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My daughter is ten and presenting as every anxious girl on the planet

(78 Posts)
humourless Mon 06-Mar-17 14:36:44

Four girls in my daughters class have anxiety stomach aches, I've read that these girls are ripe for being school refusers at secondary school. In year five they still change with the boys for PE and do PE with the boys... which I think is shit.
Some of the shit my daughter has dealt with recently.
Not being invited to parties, she's not the only one
Being sat at a table where one girl invites everyone to her house except my DD
A troubled girl befriending her and telling everyone my dd has ever said
A girl in her class having lists about who is nice and who isn't (my daughter wasn't on either list)
Her good friend being told not to talk to her (a very weird toxic friendship the two that have pissed off have).

What is going on with girls? There's no solidarity, the school are impotent to this social exclusion style bullying.

My dd is tall and beautiful, painfully shy, hates sports (which I think could be brilliant for her) trying really hard not to be shy and puts herself out there to push herself, bright but slipping rapidly at school due to the social side of stuff (I know I sound a dick for saying that but she is striking and gets a lot of attention from adults for it which she absolutely loathes).

I guess I don't want to focus on my dd, but the wider issue of girls that begin to really suffer at school from puberty onwards and what schools and society can do about it.

Elendon Mon 06-Mar-17 15:28:16

By the time my gorgeous tall, slim beautiful daughter, who hated sports but was musical went to secondary school (an all girls school), she was gay obviously but didn't come out until university. She was suspended for a week in Yr 8 because she hit someone, who happened to be one of the few BME pupils at the school along with accusations of racism. She hit her because she was accused of'' being a fucking Lesbian'. I immediately went to the school, dragging her father along because no way was this A* pupil (who got her first at uni) was going to have this on her record. In defefence we countered with homophobia, refuted the racism, I'm Irish, and it was totally dropped from her record. She should not have retaliated with violence (she hit her with her school bag). She was aware of this.

You have to stand up for your child. Be her advocate and let her know that you are 100% in support of her.

Mediumred Mon 06-Mar-17 15:45:22

I don't think it's wrong to concentrate on your own daughter, she's one you can help the most! some of these issues about her little classmates are out of your hands. Build up her confidence, praise her, let her talk out her worries, point out others' behaviour that is silly or mean, try to help her to rise above it, try to read books that might provide a talking point, Jacqueline Wilson often examines girls' friendships in among all her family breakdown stuff!

It sounds like you really have her back and that is the most important thing, my darling mum is gone now but she always tried to build me and my brother up, I wouldn't say I'm the world's most confident person but I knew I had someone at home who believed in me completely and that helps to give you strength to brush off the bullies and bitches.

As an adult I have a great group of female friends and try to model the strong supportive friendships that girls should be striving for (but which they probably can't achieve without a lot of bumps on the way).

Good luck to you and your lovely daughter.

VestalVirgin Mon 06-Mar-17 15:56:26

Not forcing them to change with the boys would be a start. I can remember some girls already developing breasts at age 7 or 8, and we were still forced to change with the boys, then, which I thought was bonkers. (Not anymore at 10, I think.)
There was bullying, as far as I can remember, by the boys, because I was really relieved when we finally got our own changing room.

Can you send her to a girls only school to combat that issue? She doesn't seem to be very happy where is is, so ...

As for sports, perhaps you can get her into something that is not really sports, but sort of? Self-defense or something?

With the girls bullying each other, I have no idea how to combat that. But think it is very mild "bullying", actually.
I have had worse. Only from boys, though.

ChocChocPorridge Mon 06-Mar-17 16:10:06

I wasn't tall or slim, but was the victim of mind games at school, from the girls that I'd been friends with up until then.

I did also become a school refuser.

TBH, the isolation (group of 3 of us, with occasional other kids, one of the girls would alternate who she was shining her light on that week and make the 3rd feel like shit) really shaped me - I barely attended secondary school (went on to get a degree... but only because the school could see that I was going to get good results and let me stay on at 6th form despite by non-existent attendence - I don't know that that would happen these days). It made me very self-sufficient, to this day I don't really bother with or feel a lack of friends. I'm just a loner, and luckily, so is DP (who I met through work)

I don't know what to suggest. Psychological bullying is really tough to deal with, especially when you're a kid - but just look at what it does to grown adults too. Is there any way she could move schools? Start over? Would she be up for that?

SofiaAmes Mon 06-Mar-17 16:14:13

There is an excellent book about girl bullying (as a very distinct concept from boy bullying). Odd Girl Out I think one of the most important things you can do is support your daughter and don't minimize the bullying activity.
My dd seems to be pretty immune to the bullying as although she presents as pretty and popular, she beats to a different drum and the bullies don't seem to be able to find her achilles heel. However, she tells me all the time about the things the girls get up to and it's just so sad. My impression is that the girls who seems to suffer the most are the ones without good support at home or parents who may be involved, but who don't stand by their daughters. I once had a secretary at school tell me in all seriousness and intended as a criticism that she had overheard my dd saying to some other girls "my mom always has my back." In her mind, this implied that I was letting my dd get away with murder (particularly silly because dd was known for being a generous, well behaved and helpful child).
Sometimes if a school environment is particularly toxic (just a nasty group of girls in one year), it's worth considering moving your dd.

SofiaAmes Mon 06-Mar-17 16:15:50

By the way, I would recommend the book to adult women who were bullied too as a way of understanding and resolving the pain from your childhood. I found it very illuminating.

humourless Mon 06-Mar-17 16:47:37

Thanks for the book recommendation!

She is different, she doesn't get the whole "boys" and "crushes" thing, her breasts developed at 7 and so she goes out to change which obviously isolates her. She finds boys babyish and their attention deeply annoying.

We have recently moved areas and so she's only been at the school a couple of years, she wants to go to an all girls school secondary and so that's something we are considering.

We talk about her troubles, we can't talk about her body issues as she half dies with embarrassment.

This girlhood of hers ties in, very much with how I feel about the trans issues. She is definitely the girl that would quietly suffer if there was a trans girl in her space.... but that's a whole other topic!

LassWiTheDelicateAir Mon 06-Mar-17 19:00:23

Girls at school can be bloody awful and they don't grow out of it in secondary school or in girls' only schools.

The mixed changing rooms sound awful. My school had separate changing rooms for boys and girls from day 1 of Primary 1.

I think one of the most important things you can do is support your daughter and don't minimize the bullying activity can't add much to that other than believe her about hating sports.

cadnowyllt Mon 06-Mar-17 21:01:10

Four girls in my daughters class have anxiety stomach aches

Can't comment on girls being bullies, but the stomach aches sounds like irritable bowel syndrome - remedies available OTT. Might go someway to making things a little more bearable.

WomanScorned Tue 07-Mar-17 00:58:35

I may have been just lucky, as in a particularly reasonable cohort, but I experienced, witnessed and knew of barely any instances of bullying during my 5 years at an all girl's school. Ditto my sister, who attended 10 years after me.

We were both tall, slim and my sister is pretty. I'm awkward, clumsy and unfashionable. We were skint, but I was never mocked about it. In fact, a girl fron a wealthy-ish family once discreetly offered me a winter coat, as I didn't have one. The intake ranged from girls from council estates, girls from villages to girls from the nearby v. posh houses. There weren't really rigid 'friendship' groups. Some girls were 'paired up' with a bestie, but we just did stuff with whoever else was interested.
We camped at one girl's farm, had sleepovers at another's v.. large house. I had parties in our shitty council house with all my snotty nosed younger siblings getting out of bed to butt in! But everyone came, as they did to a different friend's flat above a shop. I particularly (and fondly) remember a party there, where most of us were drinking. There was no bitching, hardly any crying in the loo, just a good laugh, and a good natured, arms linked singalong to Band Aid for the finale, and a pledge to donate the following week's pocket money (We really weren't the goody goodies I'm making us sound like, btw). We were a right mixture of girls, sometimes a nightmare to teach, but mostly good natured, I think. My sister says the same.

I'm wondering if the lack of boys to 'impress' is significant. Or maybe I'm just old and it really was a simpler time then. I sure as heck wouldn't want to be a youngster today - it all seems so complicated sad

In contrast, our other sister went to a mixed school and was always scrapping (though she was, and still is a nasty, shit stirring hypocrite...)

I don't have daughters, but if I did, I would most probably encourage her to attend an all girl's school.
Would it be an option for your DD op?

humourless Tue 07-Mar-17 09:43:11

Her desire to not fancy boys is not something to do with sexuality, I don't think. She's one of four, she has three brothers and finds the whole "crush" thing pretty silly and pointless plus she's quiet and mature and so finds the boys tedious. I was boy mad from a very young age. She also wants to dress unlike her overly sexualised friends, but that comes from being shy and not wanting the sort of comments she gets anyway.

The stomach aches are definitely anxiety, I know the mothers.

I have talked to anyone who will listen at the school over time but have found male teachers far more needy, as in want a two way relationship with my DD which she doesn't give easily, and so she gets ignored. She is getting counselling, although this is predominantly to moan about me and the rest of the family not her massive body issues with are debilitating! Her teacher is watching out for her and says she says she fine, but I have told him many times she feels to awkward to talk to him. I think he suspects she's making it up....

Another party she hasn't been invited to is happening this week. The bloody girl asked to come to DD's which was horse riding and bloody expensive but as she has a shoddy home life (practically neglected) we said yes and even hired a bigger car so she could come.... now because the new girl (who has targeted my DD) is going my DD can't go. It's all so petty and yet really destructive for DD self esteem.

QuentinSummers Tue 07-Mar-17 10:28:03

It sounds like relational aggression and I can sympathise as my DD is going through similar. It's awful sad
www.psychologytoday.com/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201211/revealing-the-hidden-nature-relational-bullying
What's helped for us is talking to the head about an actual strategy for DD and her social group, plus talking to DD about finding "safe" friend ie people who don't engage in ostracisation. I say helped, it's improved but not gone away.
Thing is, if it is relational bullying then there is not actually so much your daughter can do, the perpetrators need to be dealt with.
You could go down the route of writing a written complaint to the school governors about bullying as it is then visible to ofsted who will want to know what school are doing about it.
I feel for you and your DD, it's horrible, the anxiety my DD feels at school colours all her relationships including with her family and I hate seeing her so upset and with such low self esteem.

deydododatdodontdeydo Tue 07-Mar-17 11:05:54

Hmm, OP described a problem where her DD has issues with girls, and the recommendations are to send her to an all girl's school to get away from the boys? hmm

pho3be Tue 07-Mar-17 11:21:22

Why would sending her to an all girls school help? confused genuine question as would've thought itd'd make the problem worse no? Of course they should be changing separately from the boys from yr5 but why does that mean an all girls school would be better confusedconfused they do pe separately anyway at secondary.
Dd comes home every day with another tale of the girls fighting to be top dog, crying, tantruming etc its crazy. I tell her to keep out of it & be kind. She goes off & plays with the boys

StVincent Tue 07-Mar-17 11:51:47

I'm not saying this is definitely the case of course, but have you ever wondered whether your daughter might be on the Autistic Spectrum? Sorry I know it's an MN cliche but this is chiming loud bells with me about relatives who have gone on to realise they have Aspergers as adults. That being clever, wanting to be in social groups but often being left out of them, not seeming to see the point of some of the things (esp relationship/friendship stuff) other kids do. Just a thought.

humourless Tue 07-Mar-17 12:12:29

Sorry the thing about the girls school is that she feels very uncomfortable around boys, the constant "dick" based comments and sp on. I was trying to paint a complete picture of a girl who has anxiety. I guess I should have stuck to one issue. I do think this age is hard for girls, the self esteem starts to crumble.

humourless Tue 07-Mar-17 12:13:07

StV. Yes, we are looking into ASD.... I've read a lot about it and how girls present much more under the radar than boys.

pho3be Tue 07-Mar-17 12:19:31

uncomfortable around boys, the constant "dick" based comments and sp on

What?? In yr 5? Obviously that needs to be taken up with the school immediately. What is sp? From what youre describing she's uncomfortable with everyone not just boys I don't think singling out boys is helpful, smogs really bug me with their girls are nice boys are not narrative that obviously filters down to their dds

QuentinSummers Tue 07-Mar-17 12:38:29

Stop trying to pick a fight Pho3be no one here is anti boy.
The autism thing might be a red herring. If she is suffering relational bullying it suits the bullies to make her feel different so they seem to have a reason for leaving her out. This is happening to my DD too, it's very manipulative because it almost becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as she tries so hard not be "different", gets really anxious (that the girls provoke by winding her up) and then does the stuff they have labelled as "different".
It's so hard to deal with.
My DD is amazing (obviously I am biased) - clever, funny, sporty, pretty. I think she has it all and I hate it these other children want to tear her down and it's having such an impact on her self esteem.

deydododatdodontdeydo Tue 07-Mar-17 12:54:51

have you ever wondered whether your daughter might be on the Autistic Spectrum?

It did occur to me. DD is ASD and wasn't been invited to a party from aged 6 till aged 12. Just now she has found a few friends, both boys and girls who are either diagnosed or undiagnosed ASD, or just quirky.
At first school she was shunned and taunted horribly by the girls, even now she is, but less so, by the ones who are into boys and make up.
My DD makes no attempt to not be different, she couldn't care less (she doesn't change to please others at all), but other ASD children may be different.

searchengine Tue 07-Mar-17 14:12:46

My daughter was in the same position at primary. things slightly improved at secondary, although not great. Her only friend from Primary is now going around telling everyone she never liked my daughter

She is also on the spectrum (not diagnosed, but I am and her brother too) I think these children need to go to school with others like them (we are just too different, and will usually get bullied).

humourless Tue 07-Mar-17 14:59:05

Hang on. I love my boys but they are not stereotypical at home. the recognise sexism and wouldn't scratch their balls or talk about their penises.... well I hope they wouldn't but I don't know. This is not about slagging off boys, this is recognising that there is a certain behaviour that boys display in a group. They try on being "men" or whatever they think that is. My boys have often come off badly for not conforming to this.

humourless Tue 07-Mar-17 15:02:03

I think my daughter being shy has stumped the school, it;'s like they don't get it. She's not anti social, she is polite but she's not going to talk endlessly or excitedly to adult males. She's not interested in pleasing them AT ALL.
My boys are very different, they are the kids that I get approached about because they're such nice and friendly kids. I sit to a chorus of "wow" (seriously true) at parents evening because they're hard working, engaging and friendly. My daughter not so much. Until her male teachers she was adored, but probably not too noticed expect for her appearance.

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 07-Mar-17 15:18:45

I think the lack of solidarity etc was ever thus. Your child seems shockingly young to be experiencing these sort of issues. I think the best long term strategy is to work on their self esteem and resilience Teach them to accept that many people are flawed and often weak and to either keep their distance or to shrug it off and only engage at a superficial level. And to hold on to solid good friends, even when they are not the most fun or exciting.

My girls never got the boy thing either (two brothers) until they were 16 or so. Actually DD2 is 17 and prefers girls because she has yet to meet a boy she likes, as well as is attracted too.

But yes, so many girls seem to have issues; DD1 reckons her whole house at Uni is on ADs.

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