Heard this before? Middle School girl social troubles:(

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2006
Heard this before? Middle School girl social troubles:(
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Mon, 09-17-2012 - 12:02am

I seem to be posting about my daughter a lot.  She started a new school last year and is in 8th now.  The school is relatively small, about 120 in her grade, but she came from a school with 6 girls in her class.  That is 6 in the entire grade out of 18 total kids.  Last year she had a lot of troubles at home and school.  She is seeing a psychologist regularly now and it seems to be helping a lot.  However, tonight she showed us something she wrote on her computer about feeling left out, kids making fun of her, not being accepted or having friends.  Heartbreaking!  She says kids post on Facebook what a fun time they had together and she is never invited.  I know of two parties she was excluded from and I've had decent relationships with the parents of those kids at school events.  One girl had just attended my daughter's party the weekend before and didn't invite her:smileysad:  She is a bit of a tomboy but really tries...she just isn't accepted.  She doesn't do any clubs...says she doesn't want to be friends with dweebs, only popular kids. The sports occur during the school day so that doesn't really expose her to kids outside of the regular setting.  Help! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2006

excellent points!  Soccer is all I can handle outside of school at this point.  School is a drive and no carpool.  Our toddler gets fussy in the car and you know how Mom Taxi gets.  We are trying to get her involved in a youth group.  Neither older kid is artistic/musical/theater type but I did make an appointment for myself with the school counselor to get advice from a pro who has seen it all.  Thanks again.

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

I feel the same as Turtletime.  I don't know a single kid who really feels they "belong" in middle school.

Also, wanting to be part of the "popular" group is sort of the default setting.  However, I must say that I've never even heard the word used by any of my kids.  They were happy having real friends with whom they shared interests.  My 20yo had a rough time, as he has Aspergers but wasn't diagnosed until after HS, but he still managed to make friends with other kids who were into art, fantasy fiction, Japanese "visual kei" bands, Harry Potter, or just being smart (because it is now REALLY COOL to be smart!).  17yo DD had an easier time because she's more socially adept, but her friends all came from music, theatre, and honors classes - why would she want to be friends with people just because they were popular?  Some *were* tremendously popular in those circles, BTW.  Even 12yo DS, who's got the normal 12yo-boy social skills (which is to say, not much!) recognizes that it's more fun to hang with his friend who likes the same vestiges of childhood that he does, like Legos, rather than the ones who are into skateboarding.

It sounds like there are other emotional issues at play, so I wouldn't want to oversimplify my response. . . but if you can help your DD discover and cultivate her interests, without emphasizing "you'll make friends there," she might be more amenable to them, and then friendships might form naturally.  I do think it becomes easier to make friends in HS, where the commitments to extracurricular activities are firmer.

Also, I don't know if this will work for you, but we've always insisted that our kids pursue a variety of extracurricular activities until they were in high school and needed to start paring back.  Always at least one sport, one musical instrument, and one other thing, whether volunteering or an afterschool club or something.  Sitting around not developing yourself is not an option.  Again, this depends on the kid - e.g. my oldest could get easily overwhelmed so we let him drop flute in HS, while my middle one is in five different musical ensembles - but I believe at age 13 they still need to be told what's good for them.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2006
Thanks so much for both replies:smileyhappy: I was typing fast after a long day yesterday and didn't mention she is in soccer outside of school. She has made a new friend there which is great but I think what is bothering her is being excluded and teased at school. She has always had a tough time making friends and of course I'm bothered by her wanting to be "in-crowd" but this kid you can't tell the sky is blue: she has to come to that decision herself. Will make sure the therapist is aware.
Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
I have to agree with turtle time. It's pretty common for kids to have a rough time in middle school, and moving into a new school unfortunately makes it that much harder, and limiting herself to certain groups will only make that worse. You may want to mention to her therapist her need to only hang out with the popular kids, it may be something they can work on during sessions. Hugs!
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Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998

I don't know of any middle school kid who doesn't feel like this. It's a time where even those who seem to be doing well socially can feel isolated. 

I'm a little worried that she doesn't want to be friends with "dweebs" and only popular kids. If she wants to be around kids who are going to accept her and not make fun of her, well,  the "dweebs" are more likely to offer her that. Her "popular or nothing" mentality is not only going to leave her lonely but I'd worry that she'd take up riskier behaviors in order to get attention and fit in especially if this mentality follows her into high school. The pressure in these popular groups can be intense, cause nice kids at heart to behave badly and frankly, they can be just as lonely on the inside as anyone else. 

If she's limiting her choices at school, won't participate in clubs and not connecting through the school sports, I think your best bet is to help her seek outside school activities for relationships. Both my kids rely/relied heavily on extra-curricular, interest-based friendships during middle school. Those kids didn't care what they wore, listened too, watched, read, ect.. They were bonded by a love for theatre or basketball or whatever. AT middle school, they were active in band, school sports, clubs, academic teams, school drama programs, ect. It gives/gave them a nice group to have lunch with though they never did a whole lot outside school with these kids. They did everything with interest-based activity friends who they've held onto for many years.