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What the hell should I do??? (might get long, sorry if so)

32 replies

Roseylea · 19/06/2008 17:43

Dd is 5 and in yr 1. She's not happy at her school. To put it shortly, she's in a smallish school and the pool of friends is not that big. There are other girls in he class but she hasn't really 'clicked' with any of them. Her only friends are a boy and a girl both in yr 2. The boy is sweet but as he has SN he can lash out sometimes, and there's a fair chance he may have to go to a SN school. THe girl is not great news IMHO as she says things to wind dd up and is quite controlling - as in deciding who is in her gang (which cahnges every day). Some days she lets dd play with her, others not. It upsets dd a lot.

Dd comes home wound up and upset, and says awful things mostly to me but to ds as well. By the time dh comes home from work I have normally managed to smooth things over.

It's just so hard work, keeping dd happy, trying to polyfill her crumbling self-esteem every day. I am crying as I write this. I am trying so hardto be the in control mum but it's so hurtful, and the hurt she feels at school affects everyone at home.

Dd hasn't been invited to any parties this year, and never gets invited on playdates (it got a bit ridiculous after I invited the same people round 3 or 4 times and just got "yeah, that'd be nice, maybe one day soon" each time).

On the plus side, the school is very good and it's very close to our house. Her teacher is excellent. It's just the social side that is so crap. I'm on the PTA and I chat to other mums every day - but again I haven't made any friends, except for a few whose children are much older.

So what do I do? is thre anything I can do? this is just not the childhood that I wanted for her. She was so happy and positive as a toddler / preschooler and I only rarely get glimpses of that hapy girl .

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motherhurdicure · 19/06/2008 17:59

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Roseylea · 19/06/2008 18:03

Well we have kept in touch with playgroup friends so she sees them sometimes, and we go to church and she loves the Sunday school so that's a really nice positive social setting for her.

I think that she is old enough now to join the Rainbows or watever - I'll look into it. thank you!

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dinny · 19/06/2008 18:06

Rosylea, dd is very very similar (same year) and it is sooo hard, isn't it?

such a unfortunate twist of fate really. no suggestions except to try other clubs etc, to build her confidence - the best club dd has for her self-esteem is Stagecoach, she loves it.

all the best

Roseylea · 19/06/2008 18:50

It is hard. It is maybe made harder in that dd is v. bright and analytical and she knows exactly what is going on.

I was just thinking - when she comes home, she feels the need to assert herself as top dog in the home because it's so painfully obvious that she is not top dog at school. So everything becomes a battle of wills between firstly her and ds and then her and me.

Because her relationships at school are based on control, it becomes all about conrtol at home. And that's what upsets me so much - it's not the relationship I want with my dd.

I understand the pyschology butI don't know what to do about it!

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motherhurdicure · 19/06/2008 18:52

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critterjitter · 19/06/2008 19:00

Unless you move her school, or Home Ed (as we did) you are unfortunately stuck with the situation until something gives.

If you are determined to make it work for your DD at this school, could you find out if any of her classmates go to any particular clubs eg. ballet, dance, tennis etc. and then send your DD along too?

It might well be that these girls all know each other outside of school too, so giving your DD the opportunity to meet them out of school might help her.

If they don't all go to clubs out of school, it might help your DD's self esteem if she did anyway(if she doesn't already).

It does sound like you need to gently move her away from these older controlling characters though.

ProfessorGrammaticus · 19/06/2008 19:08

To be honest, I'd say stick with it. I really think it will get better for both of you if you keep plugging away. Good luck with it

Roseylea · 19/06/2008 19:21

Critterjitter I think that Home Eding would drive me to distraction! IMO you have to be a very special person to do that and I'm not it .

The other girls are quite cliquey - we live at the other end of the village to the others in dd's class, so they all knew eahc other from babyhood. And I must be honest and say that round here, people aren't that good at welcoming new people / expanding their networks of friends. I think it comes down to complacency - there's no need for people to branch out and chat to new people, so they don't. There are a couple of non-British mums at the school and they are very isolated, esp. if their English is not that strong. I try to chat to them but they are not generally included. Not great IMO .

I thikn what we will do is to give it another year or two and then if she's still not happy, move house. I'm not keen on the feeder secondary anyway so this could be the puh we need.

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needaholiday · 19/06/2008 22:20

It's funny really how playground politics last into adulthood too. The way the in group all chat at school, then the in group of parents do the same when it's their childrens turn.
Childhood is too short to be wasted in tears and unhappiness. If she's really not happy then change her school if it is possible. She'll thank you for it when she's older and looks back and remembers a happy childhood with a mum who had her back.
good luck and all the best.

Roseylea · 20/06/2008 11:10

I know what you mean, life is too short - but on the other hand part of childhood is about learning how to handle the big bad world - so if I stick with it and help her to develop the social skills to make friends with other children, isn't that doing her more of a favour in the long term? Tbh I think that she is part of the problem (without wanting to be too hard on her) - she can be quite stand-offish with the other children and if they aren't playing the game she wants to play, she won't join in. So moving schools may not be the answer - it might be about teaching her some friendship skills. It all worked fine at pre-school / reception level, but for some reason she's ended up quite isolated this year.

I also think that she finds big groups of children v. intimidating and doesn't know ho to function within a big group (like the playground). I've seen her react to other large groups like this, and become stroppy and withdrawn. So learning how to cope within a school group is important for her too. She is much happier in small groups and laughs more, plays more, gives and takes more.

Rainbows or whatever is around locally like that is a great idea, and I will look into it.

Thanks for the advice / support!

Needaholiday - I need one too!

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dinny · 20/06/2008 11:32

sooo similar to dd, Rosylea - she isn't dominant enough to have her own group, but is too independent to play games she doesn't like, or be told what to do, so she ends up alone

we actually are moving house next year and am dreading it, tbh, in case new school is same

Roseylea · 20/06/2008 11:40

Your dd looks lovely in the photo on your profile page Dinny!

My dd takes offence far too easily - I am trying to each her to let things go. She is v. black and white and if she feels wronged in any tiny way she will seek justice! She'd make a great lawyer / judge in later life! But in the playground you can't be running to the dinner ladies every time someone bangs into you! I think this makes her come across as difficult to the other children. Oh am I going to teach her this stuff?

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ajandjjmum · 20/06/2008 11:46

My dd is like that Rosylea - she is not one of the strong leaders, but isn't a walkover either, and over the years that has caused problems with friendship groups.

She is now 15 and we still have the girlie spats, but she is confident of herself and has a strong mind. She is also realising that although we have to 'rub along' with people, we don't have to like everyone.

If it's any consolation, I find ds an awful lot easier!

Roseylea · 20/06/2008 11:48

so do I - my ds is a much simpler creature!

I do love dd passionately though, and so want her to be ahppy.

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mrsruffallo · 20/06/2008 11:51

That's awful, Rosylea.
I can only suggest that she partakes in some extra-curriculer activities- drama, for example- would would also help with her self esteem and confidence.
Was the situation the same in reception or have they gone downhill?

mrsruffallo · 20/06/2008 11:56

I think you should stick it out a while longer, too. Things may change, she may suddenly click with someone. Does she have friends out of school? It's great for them to meet up after school and just run off the bad feelings.
Did you throw a party for her?

Roseylea · 20/06/2008 12:36

Things have gone downhill since reception, I think because the other children all played together much more in reception, whereas now they have got into little groups and dd doesn't really fit into them.

Her birthday is in Aug, MrsR, and we are planning a BBQ party at home so that we can invite lots of people. She has had a birthday party every year and her classmates have all come. The thing is that around here the parents normally have parties at places like McDonalds so that they can only invite a certain number of children - and as dd isn't really in the gang, she gets left out. I'm not blaming the other parents, it's just the way it is.

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dinny · 20/06/2008 18:01

thanks, Roseylea

my mum always says dd is very strong-minded and I infer that she is lonely, when she, in fact, isn't lonely but is choosy and self-contained

her two best friends left the school after the first term of reception - what bad luck that was

dd is a May birthday and I am SURE that being one of the youngest (and your dd is a LOT younger) is a lot to do with it - things are getting better as she matures a bit, I think

but we have OK days and then rubbish days - rollercoaster!

whereabouts are you in the UK?

Roseylea · 20/06/2008 20:08

Yes Dinny my dd is an August baby so the very youngest in her class.

I think that my dd is quite self-contained as well really. My dh is one of these people who only has a few friends but is compltely loyal and fantastic to those he has and doesn't feel the need for any more friends; maybe dd takes after him? (whereas I am much more of a social butterfly!)

Today was a crappy day again; dd ended up standing in the kitchen screaming and shouting after school. She gets very angry. I haven't got too stressed today though, thank God. I am giving her shoulder and back massages every morning and evening and that seems to really relax her and give us a nice bonding moment as well .

We are in Hertfordshire, just outside London.

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ProfessorGrammaticus · 20/06/2008 20:47

Also, you may find that it goes in phases - my DS2 is like this, sometimes he find it all easier, sometimes harder. He only has 2 real friends, I think- but if that's how a child is, I think that's ok. He does MIX with others, obviously, but I don't think he considers others to be friends. His social skills aren't great either. But he's only 7 and we can't all be perfect!

dinny · 21/06/2008 11:10

Rosey, why does dd get so upset? are you asking her too much about school and friendships? I don't ask dd anything too probing about school, she will tell me anything - usually at bathtime - that she wants me to know

Roseylea · 21/06/2008 17:04

Dinny, it's not that she gets upset at anything I say in particular . I think it's more to do with not getting her own way (which may or may not be a separate issue). The reason she was screaming and shouting yesterday was that she wanted sweets - she was shouting "I want a sweetie!"

It's hard tbh because, for example, she's the only child in her class not to have a TV in her room (I'm not exaggerating - this was also the case in reception, which I found staggering - IMO to give a 3 or 4 y o unlimited and unsupervised access to TV is crazy), so she feels hard-done-by and thinks that I am a meanie. But it's something I feel strongly about and tbh there's no way on earth she's getting a TV in her room until she's well ito her teens.

And yes I like her to eat healthily, and yes she does get sweets but not every day. But I think I may be in a minority to have these sorts of boundaries - one other mum at the school gate said "Oh, my ds just knows where the sweets are in the kitchen and goes and helps himself" and the other mums agreed - so for me to conciously say to dd "No, if you want a snack you can have a banana, an apple or some raisins" is, to my dd at least, really mean and not nice like the other mummies . So in that way it's harder to have certain boundaries if you're the only one who does have them! And of course dd is too young to really understand, although she does undertstand the concept of healthy eating and getting enough sleep therefore not having a TV in your room.

I think compared to the other mums at the school I am probably comparitively strict, but compared to my own parents probably about the same, and I don't think I'm excessively punitive / depriving of my children.

Are we just in the wrong school, I wonder? It would be great if there were more friends for her!

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morocco · 21/06/2008 17:10

sympathies, it's so heart wrenching

have you tried telling the other mums why you'd like their dds to come over for playdates? playing the sympathy card so to speak? or don't you think they would be bothered?

sorry - it's my only idea apart from the rainbows etc as suggested by others.

foxythesnowfox · 21/06/2008 17:11

Just skimming this thread, Yr 1 is very different to reception, less play more work. Is she the youngest in her year? I think that 12 months count for a lot at this age.

Have you spoken with her teacher?

I'm with you re. the tv in the room thing. Seems to me that DS1s class mates all have Nintendo DSs, and DS1 wants one (Yr 1), DS2 wants an X-box (Reception), and neither have been to MacDs. Makes me a bit of a odd mum who deprives her children apparently.

Roseylea · 21/06/2008 17:26

We don't have any of those Nintendo games etc in our house! Again dd is probably the only child who doesn't!

I spoke to the teacher yesterday who said, more or less, yes, dd is great friendds with the boy, and yes she works in groups with the other girls in class and enjoys working with them, but doesn't play with them outside. She said that it's impossible to get children to play together if they don't want to. She also said that the other girls in the class are "very girly, very princessy" who like stting down, playing imaginative games or chatting, whereas dd is v. physical and just wants to run around during playtime! So in that way she's caught between the boys, who don't really want to play with her because she's a girl, and the girls, who don't do the same sorts of things as dd. Obviously I can't change who dd is, or who the other girls are - it's in their characters to be princessy / boisterous / whatever. It's just a shame that there is no-one else like dd at the school.

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