Rotten end-of-junior-high experience.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Rotten end-of-junior-high experience.
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 11:52pm
This just seems to be getting worse by the day. This is the end of the 8th grade year for my DD and her world seems to be imploding. A friendship she's had since kindergarten is on its last legs and her close (platonic) guy friend (since 6th grade) has inexplicably turned on her. They had a very petty disagreement, that she thought they'd made amends for, but he keeps telling her that there's something she's done that's made him mad that he "can't tell her about" and so he continues to be mad. Who knows.

Since she's in a very small class at a small private school, this is magnified because there aren't that many other kids to hang with and one of these two (the boy), being very popular and sort of a male "Queen Bee", if you will, has successfully poisoned quite a few other kids against her.

She basically can't wait for the school year to end and is now dragging herself to school each day. This is from beginning the year feeling like she had the world by a string and was, for the first time, friends with everyone in the class, to now saying that everyone hates her and she can't stand to go to school.

Fortunately, she got into the high school she applied to and is excited about that (and its a much bigger school, thank God!) and she also has a great summer camp lined up that she will be attending for the 3rd summer in a row, so has quite a few friends there. I'm just telling her to "hang in there until summer" and it will be the beginning of a whole new phase in her life. I don't want to get down deep in the details w/her, but I have to admit that I feel a lot of tension each day when I pick her up before I hear how her day was.

Have any of your kids been through this? Thanks for *listening*.

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 8:51am
No, but I wish her fortitude to make it through to the end. nt
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Registered: 10-26-1999
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 11:08am
Hi Mary - I haven't been around much because I've been so busy, but I just wanted you to know my dd went through some similar stuff towards the end of 8th grade. All the people she hung out with just seemed really superficial - for some reason, they just stopped paying attention to her and she never really figured out why. It really upset her. She was like your dd, just waiting out the year. I don't remember exactly how she got through it, but I think in the end she just reconciled in her mind that kids at that age are selfish, shallow, and oblivious to the feelings of others - and so she didn't blame herself, which was the good thing. But it was a process getting there.

I do think the age has something to do with it. They all are starting to discover the other sex and it seems that their hormones or SOMETHING just overtake their ability to be a good friend. I just kept telling my dd that it really wasn't HER, and that "this too shall pass".

But be prepared for lots of bumps in the road - it gets better, then it gets worse, then better, then worse! High school is a little better, but I can tell you from having 2 dds (one graduated 3 years ago), there will always be drama!

                        Calmama54, from the beautiful

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 3:58pm

Oh yes, have we gone through this.

Here, jr high ends in gr 9. But same difference. In gr 8, the year started out wonderfully. My dd was with a group of friends, with a cherished best friend (something she had wanted in her life all her life and had had since going to this school, starting in gr 5; it went thru to gr 9). She LOVED being a part of this group, problems and all, and like all groups, it had its endless someone's mad at so and so regularly. One girl, J, had made my dd her primary target from the word go practically but overall, my dd was happy and everyone knew what J was like. There were scores and scores of situations J caused but my dd had the backing of a best friend ('bff') and the others. In mid-gr 7, J did an about turn and became friendly w/my dd. Also, a guy, C, joined the school in Sept of gr 7, who was instantly 'the' crush of the school, esp of my dd's group, whom he took to hanging out with a lot over the course of the year. Then C asked my dd 'out' in Nov of gr 8. Which, omigosh, you'd think she'd stolen the Holy Grail by the response of their mutual friends who, led mostly by J again, set out to do whatever they could to destroy that relalationship (which truly created a romeo-&-juliet syndrome) and they lasted for 14 mos instead of the usual month or two their friends were into. J's venom towards my dd reached an all-time high in March of gr 9 when my dd & C broke up for good. March, April, May and June of gr 9 was a nightmare, and I'm really not exaggerating. Every girl wanted to go out with C. None felt they could as long as they were friends with my dd. They all turned on her when she needed friends the most, including 'bff', who learned C liked her. Plus, to be fairER to 'bff', C had talked a great deal to her about his and my dd's problems and she had only 'his side'; my dd did not share problems OR talk about him hardly at all with friends because of the ongoing situation ... and they were also 14.

My dd was in a French immersion school where there was only one English class, so all her classes were with the same kids, in the English program, making it a choice of about 15 females, most of which were in her group. She had to look 'outside' her group for friendships and between not even knowing WHY they had turned on her - and the *ways* they turned on her were so hurtful, and so calculated to be hurtful or so supremely stupid - this was a really devastating time for her. She had to still be in class with everyone like that towards her day in and day out though. She finally joined a drama production and started reaching out to some of the french immersion kids ... and J tried to infiltrate that too; the new girls my dd was befriending told her that J was telling them that my dd seemed like such a good person, such a good friend but in truth she turned against friends, broke confidences, etc etc, but the new friends were not intimidated by J and couldn't care less about her so it fell on deaf ears. My prayer every single day when dropping her off marykid was that the false things said against her would be condenmed and fall upon deaf ears. I felt like I was sending her into a lion's den every day for about 4 - 6 months. It was HORRIBLE. And the tension of going to pick her up every day, which I did as it was out of district, had me tied in knots for months. I had parents - who were once my friends - calling me with the stupidest, most inane reasons why their dds were behaving this way. (i.e. 'she's bulimic; the girls have stood outside the bathroom and TIMED HER' - GET REAL. What kind of sick mental image is that anyway - THINK about it - six girls are counting the times hse goes to the washroom and TIME HER? -etc ad nauseum. They LOOKED for problems and made up the most insane stories to their parents. Or, after snubbing her completely for a month, one invited her to go to the movies with a huge group on Saturday. My dd lived and breathed that hope all that week - it was HEARTWRENCHINGLY *A*W*F*U*L* to watch her - just to have everyone leave hours before she was to call for the time to meet and be told on IM later that they had all gone - all but her - pointedly said. And MUCh worse things. It was during this time that I really *got* just how much better those girls knew their moms over how well their moms knew them ... and I also fully understood for the first time, just what lengths kids are capable of going to AND to what lengths a parent will go, to protect their image of their child or the image of their family.)

It culminated in a totally reprehensible and outright scary situation at the end of gr 9, involving J and another girl, S doing something I won't go into on the boards. I have NEVER been so relieved for school to be out in my whole life, even when I was growing up. My blood pressure went from normal all my life to 184/100 and didn't return to normal till summer hit.

HS started in September. The old group was split up. One girl from the old group had finally, after the first 2 mos of this ostracization, pulled away and supported my dd. Another girl from the bigger french immersion group had become her good friend. She had a wonderful summer that year. Healing, renewing - free. J greeted my dd on the first day of gr 9 waving an olive branch and this time, for the first time in 5 years, stuck to it, to this day.

My dd and her 'bff', over the intervening 4 years, have become friendly again. The others are friendly when she sees them. They still occasionally show up at the b-day dinners they usually all do for one another. But it has never been the same. And to be honest, I'm glad it never did go back to being 'the same'. "The same", in retrospect, was awful. Endless backbiting, endless arguing. Cliques/groups are only so attractive when you are on the outside looking in.

My dd grew incredibly from those awful experiences. It was, by far, the most painful thing I've ever had to watch her go through. I think she's over it more than even I am, to be hoenst. I still have SERIOUS reservations about her old 'bff' and a couple of the other girls, but hey, more power to my dd. They can never do something to her again that was as bad as what they did then; and she survived that. She will survive being their friend now no matter what. Marykid, I doubt I could even exaggerate all of what went on if I wrote a whole book about it one day.

So. YES absolutely - watching your dd be treated this way is incredibly painful. But trust me on this: it IS more painful for you than it is for your dd. Do you know what my dd even told me recently? I was bemoaning the fact her sis will go to jr high next year and saying how I wish I could keep her home and homneschool her. My dd said, very seriously, 'no mom - that is not a wise thing to do." Knowing I wasn't anyway, i was still curious as to my dd's perception of those years & that period of time and I asked her, 'why do you think that?" She responded, "Because it is in junior high that you figure out who you are and what you stand for - and HOW you are going to stand up for what you believe is right." And she is dead serious. She does not look back on those years with the same intensity of feeling that I can still dredge up when thinking about it. She really doesn't. It DOES fade. It DOES take on a perception that we can't POSSIBLY have because we aren't *them*, first off ... and because we can't see it from the viewpoint of a 14/15 yo. Your dd really will get past this. She really will be a stronger, kinder and more compassionate young woman for these kinds of experiences one day.

HS is a microcosm society. Once they are out, no one CARES who was so hot and so popular in HS. I worked with a girl last yr who is 21 now and she talked about the HS glory days (my words, but you get the meaning) constantly. Comments were made behind her back ALLLL the time about WHO CARES?? Those who are not sooo caught up in the glory of the momentary passing popularility of HS 'in crowds'; who learn to stand on their own feet in the face of a hostile group of peers ... those are the kids who go on and make something of themselves - not just career-wise - anyone who can make the grade can get that - but they become people of substance and great character. And that is not something you can teach or that one can learn in school. Kids who have suffered learn to deal with adversity. Those who have had it easy, when they are older, have no skill sets with which to face life on its own terms when it throws curve balls. And tempests come into EVERY person's life, sooner or later. Remember too: "...suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope."

Just keep ACTING - even if you are RAGING inside - like YOU believe SHE will be JUST FINE. That YOU *KNOW* that she has ALL of what it takes to handle ANYTHING that comes her way. Keep reminding her that truth DOES come out in the end and does win the war - it did in my dd's case too - in ALL ways. One thing took 3 weeks. Other things took years. But it DID. To hold her head high and be true to what she believes in.

Hang in there. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}

Avatar for heartsandroses2002
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 8:59am

My 8th grader has experienced this throughout the year. Her best friend recently told her that she decided that she didn't want to be friends with my dd anymore, citing something that dd did but didn't want to give her details about whatever it was. Now, I have to say that it isn't difficult for me to realize that dd may have said or did something that could offend her best friend, but I felt the manner in which the friend handled the situation basically stunk! And, when I went downstairs to do laundry and found my dd completely distraught, sitting on top of the the washer in tears, streams running down her face, I nearly fell apart myself. She shouted that she just lost her best friend in her whole life and that this friend was the one person she could tell ANYthing to and that she can't figure out what she did wrong that would make her friend 'break up' with her. It was an awful night and only when I took her outside to watch the new falling snow under a full moon was she able to see that tomorrow is a new day. I didn't ask her anything, I just hugged her and agreed that it stunk, but also explained that its fairly normal for kids and friendships to go through big changes at her age. She said she felt better and then when we went inside, her friend had emailed her an apology and explained that she was jealous at a new friendship my dd had started with a new girl - she was afriad dd would dump her first. They are now friends, but there is a new coolness to the relationship and I can tell that my dd doesn't trust her friend as she did before. I told her to try and focus on just being by herself more and doing things she enjoys and make her happy, develop interests OUTSIDE of school.

It's so normal for kids to go through this, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier. Just be sure to make sure that your dd knows how special she is and find opportunities to make her realize that she is a good person and deserving of good friends. She will hang in there if she feels good about herself. Help her to get a little bit of the attitude of "They're the ones missing out on having her for a friend". Help her develop interests outside of school that she can be involved in, that feed her soul and ego a little.

Hugs - you're not alone, that's for sure!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 7:57pm
Thanks, Shadymom2000. I think she will need it big time.(nt)
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 8:11pm
Thanks, heartsandroses2002,

I do think what's keeping my DD "afloat", if you will, is the fact that she has a few friends outside school, one of which she is very close to. Also, the fact that some of these girls will be going to the same high school as her is helpful, too, since she won't feel like the only people she already knows there are from her current school.

I really appreciate your help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 8:14pm

Thanks. I agree, the hormones seem to be just fueling this thing right along. I appreciate your thoughts.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 8:22pm

I tried to reply earlier, but my message disappeared. In any case, thanks as always for your words of wisdom and for taking the time to tell me about your experience. I always laugh when I see something like "warning - Long!" on message titles, because I really like the long messages that fill me in on all the details. Its really helpful and I appreciate the time and thought put in.

It sounds like your DD's miseries were fueled a lot by jealousy of her. And, as I've found out, the parents can be just as bad as the kids in the jealousy department. I just can't imagine the parents calling you with all those inane details. They must have really had a burr you-know-where!

As you might see from my "update" above, today DD told me stuff that's enabling her to get to the bottom of her situation a bit. She isn't entirely blameless, but does (I think) have an opportunity to make things more tolerable for herself.

Thanks, again. Take care.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Wed, 04-02-2003 - 10:18pm
Yup, i went through that, before i hit highschool i was knocked down by all my so-called friends, i still don't know why, but once i hit highschool it was much better, it was a new start, new friends, i don't talk to anyone that went to my elementary school anymore i have new better friends. just tell ur dd to hang in there till summer, it will get better after that. OH and i'm 15 btw