I don't know how to handle dd's unhappiness and general 'down-ness'
Dancergirl · 21/11/2014 15:00
Dd is nearly 12, Year 7. Middle one of 3 girls, other two are 13 and 7. She is at a girls' grammar which she worked hard to get into (very bright anyway) and was her first choice school.
She wasn't very happy at primary school. Lots of service families so lots of coming and going, she lost at least 3 friends over the years when they were posted somewhere new. Each time she struggled to fit into the remaining groups of girls in her class. She finished Year 6 very unhappy, all the other girls had paired off or were in small groups, in addition she had to deal with very nasty bullying behaviour from one boy.
But she put all that behind her and was looking forward to a new start at her new school. Unfortunately it hasn't been a smooth ride so far. Very early on there was some nasty behaviour in the group she was in, not directly to do with her but her friend was involved. The school did look into it and is keeping an eye on things. This group seems to be very cliquey - lots of seat-saving going on at lunchtime etc so sometimes dd has to sit at the end of the table which she's not happy about. Dd likes most of the girls in this group but doesn't really want to BE in the group if that makes sense.
The last few weeks she's been quite down. She says she feels a bit 'lost' at school and doesn't know where she fits in. Some of the girls have paired off and made quite close friendships. Dd has made some good friends in the other classes but they're not mixed up for lessons at all so she only sees them at lunchtime if at all.
Last week in music, she told me the teacher told them to get into groups of four. About 7 girls (not her) all wanted to be together and 2 in particular were hugging each other as if they couldn't be separated. Dd rolled her eyes at that when she told me about it. She's very sensitive and takes things to heart and I think she's feeling hurt that no-one wanted to be with her.
When I see her with her friends at school events she seems very happy, saying hello to lots of girls who I don't know but seem to know her. She seems very sociable but she says it's different at school.
I have never worked out why some dc are more popular than others. Dd is a nice person, very loyal and kind hearted, but I have realised this isn't enough. She can also be quite moody and gets upset over small things which other people laugh off. She can be very intense, maybe that puts other girls off, I don't know...
I always listen to her woes and try to be sympathetic but not overly so. I tell her if I think she didn't handle a situation well, in which case she gets all stroppy with me 'you don't understand' etc.
Whilst I am sympathetic and of course upset if she's upset, should I try to encourage her not to over-analyse everything so much? She's always had intense highs and lows, that's her personality and I think she thought everything was going to be wonderful at her new school and she'd instantly have a nice set of friends.
I know Year 7 can be a rocky time and things do settle down. My oldest dd didn't really find proper friends until Year 8. But what's the best way to support dd in the meantime?
ELR · 24/11/2014 20:44
Sorry not really much help but your post could easily be referring to my dd! I just make sure I'm available to talk and always make an effort to ensure she knows I'm happy for her to socialise ect on a weekend if she wants to.
Heyho111 · 27/11/2014 22:48
Her being sensitive is prob why she finds it difficult. Girls are quite nasty. Comments gossip etc. everything involves a huge discussion. The popular girls feed it and are uneffected by whatever is said.
Girls who dislike the drama or get hurt by it find it harder.
Your d needs to find friends away from the popular lot. They will be sweeter but there still will be a bit of nastiness. Also it may not be as bad as she portrays. She will be letting off steam with you.
kilmuir · 27/11/2014 22:56
Ooooo, i have a middle daughter like this. Well she was last year in year 7. She struggled to find a consistent group of friends. She can be outspoken,maybe bit blunt at times. She knewshe was not one of the popular, sporty, in her eyes 'pretty' girls.
Took a lot of chats about self confidence, body image etc. trying to find positive activities outside school etc. understanding that she is valuable,beautiful etc and needs to stop comparing herself with others.
Forward a year and she has a quirky group of friends. More settled in school
EyeoftheStorm · 27/11/2014 23:09
Another one with a middle DD like this and she's only 8. My heart drops when she says: Mummy, can I talk to you at bedtime?
I listen, but try not to overanalyse what she says, just reflect it back to her. I think she just wants to get it off her chest.
My advantage is that I was exactly the same as her and I know exactly how she feels. Like you, when I see her with her friends she always looks happy but she is easily hurt by things other girls can shrug off.
I tell her that many people feel like they don't fit in as they grow up and that it's not a bad thing, that there are advantages to be on the edge. I also tell her that she might think other girls are happy and comfortable but inside they may feel just like her.
In your situation, I would also tell her that those girls are acting like that - clinging to each other - because they are insecure. It is a way of signalling that they are in the group.
I would praise her independence. My mum would always tell me I was too independent for my own good and I believed her and it made me feel strong whatever my friendship difficulties were.
DD likes to hear about my trials and tribulations with friends and how I overcame them. She can see that I have lots of friends now and I think it helps her.
I really feel for you and your DD but she sounds great.
Fluffcake · 11/12/2014 17:55
I think you are writing about my daughter. She's yr 8 at a grammar. According to her, all the girls in her class have best friends and she's the only one who doesn't. She says she doesn't particularly like anyone in her class but at the same time feels that she should have someone she can rely on. In music the other day, when told to get into groups, pairs etc, she was the only one on her own. She can be a bit aloof and tends to hide behind a book.
She gets the bus with another girl who lives locally but they are always falling out, mainly because (I think) my DD is overly sensitive to things such as when they arrange to meet after school to get the bus, the other girl doesn't wait. I've told her that this girl is the type that gets swept along (her mother's words) and forgets about other arrangements and not to take it personally but it's heartbreaking to see her so upset.
I've been in contact with her form tutor who was quite surprised to hear that DD was so upset (wants to change schools) and she has been very supportive. She tells me that DD is quite mature for the class, who is recognised as being quite an immature class on the whole and that there are a lot of friendship issues between these "best friends" which DD is better staying out of. The form tutor is encouraging DD to get more involved with school clubs to meet girls in other forms and years and has asked the subject teachers not to let the class choose their own groups. I'm also trying to encourage her to be more independent and she does a few activities outside of school to help with her confidence.
I hated school at this age as well and I find it really upsetting but we shall see how it goes.
All the best to all of you and your daughters
shadypines · 02/01/2015 15:32
I hear you all, OP this sounds very like my daughter too, kind, sensitive, bright, moody. It's so hard, you just want to wave a magic wand and make everything right for them don't you? Unfortuately (or maybe fortunately!) the only thing we can do is listen, and perhaps give gentle advice and speak to school if deemed necessary. Give her love, encouragement and patient listening. It is always good if she keeps up interests and hobbies, it will give her something to focus on, enjoyment and maybe ways of meeting some decent friends.She sounds like a lovely girl and hopefully things will settle down for her soon.
SasherinSuite · 18/01/2015 20:10
I have just posted a thread that sounds so similar to this but with the added complication of physical & mental issues. It's so bloody traumatic. We never had this with ds who is nearly 16 and dreading the thought of our 10 year old did having to go through it too.
To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.