Friendship issues with teen daughter(16 Posts)
Help! My 13 year old DD seems to go from one problem to the next with her group of friends and it is becoming incredibly stressful dealing with the fallout. Recently, things spilled over onto one of the girls Facebook page, via ask.fm (evil bullying tool if you haven't heard of it) and my DH and I decided we had to speak to school, not about the falling out per se, but to inform them about ask.fm and that my DD was pretty distressed about what had been written about her - everything from "you're ugly" to "you should die". School handled the situation very well, but my DD now very anxious about her friendships, and this is causing more problems. She says everything is ok now, but is feeling very insecure, and this is reflected in her behaviour - angry, pushing boundaries big-time and generally being unpleasant. I suspect some of these insecurities are being played out with her friends too and causing more problems with them.I certainly don't think she doesn't have a part to play in it, even though I only hear one side of the story! I think there are still issues with these girls, that are far from resolved, but cannot explicitly say this to my DD - think she knows this really but doesn't want to admit it to herself. She's not very confident, and doesn't make new friendships very easily, think she's trying to cling on to this group out of fear, rather than genuine friendship. It's so hard not to get emotionally involved - so stressful last time, trying to stay level-headed for her, then going downstairs and sobbing! Just want her to be happy and confident, and to be herself, without fear of rejection. Is this all 13 year old girls, and what can I do to help her? It breaks my heart to see her so lost whenever this happens. Any advice much appreciated.
This time last year I was in the same situation with my dd13. Like you I went to the school about the FB bullying and really to just make them aware. It was all very stressful and dd wasn't happy, but gradually she made other friends, fell out with the odd one, got friendly again but thankfully has never got friendly with the 'witches' again. She sees them for what they are. We were only talking the other day how a year has passed now and how well she has done coping with it all but also how much she has moved on. It is so difficult and girls are so foul to each other.
Ask.fm is evil! Makes fb look like a knitting circle.
I would agree with virtuallyarts that it takes great determination and luck to extricate yourself from a group of so-called friends at the age of 13-14. It's also the age when lots of girls stop doing any sport or excercise, so joining a club might not work for her if it's based around a sporting activity. Could she change tutor group? I know it will look like she's the one with the problem, but sometimes it's the only way. Glad the school is on board - keep them informed of your concerns and make sure you do plenty of self-esteem boosting activities out of school, with family and relatives.
Your dd needs to build resilience and build on her "personal power". I use the book "Stick up for yourself" with younger kids in my work - have a look on Amazon and see if they recommend something similar for teenagers.
Thanks for all your comments-working on her self-esteem is something I think I really need to focus on, as her confidence is rock-bottom at the moment.
You're right virtuallyarts, it can be very difficult to move onto a new set of friends at this age, particularly in a small school. It takes a very strong teen to decide they've had enough and move away from the group - my DD is clinging on by her fingertips and it makes me so sad to see this. Wish she would just turn around and tell them where to go, but she just wants to be part of a group, like most 13 year olds.
She's also quite resistant to trying new things, particularly when it's on her own, but I will persevere with knocking down her defences! You're right, someoftheabove, unless teens excel at sport before they get to this age, they tend to give it up. I like the idea of voluntary work, doing something for others often makes us feel better. I have even looked at youth counselling, as I felt so helpless a couple of weeks ago - thought she would benefit from professional advice, and I was emotionally wrung out, didn't actually know how helpful I was being. What are anyone's thoughts on counselling? Am I jumping the gun? God it's hard work this parenting business! You're so right mo3t, girls can be so awful to each other-glad to hear your DD managed to get through it.
With regards to school and how they deal with things, they were actually pretty good. They had a meeting with year 8 and spoke to them about the dangers of these sites, and strongly suggested that they close their accounts-they made it clear they wouldn't be dealing with the fall out if this advice was ignored. This was the first they'd heard of it and were pretty shocked by what we showed them.
Any suggestions with regards to extra-curricular activities much appreciated-it's frustrating as some of the sports clubs we've looked at don't seem to cater for a rookie 13 year old. If you haven't been involved from a young age they don't know what to do with you - too old to start with the youngsters, but not good enough to join those their own age. Definitely a gap in the market there.
With regards to moving classes, her tutor group is actually not too much of a problem, as only one of the other girls is in it. It's all the other streamed classes that's the problem, as they're all in the same ability groups - no escape! They are all moving to the local upper school in September, and I have planned ahead and asked her current school to recommend that she is not placed in the same tutor group as some of these girls.
Mindfulmum you have obviously been through some issues, and know the signs to look out for. DD is generally sleeping ok and school work seems to be ok too, I suppose I was thinking that she might gain some coping strategies before we reach a crisis point. However, she is very resistant and I'm guessing it won't be beneficial to force her into going.
So helpful to have an outlet here, and so grateful for all your words of wisdom! DH is great, but doesn't quite "get it". Good for me to gain some perspective and hopefully keep me sane!
With regard to asking the current school to recommend your dd is not put in the same tutor group as the girls who are currently causing her problems, I would make it stronger than that. Phone the high school in the summer term and ask to talk to the head of Year 7 and explain the situation. They should appreciate the information as anything to ensure the first year in high school runs smoothly will help them as well as your dd. Some secondary schools (my dcs' for example) asks which other students they would like to be with, but not who they don't want to be with. I contacted the school, at my dd's request, to ask for her not to be put with a particular girl and the result is that dd developed a much healthier friendship with that girl. Obviously, they can't accommodate every request, but they should try.
As for activities - does the school do Duke of Edinburgh? It's tough but great for team- building and she can stop after doing bronze level if she really hates it! Also, if she joins the Guides, she can help out with the younger ones when she's a bit older herself.
Or, any martial arts - people start at all ages (ds started Chinese kick-boxing age 12). They are also great for self-esteem and confidence building.
Thanks for your suggestions, will be looking into what we have on offer locally over the next couple of days. Like the idea of D of E in particular as combines widening her social circle with building confidence. I will also be contacting her new school after half-term, they have a good reputation with regards to pastoral care, so hopefully they'll appreciate our situation.
Trying to keep things on an even keel at home, not easy when DD is taking her frustrations out on us, so lots of deep breaths and walking away - no point in engaging in arguments with teenagers I'm starting to realise!
Hoping things will gradually improve with some changes in place. Just have to convince DD to try some of these things now. Wish me luck!
Sport or some other activity is so important. virtually I think what helped dd was for her horse riding and doing really well in jumping competitions, something she hadn't done before, and even winning! In fact in one she beat her nasty ex bf who even has her own horse! Luckily she had a break from school due to the summer holidays and managed to avoid meeting up with any of the witches and once a week did a day at the stables and mixed with 'nice, easy going' girls. They did start on her again at the beginning of the school year but when she didn't react they left her alone. I think they 'interact' from time to time but dd realises that they are not nice girls.
terryg I hope your dd is feeling better. It is so hard to want to be part of a group and be so cruelly rejected. I feel so sorry for this generation of kids that can be so publically humiliated by fb and others.
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