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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:01 am 
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One of my children is in Year 2 in a small year group with only five or six girls in total in it. The numbers vary a little as there is quite a bit of coming and going. It's a state primary but children travel into it from quite a distance.

My daughter takes a while to get to know other children properly to the point where playing with others happens consistently smoothly and easily (unless they are much older than her), but from the things she says she really does want a best friend and is often asking me to invite particular girls round. The problem is that either the Mums do not respond or come up with an available date and if they do, rarely does she get invited back if I do manage to get a girl to come round here to play. She asks me why these children don't come round to play, or why she doesn't go round to their house, and I'm more and more at a loss as to what to say to her.

There is a boy she has played with regularly for maybe 18 months now, and that works really well as they see one another approx weekly at one another's houses and have a great time just doing whatever they think of for themselves. But I don't think this will be, say by the time she is ten, the same as being part of the girls at school.

She has been unlucky with girls she has started to get to know leaving, one parent doesn't like my child playing with hers because of an incident that took place nearly two years ago that wasn't really my child's fault, others don't respond to messages or won't accept an invitation round to play because someone else might invite them round that day. There is only one girl whose Mum accepts invitations and invites my daughter back, which is great. But at school that girl is best friends with someone else, so my daughter rarely plays with her at school. My daughter plays quite often with her younger sister now I think. Before the younger one started school I think she spent a reasonable amount of time playing on her own, and younger sister fills a gap now at times.

I've tried talking to the school, but I don't really seem to get anywhere, I don't suppose there is anything they can do. "We can't make them play together" is what they say. Headteacher just says that she needs to look elsewhere for friends. She already does lots after school but it's all a bit "organised" and doesn't yield friends.

It's not easy to change schools as they are all full with waiting lists, have got more than one child to move, and I can never really know if it might be a lot of upheaval for not much benefit.

Sorry to drone on, what are your thoughts please?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:23 am 
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sometimes i think its a wonder we have children with all the worry they cause :shock:

I have 2 dd's, so i know about girls and have worried about friendships etc just like you.

With dd1 i was forever asking her who she played with and really felt she didnt have enough friends. She led a very organised life with many after school clubs and had friends there but often there was not time to have a friend over with time to just be kids. What changed for her was when she was 11 we eased back on the clubs and some of the girls locally asked her over the park and bike riding, She says now, 4 years later, that was her best time. She never had loads of friends, and dosnt still, but enjoys the ones she has. I look back and wished i had not worried so much.

I had learnt my lesson with dd2 so when she used to tell me she didnt have a best friend i would bite my tongue and try not comment with my worries. What i didnt realise was that by not having a best friend the whole class thought she was there friend! in her last year of primary she was voted house captain and on her report it explained how she was a very popular friendly member of the class! All that worry about her not having a best friend i thought!


Also both mine get on well with boys and have close friends as boys, its ok if they arnt one of the girls! :) So try not to worry, easier said then done, but they do find there way :)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:28 am 
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Mystery you have my sympathies this kind of thing is horrid to watch as a parent. Having been in a not dissimilar situation with DD2 (now Y7), I hope I can offer advice with some perspective.
Think carefully about whether you could face moving schools, if you think the issue is serious enough and IF you think that would resolve the issue, it might not...
Continue to encourage your DD to befriend people but discourage the whole concept of 'best friends' which, ultimately only serves to exclude children (as you know only too well).
Try not to worry about the 'invite back'. TBH there can be a multitude of reasons for it not being forthcoming and many of them are probably not 'sinister'.
Try not to 'manipulate' friendships, it is rarely successful and can cause hours of angst, sadly the school are right in that we none of us can force someone to like us.
Most importantly, and with the benefit of considerable hindsight remember she is only in Y2. My DD2 is uncrecognisable from the child she was then. Her early 'losses' and lack of a special friend gave her an independence which served her really well in the later primary years as cliques of girls manipulated each other and she ended up a more confident and popular child than I could ever have envisaged at Y2. If you can possibly bear to just keep supporting and encouraging her, whilst also having a life outside school and with her siblings which will give her other areas in which to feel confident. Good luck.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:40 am 
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We went thorough something very similar except DD's class had roughly 15 girls and about the same number in the other year group class. To us it seemed friendships that form at your DD's age are more to do with parents' preferences ie the parents that got on in the playground seem to have their children playing together. From Y3 things changed and my DC had a close friend which she is still very much her close friend today.

Infact my DD has quite a few friends but only one she goes for playdates. Perhaps the other parents are just uncomfortable to let their DC come to our house so we just leave it like that and they just play at school. We did try and and some would come or she would go and in the morning I would meet the parents in the playground, they look the opposite of where I am.

Did you try and find out from her if she plays with the other girls during school time? I wouldnt rush and change school because of this alone as friendship seem to mature when they start junior school. If you have other issues which with the school then looking elsewhere may be helpful. Dont forget the school may be full but if you are on the waiting list places do come up even at some good schools, people do put they kids names down when they are having a horrid time but by the time they get the phone call things may have improved. Do you also have any junior school nearby as some of these tend to have an extra class or separate admission into Y3.

You may also find if she does extra stuff outside school, she may meet other girls she may get on with esp if they share the same interest. There are more activities available from 7 years so that may be another option to explore to build friendships.

OT : I watched on the BBC local news on Friday that there were families without places as all admissions are now handled by KCC, that means it may be much more bureacratic and cumbersome to move a child as it is no longer a case of a school with empty space giving your child a place. KCC werent for the idea and they were kind of blaming the previous govt for that. Some had stayed for months without a space and home educating. The featured parent was in Tonbridge and the primary school a stone throw away from her house so that may be something worth putting into account if you consider moving her.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:00 pm 
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Hey thanks everyone for all those kind and wise words too. I really do hope things change as you all say they are likely to. No I try not to ask about friends, who you played with etc, as have been advised this could make her worry when otherwise she might not, but it all comes out at odd moments, and from what other adults say to me in passing from time to time.

The thing that concerns me most is the tiny numbers, and hence the limited scope for change, and the unfriendly parents who make me feel like inviting their child round to play is a sin. I'm not worried about the lack of invitations back but it bugs me as the work all falls in my direction and my child generally has visitors on her territory when she would really love to go and see other people's houses. She can't understand why friends don't invite back as that is what I teach her to do if someone does invite her (rarely happens 'though!). Also, I really do not know what to say to my daughter when she wants a particular child to come round again, who clearly had a good time last time, and the Mum has all kinds of excuses that are clearly not true.

I already feel like my daughter is a bit hurt by all this unfriendliness. Sherry, doesn't it make you and your daughter feel a bit of an outcast, or is this all just typical? That's how I've felt ever since school started. Perhaps the Mums are all opposite to me in lots of ways, but naively, I thought everyone (or at least some) would want their children to play happily together and be pleased with invitations! I'm not from round here, so maybe I've just got completely the wrong expectations, but I do get the feeling that more is going on for other children than for mine both at this school and others.

Why do people say yes to parties, but not to other arrangements? One solution could be to have a party every week, but I think I'd rather die!


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:18 pm 
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Location: Maidstone
Mystery it really does make me feel an outcast but I have learnt to just live with it and get on with my life. There is no hanging around in the playground or playground gossip for me. All I just care about is that she is happy but its sometimes a little harder being on the wayside. Just this last week she went away for a few days on a residential trip. We were asked to complete forms with 5 other girls name my DD would like to share the dorm with. She told me she had discussed it with her friends who she would share with but when they got there she didnt get to share with any of the girls she had put on the form. I just thought perhaps the other girls parents had other ideas of who their kids should share the dorm with. Like you rightly said I try not to make a big fuss of it now but deep down my heart will be sobbing.

Its just a hard fact I have come to accept that people would rather their kids are with those similar to them. Even Sutton Trust proved this so if you are a bit diff in the school it can be hard going and moving schools wont necessarily make it better. Mine is average size, with two classes in each year group.

Reason I ended up the DIY 11+ route was I really dont talk to the other mums so I couldnt get any references of good tutors. A lot of them did have tutors as my DD wanted one because most of her friends did.

We do have a lot of other outside school social engagements where she has some really good friends so that balances things out in the end.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:33 pm 
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Oh how I feel for you both, been there done that, got the t-shirt.

There have been times I've cried myself stupid worrying over dd and her friends. But you know, when they get to secondary, it all changes. The girls are no longer influenced by their mothers. They make (and break) friends for their own reasons.

DD was in a class of 5 girls (but overall there were 12 girls - a mix of year 5 and 6) and we lived outside the village. If it wasn't for the fact that we took another girl every day to school who also lived in the town dd would have spent the majority of her primary years alone. Don't get me wrong, she played with them in the playground and got invited to parties, but get to come to our house, pah, too much like hard work is more like it, rather than anything else. People want it easy these days, if you don't live next door or have overwhelming reasons as to why they should be friends (like daddy is extremely rich and there's a pony to ride on) then they just can't be bothered.

I really wouldn't worry too much - even though it's killing you inside. Once she gets to secondary it will all change.

In the meantime, explain to your little girl that perhaps their parents work and can't always get their children there. If you want to be brutally honest, I'd tell her that sometimes people are just strange, and no matter how hard you try they just won't join in (I did this with my dd, it helps so much later on in other situations too).

It's hard growing up - and sometimes it's harder to be a parent!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:47 pm 
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My daughter is in a similar situation - not many girls in her class etc. She is seen as a popular friendly girl who plays with everyone although does not have a best friend. She does get invited to parties but not to play at friends' houses very much, and we've got used to this but there were times when she was very unhappy about this, not helped when her big brother is in constant demand and is often out at friends' houses. Unlike my son's friends' parents, girls' parents don't seem to bother making the effort.

What helped is that she has made friends with a couple of local girls, attends Guides and also has stayed in touch with friends from nursery, family friends and cousins.

I am really looking forward to having a fresh start at secondary school where she should have a much wider pool of girls to make friends with.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:05 pm 
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"If you want to be brutally honest, I'd tell her that sometimes people are just strange, and no matter how hard you try they just won't join in (I did this with my dd, it helps so much later on in other situations too)."

I'm tempted to go with this one, as she sees through other excuses, or comes up with a practical solution (e.g. they work and can't get here - well they could come at the weekend yet, or you could collect them when you are not working etc etc).

The only trouble with the brutal explanation is that I don't want her to stop liking them, and this might do that ....... she's a touchy girl!! Also, she knows that some of these people are joining in at other people's houses, or being invited, unlike her, so it doesn't neatly explain that one away. I wonder if my Mum had similar experiences from time to time because I'm sure I remember her trotting out the phrase " maybe you're too good at .... and they're jealous!". I don't remember it convincing me though!

The poster who said that the boys' parents just seem to get on with letting them mix and play after school more than the girls is just right where our class is concerned.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:21 pm 
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i spent a year running one of dd's so called "best friends" around, as her family had transport problems. I
let this child come back for tea or to change before going over the park with dd. Invited her on birthday outings and on a few sleepovers. Always to be told after from her mother "oh we must have your dd round soon" - to which i would reply "she'd love that".
Recently it was this childs birthday and dd rang her in the morning to say happy birthday only to discover that this dc had just woken up from her birthday treat sleepover, 4 friends were there shouting down the phone to my dd. Apparently there was not room at this sleepover for my dd.

Thats the end of the lifts, and i echo that people are strange


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