CM's picture

Daughter being ostracized

My daughter is in grade three and for the past three months has been having difficulty with her friends.  They tell her to meet them at a certain spot on the playground and then they never show up, or they will agree to play with her and then choose a game that she can't play because of her asthma.  When she tells them that she can't play it the response is "Oh well" and they go off to play without her.  They have taken things that she says and turned them around so that when they go to the teacher my daughter is in the wrong and gets into trouble until everything gets sorted out and the teacher discovers that it wasn't quite the way she had been told.  To this date the teacher has never apologized to my daughter and the other girls have not been reprimanded.  My daughter is in a grade 3/4 split classroom and there are only these other 4 girls or the boys for her to play with.  She is very lonely, she does not want to go to school and even though she is in extra curricular activities, these same little girls are there as well because back in the fall they were getting along and they all joined things together.  My daughter used to be a very outgoing, friendly social little person.  Now she has become a shy more withdrawn individual who is becoming a perfectionist about everything she does.  She takes piano lessons but does not want to play in any recitals because she might make a mistake and people (she thinks) will laugh at her.  Her self confidence has been terribly eroded by this and just to make things even more interesting we have just discovered she has a unilateral hearing impairment and so that will make her even more different from her classmates.  Does any one have any suggestions on things I can do to bolster her self-confidence?  I would like my little girl to feel happy again.

gail's picture

  Ok, so I have 6 kids, the oldest is 30.  When she was just a little older than your little girl, she started having similar troubles with friends.  I was her Girl Scout leader, along with my husband, and so there was one forum where we could have direct influence and observation of what was happening. 

   It could be the age creep thing (kids maturing younger), but this kind of snottiness didn't happen to a large extent until at least 4th grade with any of my children.  It is not that your child is "overly sensitive", it is that your child is sensitive, and one of the ways some kids (particularly girls) accomplish their developmental task of social integration is to make themselves part of a pack of harriers.  In fact, my 17 year-old son, in an essay for his highschool English class, said that the purpose of public school at that age is to make you able to deal with mean people. 

  This is why I have taken to home-schooling my children in the fourth grade.  It has worked out very well both academically and socially for the younger three children. 

  I wonder if you could start volunteering in the classroom or the playground at least one day a week.  That would do a few things to change the dynamic for your daughter.  1.  It would give you the opportunity to observe things first-hand.  2.  It would make the other children more aware that your daughter does have parents who will protect her.   3.  It would make your daughter have 1 day at school when she is not completely reliant on the social structure of the school for her physical and emotional safety.

  If that isn't an option, you could consider home-schooling her for the rest of the year.  Most likely you could get curriculum materials from the school.   Or maybe you could find a different public or private school where she could have a chance to start over.  This might be enough intervention, but in my experience 4th grade is even more of a fox-hunt than 3rd. 

  Tell me what you come up with.  I hope you figure something out.

Maija's picture

What your daughter is experienceing is the first level of bullying.  I would suggest that she stop trying to be friends with these girls.  Their behavior will only escalate as time goes on.  Your daughter deserves to have friends that she likes and that like her.  Why is she so interested in these girls?  Try to get her involved in something where she can meet other gilrs to hang out with.  The bullies will only hurt her in the end.  Bullies are generally cowards and they are seeking out children that are weaker than them in order to feel powerful.  A very dangerous game.  Help you daughter to see that these girls are not worth being friends with.  She deserves better.  Good Luck.

tamz's picture

My son is in 2nd grade and there is a little girl in his class and after school program who is a little different. She is skinny and she wears glasses.  My son's teacher said that she appreciates the energy he gives to her because the other girls bully her.  The teacher and I worried that he was getting slightly drained by constantly comforting her or spending time to play with her.  We decided to move my son to another table where he would not feel so responsible to help her.  I absolutely encourage him to be a friends to her, but have asked his teacher what she is doing to help the bullying situation.  She said she has assigned the other girls one on one time with her.  She is having groups of two work together and has targeted the other two girls to work alone with her. She said she believed the situation could be improved if the bullies have accomplishments with the bullied girl. I wonder if you ahve spoken with the teacher to see if she can offer any help.  Also if you could get some first hand observation by volunteering you would be better able to asses it as well.

djsd's picture

This sounds just like what my dd went through. She is also in 3rd grade in a 3/4 split class. At the end of 2nd grade she would come home crying that she didn't want to go back to school & if I could please homeschool her. At the start of this school year we have had problems come up with a whole new group of girls (the girls changed  but the problems didn't). We worked together to come up with a plan. We came up with the idea that she would tell them that they are being mean & that she would play with them another time & then SHE would walk away(giving her the control). The hardest thing that my dd had to do was not react to these girls as she is sensetive as well.  We talked about that they do this because they get a reaction/response out of her, that what they are doing is wrong, but if she can try to stop reacting then it won't be fun for them any more. I did ask my dd what has helped her. She has told me that she just goes & does something else. She does volunteer in her 1st grade teachers classroom, in the library & also helps the noon aids. Please don't hesitate to go to the teacher, she may not be aware of how bad it is. We had to go to my dd's teacher in 2nd grade, bacause things were getting out of hand. The teacher was surprised at how bad things were. The girls were very sneeky & sly.   Good luck. My dd sends your dd a big hug. My dd stepped right up & said "can I be her friend?" So let your dd know that she does have a friend out here in cyber space.

CM's picture

Thank you for your input everyone.  The teacher is not open to volunteers in her classroom unless she is doing a special project.  I have talked to her.  Her solution was to send all the girls in a group to meet with the school counsellor.  I told her that since the counsellor did not know any of the girls it would be better if they went as individuals a few times so the counsellor could get a bit of an understanding of each girls personality, then start bringing them together gradually.  The counsellor decided to see my girl alone and the others as a group, then she tells my girl what they are accusing her of, and then asks my girl if she is sure that she doesn't want to join the others in their group then they could all work together. To make sure that I wasn't missing something in my own girls behaviour away from home, I asked another parent of some girls in the other class what her daughters opinions were of my girl. She was honest and so, thank God, were they.  They said my girl can be bossy sometimes, but there are other girls who are worse than her.
 On the "up" side her older brother has stepped up to the plate and plays with her one noon hour every week, she is talking with the grade 4 girls in her class (even though she is too nervous to actually try and play with them at noon), she is playing with the grade 3 boys in her class when her asthma allows, and I drive into town 1 day a week at lunch and pick her up from school and we hang out together.  A coworker and close friend of one of my friends in a distant city has a daughter the same age and she has offered that the two girls could be e-pals.
The problem still exists and as time goes on I am seeing more of the psychological effects of this bullying in my girls self-esteem and self-confidence so I really appreciate all of your suggestions and she appreciates your interest in trying to help her.

metro123's picture

I have an 11 yr old daughter. She does well in school and seemed to get along with everyone. She is nurturing and always willing to give a helping hand to teacher and classmate alike.
In the last 3 months however, I have noticed a change in her interaction. This change I noticed is with her peers in her Church Sunday School Class. I would always observe her in conversation with someone but now I rarely see her engaging in happy banter like before. My normally reserve but confident daughter seem to be trying very hard to fit in and I observe her trying to make jokes and get involve in conversation when the other girls are talking together and sometimes ignoring her. Yesterday at a particular party, one of the girls pushed her so hard and it was suppose to be play. All these girls came to my daughter 10th birthday last year and they all seem like good, well behave girls. Now I observe a that they have form a kind of click (sp) and my daughter is not part of it. I train her not to force herself on any friends and for the most part that is how she was --until a month ago. She seems to be trying to be included at times and then at other times I see her sitting by herself. It is painful and I wonder if I am overreacting. Can someone please respond. Thanks. I should mention that I am feeling a bit of the same from some people in the Church. This was after I thought it was safe to offer my services and get a little more involved. Could there be a relationship. ?

metro123's picture

I posted a comment about my 11 year old daughter and cannot find it. I am looking for answers. I am new to this message board. Can anyone help me to find my post and see if anyone replied. Thanks.

gail's picture

Fourth and Fifth grade span the time when some kids (usually girls) get really cruel, and other kids (also usually girls) need to figure out how to survive the fall-out. I got to the point with daughter #3 where I just would take my kids out of school at this age. Other strategies include--countering teasing with humor, developing friendships with adults, spending time in community activities (theater, choir, not sports) where there are a range of ages involved.

im_a_flymom's picture

I wish I had some wonderful advice for you. Your story made me log off the computer and give my little girl a hug.

This is one of the many reasons I'm glad I homeschool my kids.

I hope things get better for you DS.

stxmom's picture

I know its been a few months since you posted your story but I'm just now reading it and have to respond. I hope things are better for your little girl now but if they aren't you need to find out your schools policy on bullying. Your daughter is being bullied and if you do not take control of the situation it will only get worse.