac Fri 23-Dec-16 19:21:07

Also, you might be quite startled how many really quite ordinary people "don't do shopping as a leisure activity".

confusedandemployed Fri 23-Dec-16 19:21:58

My DSS was/is like this. He's always beem completely happy in himself and expressed no desire to be more 'hip' or whatever the young ones call it now

Hes very happy now in 2nd yr uni.

BikeRunSki Fri 23-Dec-16 19:35:28

Your family sound similar to mine, and your DD sounds like an older version of my 5 year old DD. DD doesn't buy into the whole princess/pink/glittery world marketed at her, and is never happier than when running around a forest in her brother's old track pants and t shirt. She cycles competitively to "keep Daddy company" in a very muddy discipline (cyclocross)., despite the U8s races usually being a few hours before the veteran men. She is very different from many of the girls in her class, but also very popular. I think this may be because she is different. Unfortunately she hates parties! She challenges many stereotypes, and has refused ever to watch more than 15 mins of Frozen.

I think it's great to be different.

midcenturymodern Fri 23-Dec-16 19:36:03

Unless the school is very tiny it is probably more diverse than you are giving it credit for. Secondary schools are not one homogenous mass. Huge swathes of children have their 'own' interests.

I'd rather eat my own feet than watch strictly or masterchef. This is not because I am different, but because everyone is.

there's a lot of concern about relationships to the 'popular' group at the moment. Will that pass and how long does it go on?!!

Some people never grow out of this. Some people never start on it. It is the path to misery imo. DS1 went though an awful phase of it when he was about 8/9. 'Bullies, bigmouths and so called friends' helped a lot. He is a happy and confident teenager with wildly uncool interests.

Dancergirl Wed 04-Jan-17 15:22:02

Remember friends don't always have to come from within school

Sorry but this really annoys me. No they don't, but school can be bloody lonely day in day out if you don't have anyone to go around with.

OP, I agree encourage her to be herself. If she tries to get 'into' something purely to fit in and make friends she won't be doing herself any favours long term.

Are there any lunchtime or after school clubs that take her fancy? Does she do any sport/music/drama? These are good ways of meeting people at school who have a common interest.

Also one term into Year 7 is very early days. Friendships change a LOT throughout the course of secondary school.

And be prepared for HER to change over the years and not necessarily have the same values as you and your dh.

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