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My daughter is very unhappy at school

(15 Posts)
magdalene Thu 16-Jun-11 20:19:10

Just wanted some advice please. My daughter has been crying this evening saying she wants to go back to being 4. She was at nursery then (different school) and she said she was happy there. She says it was a lot calmer and the children and teachers were kinder. She says the work is sometimes really really really hard and at other times so easy. She says other children say her work is 'rubbish' and make fun of her when she can't do something in sport. When she is doing group work, she says she can't ask the teacher for help because nobody else does. She says her teacher hardly ever comes over to their group (don't know how accurate this is) and that the teacher spends most of her time with one group. She was matching beginning parts of sentences with endings (a conjunctions exercise) today and she said it was very hard. She now says she is rubbish at drawing and reading etc. Play times are 'rough' and this afternoon she had nobody else to play with. Don't know why I am posting this but I know I have to speak to her teacher - but will she think I'm neurotic? In the past I have gone to my daughter's teacher with similar concerns but haven't found her very helpful. All I know is that if my daughter is this unhappy and uncomfortable she won't learn.

piratecat Thu 16-Jun-11 20:23:08

I can only say, talk to the teacher so that she is aware of your dd's and your concerns.

My dd has had many times of no friends, problems with work, misunderstanding, getting used to things, but this was when she was just starting out. The adjustment can take a while op, but i know it's very hard to think they are unhappy. Your heart breaks. How old is she, are you t\alking about reception class? or year one maybe?

magdalene Thu 16-Jun-11 20:28:04

Thank you for the lovely post piratecat. She's in year one and reception was a bumpy ride too! She is very sensitive and has been crying on and off at school since the beginning of term. I think part of it is she hasn't found a kindred spirit yet. It would also help if there was some communication from the teacher about the work they're doing and how my DD is doing.

thejaffacakesareonme Thu 16-Jun-11 20:28:22

I'd speak to the teacher. If nothing else, she may be able to ensure your DD spends playtime with a "buddy".

I'd also invite some of the kids individually for playdates, so that your DD can start to forge friendships with them. It will not solve all the problems, but it may make her a bit happier if she feels she has some friends at the school.

magdalene Thu 16-Jun-11 20:32:33

Thanks jaffacake - she had a friend over yesterday and she does talk about her group of friends but it's more that she doesn't quite feel at ease in the environment if you see what I mean.

Sonriente Thu 16-Jun-11 20:43:34

I had the same experience with my daughter. We home ed now- it was a huge decision to make. But now we breathe easy. I recommend exploring the HE board, on here.

hester Thu 16-Jun-11 20:52:16

Oh poor little mite sad I think some children just don't suit school, or school doesn't suit them - I know I was never happy at school, though it's hard to put my finger on why.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing that can be done to help your dd. I agree with the others - talk to the teacher. You never know; she may respond better this time.

anthonytrollopesrevenge Thu 16-Jun-11 21:12:12

and its nearly the end of the school year - a new teacher and a new class may help a lot in September.

reddaisy Thu 16-Jun-11 21:16:17

Talk to the teacher, make a nuisance of yourself if you have to by asking what they are working on etc, etc so you can help your DD at home if she is lacking in confidence.

piratecat Thu 16-Jun-11 21:28:11

i would second the confidence thing. my dd is 9, she is very sensitive, but luckily has a confident streak which can offset this. Although people (teachers) tend to miss her sensitivity and don't realise she is a worrier, as she can come over as happy go lucky.

As the work has got harder my dd's confidence has worsened, and as some others have said, school isn't for everyone, and i too have become unenamoured with the 'system' at times. It is hard to know what to do. Yet when i asked my dd if she would prefer HE she said she really would like to stay with her friends.

It has also taken a long time for my dd to form proper friendships, only becuase she is so terribly straight forward and has an older head on her shoulders, and she couldn't be bothered with any cattiness, or silly games with some of her girl peers. For the first 2 yrs of primary school she found hanging out with the boys far easier.

magdalene Thu 16-Jun-11 21:33:59

That's really useful piratecat - thank you. My DD spent the whole of reception playing with the boys but she says that their play is too rough now and she doesn't want to join in. She is a thoughtful child and sometimes this stops her from joining in and having a go. Yes, my DD also can't be bothered with cattiness etc. I just want to help her stick up for herself.

DanFmDorking Thu 16-Jun-11 21:42:36

I’d just like to echo some of the previous comments - ‘talk to the teacher so that she is aware of your dd's and your concerns’. Tell the school/teacher.

PastSellByDate Fri 17-Jun-11 21:59:49


I absolutely understand how hard it is as a Mum to see your daughter genuinely unhappy. I've been in a similar position this year myself (my DD also Y1).

Did you have a better relationship with the Class R teacher? It may be more effective to have a quiet chat with him/ her about how unhappy your daughter is and how concerned you are about her. It will get back to her current teacher or the head depending on the school politics.

It also may be an idea to suggest to your DD that she starts to play on her own if things are getting rough or upsetting. I did this with my daughter because playground banter was reducing her to tears and making her cry became something of a sport for her classmates. At first she really didn't want to be on her own, but she got used to it and now it doesn't matter if she plays with or without her classmates. It has turned out that there were several girls who didn't like the name calling and they've now formed a nice little group that supports each other. There are the occasional spats - but it's all much more calm now.

It's hard to get into 5/6 year old mindsets and they can't always explain their feelings or what is happening well - but children just want to be included and encouraged. Being the one left out or teased is incredibly hard. Encourage her to cultivate friends who are clam, supportive and generally well behaved. Gradually this will develop into stable school friendships and make life a bit easier. You can't control what happens at school but you can influence friendship formation through play dates/ outings & shared lessons (swimming/ ballet) at the weekend which strengthen bonds and lead to strong friendships. Also don't forget your nursery friends - my eldest had 2 dear friends from nursery and we regularly go on outings together, which helps to reinforce that friends don't have to be just from school.

In terms of finding Y1 a struggle - remember that a lot of the point of this year is starting the transition from learning through play to more formal learning. Sometimes teachers can be overly stern and this can be a huge shock after the cuddly/ happy teaching in nursery/ class R. But it is important to understand that they are trying to prepare the children for Y2 & beyond.

Yearning for things as they were before is partly about wanting things to be easy and happy again - your DD is really saying she doesn't feel in control in this situation and is finding the going a bit hard or confusing at times. Talk to other parents - you may well find your child isn't the only one struggling with the change (even this late in the year). There's no easy way to help her to cope with this, but celebrating the positive things about her day - a great painting, getting all her spelling words right, moving up a reading level, getting a merit point or a mention in assembly, etc... will help her feel her hard work is being noticed & celebrated at home, and reinforce that school isn't all bad. The trick is to make the good bits outway the difficult/ awful bits - that's a long project but slow and steady wins the race.

Hang in there and remind yourself and your DD that the school year is nearly over.

animula Fri 17-Jun-11 22:41:33

My dd was unhappy. School arranged counselling. In the end, we moved her and that turned out to be the best solution (for us). I now can't believe I waited so long.

That isn't necessarily the best solution for you but it may be something to bear in mind. I think in dd's case it just wasn't the school for her, and now she's at one that "fits" better.

piprabbit Fri 17-Jun-11 22:46:42

My DD struggled in Y1 - I think the formality came as a bit of a shock after reception.

In the end I asked to meet with the teacher. The teacher asked me to bring DD along too. At the meeting, I began outlining what DD had said (as DD was feeling very nervous), but the teacher quickly began drawing DD in to the conversation.

By the end of the meeting DD had explained her issues to the teacher, the teacher had come up with some ideas on how they could work on solving them together - so DD was clear about what she needed to do and the teacher was clear about how she would support DD.

TBH I felt a bit left out grin, but it did the trick and really boosted DDs confidence. I think a big part of it was knowing that it was Ok for her to talk to the teacher and that she would be listened to and taken seriously.

Something similar might give your DD some extra confidence and feeling of acceptance too.

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