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13 year old DD and 'friendship', bitchiness and cliques - help

(14 Posts)
iloverhubarb Sun 17-Jul-11 09:39:26

More or less the end of year 8, perhaps the worst year for low grade emotional bullying, but I'm feeling sorry for my DD and would appreciate tips on how to handle.

All girls school, now settled into a friendship group of 4 girls though this took time. But DD has tried for a good year to extend her friendships as of course the group is claustrophobic at times (another story). She has worked really hard at it, inviting girls she likes over, trying to use the bus journey home to get to know girls she likes who live more locally, trying to join different groups for team work at school or lunch.

Always the supplicant it seems. She has not had many invitations in return. More sadly, she finds that on the bus home (just 10 mins) or at lunch, tho she sits with people she is sometimes excluded She talks about a gradual turning away of heads, or a simple ignoring. Friday she came home in tears after a PE lesson where she says she tried cheering her team and was shouted down 'shut up miss rhubarb' by the whole group.

She talks about 'everyone else' always being at each others houses. She wants a best friend - never had any probs at primary school, and still feels v comfortable with her old best friend there. Has plenty of outside interests and groups of friends with these, so it's not about her.

I feel very sorry for her. Got to the point where I've wondered vaguely about whether a change of school would be a good thing - but I do think that's going overboard and presumably may happen again. She would now love to be at a mixed school. These girls all went to the same (different) primary school and have known each other for ever. And are particularly clever, with obvious top dogs among them.

So. Techniques - what to do when faced with this? Ignore ignore? We have tried the assertive practice 'when you do this, I feel' etc, but DD won't hear of it. She is also adamant that her tutor must not be involved 'becasue then she'll do something about it' and what could be more embarrassing. Frustrating...

And any good books or websites with a UK slant that a teenager could get her teeth into? We've got the Queen Bee book, and though it's spot on, I find it hard going as it's so american in outlook and she finds it unreadable.

Thanks if you have got to the end, and help appreciated. Including feedback to say it does get better! Aagh!

giyadas Sun 17-Jul-11 09:59:39

sad your poor dd. I'm sorry I don't really have any advice. Maybe a change of school would be best, as it sounds like it's specifically these girls that are the problem as you say she has friends outside school?

BertieBotts Sun 17-Jul-11 10:22:42

Keep encouraging the friendships outside of school. I used to go to a music theatre group and it was my friends here who helped me grow in confidence, and I remember many a time we all counselled each other through schoolfriend drama, it seemed to be ongoing. In fact there was a boy in the group who went to an all-male school and he used to be constantly bemused at the infighting which went on.

I'm still in contact with my music theatre friends and not with any of the girls I was friendly with at school. I think being in close proximity to someone you are having a spat with makes it really difficult, especially when you're teenagers, who don't really deal with conflicts in the most mature way.

I'd probably wait to see how it develops before you think about changing schools. But if she's keen to then it might be a good move if this carries on. Admittedly the kinds of "drama" which I'm referring to at school was usually I was friends with A and B, and A and B fell out and were forcing me to "take sides" even though they'd make up within a couple of weeks, usually. The conscious ignoring thing I experienced as well but that was from girls who I didn't consider friends in the first place - usually the popular girls, I wasn't one! If she's getting this from her supposed friends then that must be really hard. The only way to deal with this one is not to be bothered by it, or at least pretend not to be.

ZZZenAgain Sun 17-Jul-11 10:32:11

speak to the tutor yourself? Would it be so bad? Tell her your dd is really concerned that if you involve the tutor and she takes action, it will turn the girls against her even more. Ask the tutor for some advice and tell her what you told us, see if she can help.

try and make friends with the mums of a couple of the nicer girls who take the bus and just somehow try and cement a couple of friendships for your dd. It is a drag but maybe you have to try. When they come to your house, are they nice to dd or do you keep out of it?

go and look at other schools. Maybe this one is really unpleasant. A whole group shouting at her to shut up when she was just cheering on her team like everyone else is bad - sounds like she may get pigeonholed into "the one we all pick on".

crazynanna Sun 17-Jul-11 10:36:10

Will be watching this thread (my sympathies to your DD,OP sad)

Same thing with my girl....probs with the Queen Bee who has more faces than a town hall clock! What to do? <sigh>

mummytime Sun 17-Jul-11 11:17:42

Do stuff outside school, with groups not at school. Guides, Drama and Church kept me going through the teen years. Horse riding, Choir and Guides are doing the same. Also things at secondary school change quite a bit from year to year.

I do wonder if your daughter is trying too hard. I would stick with her in school friends in school, and make new ones outside school.

wellwisher Sun 17-Jul-11 12:32:02

For the love of God, don't intervene in any way, either by talking to school or by trying to befriend other mums to "cement friendships for her" - she's 13, not 5! Just be there at home to listen, spend time with her and build her self esteem. Two things cool teens really despise are weakness and trying too hard - and the rest of the girls will be heavily influenced by the cool ones. Encourage your DD to do her own thing, be a good friend to the mates she has, keep up her hobbies and study hard.

It sounds from your first post as though she has plenty of activities and friends outside school, including a "best friend", as well as a small group of nice school friends. That's great! Teenage girls can be vile, especially in academically competitive girls' schools (shudder) but if she has friends in and out of school she's fine. Not everyone has one best friend and not everyone can be "popular" - rather than trying to fix a situation that's really OK, try to give her a sense of perspective and the confidence to stop trying so hard.

Deesus Sun 17-Jul-11 12:40:10

It's a difficult one. Children can be cruel, girls especially. Maybe a mixed school might not be a bad idea. I had one friend who moved from an all girls grammar school to a mixed comp (a good one mind!) and absolutely thrived.

On the plus side it does sound like she has some good friends in and out of school - depends how much the situation is bothering her really.

Hope things get better in the near future.

pollypb Sun 17-Jul-11 12:48:35

The story sounds familiar, my DD is 13 and has faced these types of issues during the past year (8). Girls all develop at different rates and she is slightly less mature, some are too mature and know exactly how to manipulate or touch the nerve. It is heartbreaking when they come home in tears, but it is also something they all experience in one way or another, to one extreme or another. My older DD (16) seemed a lot harder and able to cope but my youngest is quite sensitive and gets quite upset paranoid and insecure by it all. I have just tried to empathise and explain about other girls and hormones and growing up etc and then really built up her self esteem and confidence in other ways so she feels strong enough to face the world again the next day!

I really detest these american tv programmes where everyone is each others BFFL! It doesn't really depict real life to them and they genuinely start to believe that that is how their friendships will pan out! My two actually begged me to go to boarding school after watching Zoe101! haha!

Sometimes you just want to pick them up and run away to a desert island with them away from all the nasties don't you?! smile I don't think moving school would help, she would think it was a miracle cure but unfortunately teenage girls are like that the world over and it may just occur again :/

iloverhubarb Sun 17-Jul-11 13:25:31

This is all incredibly helpful in giving a sense of perspective. wellwisher I think you've hit the nail on the head re trying to fix a situation that's really ok. And that the trying so hard is actually becoming the cause of the disdain. Bloody obvious now it's been pointed out. I've become too drawn into how to make them like her, as opposed to, leave them alone and get on with the rest of your (perfectly enjoyable) life.

Girls' schools. Sigh. But I think we're stuck with it now - even if it is possible to move at this stage probably an over the top response.

thanks everyone for the sense, much appreciated

inthesticks Sun 17-Jul-11 14:21:50

I have boys and so no first hand experience. But such a familiar story. Several friends have wept on my shoulder for years over their DDs misery at the hands of some Queen Bee. One girl went all through secondary school with her mother just hoping constantly that things would get better. They never did.
I would say at the end of year 8 is now or never if your DD would seriously like to move.

veryworried29 Sun 17-Jul-11 14:28:37

Brilliant post WellWisher. I do think this kind of thing happens to most children at some point in their school lives, even the boys, and at all sorts of different ages. And, yes, of course it happens to the Queen Bees to at some point or other. Unless the bullying is concerted, systematic and abusive, I really do think that all children need to learn how to handle this sort of situation. In rl and as grown ups they will come across people who just don't like them or who take against them for whatever reason. It is a sad lesson, but it is one that has to be learnt.

Gunfleetsands Sun 17-Jul-11 20:46:30

One of my DDs had an awful time in year 9 (at an all girls school). Things only improved after she moved forms. The girls in the new form were very different to the ones in the old form yet they were all at the same school. DD made new friends and has been much happier ever since. If your DD continues to be unhappy I would recommend talking to the school and perhaps changing form.

Maryz Sun 17-Jul-11 23:39:53

I do think friendships out of school are the answer. dd is ok at school - not one of the cool girls, but ok, but she is also in guides and her friends from guides fill in the gaps.

For example, during the summer holidays, there seems to be a lot of "movement" amongst friends - some do things together, some are left out. But the out of school friends are more consistant, and fill in the gaps a bit.

dd is in a co-ed school, but isn't cool, and doesn't have a boyfriend, which means she isn't included in the couples days out, and feels a bit left out. But I encourage her to mix with a wide variety of children which seems to help.

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