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Wallflower children

(45 Posts)
fredfredsausagehead1 Fri 23-Jan-15 12:17:38

My daughter is a little wallflower, conforms to all the rules, is doing well and achieving well, has friends and everyone likes

Unfortunately for me as her Mother it's not enough blush ...a long time ago I was a teacher and experienced these wallflower children. What bothers me most is she never gets chosen for awards, is the last to get a merit (and then the reasons are vague)...pushes herself forward for nothing...

It's never noticed that she is always good, always hardworking, always kind, always helping others, always following the rules and always having to watch the boys who have in the past hurt her and called her names get a big pat on the back.

Anyone else as crazy as me about this?

Tzibeleh Fri 23-Jan-15 12:35:05

No, you're not the only one sad

My dd is exactly the same. Secondary has been a revelation. They have a policy of rewarding and praising good behaviour as well as exceptional behaviour. So getting your homework in on time earns you a credit, not having any warning earns you a block of credits at the end of each term, helping others in class earns a credit, etc. And they come down very hard on pupils tormenting others. But it is very difficult being a non-pushy person, being a good girl who doesn't get noticed.

fredfredsausagehead1 Fri 23-Jan-15 13:05:09

That's reassuring to know!

ChocLover2015 Fri 23-Jan-15 13:29:11

I thought a 'wallflower' was a loner- introverted and awkward no friends?

fredfredsausagehead1 Fri 23-Jan-15 13:54:37

No a wallflower is somebody who is introverted but socially capable, can be very popular and confident.

Introverted people do not lack social skills but may just choose to be alone more often than others.

It makes me cross when teachers mistake quietness for lack of confidence smile

rabbitstew Fri 23-Jan-15 14:46:14

Does this bother your dd?

Guyropes Fri 23-Jan-15 14:49:07

Choclover... I thought that too.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 23-Jan-15 14:49:16

I'm an introvert.
There's a lot to be said for doing well for your own self esteem and fulfillment.
Perhaps your dd is content the way things are?

rabbitstew Fri 23-Jan-15 15:17:08

I always had a tendency just to quietly get on with things. Frankly, the idea of getting some kind of reward for it, as though to try and force me to carry on behaving in a particular way rather than just be happy to be me, would have made me feel distinctly manipulated and uncomfortable. It seems to me to be a fantastic reward in itself to be liked by everyone and have a nice group of friends. Obviously, it's not the same if your dd doesn't feel like that and she does feel hard done by, but how you feel about it seems to me to be irrelevant.

rabbitstew Fri 23-Jan-15 15:20:03

Sorry, that sounds a bit harsh! Not irrelevant, just not something to get het up about, as if my mother had reacted like that I would have interpreted it as a veiled criticism that I wasn't pushing myself forward enough and should be jumping up and down for attention.

fredfredsausagehead1 Fri 23-Jan-15 15:49:28

I completely agree it's irrelevant really and I know she will get the benefit as she grows, not needing approval,

No it doesn't bother her, she does however enjoy it if she does get a certificate and is proud to show them off.

I think from experience as a teacher it does happen the wallflowers do get ignored In the bust environment hmm

rabbitstew Fri 23-Jan-15 16:16:11

You may find that when something is important enough to your dd, she will push herself forward in order to get it/win it/achieve it - that's the difference between someone who never gets noticed because they don't know how to be heard/lack social skills, and the person who doesn't get noticed because they don't see the need to make a big song and dance about everything! There are huge advantages to being noticed only when you really want to be!!!... wink

Tzibeleh Fri 23-Jan-15 16:28:18

I also thought a wallflower was not a socially confident person. Definitely describes my dd. She has very low self-esteem, and being badly teased for being studious and good just demolished her. Being praised and rewarded, without any great song-and-dance, for the very things that bullies mocked and teachers over-looked, has done wonders for her.

fredfredsausagehead1 Thu 05-Feb-15 17:48:00

There's a massive difference to being quiet and staying on the edge. In her head my dd is confident but outwardly it's a different story.

Probably it's the fact that at an early age these quieter children are labelled as low in confidence when they're not!

MidniteScribbler Fri 06-Feb-15 07:47:48

In my classroom, you don't get awards for just behaving yourself, because that is behaviour that is expected, not something to be rewarded. You don't get an award for handing your homework in on time, because that is what you are supposed to be doing, IYSWIM. To get any award, you do need to do something which is actually difficult (for you) or puts yourself out. Offering to stay back for a while at lunch and helping me clean up from a session, or set up a later one, doing additional research on your project, or helping out another student (without being asked). The same criteria applies to all students, and I usually find it is the quieter children who are more likely to get awards earlier in the year as they tend to be the ones willing to put in a bit of extra effort in an understated way to help out.

HopeClearwater Fri 06-Feb-15 10:02:25

The phrase is 'wallpaper children' because you don't notice when they're not there in the classroom, i.e. they're part of the wallpaper. I worked hard as a teacher to acknowledge these children's efforts. The current method of immediately praising good behaviour from otherwise difficult children ('catch them being good' is the term used by behaviour specialists and on training courses) does lead some teachers to take for granted that certain children will always be good and consequently, largely ignore them because they are so busy trying to get the nonconformers to conform in order to get thirty children to progress two sub-levels that year, as required by their bosses.

But look at it this way - your child is as you say, doing well and achieving well, has friends and people like her. Better to be that in the long term than to be the annoying kid who gets Star of the Week for behaving in an ordinary manner for fifteen minutes one Thursday lunchtime, galling though it may be.

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Feb-15 10:16:38

Hi fredfred:

I get your concern and disappointment that your child is overlooked - and trust me have absolutely been there - but IME and from seeing how DD1 (now Y7) is blossoming - I do want to say that people have phases (periods in their lives when they really shine).

Not shining is primary doesn't mean you won't shine in secondary/ sixth form/ University/ work/ life......

I think sometimes parents see their child getting the reward as some form of validation. The equation being something along the lines of - My child has the most good behaviour stickers therefore my child is the best behaved. It's a sort of looking for external validation.

Yes - it is wonderful to be recognised, to be praised by your teacher, the HT, the coach, etc.... but making getting the praise the 'only goal' or the only reward 'of value' is a dangerous game. There will be teachers that 'get your kid' and there will be those that 'don't' or perhaps aren't your favourite cup of tea. My advice is this - you should include yourself in that judgement of attempt - does it merit your praises? Are you proud that your DC tried something new/ difficult/ scary? Are you pleased they gave it their best or do you need them to win?

So fredfred I think rather than worry about what this teacher acknowledges or not right now - perhaps change your criteria -

is your child happy?
do they have friends?
are they learning new things/ progressing?
are they enjoying school?

because trust me - many of us can answer no to some or all of those questions. If you're answering yes to all of them (and it sounds like you are) please believe me, regardless of the teacher's external confirmation of this fact for your daughter or not - you're winning - genuinely.


FaFoutis Fri 06-Feb-15 10:22:14

My son is like this. He told me last night that he doesn't like Fridays because that is when 'pupil of the week' (a certificate) is handed out and he never gets it. It clearly matters to him.

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Feb-15 10:40:37


two suggestions:

1) at next parent/ teacher meeting mention how disappointed your son is that he's never been selected for 'pupil of the week'

2) track who is pupil of the week - certainly at DD1's old primary they carefully worked it out that every child would get pupil of the week at least once each school year.

Personally DD2 (at different primary to DD1 due to moving) is desirous of her teacher's gold behaviour sticker. She picks up books and puts them away (not just hers)/ she tidies tables/ straightens chairs/ runs errands for the teacher/ comforts upset friends/ helps with bloody noses/ etc.... and only ever achieves 'silver sticker' status.

However, I know that the valued 'gold sticker' is rarely given out - only 2 times apparently so far - and that it is not just about 'good deeds' but also paying attention, settling right down to work, helping others with work (without being disruptive), etc.... and we've discussed the fact that it's a high standard which is worth trying to achieve but won't be easy. So DD2 sees it as a challenge - rather than something upsetting.

FaFoutis Fri 06-Feb-15 10:59:42

Thanks Past, at the risk of looking pushy I think I will raise it at the parent/teacher meeting.
It doesn't get rotated, I see the same names frequently on the newsletter. Reasons for awarding it are things like "being practically perfect" and "a fabulous attitude". Nothing my son can really aim for because he is already doing everything right.

Your daughter sounds very sweet, hope she gets her sticker!

PastSellByDate Fri 06-Feb-15 11:18:19

No Fafoutis - If you say that DS is getting really worked up about not winning X certificate - can you give me any advice about what he needs to be doing to win this, so I can encourage him to do more of that in class

won't come across as pushy - and my Buddhist friend (a more gentler soul you couldn't meet) from DD1's primary used this strategy very effectively - noting that usually 1-2 weeks after mentioning her DD was upset about not winning anything, she'd be up for a certificate at Friday assembly.

Thanks for good wishes. DD2 probably will never achieve gold - but I think she gets the idea that aiming for it is as important.


Sunnysideup5883 Sun 08-Feb-15 07:17:52

Certificates should be rotated so that they all receive one a term or whatever. The problem is with the teacher who may have poor record keeping or favourites. It's worth asking about their policy on giving rewards

Sunnysideup5883 Sun 08-Feb-15 07:20:40

My wallflower came into his element in juniors. I've noticed that it's worse in shouty classes where the teachers have poorer class control and only notice the loudest kids.

saintlyjimjams Sun 08-Feb-15 07:25:33

Yep, it's irritating. I have explained it (especially to ds3) as just being the way of the world.

IME primary is worse for this, & secondary schools are better at noticing & rewarding the quieter kids for behaving well & producing good work.

Arsenic Sun 08-Feb-15 07:36:25

Certificates should be rotated so that they all receive one a term or whatever.

Does that mean all receive at least one per term?

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