• Other Friendship Advice

Sixth grader in new school has trouble making friends

Published: March 21, 2016 | Last Updated: March 21, 2016 By | Reply Continue Reading
A mom worries that her sixth grader feels left out and miserable at a new school.



We moved into a new school district last year and my sixth grader daughter is having trouble making good friends at her new school. She hangs out with kids but doesn’t feel like she is an important part of any group. She feels like if she were absent or hung out with other kids, no one would notice.

She thinks this is because most of these kids have known each other longer. Compounding the situation is that these kids use social media, like Snapchat, to hang out after school. We don’t feel Snapchat is appropriate for her age and so she doesn’t have it—and feels left out.

She has made and still has really close friends from her prior school and her ballet class but how can I help guide and encourage her to break into a group at her new school? I’ve suggested inviting these new kids over and she says she doesn’t want to. She’s miserable about it. How can I help her? Thanks!

Signed, Pam


Dear Pam,

I’m sorry to hear your daughter is having trouble feeling close to her new friends. Entering an established social group as the “new girl” is challenging whether we’re talking about a 6th grader or an adult who is new on the job. Naturally the other group members will have a history that the new member doesn’t.

I’m glad you’re staying firm about Snapchat. In my opinion, sixth grade is too young for social media, and most sites even have members check a box that they are over the age of thirteen, although younger kids are on the sites. I’m sure you aren’t the only parent abiding by the rules even if your daughter thinks you are.

Since your daughter has a history of making good friends in and out of school, you know she has the necessary social skills to build and maintain friendships. For now, have her concentrate on the friends she has outside school. In school, if she concentrates on individuals rather than the group as a whole, she might be able to get to know some of the girls better. I always tell kids, If you have to try go get friends to like you, you’re probably not with the right friends.”

Finding a group might feel like an easier way to fit in and have a ready-made social life, but many kids feel more comfortable with one-on-one friendships too.

Good luck!

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: Helping children deal with friendship problems, OTHER ADVICE

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