• Other Friendship Advice

My daughter doesn’t seem to fit in with classmates

October 8, 2016 | By | Reply Continue Reading
A mom asks how she can help her daughter fit in at school.

QUESTION

Hello,

My daughter has just started year 8 at school and has always mostly been content in her own company until recently.

Throughout primary school she had one friend who was quite dominant. She didn’t really get invited along to parties and sleepovers. My stomach would turn each time she was left out but I realized that it was more about me being bothered than her.

Toward the end of year 7 my daughter became increasingly aware of her lonesomeness. She tried to “fit in” but failed to be successful. She is a bright helpful girl and her teachers adore her. The girls she tried to be friends with would tease her and she felt excluded a lot of the time.

Now it is bothering her and it is churning my stomach. I have asked her to keep working hard and to not worry, that you can’t force relationships. I don’t know how to help her. Have you any proactive suggestions? Thank you.

Signed, Ava

ANSWER

Hi Ava,

I’m sorry your daughter is struggling and doesn’t seem to fit in with her classmates. You’re daughter is fortunate to have a mom who can differentiate her own needs from those of her child. Having these emotional boundaries will help you assist her.

Teachers who can compare students to their peers are often the best evaluators of children’s social skills. So it would be very worthwhile for you to talk to your daughter’s teachers about their observations. For example, if they can point to specific mannerisms or behaviors that are off-putting to others, you can work with her on making changes (e.g. to body language or facial expression). If your daughter is shy, you can encourage her to maintain eye contact, smile and initiate conversation with her classmates.

Tell her there are other lonely girls in her class but she might not realize who they are since kids often act more confidently than they feel. Suggest that she seek out other students who seem kind and friendly, not necessarily those who are already in tight groups. You can also encourage her to invite friends home after-school to work on a project or do something they both enjoy.

Sometimes a few sessions with the school counselor or a professional therapist can help kids establish social goals and fine-tune their relationship skills.

Hopefully with a little coaching, you’ll be able to build her confidence and she’ll feel more comfortable socially.

Signed, Amy Feld


*Amy Feld, PhD, MSW has trained and worked as a child psychologist.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this or any other post is intended to substitute for medical, psychiatric or clinical diagnosis/treatment. Rather, all posts are written as the type of advice that one friend might give to another.

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Category: OTHER ADVICE, Teen friendships

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