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Any positive stories of unpopular DC at primary being OK at secondary

(50 Posts)
twofalls Fri 31-Mar-17 14:26:32

DD (year 6) has never been popular. Not invited to parties, excluded from groups, etc. She has dyspraxia, is a bit of a square peg, has had problems through school but has got a group of 3 good friends now who are seen as a bit nerdy (she thinks, I think she is probably right). She is going to secondary school with one of them and nobody else from her school (her choice to make a fresh start).

DD was in a big show last year. Because she isn't very popular nobody at school much cared but we were incredibly proud of her and lots of her outside school friends and family came to support her. Given she has dyspraxia the fact she got in was even more amazing.

This year a girl in her class (a friend outside of school, not really in school) who is probably the most popular girl in the year is in the same production with a different am dram group. DD auditioned for it and although she got through the first stage didn't get in which makes matters a whole lot worse.

Its on next week. All the girls keep talking about it, how this girl is the best singer/dancer/actor/prettiest, teachers are going to the show as are loads of the year group. DD said its made her feel even more invisible than ever, that she did all this last year and nobody acknowledged or really cared, even the teachers. She wants to say something but wouldn't as she knows it wouldn't reflect well on her so keeps it in and then rages when she gets in. I keep telling her that the important people in her life were proud and came to support her, that those girls aren't her friends anyway and quite frankly in a few weeks it will all over and everyone will have forgotten about it. She bears no malice to the girl by the way, its just everyone elses fauning.

I totally understand how she feels. She has always felt left out and invisible and this just further underline it. Thankfully she is going to a secondary school without the popular gang so she can make a fresh start but she is now worried it will never be any different. There will always be a"popular girl" and she will always be overlooked, especially in peforming arts stuff. I told her that all the popular girls from all the primary schools will have loads of competition and she just needs to quietly get on with being her, work at being really good at what she wants to do and not worry about it all, but I am 45 not 11 so easier for me to say.

Just realised that was quite a long bit of background! Does anyone have postive stories of them or their DC being unpopular at primary school but it all worked out at secondary?

TeenAndTween Fri 31-Mar-17 15:06:08

I think she is more likely to find friends at secondary (though it might take some time to come across them) as there is so much more choice.

She is unlikely to become 'popular' though.

Hopefully she won't be so overlooked in areas where she has talent (though I wouldn't count on it).

My DD1 also has dyspraxia and doesn't make friends easily and gets overlooked. She did have a small group of good friends at secondary however.

twofalls Fri 31-Mar-17 16:10:31

Thanks teen. I don't think she will ever be popular, and I think she has come to terms with that. She just wants a group of good friends that won't faun all over the popular girls. And she doesn't want to be over looked.

How old is your dd now?

jeanne16 Fri 31-Mar-17 16:45:37

Could you try to find something else that could become 'her thing'? Does she play an instrument which means she could join a group? Could she make one of the sports teams? My DS said he felt invisible at school until he became involved in a particular sport and this gave him a group of friends and a place in the school.

titchy Fri 31-Mar-17 17:03:25

There's a much larger cohort at secondary and it's far more likely any child will find their group - simple maths really - more to choose from!

Ds was/is a shy retiring geeky type -we thought a small cosy primary would be ideal for him. He is in fact far happier in his big secondary as he's found his tribe than he ever was at primary where he was the antithesis of an alpha male.

LordTrash Fri 31-Mar-17 17:06:05

Dd1 has Aspergers and never fitted in at primary school - although nobody was unkind to her, she just didn't click with anyone and the other kids rarely thought of her when it came to parties etc.

But at her (huge) secondary school she has a close-knit group of friends who all share her slightly niche interests and sense of humour. It's been lovely to see. I hope the same thing happens for your dd.

MissSmiley Fri 31-Mar-17 17:13:29

My oldest DS was bullied at primary y5/6. He just wasn't like the other boys in his class, not bothered about football etc. He's in y9 now and has been really happy at senior school. Loads more people like him and I think he's even quite popular now!

twofalls Fri 31-Mar-17 17:14:11

Jeanne, performing arts is her thing but she is not a typical performing arts girl so doesn't quite fit the mold. But she is good. Think drama rather than musicals. Her new school has a drama club, choir, and a public speaking club, both of which she would love.

Thanks for the reassurance everyone. She is lovely, it's just hard that people her age don't see it.

TeenAndTween Fri 31-Mar-17 17:20:04

OP, DD1 is coming up to 18. She is also into drama and is a member of our local Am Dram which has been great for her as it is mixing more with adults than peers.

cowgirlsareforever Fri 31-Mar-17 17:25:56

There is no guarantee that your dd will be popular at senior school but as long as she finds a few like-minded friends who have her back she will be absolutely fine. In any event, there is quite a lot of evidence that children who are popular at school do hopelessly when they leave school. With the support of her mum and the rest of her family she will be fine. I know this sounds strange but I would actually feel more worried about the girl who is being treated like a star, aged 11, than your dd.

Isadora2007 Fri 31-Mar-17 17:32:11

Kind of. My ds was a bit shy and tall for his age and a little chubby and had long hair. He wasn't unpopular but certaintly wasn't popular at primary. I worried about him moving to secondary. A lot.
He found other people who were into similar music and he also got a very clever and lovely girlfriend quite early on and had a great few years at secondary with good friends and social life.
So there certainly is hope. What I would try to stop is the comparison for your dd with the "others"
As this isn't ever going to end well. She needs to just be comfortable with who she is and those who value her for that.

Thirtyrock39 Fri 31-Mar-17 17:35:31

Reading with relief as in a similar position OP. I am really hoping my daughter will find some like minded friends and come into herself a bit more at secondary . Her primary year is horribly cliquey and she's never fitted in.

tiggytape Fri 31-Mar-17 17:48:56

Agree with everyone else - a much larger cohort is much better for finding like-minded and accepting friends.
There may still be popular girls or popular crowds but their impact on everyone else is much more diluted with 180 - 300 pupils in the year group. People have their own groups and bother far less about what everyone else is doing (unlike primary school when there are only 29 or 59 other children and everyone knows everyone else and can feel left out more easily).

The invisible thing though may increase for the same reason but it will increase for everyone. Again, with so many children per year and a different teacher for every subject, individual attention over outside shows for example will probably be much more muted. A mention in the newsletter perhaps. On the upside, with so many in the year, there won't be just one person that gets chosen for everything. It tends to be much more spread out.
Given the slightly more hands-off arrangements, it is also that the school are aware of any additional needs and can support the transition for her. The SENCo and Form Tutor are generally the first port of call.

Witchend Fri 31-Mar-17 20:10:49

Going back to the am dram thing.
My dc do various things from small through to big. They're not particularly into publicising it, so don't have a huge amount of people coming to see them, nor do we have family around.

What I notice is it isn't necessarily the best people who have the lots of people going to see, but the ones who are great at talking about it. I'm not saying showing off, but just give a running commentary about it because they're excited. So people hear them and get infected by their excitement.

Did she hand out fliers in school, and maybe you speak to best friend's parents and offer to take their dc to watch? That's the sort of little things that can get people in. The friends then go mention to other people, or the teacher and they then go and look at the stuff and think they'd like to go too, so it snowballs.

from my side, I wasn't popular or unpopular at primary. Never really had a best friend, was often the one without a partner etc. Secondary I made two very firm friends and we were very happy together. We weren't in crowd, but were popular in a quieter way.

SpeedwellBlue Fri 31-Mar-17 20:22:14

YES! Dd was never popular at primary. Used to come home in year 6 and say she was unpopular. There were a couple of kids in her class who were horrible to her and kind of set the tone for the class. She moved to local comp where most kids went to. Luckily the couple of kids who were horrible to her were elsewhere in the year group of 8 classes. She's made a lovely group of friends and the different groups of kids leave each other alone (as far as I know.) There doesn't seem to be any interest in picking on dd and her geeky group of friends. She's integrated much better with her new class. The form tutor seems like a strong leader. She comes home much happier.

Devilishpyjamas Fri 31-Mar-17 20:40:55

Ds2 had a terrible year 5 and 6 (and was in big shows in those years - another performing arts bod).

He has been happy at secondary since day 1 (is now in year 10).

SpeedwellBlue Fri 31-Mar-17 20:55:47

PS. Dd in year 8.

SpeedwellBlue Fri 31-Mar-17 20:55:58

PS. Dd in year 8.

Brighteyes27 Fri 31-Mar-17 21:13:24

I would just encourage her to be herself and have other interests outside of school.
My DD has dyslexia is very tall 99 percentile and has worn a brace from 2nd month in year 7.
She was never very popular at primary. But met some girls who I thought were lovely last week of primary (from another class who were going to her secondary). They got on brilliantly and were inseparable from July through to Feb half term. Now these girls have ditched her and been really nasty to her to hang on the shirt tails of the 'popular crowd' (desperate to fit in).
Being popular in year 7 at her secondary seems to involve being mouthy nasty going to watch fights lying to parents and whereabouts begging boys to go out with them and swapping boyfriends every five minutes etc etc. Some girls will always have their heads turned by the slightest chance of being with and accepted by the popular crowd these girls are shallow and your DD is well out of it. At least at secondary their is more girls to chose from.
I was so proud of DD when she said she would rather be unpopular and hang around with the geeks and the weirdos because at least they are nice. DD may never be popular but I have never been prouder. She's slowly starting to find new friends in new places at secondary. Among the nicer less popular girls.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Fri 31-Mar-17 21:38:29

Dd was never one of the popular girls at primary - she's very tall, quiet and reserved with zilch interest in pop culture so didn't fit in easily.

She's now in Y9 and has a lovely (small) group of like-minded friends (quiet and studious). She also spends every Sunday and most of the holidays at the stables where she rides so misses out on a lot of the socialising among her school friends that goes on through choice -

twofalls Fri 31-Mar-17 21:53:24

Thank you everyone for your stories and your reassurance. I feel a bit better.

Dd didn't broadcast her involvement last year and I just mentioned it to a few people. This girls Mum has shared it and put it on the school Facebook page, and its right on our doorstep so I can see why it has somewhat snowballed.

And so sorry for those with crappier experiences.

Dd is asleep now but will talk to her about this in the morning. There will be 270 girls (single sex school) in year 7 in September so i am hoping there will be a small group of likeminded girls to meet out of that lot!

She doesn't want to be popular, she just wants a few good friends who don't faun over others but I have told her there will always be those that follow the popular crowd, even into adulthood. I was neither popular or unpopular, could get on with everyone and flying slightly under the radar always worked for me!

SpeedwellBlue Fri 31-Mar-17 22:27:48

Agree with everyone else - a much larger cohort is much better for finding like-minded and accepting friends.
There may still be popular girls or popular crowds but their impact on everyone else is much more diluted with 180 - 300 pupils in the year group. People have their own groups and bother far less about what everyone else is doing (unlike primary school when there are only 29 or 59 other children and everyone knows everyone else and can feel left out more easily)

This has absolutely been our experience too. Plus the parents have much less influence on friendships at high school which has been refreshing.

mummytime Fri 31-Mar-17 22:29:48

My DCs' Primary sounds a bit like yours. I didn't realise it at the time, but the real issue is that teachers and other adults join in with the "popular" group. Now I feel that it is actually showing that the teachers/other adults either miss being popular at school or weren't popular and are getting satisfaction from feeling popular now.
Unfortunately this meant that "populars" had Birthdays and achievements celebrated, while others missed out. The worst thing I saw were the children about to go to a residential and the populars all had made themselves matching baseball caps, with extra ones for the teachers.

Secondary has been far better. With more students there is a better chance of meeting people on the same wavelength.

MilkRunningOutAgain Fri 31-Mar-17 22:31:08

DS had a difficult time at primary, being self absorbed this didn't really worry him until yr 5 or 6. But he has been a lot happier since moving to secondary, much more relaxed and able to do his own thing without being , as he felt, 'pestered ', mainly by well intentioned teachers, to join in. He now has a group of friends, not close friends, but then he doesn't want that, but enough to feel included. He moved to a secondary where only one other child from his primary went to, I think this really helped. He took the opportunity to reinvent himself to some degree. He has never been bullied thank goodness, he is enormous which probably helps.

GertrudeBrisket Fri 31-Mar-17 23:05:32

My DD had an utterly miserable time in Years 5-6 at a small all-girls school. She didn't fit in at all (she is smart and nerdy, loves fantasy fiction and earnestly discussing politics), was completely excluded from the cliques and started feeling that there was something wrong with HER because she was so different from the other girls. She tried to fit in but was always rejected.

There were many incidents of her sobbing because of photos on snapchat/instagram of girls who she tried to be friendly with at movies, sleepovers, parties to which she was not invited.

Now she is in Year 7 at a large co-ed secondary which we chose for its arty, inclusive culture, and is absolutely thriving - has found a couple of like-minded close friends and all the kids in her class all hang out together in a nice friendly way. It's a huge relief to DH & I.

My heart goes out to your DD - hope her transition to secondary works out just as well.

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