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My daughter feels like an outcast at school: What should I do?

October 27, 2010 | By | 42 Replies Continue Reading
The effects of bullying can be long-lasting 

QUESTION

Dear Irene,

My daughter is 14-years-old. She is very bright and is in the top 1/3 in all her classes. She is also involved in a music group, does drama, teaches music to younger children, sports, dancing and ballet—a general all-rounder. However I worry as she has no close friends and she feels very much an outcast at school.

I have discussed this with her to get a picture of how she gets on with others. She is very friendly and is well thought of by adults so I can’t figure out what the problem is with peers. She has friends that she hangs out with occasionally but she always has to go to them or make the suggestion to meet up. No one ever comes looking for her. She is very conscious of everyone having a clique or a close friend and does not want to impose herself on others.

Last weekend she suggested a sleepover to two girls who are involved in her drama and music group and are also in her class but they said they weren’t free. The following day, one of them asked the other to have a sleepover at her house that weekend in front of my daughter. It is breaking my heart to see her so sad.

I really hoped that when she went to high school friendships would not be a problem. She was bullied for four years in her primary school and though there were only 6 girls in her class back then, she did not have any close friendships there either, even though they all (including the girl who bullied her) came to her birthday parties and sleepovers.

I am at a loss as to how to help her through this, as I feel by bringing up the subject I am reminding her of her lack of friends. I would really appreciate any advice you can give me.

Regards
Tricia

ANSWER

Dear Tricia,

You mentioned that your daughter was bullied for four years in primary school. One possibility is that the abuse she experienced has left a lingering emotional scar. It’s common for kids who are bullied to become fearful and anxious. It may have lowered your daughter’s self-esteem and made her hesitant in her relationships with other teens.

While your daughter seems to be otherwise well-adjusted, you are reporting a history of difficult relationships with friends that has been persistent and ongoing for many years. On that basis, my sense is that she might benefit from some focused short-term counseling to better evaluate and define the specific problems she is having and give her the tools she needs to foster healthy friendships. This can help her get over her hurt and move forward. In addition, it will help allay your anxiety because you’ll have someone else providing support for you.

I understand how badly you feel. Adolescent girls can be very brutal and they may be playing on your daughter’s anxieties. At a relaxed time, not during a crisis, sit down with her and ask her what she thinks is going on. Listen and be supportive. I suspect she is aware of her problems and will be open to the idea of speaking with a trained professional.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

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Category: HAVING NO FRIENDS, Social skills and friendship

Comments (42)

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  1. Lone says:

    I have never had any friends and am now 50. I realised around the age of 14 that some people are just meant to be alone and I am one of them. I just get on with being the best person I can be and spend my time with my family.

    • Madison says:

      I was in a very similar situation and then it got a lot better but now I am 14 in 8th grade and a year older than all my friends. It used to not matter but now I’m maturing more than the rest of them and I don’t know what to do! I want to wear makeup, and curl/straighten my hair, and date but nobody else in my grade is ready to. It’s difficult because if I act my age I’m called a “slut” for being 12-13 and doing what a 14 year old does but if I don’t I get bored/depressed!

  2. Iris says:

    I wish I knew your daughter ; I dont have much friends either I spend my weekends locked up in my room watching Pewdiepie I myself am 14. That would be cool if I could penpal your daughter she seems cool. :)

  3. dst001 says:

    One Possible Answer…Your child may be an introvert
    I just accepted the fact that my daughter is an introvert.

    When I was 15, I enjoyed having lots of friends. However, I am learning that my daughter prefers limited time with others and enjoys being a loner. To be honest, this goes against all I envisioned for my daughter. However, my preconceived ideas almost caused me to discourage her unique qualities and appreciate her individualism. She actually has a better grasp on life than I did at 15.

    Although this doesn’t cover all of the topics discussed here, I hope the following article helps some parents appreciate the importance of being an introvert. I couldn’t understand why my daughter didn’t have any close friends. This article, along with other books, helped.

    http://aspeneducation.crchealth.com/article-introverted-teens/

  4. Hoda says:

    Hi, 17 now, i was bullied both in primary school and high school.People who normally bully are attention seekers.I had the most difficult time any child could have.They did anything ganged up on me called me names, did such and such things.They planed beating me up after school.But stood up for myself but sadly kept it from my family.The High school one was worse and was going on for nearly two years. It was one of the days when my mother and i met in our houses door way after school.She knew i was upset and told me to explain everything.Thanks to my beloved mother is so strong if only i told her before i went through all this.She went to the school and sorted everything out the girls who where bulling me become my friends the next morning.I made friends and loads of them now. So please if you are a mother and your daughter is looking differently when you look at her. sit with her and ask her everything in her head.we teens tend to hid stuff we shouldn’t be but for me telling my mother was the best thing i have ever done and i will never let anyone bully me or someone else who i know i can help again.

    Hoda
    from Ogaden

  5. Anonymous says:

    This makes me feel better to see that I am not the only one who feels this way. I am constantly feeling like I have no frienfs in school. In primary I was really confident and in the first year of high school it was fine but now everyone I know has their own group of friends that they buy presents for at birthdays and xmas and they go shopping and have sleepovers together and I don’t have anyone like that.noew have very low confidence and I feel like I can’t talk to people in case my voice is too loud or quiet or I don’t say the right thing or that I’m boring and I try talking to my family about it but I don’t know what to do. I’ve never had a best friend and I feel like when I hang around with a group, they just want to be tigether and I’m the annoying little tag-along.

    • Meeta says:

      My family moved when my daughter was 15, a sophomore in HS. We thought she would transition well since she already knew one girl in her new school. But it turned out to be the opposite. It’s been a year and a half and she is not happy. She is missing her two best friends back home. She has made friends in her new school but not like the ones she had back home. She feels that it is very had to try and fit into the social groups. She has “Acquaintences” but not a really good friend. She is tired of trying. As a mother, I have definitely seen her self – esteem suffer. That was not the girl I knew two years ago. She has 1 1/2 years before college and I am faced with the dilemma…we have an opportunity to back home, should we move back or have her stick it out. It pains me to see the change in her.

    • Lauren says:

      I am 14 years old my mum and dad split up a couple of month ago they live in Seperated houses I live with my mum. As we have moved house I had to move schools. I have been at my new school about 3 month I am not liking it there tbh I feel like I dont fit in there and like I am alone as I have no close friends. I have told my mum to transfer me bak to my old school as I am unhappy here she says she is trying. In the last 5 or 6 weeks I have stopped going to school I only go either 2,3,4 times a week I am really unhappy and feel like an outcast. My school has sent a police officer round regarding my attendance also one of my teachers I have said I really dont like it there im not sure what to do plzz help..

      • Irene says:

        Hi Lauren,

        I’m glad you found this blog and wrote to us.

        I’m sure this is a difficult time for you if your parents have recently separated. Having to go to a new school with new friends makes that adjustment even more challenging.

        Is there someone in your new school, aside from your teacher (perhaps a guidance counselor or psychologist) whom you and your mom can speak to about the way you are feeling? When you start staying away from school, you begin to fall behind in your studies and it also will make you feel more isolated.

        I don’t know the school system in the UK. Perhaps another reader here does and can give you advice about how someone in your school can help you.

        Hang in there!

        Best, Irene

        • Lauren says:

          Yes there is a school counceler but I don5t feel comfortable sharing my thoughts with a teacher as I think that they will share it with other teacher then everyone will keep checking up on me.

        • RK says:

          Hi Lauren,

          I was in your shoes at 12 years old, my parents divorce was ugly and I was the target of school bullies.

          I learned two things that made the difference: (1) life has moments of complete change, where the past ceases to matter, like going to college, (2) at those moments you get to completely redefine who you are, and this time, with a little planning, you writ the script!

          To get there, you can’t give up, you need to strive for good grades (because that may define how rich you are later, and poverty has no benefits), and know that this won’t last forever.

          I now have a good relationship with each parent, good friends, a loving family of my own, a nice house, and a good career path. I hope this helps you make better decisions, and see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you do, you will have a better life. Best of luck to you.

    • Bridget says:

      Im twelve and i have.just started high school. In primary I was very popular and I had a boyfriend, bestfriend and i was friends with everyone. Then I started high school none of my close friends went to my school, my boufriend broke up woth my snd everyone made new friends really quickly, except not me. I am aware that I am a bit weird/different from everyone else as I have been called weird almost every day of my life. I tried making new friends and I always feel like a tag along/ third wheel. I have a boyfriend now but his friends still thonk im weird and I can’t always hang out with him as I don’t want to hold him back from being with his friends. My old best friend has made another best friend and sometimes I just feel replaced and an outcast. What should I do?

  6. Kate says:

    I was in that situation last year. I’m 14 now and I didn’t suffer bullying of any sort during my primary school years but last year when I started high school alone (as I had gone to a country school and my friends had gone to city schools) it was really difficult for me. The teachers had put people who were the only one from their primary schools together in hopes that we would befriend eachother and we did. I particularly latched onto one who seemed like my twin. She was the best person ever until she started calling me things involving vulgar words and sometimes hitting me. I forget what happened exactly, but we had a falling out. I was lost and alone for a while until we started befriending eachother again and then a mistake, which I admit was my fault, caused everything to go haywire. She had asked me on Facebook why I had lied to people, as a status, and everyone got involved, comforting her when she was targeting me. I remember at one point she told me to wake my parents up and tell them that ther daughter was a liar. I had apologized countless times by now, and I expected drama at school but she ignored me. Slowly, she alienated each of the girls in my friends group to not hang out with me and to ignore me. I’d email my mum during the day and tell her how I didn’t belong and I’d come home complaining about how I hated the school and almost every night I cried myself to sleep. My mum was freaking out, because dad was deployed overseas (military stuff) for only four out of the eight months and I was home for two hours by myself and she thought i would do things I would regret.
    For the rest of the year I focused on my studies and improved my grades and more or less hung out in the bathroom every break.
    So dearest mothers out there, what I may hve gone through night not be as bad as what your daughter/son is going through but I know it gets better. I have myself a best friend and a large group of loyal friends and the girl who bullied me left the shool because she was bullied, herself.
    (Sorry for the long post)

  7. Alli says:

    I am now 21 years old and I was this girl at 13. It’s hard to live this life and I’m sure it’s difficult to watch your daughter go through this.
    I had trouble making friends in high school, but I made friends. I was not a drinker or promiscuous and that made me an outsider, but my dad taught me that people who did these things weren’t bad people and that turned me around. Some of my friends did some bad things but that didn’t influence me. I finally found my place.
    Then, I went to college. I relied on my studies from a young age and now I’m a senior at Georgia Tech. I am comfortable in my own skin and I have friends. Life wasn’t easy in the beginning, but I taught me to be tough, to be proud of who I am, and how to be a true friend.
    I believe that all of this success is due to the support from my parents. They were always there for me. I didn’t go a day without hearing someone was proud of me. I still call them every day for advice or just to talk. My advice is be there for your daughter. You can’t protect her from bullies or being excluded, but you can make her the best woman she can be and if people don’t accept her then, screw them.

  8. Julie K says:

    I feel very sad today when my 13YO daughter called me asking what time am I picking her up. She goes to her friend’s house after school on Fridays. when I asked why, she started crying. Her friend is ditching her for someone else and I feel hurt by it. I am reading on the comments here and my daughter’s situation is similar. There are 2 girls involved and my daughter does not get invited to places where they go together… How do I make my daughter feel good about herself on times like this. It is breaking my heart watching this situation… Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  9. Amanda says:

    It is so nice to read all of these comments and stories because my 13 y/o is in the same boat- she is sweet (to me), great with adults (they are always so impressed wiTh her ability to converse intelligently with them) & little children, she does very well in school always on the A/B honor role, she’s rather pretty, and she does competitive cheerleading. She even made the school cheer squad. The problem is she rarely seems to get along with her peers. The school year starts off great but within a few months she starts complaining about how kids start picking on her. It’s been going on for the last 3 years, we even changed school districts so it’s not the same kids either. By the end of her school cheer season she had made enemies of most if not all of the squad. It was painful to watch her perform at the last game where she stood alone while the other girls took pictures with each other, laughed and chatted. No one wanted her to be in their pictures and no one included her in their group. At one point it looked like she and another girl had heated words
    but when I asked her what
    happened and why she was
    standing alone she just kind of
    shrugged and said the other
    cheerleaders are just mean to her
    and push her around and she’s
    never done anything to warrant
    this kind of treatment. Now, I wasn’t born yesterday and I don’t
    think she’s simply the victim. This
    seems to be an intense
    reoccurring pattern with her. She
    is doing *something* to turn these kids off bc it doesn’t just “happen”- all of these random kids don’t objectively decide to start ostracizing her. I can’t get her to acknowledge or admit that MAYBE she is saying or behaving in a negative way that might generate some of these problems- but according to her it’s always everyone elses fault. I know her feelings we hurt by the cheer situation and from previous incidents in school so I’m certain her self esteem is low. My husband and I constantly try to boost it up but we don’t know what to do to work on the root cause that is generating the negativity from her peers. she’s very outspoken, assertive even, which are great qualities but I don’t think they are helping her. We want her to be herself but how do you guide her to learn social cues so she understands when to pipe up and when to keep her opinions to herself? Every situation is so different, it would be impossible. She points the finger at everyone else saying it’s not her, it’s them but that just isn’t adding up. we feel so bad for her and the fact that none of her peers seem to like her. She struggles with making and keeping friends and is always the inviter, not the invitee to parties or get togethers. She is an only child and was the center of the family attention for a long time. Her father & I divorced when she was 6 so it was just her & I for awhile before I remarried earlier this year. She & her dad have a rocky relationship- he’s always been a jerk to her, making her
    cry over irrelevant silly things and belittling her (borderline
    emotionally abusive- to both of us, hence the divorce) and doesn’t really support her by attending any if her school/sport events.
    Her relationship with her stepdad
    is really great and supportive though. I think some of the social issues stems from her father, we moved around a lot (ex was military then I had a job transfer), & there wasn’t a lot of consistency in our lives up until the last 2 years. I did my best as a single mom, which was hard for both if us. She also doesn’t seem to have
    a good sense of boundries which I
    probably didn’t help as a single
    mom and her growing up around
    mostly adults; she’ll argue with
    teachers/coaches or other adults
    & kids, calling other kids’ parents
    (!! Without our knowledge, mind
    you) to ask if she can hang out
    with their child, ignoring basic
    rudamentary etiquitte when
    talking to people she dislikes. I
    mean, it’s truly shocking to us
    when she does these things bc she definitely has/knows/uses
    manners the majority of the time
    but we just can’t wrap our heads
    around why she possibly thought
    it was okay/appropriate to say or
    do what she did. It’s almost like
    she’s oblivious to just how
    inappropriate something was and
    we’re not always there to see to correct this behaviorlike at school or practice, unless its brought to our attention. We can’t educate for common sense and every single situation, you know?
    My husband & I are loving and attentive parents, we do spoil her some but she doesn’t have a cell phone or tv/computer in her room, she has chores and responsibilities, and doesn’t have a lot if time to watch much tv. Were not overly hard on her nor are we softies. We’re at a loss and I’m worried for her self esteem and future relationships. Middle school is already hard enough for any child. How can we help her navigate this better? Any thoughts on what steps we should take??

    • Amy says:

      Since your daughter feels like such an outcast, and you’re worried that something about her personality might be encouraging bullying behavior, she needs to know that she has you, unequivocally, on her side. I know that you are on her side, but sometimes kids, especially when they feel like outcasts, look for “evidence” to prove their theory they are unlikable. I know you’re doing everything you can to help her resolve the problem. I think, perhaps, that rather than being that “problem solver”, she might benefit more from your unconditional regard and support around her friendships and that a professional therapist might be a better option to help her navigate her relationship issues. She sounds like she needs both that soft place to fall (you) and someone objective with whom she can be vulnerable and honest for an hour a week, and not have that person also be the loving mom who will kiss her wounds.
      Thirteen-year-olds are in a developmental stage where they’re separating and individuating from their parents, developing their emotional independence, and figuring out who they are that’s separate from their families. They don’t want to share everything with their parents, and that’s a healthy part of their development. At this age, mother/daughter relationships are often particularly volatile.
      For kids (and adults) with low self-esteem, admitting faults and failures is particularly difficult, because they already feel so badly about themselves and fear judgment. They become defensive, preventing them from developing and utilizing personal insight.
      When she comes to her advice, rather than telling her how she could things differently, if you ask her open ended questions, and allow her to problem solve with some positive feedback, that will help her develop problem solving skills.

      How do you think Coach Smith felt when you argued with him? Can you think of a way that she might have listened to your point of view?

      Since calling Mrs. Jones and asking if Susie wanted to hang out didn’t work, what do you think might be a better way of doing it next time? What do you think Susie was feeling when she found out that you called her mom? How do you think you might invite Susie over next time that might give you a better result?

      You might also call her teacher and guidance counselor to see if they have any insights, feedback, or suggestions. Also, be a good role model for her with you own friends. When you’re making plans, tell her what you’re doing, and why you’re using that approach. Show her how you deal with disappointment, when your plans don’t work out. When looking for a therapist, look for one that specializes in children and adolescents, because they generally have lots of experience treating kids who have socialization problems.

      Your daughter is lucky to have such a caring, thoughtful mom. Good luck.

      • Cari says:

        Thank you for shareing such great advice. It seems like I am reading (and hearing) the same stories over and over again .and so many parents are at such a loss. If only all these 13/14 yo girls could see they are not alone in it.

  10. Linda McDaid says:

    Wow, i didnt realize there are so many girls going through the same thing. I think the idea of a website for these girls to connect and form a group friendship it a very good one. I do believe that there actually are one or two already out there. worth giving it a try. I will let you know how it goes as i will research that. Thank you and lets try to meet maybe take the girls to Dave n Busters, the beach, the movies……..slumber party? Will be in touch soon. Linda

  11. Kimberly says:

    My daughter was physically assaulted by a girl she met in grade 7. She developed an concussion and had to use online school for a year. After that she refused to go back because all her friends forgot about her and really they weren’t her friends to begin with…I knew that but hoped fir the best. Every single one turned their back on her.
    Today she us in the 9th grade and still dies the online school which she us in advanced classes and has all a and b grades.
    In the school system she really struggled and we had issues with power plays at times. It was really awful. Socially she is in the same place as she was when she was in school.
    The area in which we live us very upper income and I had to choose between either a very Hugh crime area or this place…we lucked out with an home here and thought it be a nice place to raise our child.
    Most if the kids are on drugs. Some if my child’s friends were users in the 8grade.
    It’s an epidemic I believe. I am very thankful she choose to be alone than to be with them. Yet I worry for her.
    I try my best to be there for her but she needs friends her iwn age. There just isn’t any, I too had the same issues growing up but I ran along with kids who used and drank for awhile cause I couldn’t deal with being all alone.
    In the end I was alone and spent my life just with my husband and now child…and our two dogs.
    I just don’t understand people and honestly I just don’t care anymore.
    It breaks my heart to read your stories…please keep being there for your children…they have us you know? Some have no one. My mom used to scream at me for imagined crimes and my dad ignored me…I try to be the mom to my child I wished I would if had. Sometimes we just do what we can and that is all we can do but to look for the good and try to let the bad go,

  12. Irene says:

    Hi,

    As a mom myself, I understand your concern. 

    The transition from middle to high school can be challenging, both socially and academically. It sounds like in your daughter’s case, the difficulty is exacerbated because of the dramatic change in the size and culture of her new school.

    Here are a few thoughts: 

    • Can you encourage your daughter to invite one or two classmates to your home or a movie before school starts—or after school begins? 
    • Can you interest your daughter in any after-school activities or clubs where she might connect with other girls her age?
    • Does she have any interests she might like to pursue (art, drama, sports) at school or out of school that might help her meet like-minded girls?
    • Does she have any cousins or other family members around her age that she might see more often until she makes some friends? 
    • Would she be interested in some time of part-time work or volunteer activity (even babysitting) to fill some of her idol hours?  

    Be a good listener but be cautious about placing additional social pressures on her—than those she already feels herself. Remind her that her situation is normal and then it takes time to make new friends. It seems like this isn’t the right time to take away her relationship with her boyfriend.

    Hope this helps. Best, Irene  

  13. Anonymous says:

    My 14 year old daughter comes from a grade eight class of 17. She started high school where she knew absolutely no one and it was very hard for her and she lost contact with her elementary girlfriends (all 3 of them). She was able to make a handful of friends who she would chum with during school but never outside of school. She does have a boyfriend whom she doesn’t see very often but they text all the time. Today she was invited to a beach party with a girlfriend from school. We were both so excited because I really want her to have balance in her life and not just hang with the boyfriend. Well I dropped her off and picked her up 10 hours later ready for the whole play by play only to have her get in the car in tears. She spent the entire time by her self because she knew no one but the host who was too busy chatting it up with her friends whom she had known all her life. I was devastated. My daughter is smart and loves to have fun. I find her becoming more and more withdrawn because she feels so out of place. She wants to have the girlfriends and the fun time making memories with them but it is just not happening. I don’t know what to do and it breaks my heart. She is already worried about returning to school and being alone. Our small city has a huge suicide problem with more than 10 teen suicides in the last year. It is unfortunately something we all worry about here. We have asked her to pull away from the boyfriend and try spending more time with the girlfriends but this breaks my heart to the point where I just want to let her spend every minute with him if that is what she wants. But I know she would rather have friends to hang with but when this happens she falls back into the boyfriend security blanket and I really can’t blame her. She doesn’t drink or have sex so she stays away from those crowds. Coming from a small country school of 150 and moving to a city high school of 1000 has it’s disadvantages for sure. She was never bullied and the school was small enough where there were no real cliques. However it was a safety net that taught no real social skills. I am at a loss and so sad for her. Any advice I can give her would be wonderful.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant, I will explain to my daughter that the popular girls often cater to the lowest forms of mean behaviour, selfish, narcistic and gossipy. They are often non achievers and hum drum in their adult lives.
    My daughter is creative, funny, empathic, loves dance, good grades, pretty, into fashion etc. the only child. We moved luckily she still has friends from when she was in kindy. She sees them a few times a year but they are not her everyday school local friends. She broke down and told me she is not 1 of 20 invited to a party.

    It doesn’t make it any easier for the teen when they are going through it and you have to stand by and watch! Unfortunately there is no quick fix.

    I feel the same sentiments shared with the other parents, hang in there and thankyou for sharing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    You just described word for word my 14yr old daughter. I am so scared and cant seem to find any answers from anyone. We have tried counseling, teen parent groups and still my daughter is an outcast. Recently her “friends” at her pro cheer team ditched her in public while dark out and my daughter had to walk home alone.(they threw her cell and she couldn’t see to find it) she cried so hard as I. I made a HUGE mistake when I confronted this young mean girl. It made it worst on my daughter. ALL because my big mouth and pain got the best of me. I am not proud I allowed myself to get to that point but damn it I have had it with her being mistreated! They only “friend” she has ditches her, invited her once to a sleep over ONLY to make her the punch line of the night. Yet my daughter still wants to be her friend. I don’t understand, and fear of the what ifs. I wish all the parents on here lived near. Maybe then true honest friendships could be made.

    • Marie says:

      Hello,
      My daughter is 12 and all this your talking about started last year in 5th grade, I am worried she will become a follower. I don’t know where to turn. Our High School has a problem with kids on drugs, sex, alcohol. My daughter has always been nice and stayed away from the mean girls. Now she wants to hang around with the girl who puts down how she looks.My daughter is pretty and has pride in herself. My daughter gets along with everyone. I don’t want her to be in with the propular crowd. I seen it first hand with the football players in high school and the sex and drinking and it’s not good. I was strong enough to walk away and not get involved with that. These kids are not taught loyalty to there friends they turn on you in a split second Please let me know if you should find any information on this I would love to hear it. I am a nervous wreck.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This story hits home and my heart strings. My daughter who is 14yr is going through the same issues. My daughter to is quite quiet, but friendly. She is smaller then the other girls and that was always the issue. But now that she’s been on growth hormones for 2yrs she is almost as tall and developed as the rest. Daily I ask my daughter how her day was. Everyday it was the same. No new friends and another girl made a nasty comment. I have sought out counseling, involved the school hell we did the MTV Anti Bulling course and it only got worst!! My heart breaks and aches for my daughter. No one has answers or advice we have never tried. I am scared when she starts HS this fall it will lead to disaster. I am scared and feel alone and I’m an adult. I could never fully understand the pain my daughter feels. I cant relate as I always had many friends. If you ever find the magic answer please pass it along as I shall. God bless and your daughter shall be in our thoughts and prayers.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This story hits home and my heart strings. My daughter who is 14yr is going through the same issues. My daughter to is quite quiet, but friendly. She is smaller then the other girls and that was always the issue(so we thought). But now that she’s been on growth hormones for 2yrs she is almost as tall and developed as the rest. Daily I ask my daughter how her day was. Everyday it was the same. No new friends and another girl made a nasty comment. I have sought out counseling, involved the school hell we did the MTV Anti Bulling course at our school and it only got worst!! My heart breaks and aches for my daughter. No one has answers or advice we have never tried. I am scared when she starts HS this fall it will lead to disaster. I am scared and feel alone and I’m an adult. I could never fully understand the pain my daughter feels. I cant relate as I always had many friends. If you ever find the magic answer please pass it along as I shall. God bless and your daughter shall be in our thoughts and prayers.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Your daughter is experiencing the exact same situation my daughter is in. I feel so helpless. She is such a wonderful girl. All adults love her but not children of the same age.

    • Marie says:

      I am in the same exact place as you are. Please let me know if you should find out any information on this matter.

      Thanks!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wow, at least I can say what a relief it is to find others out there who have gone through this and that my daughter is not alone. We moved when my now 13 yo was in 7th grade. She started mid-year and had a horrible time fitting in. Everyone already had their cliques from elementary school and she could not find a place to fit in. At the end of the year she tried out for the school play and immediately found where she belonged. However, when the play ended, so did the friendships. Now she is in 8th grade and things have not improved. She even joined Student Council to make new friends. No luck. She went on a trip to Disneyland and the other 6 girls were already friends and did not include my daughter. She was miserable…at Disneyland! The other girls just wanted to sit with eachother. In class the other day, the teacher had the kids go around to one another and ask what is it about them they should work on. Stupid assignment for middle schoolers (I’m on the verge of calling the teacher out, but don’t want to be “one of those parents”.) My daughter got things like “be less nice” and “don’t always follow the rules”. Basically she is being called out for being a goody-goody. I told her that kids don’t value working hard and being respectful to adults, but then she opened up a whole new can of worms and told me the popular girls are smart and respectful, but they are also pretty. Ugh. My daughter is beautiful. She may not be voluptious and dress skimpy, but she is beautiful. I think the problem again is that these “popular” girls have a following from elementary school as well. My heart aches for her. She just wants a bff. (Not someone who will ditch her for someone better at lunch…seems to happen a bit.) What do I do? Do I really consider outside counseling? Thank you!

  20. Anonymous says:

    I find the whole situation of the friendship issues my daughter is experiencing as heartbreaking. She has just turned 12 and has been attending a new secondary school since Sept 2011. Only my daughter and a new so called friend were new to the school as the others knew each other from primary. There are various groups of girls (already formed at the previous school) that will not let my daughter in as a friend so she ends up with one girl who isnt particulry kind to her. We as parents have tried all sorts such as inviting others back, taking them out, inviting them to parties etc which all seem to work out during the event, but back at school the situation ends up exactly the same again! My daughter is quite quiet, but very friendly, caring and kind. It seems to me that the other girls are very selfish and only care about themselves. It really is so stressful as I just want my daughter to have friends and be happy. I just don’t know what to do, it’s very upsetting and I feel distraught. Any advice appreciated. Thanks.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe how similar our stories are.

    My daughter (aged 13) went through exactly the same at her junior school and I was hoping that joining senior school she would settle and make different friends, BUT at the moment she is feeling she has no friends.

    She has regularly been called names and taunted by one of her supposed best friends, ‘a toxic friend’ I think is a term used. Two other of my daughters so called friends decided to join the ‘toxic’ friends gang and left my poor daughter on her own. Constant taunting and calling my daughter names behind her back was a daily occurance to the point my daughter kept phoning me during lunchtimes in tears.

    I encouraged her to get to know other girls and she tried to spend more time with others but none of them wanted to meet up with her outside of school. The situation is worse because it’s my daughters 13 birthday coming up and she’d invited 3 of these new friends and they all have messed her around and it’s obvious they are making excuses not to come. Infact one of them is now ignoring my daughter at school. If it wasn’t for this 13th birthday (I’ve bought tickets to go and see a band for my daughter and 3 friends) then it wouldn’t put my daughter in the position of having to think about it so much.

    My daughter is already seeing the school counsellor but she now doesn’t want to see her because one of these ‘new friends’ goes to see her. Going to seek external help isn’t an option as we can’t afford it, we are already paying extortionate school fees so I am heavily reliant on my ability to help her.

    The school have told me this is normal stuff, but when I have my daughter responding to me saying well no-one falls out with their friends like she does and that when she makes a friend they end up falling out!

    I find it very difficult to deal with and have to work hard at not quizzing her about her school day and who she was with etc etc and know I have to back off and make it not so much an issue. I find it very hard to make the transition from when she was younger and you could give advice to now, where I know she has to work through alot of it on her own and just be there for her and not give opinions or judge!

  22. Anonymous says:

    too bad we don’t live in the same town. my daughter would likely get along well with your daughter. She sounds exactly like your daughter. maybe we need a Friendmaker.com (like matchmaker) in this world…wishing your daughter the best…

    • hana says:

      My daughter, who is also 14, is going through the same situation your teen daughters are facing right now… it seems like it is wrong to be a nice person today in this world. I am also hurting and feeling somewhat angry because I can’t do nothing more then I have done when she was younger because it does not work anymore. And I agree with you… I was thinking some day ago that would be awesome if there was something like friendmaker.com so they could connect and know that they are not alone. I wish you all the best and would be great if we all live in the same town, so our daughters could be friends. God bless you all

      • anonymous says:

        It is comforting to hear these other stories…..feeling like we r all alone here:( My daughter too is 14. The fact that she was raised to put others first and always be nice to others seems to have backfired. She is an only child who excels at everything. She is active in many activities. She is loved by all adults who know her. She has never been bullied by peers,but it is more of a situation of being excluded outside of school. She had a great and busy summer,but now after just the first two weeks of high school, she is already the odd man out.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Looking for answers to the original question- BC my daughter is a senior and has cycled through “friends” –
    we can not understand why she seems to be “outside” everyone…
    we listen to her and we watch the other kids bc we go to events, we meet the kids etc… (smallish 3A school)..
    but still our daughter wants so badly to have a BFF and they last or seem to be tight for a few months then the BFF’s move on….
    Our daughter will not invite others to our house – it is boring and 30 minutes from the town and school….
    but these friends “ALL” have sex, drink, and drink etc…. these are activities we have hoped and instilled in our kids in hopes that they abstain from these until later in life.

    Still it breaks our heart to see our daughter looking for greener pastures and constantly “pleasing” the current “friend’ in what we see as efforts to have at least “one ” Friend….
    Smart, intelligent (top 15%) , witty (to a fault – sometimes she can’t put the breaks to let others have the light), pretty (others consider her very attractive ), athletic, But still we see her struggle with the friends….
    She seems to never demand or ask a thing of the “friend” instead she will dump family to do anything asked of these latest “Friends”…..
    We encourage giving, sharing, she is wonderful camp counselor and works great with other kids…
    we feel that she can talk to us and tell us anything – including the sticky subject of “call us if you can’t drive home bc you have been drinking” (we tell her not to drink but know that it is going on and do not wish to condone the drink but also want her to make important critical life altering decisions ….etc)
    maybe the short answer is that she is the square peg in the round hole – right now——? but we don’t see her be an “individual” when around her “friend” — so this is the difficult part – — we applaud the “individual” “be true to yourself — “what does CAthy want to do?” (this is what we ask her when we see her bend or change her plans……

    help! or maybe we have the answer…. already

  24. Anonymous says:

    My son is 15 and sounds a lot like your daughter. As an only child he relates well to adults, who like him and talk easily with him. He has always had difficulty with his peers and although he has friends he does not have a best friend. He has no problem being alone, and seems to like his private time. Students respect him and elect him to band council, student council, etc., but he certainly does not get a lot of party invitations. His dad and I have chosen not to talk about the situation, unless he brings it up and wants to discuss it. We feel that making a big issue of it would make him feel worse – he knows better than us what is happening and I want him to feel that his parents love and accept him the way he is – not make him feel he lacks something. My husband teaches at a university and says kids like this frequently do very well in a college setting, when the whole high school popularity issues are no longer so important.

  25. Lauren says:

    Tricia—have you tried homeopathy? Taking your daughter to see a well trained dr. of homeopathy could easily address something that western docs/therapists can’t help….it’s worth a shot……it’s not expensive and I think the results almost border on magic…good luck

  26. Hadyn Thomas says:

    I have been where your daughter is right now. When I was at school I had friends but none were really that close. I never saw any of them outside of school. I was bullied throughout my school years, also.

    Like your daughter I simply did not fit in. I was interested in more than football (soccer) and mindless gossip. Sure, boys can be just as bitchy as girls, if not more so. Yes, I was different. I also got on better with adults. Being an individual is not always easy.

    Your daughter sounds like just the kind of person I would have wanted to hang out with because she sounds very mature, individual and interesting. Like the previous comment states, these qualities may well be what puts other people off. Your daughter is not “cool”. I really hate using that word but I am sure you know what I mean.

    If your daughter were to dumb down, gossip, kill off some of her activities and pretty much follow the crowd she would probably become more popular, but what a price to pay.

    I would go with what Dr Irene has recommended and talk with her and find out how she really feels. I personally think the worst thing your daughter can do is change simply to fit in, but with a bit more self-confidence she may well be able to find someone else her own age who is like her and form a great friendship. Thankfully, it happened for me and we have been friends ever since.

    I wish you and your daughter all the best.
    Hx

  27. Anonymous says:

    So your daughter is kind, intelligent, active, an “all-rounder”. Though what I am about to write probably runs counter to every instinct towards logic and good judgment you might have, here it is: her having all those good qualities might actually be the problem.

    Would that we lived in a society where good qualities like your daughter’s are valued, but we don’t. Lots of people (kids and adults alike) really just want to hang out with the person they find most entertaining, and “entertaining” often means gossipy, b!tchy, back-stabby (to wit: the ubiquity and popularity of celebrity gossip and reality TV content in the media). Lots of people don’t really have interests, so your daughter’s activities will make no difference to them, i.e. they will not make her seem more interesting or attractive.

    Also, lots of people (kids and adults alike) want to hang out with people who will join in/enable certain behaviours. E.g. drinking or drugs. They’re not necessarily addicts, but if what they like to do on the weekends is get their drink on, they’re only going to want to hang out with people who want to do the same.

    There’s a great essay called “Why Nerds Are Unpopular” on the internet that you might want to read. (I’m not saying your daughter is a nerd. It’s more that her approach might be out of step with what actually works. You know how people keep electing politicians who just make promises people want to hear than can never be kept, and not the politician with a sound understanding of the issues and a well-reasoned plan to address them? It’s much the same dynamic.)

    Being popular is *work.* It means adapting to the values and priorities of the group you want to join (when you are the leader, then you can change the rules of the group). It means faking whatever needs to be faked in order to fit in. Our society doesn’t actually value individualism, it just claims it does.

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