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New school no friends

4 replies

cushionfiend · 30/07/2018 21:30

Hello – I have been lurking on MN for a while but this is a first time post; please excuse the length, I am really hoping some folk may be able to share experiences / advice.

Me, my DH and DD (aged 10) moved from a medium-sized city to a medium-sized village 4 months ago. DD has not always had a great time at school in the past – she’s fabulous but definitely not a particularly ‘girly’ girl (total tomboy really) and is one of the youngest in her year due to birthday so I think she struggles a bit with social cues and peer interaction sometimes. She had a group of friends at her previous school but was also having some issues with being bullied by some other kids, so things were pretty up and down for her.

She has 1 more year of primary school ahead before starting at secondary. We thought long and hard about when to move – whether it was better to make sure she had a least 1 year of primary with new kids so that she had friends when they move up to high school, or whether we should wait and move just before high school when it’s all change for everyone. In the end, we decided to go for the first option so she started at Easter break and has had 1 term at the new primary, and 1 more year to go.

It’s a small school compared to her old one – less than 30 kids in her whole year. The first few weeks went really well, she seemed to be making friends and having a good time there – I was pretty relieved! We had a couple of girls around for playdates, etc. However, during the last few weeks of term things seemed to change; I don’t know whether it’s a case of her having been exciting when she was new but now the kids are reverting back into previous social groups, or if it will just take a lot longer for them to accept her, but the girls she was hanging out with before are now giving her the cold shoulder and she’s feeling really upset that she has no friends and no one to hang out with at break times, etc. I know that this is a super-tricky age for friendships generally; at her old school it seemed like the various girls were often having some kind of issues with each other from week to week, yikes!

I am not sure how best to help her to deal with this when she goes back after the summer holidays in a couple of weeks – I am trying hard to support her, listen to her, make sure she knows she has lots of love at home, and hoping it will just take time. She still sees friends from the city, and we’ve been attending local year-round activity clubs in the area so she will have a wider pool of potential pals going forward, but I guess I am hoping that maybe some of you have had similar issues and might be able to let me know how it went for you and yours? I feel very worried for her and hate to think of her having an awful time – am slightly dreading the next term at the moment. The secondary school is MUCH bigger, so there will be lots more kids to get to know there but I don’t want to her to have a rubbish time until then! Thanks very much.

OP posts:
AjasLipstick · 30/07/2018 23:27

Helping her will begin with speaking to her teacher. Make an appointment and explain what's happened.

Next, look at those difficulties with social cues you mentioned. How have you noticed her having difficulties? Can you be specific about what she finds tricky? Or what she seems to miss about interacting successfully?

I have two DDs...mine are 14 and 10. My older one struggled in primary and my younger one has had no issues at all and always been skilled socially. I might have some insight if you explain more about how she struggles.

I should mention that my older DD has thrived in secondary.

JiltedJohnsJulie · 01/08/2018 07:04

Totally agree with Ajas you need to be talking to the teacher.

My DD is the same age and she likes the American Girl Guides. Have a look at Friends, making them and keeping them. She might also like Star Scouts too but I’m not sure if that ones more for fun or not Smile

cushionfiend · 01/08/2018 20:51

Hello and thanks to you both for your replies. I’m definitely planning on speaking to her teacher at the beginning of the year - she’ll be new to the school but has been a teacher for a few years already so hopefully has some experience with this sort of thing.

In terms of how she struggles, I think she’s not always great at adapting to other kids’ games/ideas/ways of interacting. She’s v creative and full of good ideas, but not always so good at doing what others might like. I do wonder how much of this is due to being an only child sometimes. I’ve noticed at her old school that some of the more sought-after girls are the ones who are more willing to go along with others games etc. I’ve spoken with her over the years about how you need to take turns and create games together but not sure how much she truly takes on board. I also wonder if her non-girly-ness makes it harder to have stuff in common with some of her peers - but that’s just who she is, and I totally support her to be herself.

I’ve bought her an American Girl book called Friendship Troubles, I’m planning to look at it with her and hoping it may prove useful in bolstering her self esteem as well as giving her some practical ideas on dealing with all this.

AjasLipstick - It was good to hear that your 14-y-old is having a better time at secondary, maybe there will be a light at the end of the primary tunnel!

OP posts:
AjasLipstick · 02/08/2018 01:50

Definitely light! My older DD says "My old friends weren't really my friends...I never liked them that much or wanted to be with them. My new friends are into the same stuff as I am and I love being with them"

I think the small pool of primary is tricky for quirky kids.

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