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DD getting into trouble at school but not sure it's warranted

(33 Posts)
stationtwelve Fri 02-Feb-18 09:38:30

Just wondering what others would do in this situation.

DD is 6, in Yr2. She has been in the same friendship group now since foundation. This is about one of her friends - lets call her Lily. I have seen DD and Lily interact a lot over the years outside of school at playdates, parties etc. and at an activity they do together.

Lily is not very robust. She gets upset very easily at perceived slights (eg DD has accidentally bumped into her whilst they're happily playing) and there's a lot of tears and tale telling over nothing. I am honestly not the kind of parent who thinks their child can do no wrong, but I've witnessed these interactions so many times to know that DD is not intentionally upsetting her.

The problem is what's happening at school. They use a traffic light system for behaviour and increasingly DD is being "put on red" for an incident, always involving Lily. DD tells me that things aren't on purpose and I believe her based on what I've observed so many times. I've even heard now from another parent on a couple of occasions that their child has told them it was unfair on DD.

I'm not sure that things are properly witnessed by an adult and that DD is being reprimanded based on Lily's reactions. Lily is very small, her speech is that of a younger child and I don't know whether this is affecting the teachers' judgement in a way as she presents as being younger than she is.

One problem is that DD doesn't argue her case to the teacher, despite me explaining to her that she needs to speak up that they were playing, things were not done on purpose etc. I'm fed up with having these pep talks with her now but I can understand why at 6 she doesn't want to debate with the teacher.

I don't really know what to do. I've told DD to be gentle around Lily, avoid boisterous play and not give her any reason to become upset. But they're an established group of friends so they inevitably will always play together. And really at this age DD should be able to run around with her friends without worrying that one of them is going to go crying to a teacher.

Would it be reasonable for me to speak to school, and ask them to assure me that DD is only reprimanded for things that have been properly witnessed by an adult who is 100% certain they have been done on purpose? I don't want to come across as "that parent" who thinks their child is faultless but equally I'm starting to become worried that she's going to get labelled as unkind.

CheapSausagesAndSpam Fri 02-Feb-18 09:41:42

Go in and say you want to discuss the friendship dynamic between your DD and Lilly.

Tell them your concerns and be calm and pleasant. Ask them to keep an eye on the dynamic as you're worried it isn't working out for DD and some guidance might be warranted.

stationtwelve Fri 02-Feb-18 10:19:27

Thanks. Yes I think I'll have to. I try to avoid speaking to school about things as I believe in choosing my battles but I do think DD is getting a bad deal.

BubblesBuddy Fri 02-Feb-18 14:42:17

I feel for you. Family friends had a “tell tale” who lied about what had happened. Cried to her Dad all the time. In the end, my DDs wanted to avoid seeing them. Their DS was fine. They didn’t go to school together.

By the time this child was about 8/9, she had no friends. Our friends were concerned and the penny eventually dropped that it is not friendly to tell adults untruths about children you are playing with who have done nothing at all. We saw our friends for lunch but avoided play and holidays.

In school, avoidance is a lot more difficult. However, can your Dd not play with this child? I know that sounds harsh, but it is not a friendship when one child gets the other one into trouble. Clearly all children avoided our friends’ child until they could rely on her to be a trustworthy friend. The parents may then take action and start to ignore the whinging. So should the school quote frankly. They should also investigate and not take “Lily’s” word about what has happened. Often other children are aware of what has happened or non-events.

Try and get your Dd to make new friends. Our friends’ child is now lovely by the way! Normal relationships resumed!

stationtwelve Fri 02-Feb-18 15:18:18

Problem is that DD and Lily are part of a larger group of 5 girls who otherwise get on very well together and have done since school began. They all play together at school so DD can't avoid Lily unless she avoided her other friends too which obviously she isn't going to do. Equally I wouldn't want her to exclude Lily.

Doctordid Fri 02-Feb-18 15:30:44

Station do talk to school.
My friend has a 'Lily' and is fully aware of it. She has openly stopped me telling off the dc a few times because she knows what her dd is like.

My own dd has sen and can be a bit like that. It's not that she is telling tales as such it is just that in her head if someone does something she perceives as wrong or naughty dds instinct is to tell a teacher. So if she saw a year 11 boy throw a snowball at someone or rubbish on the floor when she was in year seven so she would tell the teacher on them in front of them. She drives me a bit bonkers as it caused so much hassle in the past.

BubblesBuddy Fri 02-Feb-18 17:53:48

If she will not exclude "Lily" then how do you expect anything to change? You will all have to put up with her. Being nice can be taken too far if you get into trouble for it! Why cannot she be left out? These girls will get sick of her in the end when they have taken the punishment once too often for something they did not do. You are not really addressing the problem here, and you are letting your DD take the punishment, which is hardly supportive of her.

holasoydora Fri 02-Feb-18 18:08:42

My bonkers 'exuberant' (but not unkind) daughter has a 'Lily'. She complains constantly about perceived sleights by my DD to her mother who is my friend (?), who casually mentions all the minuscule ways my daughter has lately annoyed hers. It is tiring and causes me a lot of stress.

If the school were involved in my case, I would talk to them and put my daughter's side across definitely. As it is I am not sure they have been, apart from that I am pretty sure my friend requested they be in different classes this year. This has helped a bit. It is awkward discussing it with my friend, I have so far smiled, nodded, and then ranted to other friends - the mature response!

zzzzz Fri 02-Feb-18 18:52:26

Does your daughter knock over or upset anyone else?

Is Lilly developmentally delayed or just a bit soft?

Are any of the other children being red lighted at school?

Does dd get a red light for anything else?

stationtwelve Fri 02-Feb-18 19:31:20

Zzzzz I don't know if DD bumps into other children - I'm sure she probably does, she's energetic and a bit clumsy. Nobody else to my knowledge is upset by her though. They all race around in the playground and fling their arms around each other but it's only Lily who I see taking umbrage.

I don't know about Lily. It's possible that she could be developmentally delayed but nothing which has been diagnosed as far as I'm aware (I'm friends with her mum)

None of the other girls in DD's friendship group get red lighted and DD isn't for anything else.

stationtwelve Fri 02-Feb-18 19:33:30

Bubbles I want to address the problem and be supportive of DD, that's why I'm posting here for advice.

zzzzz Fri 02-Feb-18 19:39:31

If she’s never upset any of the others with this brushing past I would suggest it’s not your dd. If she doesn’t get red lighted for anything else I would suggest it’s not your dd. If it’s not happening to any of the others I would suggest it’s problem between the girls. Is dd the popular one in the group?

Pennywhistle Fri 02-Feb-18 19:41:09

I do think you need to go and see the teacher to get to the bottom of it.

Does Lily complain about the other three girls in the group? Or just your DD?

6yo is old enough not to be making regular inadvertent physical contact with someone else tbh.

stationtwelve Fri 02-Feb-18 19:42:46

I wouldn't say the popular one as I don't think there's that kind of dynamic in the group, there's no leader. I would say though that she is the funny silly one.

stationtwelve Fri 02-Feb-18 19:46:21

Penny it's just DD that Lily complains about.

I agree about inadvertent contact to an extent and I have had so many pep talks with DD about only playing gentle games with Lily and explaining that some people prefer their personal space, to avoid hugging etc. On the other hand 6 year olds do run around and contact will happen.

Pennywhistle Fri 02-Feb-18 19:50:03

In that case Station there could well be a problem.

If the other 6 year olds manage not to hurt Lily what is your DD doing differently?

Unless you think Lily is bullying your DD?

KatnissMellark Fri 02-Feb-18 19:52:52

If none of the other girls are being complained about or flagged up, I'd be wondering if there is more to this...because if Lily was just a softie, surely others would accidentally upset her too?

Is your DD too rough?
Has Lily taken a bit of a dislike to her?

Glumglowworm Fri 02-Feb-18 19:56:18

If the teacher is made aware that this is an issue she can stop punishing dd on the say so of lily.

You can still respect that a child is telling you they’ve been upset without punishing another child when you as the adult haven’t seen anything. A general reminder to all children or a particular group of children to be kind/use gentle hands/not push and shove etc shows the tale teller that you’ve listened to them and take them seriously without unfairly punishing another child.


As a teacher I’d want to know this & have seen it in the past. We all get our over-reactors but we have to understand that the child is most likely not doing this maliciously, and what we perceive as “tale-telling” about things like being bumped into is actually a huge big deal to some more sensitive children. Likewise, it can really affect a child’s self-esteem to be consistently reprimanded for something that was an accident.

I’d go in and speak to the teacher. Just put across concerns that the friendship dynamic isn’t good. I’ve had to do this myself as a parent when my DS was getting in trouble for “swearing” (really his friend was very confused about what were swear words or not so kept telling the teacher my son said the “f” word when actually all he was saying was “focus”)

InfiniteCurve Fri 02-Feb-18 20:10:20

My DD is very small.She was used from toddlerhood to being significantly smaller than all her peers,and when she was young that meant that bumps that bigger children could shrug off would knock her over - she was very physically timid for a long time.
So if Lily is very small she may have a reason for the way she reacts - to being bumped into at least - not your daughters fault as long as she is being reasonably careful not to be physically rough,but maybe not Lily's fault either.
I'd discuss it with the teacher.

BubblesBuddy Fri 02-Feb-18 20:48:47

So why can’t your DD avoid Lily? This would seem to be an obvious solution.

Bluntness100 Fri 02-Feb-18 20:55:56

I think thr fact there are other girls in the group but it's only your child who manages to upset this little girl should tell you something.

I doubt she's being deliberately naughty, although you never know, but I do think if the other kids manage not to upset her uou shoild he looking to find out why your daughter repeatedly can't do the same. She's six and should have some empathy and co ordination of her movements at this age.

I'd also speak to the school and try to find out what's going on and how your daughter can avoid it like the other kids.

zzzzz Fri 02-Feb-18 20:58:05

For whatever reason it’s become focused on your dd. Go and have a chat and see if you can unpick it all a bit.

Skittlesandbeer Fri 02-Feb-18 21:36:33

A very similar situation happened to my DD two years ago (age 5 1/2). I suppose there was a bit more urgency/stress because the other girl’s mother was texting me hysterically and the accusations were becoming more serious (biting, pinching).

I was quite bolstered by other parents in our group, who had known both girls for 3 years. It was just impossible to believe if you knew my DD. Also, the other girl was very attached to DD through this period, more than you might expect if DD was hurting her so regularly.

The school took it quite seriously. They adopted a strategy of observing and logging the dynamic between the girls after every playtime. Whichever teacher saw them first would note it in a book. Teachers on playground duty also noted dynamic (when they saw it).

Over time it became clear that the girls adored each other, and weren’t ever uncomfortable with each other. Teachers clarified to the other mother that there were no signs of antisocial behaviour, or the reactions you’d expect to see from a hurt or bullied child. No unusual or malicious physical contact was ever seen or reported during observation. Three instances of the other girl ‘dobbing’ on the friendship group were noted, but no corroboration from the group (even though they were all asked).

It was clear that some biased interrogation at home was eliciting a different story. For whatever reason, the girl was fabricating harm done to her, using a few true facts from the day’s play.

‘I got tagged in the game, just before the bell went’ became ‘I got pushed over by DD just before the bell went and I couldn’t go in because I was crying and limping too much’. The log for that day would show the two girls coming in arm in arm, chatting furiously and begging to sit next to each other.

The log really helped, and diffused the situation quite quickly. Perhaps your school would be willing to institute one for a fixed time? Ours was for 4 weeks.

Sadly I felt I had to cool the friendship between the families after this situation. It was just too stressful, and the other mother had gone a bit too far in her communications to me. I’ll never forget the pain and confusion on my DD’s face when she realised her darling BFF was telling lies about her. The talks we had to have with DD after school each day (to check her side of things, and make sure she wasn’t minimising something serious) were pretty heartbreaking for all of us.

The first time I tried to explain the situation to her she thought I was saying some other kid was hurting her BFF, and went into tiger mode, vowing to protect her from all comers and invite her to a special tea to cheer her up. It killed me clarify that it was her, DD, who was being accused.

I feel for you and hope it’s resolved soon.

Skittlesandbeer Fri 02-Feb-18 21:47:15

Sorry, meant to add.

At one point the other mother stated that her daughter had ‘fragile bones’ and other vague physical conditions which meant that normal boisterous play could result in serious injuries (which then my DD would be presumably responsible for).

Having known the family for 3 years, I was fairly hmm about this sudden diagnosis, but it was hard to deal with.

I ended up finding the school policy on special needs, which is mainly for parents to set up protective strategies around their child’s anaphylaxis risk (stuff like that) during school hours. They are required to provide medical evidence of any condition, and a medical plan.

When the other mother saw the faff she’d have to personally go through to back her claims, she soon backed off the idea that her kid was in any way ‘fragile’. That helped us enormously. Any use to you?

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