22 answers

Daughter Hates Her New Middle School

My 12 yr old started her new school today. She had been with the same group of kids since kindergarten, and so this switch was traumatic for her (and me!). She was given a "buddy", another new girl. But this new girl actually knew other people, and at lunch she kind of left my daughter out of the conversations...Anyway, my daughter tried to talk to a couple of people, to no avail. No one she met came across as super friendly, or willing to help out a new person. She is in the 7th grade, so all of these kids have been together since at LEAST 6th grade. She came home today crying. Said that she wants to be home-schooled. What should I do for her? I have told her to strike up a conversation about anything from shoes to "Twilight"...she is just so incredibly shy and miserable. Any help is appreciated.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

The second day of school was difficult in the morning. She woke up crying. Which had me crying after she left. I called the school and spoke to her guidance counselor. She was assigned a new "buddy", and they hit it off right away. She now has a group of girls that she considers friends. She also has a crush, and it turns out he lives in our neighborhood. She takes time getting ready in the morning, choosing just the right outfit, every hair in place..anyway, it is going to work, and I am so happy that she is happy now. Thank you so much for all of the advice. I really should have just given it more time, as one day isn't really that long to adjust to change. I tend to panic when my kids are hurting!! Thanks again!

Featured Answers

ugh. I know how she feels. I was VERY socially awkward and shy when I was growing up, and due to custody switches, divorces, death, and moving I switched schools a lot growing up. (I went to 6 different elementary schools, 4 different middle schools, and 3 high schools. blegh) I always had a hard time adjusting at first, but eventually I would find friends. The main thing is to keep being friendly, and to be interested in other people. People LOVE to talk about themselves. lol.

3 moms found this helpful

i agree with new mom, don't home school her because it's tough for her to start a new school. That's part of the lesson's in life is "change" and meeting new people.

2 moms found this helpful

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In 9 days I will be in the position of giving my daughter the "pep talk". Same scenario---has been with same group of girls since 1st grade, now going into 6th gr at new middle school. All the girls are in a different class, except for one who thinks she is the princess of NYC. Atleast my daughter knows a lot of boys in the new class from her old one, so she should be comfortable in the actual classroom. My concern is her making new friends, not because of herself, but because of the one other girl (very competitive, bossy, diva, you name it lol). Anyway, I told her not to be surprised if she doesn't make new friends the first, second or third day, or even in the first month. I told her to just be herself and they will want to befriend you just as the other girls in your old school did. Crossing fingers!!!!!!
Your daughter just needs a little more time to adjust. Tell her she is not alone, a lot of girls feel the way she does, it's normal sometimes, and things will get better. I wish her the best!

3 moms found this helpful

ugh. I know how she feels. I was VERY socially awkward and shy when I was growing up, and due to custody switches, divorces, death, and moving I switched schools a lot growing up. (I went to 6 different elementary schools, 4 different middle schools, and 3 high schools. blegh) I always had a hard time adjusting at first, but eventually I would find friends. The main thing is to keep being friendly, and to be interested in other people. People LOVE to talk about themselves. lol.

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She has only been there one day. Remind her that middle school really is hard for most of the kids, it is just that some of them are good at hiding their fear.

Do you all have a back to school night? You could find out what clubs are available there. Also what is she taking for electives? Maybe if she is taking art for example you could find out if they have an art club for her to join.. Spanish club (ours takes a trip to Spain each year)..

Has she ever taken the First Aid babysitters training through the Red Cross? If not, see if you can organize them to go to your daughters middle school one Sat and train a bunch of the kids..(boys and girls) They usually have to partner up, so she would be in a smaller group and get to meet friends..

For the dances, at our middle school they had a group of kids that helped decorate the walls and set up and run the Karaoke area.. Some of the kids helped sell snacks..

At the local elementary school Carnivals they always had kids from the middle school help run their booths.. Your daughter could gather names and organize a group.. This would count towards Volunteer hours.

In the Library they had a "Lunch Bunch" that would meet in there and work on jigsaw puzzles. They also had a group that met each lunch to play chess..

Find out how to work on the school newspaper, yearbook. Get her a camera and let her be the historian for the paper and the yearbook..

Maybe the Librarian will know if there is a book club at school she would join.. Maybe she could start one?

I know this is hard for you, but she will be fine, she just needs to find a little group of nice kids with similar interests.. They are there too looking for a friend.. she jsut needs to look around and find things she is interested in.

3 moms found this helpful

She just started and she has to adjust. Tell her to look on the school boards to join something. A sport or club. That will get her interacting with a group who has similar likes. Just support her, but she has to navigate this new school on her own. Tell her you can't let her quit so quickly it will be a set up to quit anything she doesn't like in the future. If things are still a problem in a month I'd suggest a meeting with the guidence counselor, they deal with these issues daily. I feel for her but she'll get through it :)

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We are there now. We have gotten several books on starting Middle School that have been nice. My favorite is The American Girl Library A Smart Girl's Guide to Middle School, which is filled with tips written by and for girls in Middle School. We also just checked out a few more books from the library including Middle School: The Real Deal, which my daughter said was helpful. I have tried to empower her with many different tools that have worked for other girls and then she has chances to choose from these suggestions on how to help herself. It's a good life skill to learn how to adjust to strange and hard situations. School Clubs, Sports Teams, Church, class electives that are more interactive rather than lecture, after school activities, all will make meeting people with similar interests easier and when there is a basis for something in common friendship is easier to develop.

Good Luck.

3 moms found this helpful

give her a little time. school has just started and it is hard when you are starting over again at any age. let her work her way through this. she will more then likely go to college and meet all new people again. then when she enters the work force she will start new jobs where she has to meet new people. when she moves into her first place or moves again, new neighbors. so let her feel her way through this. she has to learn to deal with life. i know it hurts to see her hurting, i know i wouldn't like to my kids cry but she has to learn to deal with life. good luck!

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New schools are definitely TOUGH! From Kindergarten to 12th grade I went to 7 different schools and each time I started a new school it got easier in a lot of ways, but it was also just as hard each time. The reason I say "easier," well, because I knew that there was little to no chance that I wouldn't make at least one friend by the end of the school year, let alone by the end of the first month. This too shall pass. It is your daughter's first day and I guarantee that in one week she will be fine.

My high school was actually the toughest school I started. My parents put me in a small private school (my graduating class was 28 people) in the 9th grade and every single one of the kids there had been together their whole lives. I was the first new person in 4 years for the kids in my class! Talk about a tough crowd. Everyone there thought I made friends fast, but to me it felt like forever. Within two weeks I had not just one friend, but several groups of friends.

All this to say, don't home-school her just because it's hard for her in this new environment. This will not be the first time your daughter is put in a situation that's uncomfortable and hard. Perhaps this will be something that will help her come out of her shell.

2 moms found this helpful

i agree with new mom, don't home school her because it's tough for her to start a new school. That's part of the lesson's in life is "change" and meeting new people.

2 moms found this helpful

I had a very similar experience with my son last year when we moved from TX to VA. His first day of school he came home stricken-devastated! Not a single child had spoken to him the WHOLE day and he felt too self concious to break into a group and start a conversation. He sat completely by himself at lunch. My heart was broken! I called the counselor for his "house" (the grades are divided into sections) immediately and asked for help. The counselor paired my son up with a couple of boys she knew personally to be friendly, helpful kids. Breaking the ice like that with some boys she could count on made all the difference. Within a couple of weeks, my son felt like he really fit in and was very happy. He's looking forward to school starting this year! I know this must hurt both of you terribly right now, but hang in there-I wish you the best!

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This is going to sound awful, but you can't make it better. I am a middle school teacher and unfortunately, middle school is a very cliqueish little age! It's horrible! The good news is that within a few very uncomfortable days, she will work her way in and start to make friends. It hurts for both of you, I know. But it will get better.

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there are SO many excellent reasons to homeschool. this isn't one of them. homeschool isn't an escape from awkward situations, it's just setting her up to encounter them in other less predictable situations.
good for her for trying to talk to people! this is STILL hard for me, and i'm a good bit older than 12! it's a shame her bravery went unrewarded thus far, but it doesn't mean it won't work. it's also possible that some of the people she tried to talk to were equally ill at ease, and really appreciated her efforts but felt clueless as to how to respond.
one of the most helpless things in the world is to watch your child face a painful situation that you are powerless to help. she really does have to face the school thing on her own BUT you are there to support and encourage her (which seems like too little right now but is in reality a huge boost to her psyche.)
joining clubs and going for twilight conversations are excellent ideas. each day will get a little easier. love her, remind her of other challenges she's overcome, be supportive in a strong encouraging positive way (don't drown her in sympathy.)
i'm sorry you're both facing this, and hope it improves soon.
khairete
S.

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Dear Jenniferajr,
Yes, it was only one day. I know we ache for our kids--but you need to be strong for her. Don't preach--just pray for her and encourage her. My daughter was a very quiet kid. She started a new school in 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th grade. (Don't ask! lol!) It was due to going from homeschool to public, to moving across the country, to high school and then transferring.(her choice). She came home the first week from transferring and begged me to let her go back (even though she had CHOSEN to transfer). I told her no. You must finish out the semester. If you still hate it next semester--you can go back. Well, needless to say--she's still there and LOVING it! My husband and I have said it is one of the best decisions she/we have ever made. I'll pray for one friend for your daughter. She'll be fine!

K.

1 mom found this helpful

Let me start out by saying that I am a homeschooling mom. My kids have never gone to tradition school. My reasons for doing so are many. That said, I want to say that your daughter should really give it a little more time before she decides to homeschool. Again I am a big proponent of homeschool but I do think since she has already been in traditional school she should try a little longer. I won't go into the pros and cons here because there are many and girls at this age can be awful. But, maybe if she gives it a little more time she may find a way to navigate through this really difficult time. And hopefully, she will learn to to be nice when there is another new girl/boy at some other time. These are very important lessons that I am sorry my children are missing out on - how to make friends, how to treat people, and how to be alone when you want so desperately to be a part of things.

I wish you and your daughter luck with this...it is a really difficult time but unless she is being bullied or tormented she should hang in there just a little while longer. Homeschooling can be a bit isolated until you find all the groups that are out there. The isolation might be worse for her.

1 mom found this helpful

Poor girl, I remember and hated those days. : ) So glad I don't have to deal with them now.....have her give it at least 2 weeks before making any major changes. I can almost guarantee you by the end of the 2 weeks things will have settled down and she'll have some new friends. Having good friends in school for a child is just as important as having good teachers. As much as we want our kids to only worry about their education, that's just not how it works and when they have a good set of peers, they function better every day.

My daughter is 9 and started 3rd grade this year. She's also VERY shy, she'll never be the one to talk first to new friends so when I found out her very best friend that's been in her class since 1st grade wasn't going to be in her class this year, I got really worried. I didn't let her see me concerned but I knew it would be uncomfortable for her at first not having her bestie around this year. Well so far, 2 weeks later she's been doing great. The first week was the hardest, she didn't come home crying but she made remarks about missing her best friend. I just tried to remind her that she'll make another best friend in her class this year and still get to see her other friend at lunch and recess.

I think your daughter is still very nervous about school and just the fact of starting a new school can be very overwhelming. We wanted to switch our daughters school this year just so she could get bus route but I knew the transition wouldn't be easy since she is so shy and we decided to let her stay in her current school now. I know the switch to starting middle school is hard but she'll get used to it and soon love it! Then it will start all over again when she enters high school!! : )

I agree with the PP that this is not the best reason to home school. If she's getting bullied or after a few weeks still hasn't come to enjoy her new school then you should consider it but give it some time. I remember many days of crying to my mom during those years thinking I had no friends, now looking back I realize I did but you just want to be the most popular kid in the school from day one and in reality that's not always the case.

I wish you and her the very best, tell her to hang in there and keep encouraging her to meet new people. You sound as if you're doing a great job, good luck and hope she's feeling better soon!

1 mom found this helpful

How heartbreaking for you both. Transitions can be hard. Can you help her keep in touch with her old friends to help her through this, either with having them over (if you didn't move very far), or through email/phone calls, a monitored facebook account? if these aren't options, perhaps she can try to focus on making just 1 friend, maybe on the bus, someone who lives nearby and can come over to her house? Middle school is so difficult with all the changes that age group is going through, they are all insecure and feeling safe and loved is exactly what she needs and to know that it is all temporary. If she's not being bullied, I'd also check in with her school's counselor to see what they can do to help her feel more welcome.

Afterschool activities and school clubs are a way for kids to meet with their peers who share common interests too.

this transition time is difficult but it is also temporary, try not to give in to her fears or build on them, but rather diffuse them and let her know it will get better. maybe remind her of another time she was afraid of something new until it became familiar so she'll be able to believe you when you tell her it will get better.

1 mom found this helpful

We moved to a new school and mine is a junior. She came home three days last week in tears. It's heartbreaking. Even yesterday no one ate lunch with her.
There is nothing you can do but offer her tons of love at home. MIne felt a lot better after brownies :o)
Have her get involved in a sport or club.
Talk to the teachers maybe next week about another nice girl you can steer your daughter to. Nice girls in middle schiool are sometimes very shy and won't necessarily come right over and sit at lunch with the new girl.
Are you involved in church? Have her get involved with the youth group, there might be kids from the same school there.

1 mom found this helpful

The middle school transition is a tough one for a lot of kids. So many new things happening in their lives PLUS the added bonus of emotional and hormonal imbalances.

Just listen to her, keep your lines of communication open. There will be a class somewhere with someone she connects with in some way. It builds from those small relationships.

Hang in there and best wishes. I know it's tough. i don't have the shy child, I have the outgoing cheerleader and orchestra member who speaks her mind.

Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

It's only the first day.
She'll make friends, but it will take time.
Is she in the band or orchestra? Those music kids are the most open bunch!! She needs to find some music kids and start a conversation...
Tell her to give it some time.
New schools are hard... no matter when you arrive and what grade you are in.
LBC

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I don't know if your middle school has this.... but we not only have a counselor, we have groups. There are all kinds of six week groups they can join if they are having problems. If she does make a friend in the next couple of weeks they can make sure they have the same lunch. Ours has two lunch rooms. If they really need to they will switch them to make them more comfortable.

I have one going into 8th and one going into 9th. Middle school is horrible for little girls. They are brutal. I let my daughters talk it out, we try to solve it together.

Maybe she can have a very small sleepover with a couple of girls? I am so sorry that they have to go through this. It is not fun :(

1 mom found this helpful

I went to a new school in sixth grade -- after having been with the same group of friends from K-5 (in our district, elementary school was K-6, so sixth grade was the last year of elementary school). I remember it being very hard in the beginning to make friends, and I remember crying to my mom that I wanted to go back to my old school!

This is what she did. She told me to pick 3 or 4 girls in my class that I sort of liked and who were nice to me, and we invited them over to my house for a slumber party. It was wonderful. We became very good friends and I had a much easier time making more friends after that. Maybe you could do this for your daughter?

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Keep encouraging her, it will take time. I was pretty popular, a thespian and a varsity cheerleader, and so was my sister, who was also homecoming queen and we still didn't know who to sit with at lunch, and we didn;t hang out with people over the weekends either! Even after years of being with all of the same people, we never really became good friends with anyone. I suppose everyone has their self confidence and true friend making issues, never feeling like they really fit in.

I think the Twilight conversation is a good idea ;) Once she gets the hang of her schedule and classes and maybe even electives, she will get to know people better, and have a better time getting to know people. Encourage her to join clubs in the school too. Just tell her to keep hanging in there, and to be herself!

1 mom found this helpful

twelve is an bad age. if you have boobs, the boys will not leave you alone, they follow you to school, they follow you home, they say nasty things about you if they think you put out, and they can become violent with girls who have boobs, who will not put out.listen to what your daughter is not saying. if she is coming home from school crying, it is possible that some girl started a rumor about her "skills" and some boy decided to try to test the theory.some boy tried that nonsense on my younger sister when she was about that age. she broke his nose for him. talk to your daughter, find out what is really going on, and if the school refuses to fix the problem, contact the school board, and demand that they fix the problem.
K. h.

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