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DD(11)'s friends.....who needs enemies?

(9 Posts)
squirrelspatchcock Thu 19-Jan-17 11:48:22

I am sure that this is a very common problem, but writing to get advice and partly to vent.

My DD is in Y7 and seems to be seriously struggling with her friends from Primary school. She has always had 'best friends' and is much better in a one-on-one situation, so is finding is quite tough transitioning to a more group dynamic at secondary school.

Basically they are just not that interested in her. She frequently sits on the school coach on her own whilst her friends sit as a 3. If she asks them to sit with her they say no or pretend not to hear her. At lunchtime they disappear and don't wait for her and if she asks to sit with them at lunch often the seat is being 'saved' for someone else. Yesterday she told me she was walking along with someone but when another group went past the 'friend' just joined the other group without saying anything.

I have tried to be positive in the hope that she finds a way through it and things improve. But it seems that it is getting worse. DD doesn't want to go to school and I had a text from the school telling me that she wasn't in registration (although she has registered for lessons).

She is doing well in school otherwise and the confusing thing is that outside of school she gets on well with these girls. She is invited on occasional playdates and sleepovers but I sometimes think that is because she is quite popular with the parents, or maybe she is useful if no-one else 'cooler' is around. She does activities outside of school with some of the same girls and it is fine. It just seems to be school..

Her self esteem is plummeting and therefore she is struggling to make new friends which obviously we are really encouraging her to do.

I don't know if I should speak to the parents (who are friends), but I know they will speak to their children but surely that just makes it worse?

Thanks for reading.

Titsywoo Thu 19-Jan-17 11:53:51

Has she tried making other friends who didn't go to her primary. I'm afraid this happens a lot with the move to secondary and is very upsetting for them but y7 is a tough year. My dd has gone to a school where she knew noone and that was hard for the first term but I think easier in a way!

I encouraged DD to join clubs where she has met other likeminded girls (most of whom are in her year but not her class) and she is much happier now but there were a lot of ups and downs last term for her and the other girls in her form who had mainly gone to the same primary. Its a time of big change but it will work out fine. Go to her form tutor or head of year and ask for their help getting her a buddy or similar. Don't bother talking to these girls parents - keep it within the school or you are asking for trouble. You can't make these girls be friends with her - they may just have outgrown each other.

mumofthemonsters808 Thu 19-Jan-17 12:21:51

I think year 7 at secondary school can be a whirlwind in terms of friendship groups. Kids do start to dip their toes into new squads (term used by year 10 DD) and little loyalty is shown towards primary school friends. Its harsh, if you're on the receiving end of being dumped but there really is no other solution, other than to try and establish new friendships with other children.

I'd have a word with the pastoral care team and tell them the way your daughter is feeling and see what they suggest. They will be very concerned to hear, that this issue is making her not want to go to school. You should also be having meetings with her form tutor, to see how she's settled in, here is another opportunity to raise the issue. The school will be wanting to hear that she is happy, the philosophy being that kids need to be feeling safe and secure in order to progress in their learning (my DD is only at a box standard academy, but they are very big on caring for their pupils, I got sick of the amount of settling in meetings). It might be an idea for her to join the school activity clubs without her friends because she will be forced to come into contact with the children who are not in her sets. Drama groups are always very welcoming and work wonders in increasing kids confidence and self esteem.

Others may disagree, but I wouldn't bother the parents, my DD dropped all her primary school friends early on in year 7 and if their parents would have approached me, I would of just told them that I was happy my DD was spreading her wings because that's what I always wanted her to do. I think attaching yourself to a BF at this tender age brings a multitude of problems, their world collapses when there is a friendship issue and it creates a form of dependency. I never wanted, her to have all in her eggs in one basket and I was happy when she floated about.

I'm sure this is just a bit of turbulence and she will feel a lot more positive when she receives some help and support.

squirrelspatchcock Thu 19-Jan-17 12:28:25

Thanks Titsywoo for your message.. I am encouraging her to make new friends outside of her primary school ones but it doesn't seem to be working yet! I don't think it is helping that she is losing her confidence and can be a little awkward. Part of the problem is that she is more immature than some of the others and isn't interested in the gossip and boys, and isn't obsessed with her mobile phone (all really good as far as I am concerned, but maybe makes her a little less exciting to her peers!)

I know that she isn't alone with these problems and it is heartening that it seems to work out in the end, as it has with your daughter. She does activities outside of school but inevitably living in a village some of these girls do them too (and she is not ignored in these situations), so she isn't forced to forging new relationships.

I agree I can't force them to be friends with her but the strange thing is that they get on really well on a one-on-one basis and have great fun together outside of school, then back to square one the next day at school. There is always 2 sides to these stories though so wonder if there is some paranoia on her side.

Thanks for sharing your experience and advice - some new clubs/activities without these girls is needed I think!

squirrelspatchcock Thu 19-Jan-17 13:21:14

Thanks mumofthemonsters808. I really appreciate the perspective. I think I will contact the head of pastoral care if it continues to impact her emotional wellbeing at school.

Don't get me wrong, I don't object to the other kids spreading their wings and want my daughter to do the same. But...for example on the coach, if there are 4 of them, 3 of them sit together and my daughter has to sit on her own. In my book that is unkind from people that do claim to be her friends (the coach only goes from the same place so no opps to sit with anyone else). I am beginning to think that they aren't worthy of her friendship/loyalty or am I overreacting?

I completely agree that approaching the parents specifically is not a great idea. But, they are my friends - one set of parents in particular I am extremely close to. So obviously we talk about our kids and school. What would you say if asked directly? Do I tell the truth or continue to say that everything is fine?

Thanks again for reading.

mumofthemonsters808 Thu 19-Jan-17 16:38:12

No, I don't think you're overreacting over the bus thing, Id be upset too at hearing about this. All we want is for our kids to be happy, because if they are, we tend to be.They are not worthy of her friendship, but that's seeing it through an adults eyes, kids are very flippant and if challenged they'd have a very different outlook on this, I don't even think they do these unkind things intentionally it's just immaturity, being unaware how their behaviour impacts upon others and selfishness.Perhaps let her take her headphones so that she can distract herself listening to music, I know this is not ideal, im just trying to think of anything to soften the blow of feeling so excluded.

I didn't realise their parents were your close friends, if they asked me I couldn't lie or pretend because I'm not very good at it, I'd just tell them the truth, no emotions, just facts.I wouldn't hold my breath for anything changing though, but at least you will of got it off your chest which sometimes makes the problem less of a burden.

You will look back at this in years to come and wonder what all the worry was about.Me and my daughter both laugh about the things she experienced with different friends over the years and she accuses me of making a lot of it up!!.

mumofthemonsters808 Thu 19-Jan-17 16:49:19

Just to add, this will not be something new to the school, this type of thing happens day in and day out. I remember my Dd being off school poorly and the attendance officer insisted on visiting her and even though she was genuinely poorly, one of the first questions she asked was about her friendships.

mumsiedarlingrevolta Thu 19-Jan-17 17:33:22

oh squirrels I do feel for you.
And I think speaking to the parents won't be terribly helpful at this age...
Y7 can be a nightmare for girls-all very tribal and lots of moving groups as they all try and fit in-it seems like her friends are jockeying for position and your DD is being left behind a bit-not at all unusual and she is better off not trying to hang on if they aren't good friends. Plenty more fish in the sea.
I would say the same as PP posters-encourage her to meet new people-maybe do some extra curric to meet friends with common interests.
DD's form teacher in Y7 told us that the Y7 friendships are fleeting and if you look back in future years most of them don't last.
Most importantly is that her self esteem doesn't get too much of a bashing-
really try and cultivate some nice new friendships and help her not be defined by those girls (easier said than done-find the bus behaviour particularly horrible) but persevere.
flowers for your DD

oklumberjack Thu 19-Jan-17 18:17:20

It's very hard to watch isn't it OP.

My dd came to Y7 without any of her primary friends. She was excited to make a new start, new friends etc. However, it was hard work. She spent the first few weeks not really hanging out with anyone. No-one really spoke to her much. Eventually she joined the Drama club and Netball club. The Drama club was great as she jet lots of people from different tutor groups, and now even has a minuscule part in the yearly school production through it. It's only now that she's even beginning to feel comfortable and start being 'herself'.

Co-incidentally some of the friends she's made are people who have been 'shunned' from old primary friendship groups. One girl was completely dropped and my dd talked to her about and knew how upsetting it was for her. Even now, my dd says she can see these new friendship groups shifting again already. Luckily, dd feels like she's on the outside as she had no 'baggage'.

Have a quick chat with her tutor. Encourage her to try new things at school. It does seem very very common for these things to happen. She will eventually find her tribe. I don't think my dd is even there yet, but I have lots of hope.

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