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Just had a phone call from DDs headteacher

(65 Posts)
angelinterceptor Thu 15-Nov-12 14:16:30

My DD is age 9 this weekend - and really struggling to fit in socially at school. This time last year we spent months worrying about whether to move schools or not for a fresh start etc.

Finally decided yes, she would do better in a smaller school, fresh start, all girls - moved about 6 months ago.

I thought everything was OK, but it seems not now that I have had the call from the head.

Other girls dont want to play with her, or sit with her in class etc.

I have tried with her, I know she is impatient and we have worked through books on speaking to others nicely, and treating everyone with respect.

Is she doomed, will she ever grow out of this - or is it just going to get worse?
Her dad will go crazy if he finds out - its costing us ££ to send her to this school and he will think waste of time.

Does anyone have any practical advice, or just something new for us to try with her?

Like should we withhold extra-curicular stuff, like use it as a reward - or is this the completely wrong thing to do?

Really worrying now, as she has invited half the class to a birthday party this weekend - and I hope they haven't been sent under duress from the parents, and dont really want to be coming.

thanks if you have read this far - just want some advice please

angelinterceptor Sun 25-Nov-12 20:30:33

I'm back with some answers.
The school is not private like I imagine the prep schools are in England. I don't want I give too much info - fees are low and it's not a school owns by the HT

I agree that I don't want a call about something as trivial especially since at the start it was as if my DD was at fault. The HT is really nice but she knows how to say what you want to hear sometimes too.

I have at last made a few friends myself with some of the other mums and I think this might help us both to fit in with their ways.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 20:04:28

hmmm. Do I really want the head of my private school phoning me every time a girl loses her hockey stick? No. I want them to educate her and look after her. That's what I pay them for! Not for phoning me with trivial nonsense.

lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 19:59:08

Private school, OP paying parent, small school (is HT the proprietress?), keep the customer happy, OP may have impressed on OP before enrolment that she wanted close attention. Personal call from HT to impress OP that they are taking the potential problems very seriously (not dismissing OP's concerns).

Could be practical issues, too, teacher may not find it as convenient to phone.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 19:55:52

But a head getting involved gives a serious impression to what appears to be a trivial matter. I can't see why the teacher couldn't have sorted it out, (if it needs sorting at all.)

lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 19:53:18

I agree 99%... yet I needed DS private school to get hands on to help him socially. And doubtless OP told HT from outset that she wanted her DD to be supported socially. I don't really know what DS school did right, but by having a very small class they could quickly spot & calm many social problems.

Perhaps DS school had so many oddballs that DS found his own way (perhaps).

So maybe I think OP's HT should be hands-off but then again I think that HT also needs to help OP & her DD to see how up and down friendships and social status can go. To learn to ride with it, a bit.

I would have thought if she was truly unpopular, OP, nobody would have come to the party.

learnandsay Sun 25-Nov-12 19:39:35

lljkk, that may be true. But should the head be getting involved? Sledgehammer to crack a nut, if you ask me.

lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 19:37:51

Very volatile friendships at this age.

angelinterceptor Sun 25-Nov-12 19:23:08

Yes she has very low self esteem and we will work on that along with the other methods of keeping the other girls happy.

I'm confused too, one minute she is unpopular and the next everyone wants to be her friend!

Anyway hope things improve over the next few weeks as we reach the end if another term.

Lougle Sun 25-Nov-12 19:11:35

That doesn't really gel with what the class teacher told you last month, though, does it? She didn't say 'ooh my, DD is so incredibly popular that everyone is fighting over her.' She said '4 or 5 girls have said they don't want to sit next to your DD.'

You also moved her school because she was struggling socially.

This doesn't sound at all like your analysis of the HT meeting fits with that, sorry.

lljkk Sun 25-Nov-12 19:07:13

Everything OP wrote in this morning's post is what I was suspecting (not happy to see it confirmed, though).

Hope you find a good way thru.

I think if she had social problems before she probably still sees herself in that way, with low self-esteem, and this manifests as social clumsiness. I sent DS to a school with a good rep for pastoral care when he reached a similar place.

ohfunnyface Sun 25-Nov-12 09:52:18

Riggght- this makes a bit more sense- and a lot more straight forward than an AS diagnosis.

So she just needs to work on balancing her friends and playin with everyone to make sure everyone feels happy?

That isn't as difficult/bad. And I think the teacher is spot on- your daughter is more mature (doesn't see the issue with multiple friendship groups) an the others don't like it (still very young in their emotional age and attachment to friends).

I'd continue to work with her about positive relationships and how to say 'no' in a nice way. My DP is like this! Lots and lots of friends and would upset certain ones when he was younger (and some even though they're adults!) and had to learn how to manage people's reactions and be able to move in and out of groups.

angelinterceptor Sun 25-Nov-12 09:37:22

Thanks everyone again I met the HT on Thursday. - I am now convinced they are intervening in situations where the girls need to learn how to work it out themselves.

They have a no blame approach so things this week seem to have been on a group activity, role play or discussion rather than focusing on DD or the girl who is now the one who reports her for not being her friend today!

It does seem to have boiled down to this- DD being new and all the others being there since pre-Sch are in little friendship groups already. DD has tried to join some of these groups and according the the HT now is very popular which. Is half the trouble. She can't split herself into many pieces an break time - so it would appear that girls will run to teacher and say DD wont be my friend today.

DD is unaware that this might hurt anyone's feelings so that is what we are going to be working on.

Looks like school are keeping a watch on her - but I hope they are also watching some Of the others because they were no Angela at the birthday party.

Sorry for typos ( on phone with fat fingers)grin

RosemaryandThyme Sat 24-Nov-12 19:34:53

Is it possible that she might be picking up tone and attitude from either TV or from attempting to emulate adults around her ?

I'm not having a dig its just I know when I'm a mardy old bag it comes out exactly the same from my eight year old.

ParyMortas Fri 23-Nov-12 19:30:31

I would be asking the HT for a behaviour specialist to go in and observe.

This is what we did for DS2, he was very unaware of why this person was in the class/playground and it gave an outsider a chance to give his feedback without being on one side or the other. It helped immensely.

Because DS2 was a bit of a class clown, whenever anything went wrong he always got the blame and stood up and took the punishment whether he was in the wrong or not. This was observed on a few occasions.

We worked together with the behaviour specialist and the HT (who IMO was a bloody witch) and things got better.

God, I used to dread the phone calls and emails from her.

confusedperson Fri 23-Nov-12 19:21:17

Btw do not stop sports. And probably something like martial arts could be beneficial.

confusedperson Fri 23-Nov-12 19:15:45

I do not have a particular advice, but my Reception year DS is often awkward with his peers at school (doesn't greet back, runs away in the middle conversation etc.). He appears either rude or shy. I do think he has some traits of the behavioral spectrum, not that I am strong believer in looking for disorders.
The only thing I know - for a school weak in SEN it will appear very subtle and they will not know how to deal with it. Private schools normally have very weak SEN support.
I would have gone somewhere with stronger SEN support. Your DD is probably perfectly normal, with her own awkwardness, but teachers understanding the situation would be better.

socharlotte Fri 23-Nov-12 14:00:41

I think the HT is trying to be super-efficient, and nip any recurrence of your DDs troubles at her old school, in the bud.I think he is being overzealous.
Kids grow up rubbing the corners of each other (and they nearly all do have corners) Most of the time it needs no adult intervention.

Tryharder Thu 22-Nov-12 21:11:33

Your poor DD sad. I hope you able to reassure her that there is nothing wrong with her and that people do like her! How horrid to be told that people don't like you for you rather than because you have done something specifically nasty.

She sounds like my DS1 in personality, actually. He has all the negative and positive traits you describe. He doesn't get many birthday invitations either and doesn't have a group of close friends at school. But he gets on with everyone in his class most of the time, is relatively popular or at least not unpopular and is happy at school.

Do you think perhaps your DD suffers more due to being a girl as they tend to have "best friends" and small friendships groups whereas boys just muck in together? My son gets away with not having one particular close friend by being sort of friends with everyone but I do appreciate that girls are very different.

Do you also think that perhaps the headteacher is overreacting e.g give a dog a bad name and hang him? She knows your DD left that school for being unpopular and is automatically blaming her for this apparent change in the dynamics of your DD's class. I have seen teachers guilty of this several times e.g the "naughty" child gets into trouble for the smallest infraction that would be ignored in a "good" child. Your DH's overheard comment really rings alarm bells for me.

Perhaps your DD just isn't a popular person. As long as she's not nasty or bullying others then I can't see the issue. It would be very, very unfair of you to consider punishing her or somehow blaming her for being who she is. You can't ask her to change who she is and you should accept her for who she is personality faults and all.

I would be demanding a meeting with the headteacher and asking them what they are doing to do about the fact that your DD is being ignored and excluded (apparently). After all, she is a new class member and the school should actively encourage friendships and stamp down on petty bullying and meanness e.g. "I don't want to sit with her" etc.

Sorry for long post. But I think you need to take your DD's side more than you are doing. You are looking to blame her for being bossy or whatever. I think the school are doing your DD a great disservice and I would be up there tomorrow all guns blazing if I were you.

Please hug your DD, don't let her cry and think there is something wrong with her that she can't change.

Lovingthecoast Thu 22-Nov-12 19:47:37

Sorry, bloody iPad. Just paste them into your bar.

Lovingthecoast Thu 22-Nov-12 19:46:54

Sorry, I'll try again,
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Hope they work this time.

Lovingthecoast Thu 22-Nov-12 19:44:02

Maybe this will help
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LIZS Thu 22-Nov-12 15:22:59

Were it to turn out to be AS or something related she may find it a relief to be able to put a name to her stresses and that people want to help her cope.

angelinterceptor Thu 22-Nov-12 13:22:19

I haven't been able to get through to the HT today on the phone, so I will go in early before pick-up and see if I can make an appointment to see her soon.

I have no experience of Aspergers or anything like this, or any other condition.

I think it is likely something though - she is a really pleasant girl most of the time, I guess a little demanding, and now that I think about it, the GPs aren't falling over themselves to offer babysitting or help (but then both sets are busy, and I never really ask them).

She thinks everyone is out to get her now, she was really upset last night, thinks she will never fit in, or be liked. It breaks my heart to hear her say things like "there is something wrong with me, I'm different"

thanks for advice, its really very helpful to speak to someone about it - I think there is no harm in contacting GP, but I dont know how DD will feel about this.

Lovingthecoast Wed 21-Nov-12 22:30:29

Ok, firstly, I am glad the party went well. Secondly, I'm just going to come out and ask if you have ever considered that she may have a mild social communication disorder. I ask because I have seen similar behaviour before and the girl in question had aspergers. I don't want to alarm you but as well as the social difficulties you also talked about her being a stickler for rules.

Girls with aspergers often present very differently to boys with the condition. Girls are very good at masking it and developing strategies which mask the condition. They often have no problems with speech and can be incredibly social, sometimes too social in a way that makes other children back away.

I would really speak to your gp and ask for a referral. If it is nothing, it's nothing and no harm done. But, if it does turn out that she has a social comm disorder then getting her help at this point before she goes to secondary school could make a massive difference to her life.

Good luck with it all.

cory Wed 21-Nov-12 21:06:52

I think it might be an idea to press the head for further details. What does she actually say when she is being bossy? What does she do? If you are going to see a psychologist you will need to be able to give details of exactly the kind of behaviour that is going on. Being bossy could mean so many different things. Explain to the head that you want to support the school but you can only do so if you get a clear understanding of your dd's problems.

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