Early teens and exclusion by peers - any tactics to help?(12 Posts)
We are moving DD2 from her school because she is being excluded from friendship groups, I think partly because teenage girls are sometimes vile, and partly because she hasn't been prepared to compromise in the past and I think she is struggling to overcome her 'history'.
Can anyone recommend any books / tactics etc to help her make friends at her new school, suitable for a 13 year old, please?
Other kids at school don't really have to be friends. Does she have friends outside of school?
what will stop this happening again? Hopefully the new school will deal with the bullying (why didn't the current one do anything?) but if she is part of the problem what is being done to help her?
My DD at that age made some choices that resulted in similar exclusion. Yes, partly because girls ( and parents too I was saddened to learn) can be vile, but she also had to acknowledged the part she had played. We gave her the choice of leaving (we were so angry and upset on her behalf my heart just wanted her out of the situation) but you can't always run away from your problems.
It was her choice, she stayed. We discussed what she would do to re-establish herself. It was a plan, with goals and objectives. That did not include sucking up to the really nasty bitches in the group ( I hate to use the b word but there were some) or trying to get in with the popular girls. It was about thinking who was decent and kind and being authentically friendly to those girls. Being a loyal and good friend, fun to be with and honest.
She and I also joined a new social activity together, mixed ages so she could make out of school friends, with my support.
2 years later. She has just been peer selected as a year group leader, and last week one of the girls spontaneously told DD that she is one of the most popular girls in the year because she is the only girl who does not say anything about anyone behind their back that she wouldn't say to their face.
If moving is the right thing for your DD ( and it sounds like it may be) my advice is to really talk to her about relationships.
We talked about the difference between unconditional love that families share and the love and respect of friends and boyfriends that is based on trust, honesty, shared values, aspiration and interests. You can't take it for granted and you must be able to express your self and not be taken for granted either.
We did acknowledge the nastiness of others but we did this in the context of explaining that the only person's behaviour she can control or be responsible for is her own. Focus there. No point dwelling on what X said or Y did, that is their problem for their conscience. If you & she can articulate what is bad form in the way others behave she can learn from that. Our DD decided that she would be sure not to get sucked into bad mouthing others or get involved in their teenage dramas, she decided she would feel less stress.
And Help your DD to understand the value of genuine, good & kind people to be friends with...( not necessarily the in or cool crowd) who will accept her for herself ... Now My DD's main friendship group is an eclectic mix and much more interesting for it.
Good luck . It will all work out in the end.
Good luck from me too.
DD1 has from nursery, been the odd one out. Partly because of the social immaturity that goes with dyslexia, partly just a liking for doing her own thing not the groups thing.
She has grown up and calmed down hugely and even done GCSEs which require group work.
She hopes to move for 6th form and leave history behind her.
Thank you for your messages. I really appreciate them all.
I had a chat with the head at current school, prompted by DD2 taking a taster day at new school, and whilst head describes DD2 as walking to the beat of a different drum, she says that the school is a very supportive environment. This doesn't quite fit in with DD2 coming back very upset because they've organised a residential trip and no one wants her in their room. This is only one example of the things which have been taking place.
She goes to Guides and has friends there, so I think she can make friends, but as I say I think the history of her past behaviour is something rather sitting round her neck. She's not unpleasant, but she hasn't been very tolerant of people who don't agree with her, or don't get what she gets. She doesn't demonstrate a lot of empathy, so we have already talked about how she needs to think about how what she says is received, rather than simply how smart or cool it may sound at the time.
She knows that her behaviour has prompted / contributed to her situation, but she doesn't know how to get out of the corner that she has 'painted herself into'.
Thank you for your words of advice and encouragement.
She is currently at an all girls school, and don't get me wrong, it has been a great environment for DD1, who has a friendship group of mixed, funny, slightly odd on occasion, girls, who genuinely do offer her support.
We are definitely moving schools though for DD2, and her new school is mixed, and seems to cater more for girls who are
slightly geekier good at sciences, as they offer science clubs as well as choirs. We will be encouraging DD2 to try various things out and to be as generally open and friendly as she can, whilst still being herself. OMG made an excellent point about family as opposed to friends, and what you can expect from each. I may be lifting it word for word when we get a chance next to chat.
I was this girl in many ways. The horrible, horrible thing is that when you are that way and can see that your exclusion is partly to do with being different, you come to believe that it is set in stone and that you can never change it. That this lonely unhappy person is who you are.
What I would like to do would be to revisit my 14yo self and whisper in her ear:
it won't always be like this
the older you grow the more people you will meet who are like you
you will learn that the parts of you that put people off (your superior manner, your lack of compromise, your judginess) are not an integral part of what is valuable in your personality (your love of learning, your interest in the wider world, your personal morality): you can dump the former without compromising the latter
University was where I learnt. But it could have happened earlier.
I was interested to read the previous posts about peer exclusion and it resonated with my D's current challenge. D is in yr 8 at a co-ed school and has been struggling with making friends/ fitting in since the second term of yr 7. He is very studious and now recognises that when the others were bonding in the playground setting up their friendship groups, he went to the library to study and keep on top of the work. As a result, he is finding it virtually impossible to break into the existing groups and to an extent they appear to be deliberately excluding him. He has also had some challenges with bullies which the school did not deal with very well. I ended up going into the playground to identify the bullies myself so the school could take action! That aside, things have degenerated and he is being excluded by his peers at every opportunity (outside of the classroom) To make matters worse, children are touching his hair and making songs with his name - we are west African. The school have said that they have taken action to stop this but it still continues. Whilst I recognise that D is not your average 12 yr old boy, doesn't like football or rugby, not particularly interested in social media, is very direct and can be a bit intolerant at times, he is a bright, fun loving, articulate soul who is yearning to have friends at school. I have engaged a therapist to assist but wondered whether any one has any advice to share. I am at my wits end and am considering moving him as the situation is affecting his well being - he has stomach aches before school every morning.
Many thanks in advance.
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