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Suddenly panicking about dd starting secondary school

(16 Posts)
user1487175389 Fri 26-May-17 21:54:20

She's starting in September and up until now I've been incredibly calm, but a couple of things have happened recently and it's just hit me how unsafe she may be.

I've noticed she's getting a lot of inappropriate looks and attention from men and older boys and this is when she's with me and her siblings. She's going to be such a target for sexual assault and harassment when she starts high school and there's Sod all I can do about it.

She has her moments but underneath she's a sweet kid, into cookery and science and stuff. I'm really worried about whats going to happen to her and how it's going to crush her spirit and individuality the way it did mine. When I put her name down for this school it was because the kids there seemed calm and not like typical teenagers, but somehow since she got her place it's all changed and they seem like hooligans, fighting, pushing each other into busy roads on the way home.

It also doesn't help that she's being really left out of her old group of friends recently. Not so much in school but they don't want to know her socially anymore.it breaks my heart that they all live round each other's houses and never invite her. And she doesn't talk about it really, I think she's trying not to let it get to her. I'm worried she's just not going to tell me things any more.

And wtf to do about house keys, mobile phones etc. I don't want her hanging about on the doorstep, but neither do I want to risk someone following her inside. I want her to be able to call me, but I don't want her getting drawn into sexting boys or any other godawful thing.

I know I sound crazy, but how can I sort all this crap out in time for September?

Help!

PatriciaHolm Fri 26-May-17 21:58:50

I know its hard, but you need to realise that all this stuff is about you and your anxieties, not her. The chances are she'll settle, make new friends (the great majority of Yr7s go into classes with lots of people they don't know), become a normal, nice (most of the time!) teen.

You are catastrophising; are you normally anxious about things?

user1487175389 Fri 26-May-17 22:00:30

Thanks. And no, I'm not normally anxious. As I said, I've been calm about this until today.

SavoyCabbage Fri 26-May-17 22:22:59

Your worries are spiralling beyond what is reasonable. Why would someone follow her in the house? I don't live in a good area but I wouldn't think of that happening. My ten year old walks to school and back by herself. She has a key and FaceTimes me when she gets home.

My thirteen year old gets the bus home. She loves secondary school. She knew not a single person when she started as we had been living abroad but she made lovely friends quickly. She's not sexting boys or being assaulted. She does to a very normal secondary in a deprived area.

Are you wary of teenagers yourself?

user1487175389 Fri 26-May-17 22:49:56

No but I watch the news and am a regular MNer so I'm aware of what goes on in some schools and the statistics on sexual harassment within schools.

And the law is very confusing as to whether it's OK for an 11 year old to be home alone anyhow.

If anyone has any recommendations for books on the transition that would be welcome.

user1487175389 Fri 26-May-17 22:54:48

And yes, I know I'm worried about this. I said I was aware it wasn't entirely rational so please don't keep leaping on it. I didn't post for psychoanalysis - I thought people might empathise. Irrational fears are more common than is being implied here anyway, we all have them.

Marvellousmarg Fri 26-May-17 23:02:26

She will be ok. Secondary Schools do a lot of work on transition these days. She should have a taster day coming up? Parents usually have a meeting so you can ask about anything that is worrying you.

Teach her some personal safety rules if she is travelling on her own. Recruit friends and neighbours to keep an eye on her. Talk to other people and try and pair her up with another kid going to her secondary school so they can travel together. Keep communicating with her.

SandunesAndRainclouds Fri 26-May-17 23:03:10

It suddenly hit me too as DD started high school that she was going into a more grown up environment and the age gap between Yr7 and Yr11 seemed a LOT bigger once September was just a few weeks away than when we looked around schools and they were all on their best behaviour.

I think some of how I felt was a little bit of a sense of loss. The little girl who once looked up at me and needed me for just about everything was now looking at me square in the eye and asking if she could go into town and to the beach after school. I could account for where the last 10+ years had gone and that made me think about how the fast the next 10 would go!

I'm happy to say that she's coming to the end of year 8 now and is settled, happy and doing well. And she still needs me but in different ways now but it's ok. Her friendship groups changed from Yr6 and she drifted a bit in Yr7 but is secure now.

DD has her own phone and I've had no problems with sexting or anything else inappropriate. I don't know any other parents that have either. All you can do is give them the tools with how to deal with unwanted situations and hope for the best. Make plans that you are both comfortable with yet allow her a little freedom so she builds her confidence and your trust.

It'll be ok flowers

SandunesAndRainclouds Fri 26-May-17 23:04:01

*could not account for the last 10 years

Apologies for typos!

Marvellousmarg Fri 26-May-17 23:04:18

You are right to be anxious about phones but teach her esafety and monitor what she does. Have rules and stick to them.

noblegiraffe Sat 27-May-17 01:48:09

Yes there's sexting and sexual harassment and bullying in secondary schools, but it's not inevitable. The best thing to do would be to separate what's a rational fear (getting drawn into issues with mobile phones) and irrational ones (being followed into the house and attacked) and make sure your DD is given the tools to deal with the former.

There are lots of resources on the internet about dealing with issues regarding sexting, grooming, social media and so on. Here are some age-appropriate ones: www.thinkuknow.co.uk/11_13/
You could make it a condition of getting a mobile that she watches some videos with you and you discuss what to do if certain things happen - a boy tries to get her to send photos for example. Ground rules like not adding people she doesn't know onto social media and that you can check her phone.

Making sure that she's clear that she can always come to you if there's a problem or if she feels uncomfortable with anything is very important. At the same time you don't want to pass on your fears to her that secondary school is a scary, unruly place - secondary teachers will work hard to manage the transition and the vast majority of kids settle in just fine.

DriftingDreamer Sat 27-May-17 06:33:28

Totally normal to be concerned.
I would come under the category of being somewhat protective. I keep a close eye on phone use and was issue round chat on a game for a while. In retrospect fairly miner but I panicked a bit. I enlisted help from relatives more phone savvy than me and we have moved on [until next thing!].
My ds not got key yet but sitting on doorstep on occasion doesn't kill him and I have got neighbours to let him in sometimes. [He loses things at mo so holding off on keys].
I realise that I need to keep an eye but also calm down, otherwise will not survive next few years!
Try and breath and calm yourself.
Good luck!

user1487175389 Sat 27-May-17 06:56:28

Thanks for all the helpful replies..

I'm feeling much calmer this morning and particularly like noblegiraffes suggestion of separating my rational and irrational fears on paper. And watching those videos on how to stay safe together.

Thanks drifting sandunes and others for your reassuring words and suggestions. I feel much more able to come up with a sensible plan now. Would write more but Ds 3 is climbing on me and demanding breakfast.

user1487175389 Sat 27-May-17 06:58:09

Sorry that should read drifting & sandunes

ChunkyHare Sat 27-May-17 22:24:15

A house key can be put onto a long piece of elastic and sewn into their school bag meaning they cannot lose it. We did this with Ds1 because we have those ABS locks which are expensive.

There will always be the possibility of incidents, you have to talk to them about what to do in those situations.

Ds1 knows that he needs to be aware of his surroundings and the people about when he approaches our house as he lets himself in. He knows to enter the house, and LOCK the door before turning the alarm off.

We have talked to him about his mobile phone and never to hand it over to anyone, even friends. Any messages can be shared in an instant so be careful of what you write down.

You teach them to navigate the world, one step at a time. Two children had sex in year 7, social services were involved and it gave us the opportunity to talk to Ds1 about how the boy was perceived to be cool and the girl? a slut. We talked about why. Also what would happen now if the girl was pregnant.

Just have an open door policy on talking. Ds1 asked me what anal lube was in year 7 because some child had brought his Mum's bottle in. grin

Clonakilty Sun 28-May-17 07:15:23

I was worrying right up until the 1st day of school - completely unnecessarily, as it turned out as my DD had the most amazing day. She's several years in now and I couldn't be happier with her school.
You will have to sort keys, phone etc but it will be fine - your DD will get used to the new routine.
And you will be proud of your DD who is growing up fast!

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