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Year 7 woes.

(30 Posts)
Trampire Mon 22-May-17 07:52:38

My dd is 12. She's very mature (5ft 5, size 10 women's sizes with E-cup boobs) and she's also very emotionally mature (she speaks like she's at least 15 and we can talk about lots of grown-up things like politics and watch quite serious grown-up dramas together, for example). Teachers have said she'd 'ahead' with her general knowledge, vocabulary and general ideas.

She started secondary where she knew very few others. She wanted a fresh start from primary. At first it was really tough but she stuck it out and joined lots of clubs and eventually seemed to make friends and settle.

However the last week or so she's had a bit of a meltdown. She's off school today with a migraine. She says she feels all the friends she's made don't 'get' her. In order to fit in she's had to pretend to enjoy things she doesn't. Whenever she's tried to join a club to branch out her friends have followed her so she ends up spending all her time with them. They're only setted for Maths at the moment (more setting in Y8) so she ends up spending nearly all her time with people she now not clicking with.

She says the girls her tutor group are in tight little groups of 3 or 4 and there's not much mixing.

There was one girl she really got on with well but unfortunately she moved to the other end of the country at Christmas sad

She has her best friend outside of school but she's in Year 10.

I love the school (dd does too) and their pastoral care is supposed to be good. I've told her to talk to her tutor when she goes back in. They must have seen this before? I'm not sure what else to suggest.

Have I chosen the wrong school or would this be the same everywhere (I suspect it would be)?

I feel so bad for my girl. She just seems about 3 years older than she is and it's making her unhappy.

Has anyone else had anything similar? have you come through it? How?

iseenodust Mon 22-May-17 08:35:03

I would stick with the current school. Friendship groups aren't finally settled at that age. Is there something like a debating club which crosses the year groups if she is feeling more mature? It is a good sign that her friends followed her to the clubs, means they want to be around her ! Maybe she just slowly needs to be more honest about her own tastes.

I'm pleased for her she has a good friend outside school is there an activity/club she could do at the weekend that would potentially lead to a wider circle of friends?

Trampire Mon 22-May-17 08:53:01

Thanks for replying iseenodust. I don't think they have a debating society but they have done some debating during English lessons which she loved (I'll enquire at school if there is one).

I'd love her to have a hobby at weekends but so far she's been reluctant. She loves drama, music and netball but is only interested in pursuing them through school. The school is big on drama and she's been doing a lot. She's learning guitar etc. She's confident in who is she is but can be outwardly shy if that makes sense?

I feel like it's something that only time will help with but at the moment she sloping around the house all miserable and it's horrible to see sad

missminimum Mon 22-May-17 09:06:51

From experience, secondary school is a difficult place for girls. My daughter struggled to find like minded girls to mix with, her friends from primary school, most of whom go to a different secondary school, are still her closest friends with whom she feels most comfortable. She is in Year 13 now and about to leave. She loves her school and is feeling sad to be finishing, so it's not the school, but girls of that age. In Year 8 and 9 she found it difficult to shake off the friends who were making her unhappy, they were following her around and putting pressure on her not to mix with other groups. The turning point for her was when she was virtually forced by a teacher to join one of the sports teams - she had wanted to join earlier but her circle thought it uncool. This gave all the girls involved a sense of being part of a bigger picture and helped stop them focus on their relationships and image. After this my daughter managed to mix with other girls and no longer feels she has to be part of a clique. It gave her the confidence to not worry too much about what others would think of her. I would encourage your daughter to join a sports team at school as it's an environment where no one cares too much about image. She may find that some of the girls she wants to have a break from may not want to join. My daughter did Scouts and drama outside school without most of her school friends and this helped too

CrazedZombie Mon 22-May-17 12:53:51

I have a y11 and a y9 and both have changed their friends over their time at secondary school. I would stick it out at the current school.

RedSkyAtNight Mon 22-May-17 13:06:10

DS (now Y8) has very few friends that are in his classes. He's slowly got to know other people through friends of friends. His friends now bear no resemblance to those he had back in Y7.

So I'd say (unless the school is very small) that she should hang in there, she will find that friendships evolve and change and she'll find someone she clicks with. Also, your description of her doesn't sound vastly different from lots of girls I know at this age, so I don't think it's those characteristics that are making her stick out!

Dancergirl Mon 22-May-17 15:07:52

I don't think you have chosen the wrong school, friendship problems such as these are very common. If you change school you always run the risk of things not improving, OR being even worse!

Are there any club or activities where she would meet girls from other years? My dd is in Year 9 and still not finding the friendship thing great, but she's taken part in the school play every year which she has loved and has met girls from other year groups.

Trampire Mon 22-May-17 16:08:44

Thanks everyone.

I realise that friendships change a lot and I wasn't expecting my dd to stay with the same friends for a huge amount of time through school. I was however alarmed this morning when she was so down saying that she didn't seem to fit in anywhere and it was really upsetting.

She has been involved in whole school productions (well, they've only had one so far!). She did really enjoy it while it lasted but of course they only put on one a year. She's doing other drama things.

I think I'll try and persuade her to try a different sport and see where that goes. I think she wants to find some common ground with people and is struggling.

Dancergirl Mon 22-May-17 20:50:23

I was however alarmed this morning when she was so down saying that she didn't seem to fit in anywhere and it was really upsetting

I completely sympathise and understand with this OP. My dd also gets very down at times, lots of crying etc which is quite distressing for us as parents. Hell, I was ready to have her referred to CAMHS at the weekend! But she felt better again quite quickly. I think we have to remember that no-one can be happy all the time and the teenage years ARE going to be a bit rocky. I think it's more unusual than not to have a smooth ride, most teens have their ups and downs with friends and other issues and yes, sometimes they are going to feel crap.

I'm not saying their feelings should be minimised but I do think that they have to learn to be resilient and deal with all sorts of people and difficult situations. Even in adult life there will be times when you don't fit in or have to work with people you don't like or don't get on with. I've been overly sympathetic with my dd in the past and I don't think it does her any favours long term.

Anyway I hope things improve for her soon.

Titsywoo Mon 22-May-17 20:56:53

I've been having similar issues with my DD this year (also year 7). She also has gone into a school with noone from her primary. It's been a bit of a rough year for her and she is still struggling a bit with the kids in her form. She also told me she didn't feel like anyone else was like her. But she has found a small group of friends who she seems to like even though they have different interests. She is starting to stand up for herself with the nasty kids.

I figure things will work out in the end. We all want everything to be good for our DC but ups and downs happen. And who is to say she won't have the same issues at another school?

I think watching and waiting is the best course here. DD has been hysterical with tears one day then happy the next. It's a big change and hormones are thrown into the mix so it's all a bit crazy!

BlessYourCottonSocks Mon 22-May-17 22:02:52

Oh bless them all. I have spent the year worrying about DS who is cheery and brave but doesn't seem to have made any friends at all. He keeps going to various clubs and likes school, but came from a very small primary school and when I casually ask about friends says, 'well I don't really have any but I go to clubs at lunchtime'. Its breaking my heart that despite going to all the sports clubs he hasn't made the form teams - because they are picked by the form sports rep - who picks his friends. I don't know what to do.

Titsywoo Mon 22-May-17 22:06:59

Urgh BlessYourCottonSocks it's so hard to watch isn't it? It tends to be the nice, kind kids who struggle and the horrible little buggers are popular and seem to sail through it all!

BlessYourCottonSocks Mon 22-May-17 22:12:56

It certainly is! I'm not a sentimental sort generally - had a 70s 'pull yourself together' sort of upbringing and this is my youngest child so hardly PFB but I've found it really difficult this year. All the others seemed to make friends easily - and he has always done so until this year so it's been a shock. I thought he would thrive in his new school, and he seems to like it, but I spend sleepless nights worrying that he has no friends and is lonely. Doesn't help that his older siblings are all in their 20s and have now left home. I work long hours too. I just feel he's a lonely little boy and I want him to have lots of friends he can have fun with! Glad your DD has found a little group of friends.

Titsywoo Mon 22-May-17 23:18:50

Thanks I hope your DS finds some friends too. When I was concerned I got dd to join the local guides unit and she ended up meeting some other girls from her school there. Does he do stuff outside of school? I think it's good for the confidence and having friends outside of school is always good.

Rudi44 Tue 23-May-17 01:16:01

I really think she needs to be nudged towards some activities outside of school where she will mix with different kids of differing ages. My daughter does 2 activities outside of school and has done for a number of years and has made some great friends that don't seem to come with the same emotional baggage as school friends do. It can be a much more lighthearted friendship than the sometimes intense highs and lows of the school relationships.

HeadShouldersYonisAndToes Tue 23-May-17 13:11:05

What about something like Guides, where she'd be at the younger end of the age range and would be mixed in with older girls? Her school friends are less likely to follow to an out of school activity.

TeenAndTween Tue 23-May-17 13:14:19

Her school friends are less likely to follow to an out of school activity.

Especially if she doesn't tell them she's doing it. smile

BlessYourCottonSocks Tue 23-May-17 23:35:02

Liking all the ideas. DS does Scouts and enjoys it, but they've had a lot of older ones leave and younger ones joining so he is becoming a bit bored with it I think.

nocampinghere Wed 24-May-17 09:06:28

i think she sounds ok tbh
most girls of this age go through what she's going through / how she's feeling
just keep encouraging her to do new things, try new clubs, she'll find her "tribe" it can just take time.
don't move schools, it is unlikely to help.

nocampinghere Wed 24-May-17 09:07:55

my dd is yr8, and struggled socially for quite a bit of yr7. i had coffee with a group of mums a few months back and EVERY SINGLE ONE said how their dd had struggled in yr7. even the ones who seems to be little miss popular. it is completely normal. all you can do is help them to be happy with themselves and who they are and keep them busy!

Trampire Wed 24-May-17 15:34:55

Thanks again for all replies. It's good to talk about. I've found with many people I know it's the done thing to say that everything is going brilliantly all the time in Y7, so I often find no-one to sound against.

My dd went back to school yesterday and had a really good day. She came home really happy because she'd gone out of her way to spend more of her day with other groups. They also had to decide which activities she wanted to do on an upcoming school camp. She chose exactly what she wanted which many of her current friends aren't doing so she excited about that. I think she just wants a bit of space from them!

Anyway, I'm sure they'll be lots more ups and downs to come but things are ticking along nicely for now.

WhatsitallaboutAlfie1 Wed 24-May-17 16:44:34

Y7 is proving a nightmare for us likewise, with new 'friends' of dd deciding to isolate her (she was heartbroken). It is extremely painful. But agree with suggestions that other friendship groups are developed outside school, and this is what we are looking into at the moment. I can't wait for Y7 to be over. I'm not sure about the school clubs thing. DD says people turn up in groups, which are difficult to penetrate. Agree Titsywoo that the nicer kids may not be the most social. It must be exceptionally hard to sit in a school canteen on your own having lunch sad

nocampinghere Wed 24-May-17 17:42:54

I know it's the done thing to say that everything is going brilliantly yes Trampire that is spot on. it's only a year later that people are being completely honest.

Titsywoo Wed 24-May-17 22:41:54

Yes everyone saying their DC are really enjoying every moment does make you feel more isolated doesn't it? It's like when they are babies and it felt like you were the only person struggling with sleep/breastfeeding etc. So I guess chances are some of them are lying or their kids don't tell them much. I think I'd prefer that DD told me how things were going even if it does make me feel sad for her. It's so up and down with friendships it's like a rollercoaster (and sometimes you feel like you're on it with them but of course you have to hide your feelings!).

DD is getting involved with the school play (not the acting - she likes the tech stuff like lighting and sound) which means lots of opportunities to get to know lots of other kids. Yes I know turning up to clubs alone is scary. I pushed DD into it in the end and that is where she met most of her friends so it was worth it (plus it boosted her confidence!).

ealingwestmum Thu 25-May-17 11:59:19

Don't have much more to add to all of the above posters other than hang in there OP, if you both love the school and their care is good, then all of the challenges are pretty normal, even if unpleasant for DC at this age.

We're approaching end of Y8 here, DD sits on the outside of lots of cliques and has now accepted this. Exclusion seems to be the new way of control - the more public, the better, especially via social media and unfortunately at this age, most follow the herd, even if they don't know why. I keep remembering a programme in the 70s (may have been crackajack?) where they'd run and then jump into a circle; much like how Y7 works, with them panicking as to whether they picked the right 'squad'. Scratch beneath the surface and some of these groups are quite unkind to each other, even if they are portraying a different image externally. And the parents are in denial, I've stopped attending socials due to this ridiculous we're such a gelled class aren't we bullshit.

Outside interests from tutor class and friendship groups are key. It enables DC to see it's not really them, as they're perfectly able to make friends, just inside fixed class it's more politically volatile. And even with the existing friendships when trying extra curricular stuff vs attending solo, it's easier to bed in with a little perseverance.

DD is in a much stronger place now, and being liked (by some) for her - more by those outside her form than within. I ask her now if she could do anything different now if joining Y7 again, she says, I'd be a little more chilled, but not much else would have made a difference. Joining a school solo and being mature can be a challenge, like yours has had.

Really good to hear that yours may have turned a corner OP. I'm told it will get easier, but with a few pot holes along the way grin

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