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Daughter (11 yrs) being left out of friendship group by under-the-radar mean girl
15

Cocopops8 · 26/01/2019 10:40

Hello everyone. I'm completely new to the site and find myself in need of some help. I will apologise in advance if I appear to ramble on but I am desperate for advice from any parents who have been through this situation themselves...I couldn't sleep last night for worrying about how sad my daughter is right now.

My daughter attends a small village school with only a small intake each year. In her Year 6 class, there are just 5 other Year 6 girls and 4 boys. Over the years there have been what I imagine to be the normal friendship ups and downs but over the last 18 months or so, one girl (LP) seems to have become the ring leader in shunning differing girls.

Around a year ago, it came to light that LP was bullying one of the girls in class and purposely excluding her, to the point that her mum had to go into school several times and her daughter would cry herself to sleep every night dreading the following school day. The school said they would keep an eye on it but said they were very surprised to hear that this particular girl would bully anyone as she was 'a star pupil, came from a lovely family who have several children at the school, was always kind and helpful' etc. The trouble was, LP never did anything as obvious as name-calling, hitting etc, it was more under-the-radar bullying such as using body language to shut people out, giving dirty looks, rolling of eyes and more worryingly, she somehow managed to get the other girls on side too. It was very clear when it was happening to the other girl last year that the issue was a power game with LP. Although she outwardly appears very confident and is the 'popular girl' at school, it is clear that she has insecurities about herself but she seems to hide this by always having to rule the roost - the other girls in class all seem to want to be her friend but not because she is a lovey and kind girl but because no-one wants to be on the wrong side of her. Don't get me wrong, when you're on the right side of her, she can be kind and friendly and it really is hard to believe then that she could be a bully.

LP and my daughter have been friends since reception but this last week, she has decided that my daughter is to be shunned from the group. She has started with the usual; physically turning her back and standing in a position that keeps my daughter from being able to join in a group conversation, totally blanking her when it is just the two of them in a room together, making a huge point of getting all the girls together at play time but not inviting my daughter to join in and excluding her from games in the playground. The girl that this was happening to last year has recognised that it is happening to my daughter now and indeed her mum has called me several times for moral support and has said she will ensure her daughter keeps an eye out, like my daughter did for her last year.

There was a brief spell a couple of years ago where this happened to my daughter but since then her and LP have been best friends. My daughter is a bright girl and surprisingly confident in lots of ways but I have seen this week a change in her. She has become very clingy with me at home and seems to need extra love and reassurance.

When the other mum went into school last year about it, the school did have a chat with LP and her mum but it had a detrimental affect in that the girl was excluded and bullied even more afterwards. The girls mum phoned LP's mum and tried to explain what was happening but she appears totally blinkered to how underhand and nasty her daughter can be.

My daughter has asked that I do not speak to LP's mum or to school about it as she remembers how much worse it got for her friend last year after she told the teachers.

I have spent the week helping my daughter to realise that it has nothing whatsoever to do with her and everything to do with LP needing to be top dog. I think this sudden turn of events was sparked off by my daughter having the frienship group round to ours one evening last week (including LP) - the girls were all hugely excited and spent days before and after chatting about it then earlier this week my daughter and the girl who was bullied last year spent time together out of school. I get the impression that LP has seen this as some kind of threat to her friendship with my daughter (other girls becoming close to her and the fear of her losing followers) and decided to start this under-the-radar attack on my daughter to put her back in her place.

I'm at a loss as to how I can help my daughter. I believe she is right when she says it will only get worse if we speak to school or LP's mum and I know she has the support of the other girl in class who does genuinely seem to be trying to bring my daughter back into the group (whilst also being aware that she doesn't want to raise her head about the parapet too high for obvious reasons). Me and her dad are trying to raise her self confidence at home and, touch wood, she does seem happy other than the LP situation.

Please, please, please does anyone have any advice on how to handle this without making it worse and how to support my daughter and keep her self-confidence high?

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Mediumred · 26/01/2019 15:32

Hi, I see no one has replied so at least I can give your thread a little bump even if I have no great words of wisdom for what sounds like a very tricky situation.

I think this is really the downside of little schools - there’s only a small pool of friends - but guess you are stuck with that for now.

The positives are that she is in y6, so will be moving on soon and hopefully you can ensure that LP is in a different class st secondary. She also has an ally, LP’s previous victim, could your daughter and her not just start hanging out as a little twosome and leave LP’s nonsense? Thirdly, she has you backing her, and I think a warm and supportive home life can help children endure these knocks (which on some level are part of growing up).

I’m not sure about approaching the teacher after what the other mum said, maybe through this will show that LP has a pattern of excluding other girls. It would be a pretty naive teacher who couldn’t accept that an 11-year-old who seems nice to adults is perfectly capable of mean girl behaviour to her peers, it’s classic!!

Good luck

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multiplemum3 · 26/01/2019 15:49

I'd absolutely go to school because there's been previous incidents with the girl. Can you not arrange some time out of school with the other girl it happened to?

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JiltedJohnsJulie · 26/01/2019 16:48

Like PPs have said, I'd speak to the High School, assuming they will be going to the same school, and ask if they can go in different forms. Our local High School has Y7 split into X and Y and the two never have lessons together. If the school could manage to separate your DD and LP this effectively, that would be great Smile

How will she be getting to High School? If they will be going on a bus together I think you do need to approach the school.

I personally would never talk to the parent, it becomes far too personal and as you've found out already, rarely achieves anything as the parents are often quite blinkered.

You are doing the right thing in reassuring her. I would also encourage time with the other girl.

If you do go into school, and LP's behaviour deteriorates I would write to the school outlining what was said in your previous meeting, what's happening now and asking for a plan of how they are going to stop the bullying. I'd also cc in the Governors. It very, very hard for them to ignore complaints about bullies if they are in writing and the Governors know Smile

This book might help your DD and this book should help you navigate all of this. It's bloody heartbreaking to see them upset like this isn't it Thanks

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Cocopops8 · 26/01/2019 17:41

Thank you so much Mediumred for your helpful words of reassurance and ideas. I truly appreciate it - also for bumping my post Smile. I agree about it being one of the downsides of a small village school. I have spoken to the other girls mum this morning and she is keen to set up another after school swimming session for our two girls next week to further cement their solidarity. I will see how she gets on at school on Monday and then decide whether to speak to the head. Thank you once again.

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Cocopops8 · 26/01/2019 17:43

Thank you for your message Multiplemum3. I think you’re right, I’ll see how she gets on on Monday then speak to the head if it continues. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

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RagingWhoreBag · 26/01/2019 17:57

I got a book called Queen Bees and Wannabes for DD when she was going through this last year. It helped her to see the patterns in the hierarchy, that this is an issue lots of girls face, and also to understand why some of her other friends would side with the mean girl.

Luckily when she stated secondary she met some lovely new friends and they are all very sensitive about not leaving anyone out. I know September seems a long way off and your DD will need some coping strategies in the meantime, but at least she has one ally - maybe they could both join a club or sport where they can both meet new friends from other schools who will be feeding into your secondary too?

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billybagpuss · 26/01/2019 17:58

Flowers 6 months to go.

Year 6 is horrible, particularly in small schools, both my DD's had massive friendship issues in y6, I teach piano and see a wide range of children of this age group and I've seen it more times than I can count, it happens every year and I end up listening to all their problems in between teaching them. as they like having someone unconnected from their school life to be able to vent to.

They are all so big for their boots, they think they know everything yet they're scared and nervous. Long standing friendships will fizzle forever in a matter of months especially in our area which is heavily grammar school populated so people go to a wide variety of different schools.

It is worth having a chat with the school, but more importantly start mentally preparing her for next year and moving schools, start to get excited about new friends and opportunities that she will have. Develop the nice friendships that she has and be prepared for plenty more of this. It does tend to settle a bit mid June as they are in wind down mode and getting excited for all the leaving parties.

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RitaConnors · 26/01/2019 18:10

I think you are doing the right thing by strengthening her friendship with the other girl. Like previous posters are saying, speak to the secondary school. Even if in a couple of months time all of this has blown over and your dd is not on the outside any more.

I'd also look at making sure she has stuff going on outside of school, with different people.

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shouldwestayorshouldwego · 26/01/2019 18:10

I can almost guarantee that LP will drop the lot of them in secondary school. I personally would mention it to the school but ask that they just watch and wait rather than doing anything. It will though mean that they are more prepared to support you when the secondary school asks for who they should or should not be put with. I would build up the friendship with the other girl and be very glad that it is only six months to go.

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Cocopops8 · 26/01/2019 18:14

JiltedJohnsJulie - thank you for all of your excellent advice. I hadn’t thought as far ahead as high school but that’s a fantastic idea. When we get her place confirmed on 1st March I will speak to the school and request that my daughter is in a different form to LP. School bus wise, although all 3 girls have applied to the same school, LP lives out of area (although only in the next village) so my daughter and the previous victim will be on a bus together and LP will be on a different bus.

I’ve had a quick look at both books which you recommended and am very grateful for the suggestions. I will get them ordered this evening.

It is so reassuring to receive replies and advice.

We’ll see what Monday brings and take it from there with the school.

The frustrating thing is that I know that once this passes and LP moves onto leaving someone else out, my daughter will still want to be ‘friends’ with her at school - as much to avoid being on the wrong side of her again - as is the case with the other girl who was bullied last year. It is so frustrating but I can remember feeling exactly the same when I was her age. Thank you once again, I truly appreciate your help and advice.

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Cocopops8 · 26/01/2019 18:35

RagingWhoreBag - thank you for the book recommendation. It reminded me that I’d bought a copy of this 18 months ago when it happened the first time round but at that point I felt it was too advanced for my daughter so I popped it away for future reference - I will dig it back out. She has quite a mature understanding of the situation when she is not upset so I feel sure that QB&W will reinforce what I’ve been telling her - along with the previously recommended book on this thread. I’m making arrangements for my daughter and her ‘nice’ friend to go swimming together next week and the friends mum is very much onside which helps enormously.

Billybagpuss- thank you for the reassurance that this is more common than I realised and that there is potentially light at the end of the tunnel in June Smile. Thankfully I have spoken several times to my daughter about the benefits of going to high school and that there will be more opportunities to meet like minded friends. She seems very excited at the prospect. Roll on September!

RitaConnors - thank you for your reassurances. I appreciate it. My daughter has an out of school hobby which she is hoping she can develop further at high school so that’s great.

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Cocopops8 · 26/01/2019 18:40

Shouldwestayorshouldwego - thanks for replying and you raise a point I wasn’t aware of. I didn’t realise that the high schools spoke to the primary heads to seek info on who should be put together and kept apart. I will definitely speak to the head this next week and suggest, as you say, that they just keep an eye out for the time being. Thank you once again for the much appreciated advice.

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museumum · 26/01/2019 18:53

Is there a guide unit anywhere near? I find guides really useful for year 6 as it runs age 10-14 and so the primary age girls get to mix with secondary age and it helps them with that move.

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museumum · 26/01/2019 18:54

Also knowing girls in the high school they’re going to and expanding orcescaping their current friendship dynamics.

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Cocopops8 · 27/01/2019 10:44

That’s a great idea Museumum, thank you. My daughter used to go to Brownies (with LP) but stopped when she had issues with LP 18 months ago. I’ll run it by her and see if she fancies joining a Guides group in the high school catchment area. Thank you for the idea Smile

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