My daughter isn't making friends. What should I do?

So, our daughter came to live with us last year. She was 6 and is now 7. When she first came, she didn’t want to make any friends as she didn’t really in her heart feel that this was permanent.

Well, she has now accepted (and is loving the fact) that she will be with us forever. The problem is, she is in the same school as she was when she was being anti-social.

She’s in grade 2 and no one wants to play with her. To the point that she will ask repeatedly until it can get physical (shoving away by the other kids).

I keep telling her that if they don’t want to play with her that she can’t make them and to go find someone else to play with.

However, the only girl in her grade who will play with her is an even bigger social pariah than she is. When she plays with her, it just makes the situation with the other kids worse (plus, she doesn’t really like the girl so much).

The worst part is that I have a (perhaps inflated) good self esteem and did at that age. If someone didn’t want to play with me, then they weren’t worth my time. So, I really don’t know how to deal with the fact that she gets sad and puts the blame on herself.

Anyone else been through this? Tips for what I should tell her? I don’t want to talk to the teacher as I feel that would breech the trust she has in me.

The only suggestion I have is to give her a social outlet outside of school. A dance class or karate lessons or soccer or something. That gives her a different set of people and more structure for socializing, and lessens the importance of the schoolyard (which might get better on its own if she is able to give it time).

Dr.Drake is right for a number of reasons. Not only will those activities provide her with a new social opportunity, they are great confidence boosters which will improve her friendship chances at school greatly.

Is changing schools a possibility?

Is she by any chance got something like potential like asperger’s going on?

I have considered that but the only option in our neighbourhood would be Catholic school.

Also, she would be in a different school than her brother and I am not sure either of them is ready for that kind of separation (they are the only constant in each other’s lives up until last year).

She is in a gymnastics program and an afterschool program (not affliated with the school) and seems to be fine there. (Chats about the same friends there consistently, seems to have a lot of fun with them, etc.)

The asperger’s thing is a non-starter. She is shy around new people but once she knows a kid for more than a few minutes, she is over it.

My heart breaks for her.

I think Catholic school may be the answer. The teachers tend to not allow the cliques that occur in public school in my experience. At least so obviously. My son and daughter attended from preK (my son through high school, daughter is in middle school) and that crap doesn’t fly. I love that the entire class tends to be “friends”. My daughter had a halloween party this past October and every kid came and they all engaged with one another as friends.

I would look into it. It may solve your problem. Are the kids twins because if not, they aren’t in the same class anyway.

One thing that strikes me is her response to the isolation, which is physical force. Perhaps try to talk to her about how it makes her feel, get to the root, which may be anger, or it may be covering sadness. If she can express her true feelings, which I suspect could make her cry, and you let her know that it’s OK to cry, perhaps that could change her reaction at school, which may be vastly more helpful then the physical force method she is currently using.

I assume you have observed her trying to make friends with other children. Is there anything you’ve noticed that she is doing that is causing the other children to alienate her? There are a lot of elements to social skills, and sometimes kids have to be trained in those elements.

No, that’s the other kids’ response. From the OP: “…she will ask repeatedly until it can get physical (shoving away by the other kids).

I had EXACTLY the OPPOSITE experience with Catholic school. My son (who is on the Aspberger’s spectrum but not officially Aspberger’s) was doing just fine in public school K-3, had friends, got along, etc. Then his dad wanted to put him in Catholic school (like he did). I reluctantly agreed. Those Catholic school kids TORTURED my son non-stop from 4th-8th grade. Going to Catholic school does not automatically equal compassionate, empathetic children any more than public school means a class full of meanies.

The brother is an additional factor. Is he adjusting well?

I feel dirty recommending that a parent send their child to a Catholic school, but could you send them both? Would this be more difficult for the brother?

Also, what has the school done about this? These are second graders. How much autonomy are these kids given at school? I would seriously consider moving my children out of a school that would allow overt ostracism to occur. And do you know any of the parents of the other children? Perhaps relationships could be formed outside of the school environment and its herd mentality.

Interesting. Perhaps it is just our local diocese that has higher expectations for the teachers and children. I know my coworker has a socially challenged daughter that did much better in catholic school than in public. (Different school but same diocese). She was tortured in public school for being extremely overweight and has plenty of close friends now.

I’ve been this girl.

I’ve also been that girl.


A little more long-term: kids tend to remix a bit each new school year, after the summer break. Things might be better in 3rd grade than they are now. I’m assuming when you write about playing at school, you’re talking about recess only, right? * thinks back to 2nd grade * That’s an hour or so a day, tops, right, allowing for some before- and after-school time? I’d think after-school/weekend activities like the gymnastics you mentioned would at least balance that out a significant amount.

Side note: I went to Catholic (high) school. It won’t make your daughter either a nun or a slut, depending on which stereotype you buy into. :stuck_out_tongue: It being religious/private doesn’t make it automatically better or worse than secular/public options.

That just seems silly. The teacher should be your ally in helping with this problem. You might ask the teacher if he/she has noticed it and if not is their anything they can do to assist with your daughter’s socialization among her classmates. That’s part of the teacher’s job, especially at this age.

He is doing great! Everyone loves him. He is kind, helpful and fun to play with. He gets lots of play dates and has real friends (mind you, he is in kindergartener so YMMV).

It would be heartbreaking for the little guy to have to switch schools. Not to mention that our social worker told us not to make any drastic changes to their day-to-day for the first few years.

Unfortunately, the kids are not well supervised during recesses and lunch hours. There are about 3 supervisors for several hundred kids.

That’s the other thing, as a new parent (who works and can’t pick up the kids from school) I don’t know any of her classmates’ parents. How does one go about meeting them (or at least getting phone numbers to set up play dates)? I have sent our daughter out with notes for various kids with our phone number on it but we don’t hear back. I guess I could see if I can leave work early for a week and try to meet some of them as they are let out of class.

I think my son had the bad luck to happen to land in a class that had a rough group of kids (the principal herself told me that that particular class was “a bad class” from a behavior standpoint). Didn’t help us much, short of pulling him out of the school so he’d be in with a different group of kids. My poor son had to tough it out every day until he graduated.

When my son went to Catholic high school, his classmates were very sweet to my son (they knew he had a disability and watched out for him, etc.). But they were different kids at a different school. My point is, there can be good kids in public school and bad kids in private school; it’s not automatic one way or the other.

Okay. I will give her a call. As I said, being a noob at this, I am really open to suggestions.

I think this is where the big problem lies; the kids are less supervised at these times, and that’s where the bulk of the problems occur. It’s just impossible to police kids constantly in these scenarios like you can in a classroom. I don’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to have “down” time, I just mean the teachers can’t be everywhere, all the time. Kids have to learn to handle their own social issues, it’s just hard when some of the kids struggle with it.