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Ask a gran

Your views would be most welcome

(76 Posts)
Sar53 Wed 26-Sep-18 12:15:05

My eldest daughter has asked me to ask all you lovely grans for your advice. Her 9 year old daughter, my lovely granddaughter, is having a tough time at school.
There is a girl in her class who totally blanks my DGD and encourages the other girls to do the same. She won't let her play with them and at times totally isolates my DGD.
A little more information. My DGD has just gone into year 5 and the three classes from year 4 have been mixed so she is only with a few girls from her previous class and this other girl is one of them.
The parents of this girl have recently split up and my daughter feels that she is taking out some of her anguish on my DGD. My DGD gets very sad but still enjoys school and is doing well. My DGD has also said she doesn't want my daughter to say anything to her teacher as she feels that may have repercussions.
This happened last year as well but my DGD had more friends around her then.
We are trying not to call this bullying but I would welcome your comments.

Bridgeit Wed 26-Sep-18 13:15:11

If this carries on I think at some stage the school will have to be involved, they should have procedures for tackling these situations. Make sure she has something to do when she is on her own, writing or drawing etc, so it looks as if she is occupied & not noticing
In the mean time, your granddaughter needs to behave as if she doesn’t care,which is not easy, bullies get bored when they don’t get a reaction, but don’t let it go on too long before stepping in. Best wishes.

Missfoodlove Wed 26-Sep-18 13:25:56

2 out of 3 of my now adult children were bullied.
In one case I persuaded my daughter to invite the bully and one of her friends for a cinema and pizza trip.
We were lovely to them.
The problem was sorted, no more bullying.
My sons bully was in a different league!
His parents were part of our social circle and when the problem escalated they were ringing us to ask us to tell the school it was under control!
Their son was captain of rugby and popular but importantly valuable to the school!
He was eventually expelled and has not been very successful in adult life so far.
My son however has a fabulous job and lives a happy life in Prague .
The bully found him on FB and had a few digs!!
This bully sadly will probably always be a bully.
I hope your problem is solved🙏

Doodle Wed 26-Sep-18 13:32:18

I am so sorry for your DGD sar. Good that she sounds ok in herself though. A quiet word with the class teacher might be in order to see if she has noticed anything. You can't make children get on (unfortunately) but perhaps the teacher could suggest that the two work together on a project or at least keep an eye on the situation. Are there any school groups your DGD could get involved in where she meets other children?

BBbevan Wed 26-Sep-18 13:39:41

Sar53 My DGD had exactly the same . Same age also. She spent 2 terms on her own at school. School were awful saying it was a maturity thing!
Eventually they contacted the mental health revives who really lambasted the school. Then things got moving.
She is now at secondary school. A happy, resilient, friendly girl.
SoI would say go into school all guns blazing, and don't give up until they take you seriously and do something. Sorry if this sounds a bit OTT but your GD deserves friendship and respect.

kittylester Wed 26-Sep-18 13:39:48

It's bullying and should at least be mentioned to the school. It's a measure of how worried she is by it that your dgd doesn't want anything said!! If the other girl has issues then they need sorting out sooner or later so you could be actually helping her.

Middle daughter was bullied and it was only sorted out after she lost her temper and told the bully to f off (not like DD2 at all)! DD was taken to the head and the whole sorry saga came out.

Doodle Wed 26-Sep-18 14:33:24

Just been thinking about this a bit more and as mentioned by kitty and BBevan this is bullying. Bullying by exclusion is still bullying. Schools quite often like the quiet life and don't take appropriate action when needed. Try and find online the school's own policy on bullying. I bet you find it's all full of the right words but no one takes action unless pressed. Quote their own policy back to them if necessary but let your DGD know she is not on her own that you are all supporting her. Hope it gets sorted ok.

Sar53 Wed 26-Sep-18 14:53:55

Thank you for your comments, I will pass these on to my DD.
I do get that not everyone gets on with everyone else but it's the fact that this girl has such a strong personality that she can influence others to do as she wants them to do.
My DGD has lots of interests outside school, dancing, gymnastics, brownies and has friends at these places, but she obviously spends a lot of time at school and it is only the beginning of the school year.
I'm going to spend a week with my DD and 3 DGD'S next week so I can give her lots of love and support and perhaps see first hand what is going on.

Grammaretto Wed 26-Sep-18 16:44:38

It is bullying. My DGD was similarly singled out for blanking and exclusion thanks to one boy.
My Dil told the class teacher who spoke to DGD and it was sorted out.
I believe he spoke to the class in a general way but privately talked to her which supported her and she felt much better after that
It could always flare up again especially as some children are sensitive and others like to be controlling, but it is ok for adults to make the school aware.
I shudder as I recall how long I left it when my, now middle aged, son was being bullied. I didn't know what to do and the school told me there was no bullying in their school.

Eglantine21 Wed 26-Sep-18 17:25:54

To be blanked is upsetting. Is it being mean? Or is it a group friends, with a leader, who simply don’t want another member of their set.

Are there other girls she can play with rather than trying to be one of this group? If she’s not trying to get a response from them the blanking can’t happen.

Would it be right for a teacher to insist they include her in their play? Or should they be able to play with who they want?

It’s a tough call.

If there are three classes in her year group I would explain the situation to the Head and then ask that, if things have not improved by half term, she is moved to another class where she can find other friends and a group of her own.

Doodle Wed 26-Sep-18 21:17:13

Being part of a group is one thing Eglantine but encouraging other children to blank or exclude her is something else.

Eglantine21 Wed 26-Sep-18 21:36:57

Yes I know. It’s hard to tell though whether the blanking is a vindictive thing or a group of girls who just don’t want her in their set.

I didn’t want to say that really. Nobody wants to think their child isn’t wanted. But if it’s just the one group that she keeps approaching they might be turning away rather than saying we dont want you?

Maybe. There are people I don’t want to spend much time with. I don’t say Go away. I just wander off. Children aren’t any different.

Anyway, it’s finding a solution that matters. I can’t think ordering them to include her and be friends will work. Maybe helping her to find a different group of friends will.

MissAdventure Wed 26-Sep-18 21:41:30

I think girls are very good at this kind of bullying, rather than having a punch up.
There used to be a girl at my junior school who would bully each of our little group at times.
It was horrible going to school and not knowing if today might be my turn.

Eglantine21 Wed 26-Sep-18 21:59:11

Yes, and grownups do it too. I got excluded out of something I belonged to last year so I know it happens.

It’s very hard to deal with if that’s what this girl is doing. It is bullying but in practice what can anyone do? We can be outraged but however nasty it might be nobody can make her be friends.

That’s why I think to look for a practical solution, like moving class would be best.

NonnaW Wed 26-Sep-18 22:04:17

When I was about 5 or 6 I had a ‘friend’ who may or may not be talking to me, I never knew from one day to the next how she would be. I was a very shy child and put up with behaviour for years. Luckily, there were 2 other girls we hung around with and though she tried to tell them not to speak to me, they would sidle up and tell me they were still friends with me.! Horrible feeling though, but back then there was no anti bullying policy, and in fact it was years before I recognised it for what it was. Please try to get help for her.

Melanieeastanglia Wed 26-Sep-18 22:08:56

In your daughter's position, I think I'd try and have a calm discussion with the teacher.

I know your granddaughter has asked her not to do this but I think it would be a good idea. Up to your daughter whether she tells her child she is going to speak to the teacher - there are pros and cons, I suppose.

Apricity Wed 26-Sep-18 22:13:05

Girls can be very mean at times and the "ringleader" is clearly good at using vulnerabilities to exclude children like your granddaughter from play. My 9 year old granddaughter has also experienced some of this sort of behaviour. Talking with your granddaughter in an open way is a good start so she knows there are supportive adults around who understand how she is feeling and have got her back.

Maybe inviting some other girls home for "play dates" (I know I hate the word too!) or sleepovers might strengthen other friendships. Are there other activities or sports, perhaps after school, that your granddaughter might be interested in exploring to develop other friendships? However, if the behaviour and social exclusion continues I do think a discussion with her teacher is necessary.

Hurtful as it is to watch your precious little one struggling it is also about learning resilience and developing the skills to deal with life's inevitable ups and downs and teaching your granddaughter that she is strong and can deal with this. Even though it seems hard at the time it is not the end of the world.

Diana54 Wed 26-Sep-18 22:23:18

My eldest daughter was bullied for a short while, it all ended when she hit one of the others on the nose, hard enough to make it bleed, she did get suspended for a few days but they left her alone after that.
I can't recommend that action but it is best to bring any issue to a head sooner rather than later.

Grammaretto Thu 27-Sep-18 08:16:52

Reading some of your words I think we are none too sure what bullying is.
When my DS was miserable at school being ostracized and very lonely, the school did nothing. It wasn't until physical abuse started and he came home bleeding with a swollen mouth that it was taken a bit more seriously.
I then had the courage to tell school I didn't expect my child to be assaulted at school.
In DGD 's case it is all done by texting!! A more recent phenomen. The whole class were talked to and seemed to understand how hurtful this behaviour was. DGD was also privately told it was ok not to like everyone.

OldMeg Thu 27-Sep-18 08:27:53

Tell your DD to talk make an appointment to talk to class teacher initially. It’s not something to discuss at the classroom door at drop off or pick up.

If this does not have the desired effect, the HT is next.

OldMeg Thu 27-Sep-18 08:29:19

PS as I’m sure you know all schools have written Bullying Policies. It’s mandatory.

jeanie99 Thu 27-Sep-18 09:35:32

I wouldn't think twice, you must ask for an appointment to see the head or the class teacher or both.
This is a serious problem and needs nipping in the bud.
My own daughter suffered terribly unknown to us because she had stood up to girls bullying her friend and the whole group turned on her and made her life a misery.
We had no idea until a phone call told us she was in hospital and had taken an overdose.
She was 15/16 and doing her GCSE, because she was older she stayed off school studying at home and then went on to college where she did her A levels and went on to University. Her life as turned out wonderfully but it could have been very different.
School bullies what ever age have to have their actions addressed.

stringvest Thu 27-Sep-18 10:33:11

If has been happening " this term " that may be 4 weeks already . That is too long - so why wait any longer ?

Blinko Thu 27-Sep-18 10:33:41

I do agree that schools should be ready to take action. Policies and Statements are all well and good but as the old saying goes, fine words butter no parsnips. At least nowadays schools know they should do something when bullying is brought to their attention.

quizqueen Thu 27-Sep-18 10:38:04

Can't your granddaughter find her friends from her old class when she's out on the playground? By year 5 she should have established some secure friendships and they should look forward to seeing each other out of class. If she hasn't managed this, I'm afraid, that may tell you something about your granddaughter that you won't like! It's really no good though trying to break into a social circle where you're not wanted and that applies to anyone at any age.

I think for her mum to have a word with her teacher is fine though. You can't make children like each other but they can change their behaviour and be less unkind. My granddaughter sometimes struggles to make good friends but I know she can be quite bossy so I have to see the other children's point of view if they don't want to play with her all the time. She has been bullied herself occasionally though and recently wrote a personal letter to the head about it which he loved (she's 7). He told her mum they knew the culprit and it wasn't the first complaint and they will, hopefully, monitor it.

I do the school/clubs pick up once a week and I find it very interesting to eavesdrop!! on the mum's banter and observe their behaviour to their children and each other without getting involved. Usually what mum does, the child does and you can pick out the dominant ring leaders/reticent unpopular ones straight away.