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new year 7 struggling a little socially - tips on how and when to help

(9 Posts)
feddlek Sun 27-Sep-09 15:32:29

My DD (and only child), three weeks into year 7 now. She has always had a close, giggly and imaginative all girl friendship group and a long term best friend at primary school. bf has gone to another school, along with most others she know well. DD pretty good at making friends, but is not a very confident, alpha type who attracts other kids. She is just normally warm, chatty, bright.

At her new all girls school she is struggling abit - a couple of mornings in tears 'why doesn't anyone want to be friends with me'. Once or twice tells me she spends lunchtime wandering around trying to find someone to eat with. Went to library to do homework the other day. This all sounds abit sad. At same time she is fiercely independent - not easy to make suggestions. Doing my best to be a good listener, also recognise she is my OAO (one and only?) and that some of this is about me not being able to wade in there to help.
We talked about clubs, but she is abit frightened about how to find them, what if she's no good etc etc. Says yes will try, then doesn't follow up. I'm feeling frustrated. I think she'll be OK. Just feel the need to sound off abit and maybe get some feedback, ideas. Sure this is pretty normal stuff. Thanks for listening!

deaddei Sun 27-Sep-09 16:37:15

Poor you. Friendships in yr 7 ARE difficult, as they fall out/chop and change often.
I would recommend encouraging her to join clubs- something she's interested in and will enjoy. She will meet like minded girls.
Encourage her to invite someone for tea- maybe someone from old school, even if she doesn't know them that well-maybe walk to school with someone who lives locally/go swimming at the weekend.
My dd now yr 8 so have been through it- unfortunately you can't wade in you!!
It's very hard for you I know- but it IS early days.

liliputlady Sun 27-Sep-09 20:03:04

My DD1 has just started secondary school and I've found the transition really stressful (possibly more so than her!) Us Mums just worry so much and want them to be happy.

I agree with everything feddlek says and think things will soon fall in to place. If she had no problems making friends before, she shouldn't at her new school. Probably half the girls are feeling the same. Everyone says year 7 is tricky for friendships. Have you got a parents' evening coming up soon where you can raise any concerns?

Hope she has a good week!

feddlek Sun 27-Sep-09 20:33:06

So nice to get these warm messages. Realise that I am also missing the parents I knew well at DD's primary school; no support group to talk this stuff over with now! So thank you. Sure will get easier for her.

NKffffffffd50e6e2bX123b369c633 Mon 28-Sep-09 09:16:27


Have you had a chat to her form teacher? My daughter is also yr 7 at a girls school and they have 'tutor time' before lunch every day. One day last week the teacher told them to get into pairs with a 'lunch buddy' as she didn't want anyone on their own. The kids thought nothing of it but I wonder if it was because of a similar situation as your daughters.
The teacher could also encourage a class discussion about clubs ie, who goes to which, what is it like, does anyone else fancy trying it. There are probably other girls feeling the same as your daughter, its just easy to think that everyone else is having a great time when your feeling a bit lost and lonely.
Maybe encourage her to take a magazine to flick through at lunchtime...cooler than reading a book and more likely to get other girls coming over for a look .
Already the louder, confident girls at my daughters school are becoming the annoying ones and her friends are still changing.Good luck, hope to hear that she's made some friends soon.

feddlek Mon 28-Sep-09 14:58:25

Thank you NKetc, these really helpful and practical ideas. And we see tutor on Wed for a 5 min slot - will definitely discuss.

HoneyBeeBzzz Mon 28-Sep-09 18:03:30

Oh goodness! I read this and wondered whether it had been written by DH when DD had just started school. She was in exactly the same situation, right down to the close best friend who went to another school.
It will get better. I think the main problem with my DD was that she was so attached to the old best friend that subconciously she didn't really want any new friends, and was fighting against them being apart, even though on the outside she really did want to make friends.
It did take a while, but she did make new friends - especially when she moved classes to be with new people (I think there was nobody right for her in her form IYSWIM).
There is nothing really that you can do, but encourage her to keep going to as many clubs as possible to make like-minded friends, even if it's only Y7 video club or similar. Another thing is that doing homework in the library isn't a bad thing - there will be other Year 7s in there, possibly in a similar position, and doing homework together is a good way to make friends.
Lastly, don't panic if the friends she makes first are boys - DD's first proper secondary school friends were - she found them easier to introduce herself to, and talk to. I was shocked, because I supposed I wanted her to have a group of girl-friends, but now I don't see a problem with this.
DD is in Year 13 now, and is as happy as ever at the school. She has lots of friends, girls and boys, and is happy doing what she is doing.
I hope this helps, and if you have any more specific questions, please ask me!
Oh, and when it comes to birthday parties, she might want to have a big one, where she can invite all her form, or just meet with the old Best Friend. Don't try and mix the two though - this never works - DD was like a different person with her different friends!

stressheaderic Tue 29-Sep-09 14:54:29

From another perspective, I'm a high school teacher who does lunch duties on the Year 7 playground. We are constantly looking out for kids who are on their own, whether it's because the one friend they've made is off sick, or they've had a fall-out with their group or, particularly at this time of year beacuse they are just finding it hard to make friends.

We tell them about the clubs that are on that day and ask if they fancy popping in on one with us so see what it's like, when we arrive, the assistant in charge is welcoming and puts them with who they think would be like-minded peers. We have clubs like Homework, Reading (both these not at all geeky, kids love going the library at lunch), Craft, Games, DVD, Dance, Music, Art, the list goes on.

It is worth a quick call to the Head of Year just to ask if we can 'keep an eye' on your child at play times, so they aren't spending a very lonely hour, and dreading the time coming up. Most HOY7s will have no problem at all with this (ours is lovely, and will spread the message through the duty team so we all know who to keep an eye out for). It is not at all thought of as fussy or being over-protective - the pastoral side of school is taken very seriously now and care/wellbeing is high up on the agenda (as it should be).

feddlek Wed 30-Sep-09 10:40:25

Great to get this perspective from a teacher - thank you stressheaderic. Realise I may be over wary of 'bothering' the teacher or making a fuss, or embarrassing my DD (her default position at the moment).

Will be talking to tutor 2night and will follow up if need to with head of year.

May not need to - DD got invite to party from girl in class with cute puppy round corner! - and went to gym club last night. Things looking up.

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