Daughter Is Not Making New Good Friends at New School

Updated on May 29, 2009
C.P. asks from Evanston, IL
5 answers

We moved to a new school district last fall specifically because my daughter was miserable in the old one. The new school (started middle school) is so much better. Even though she wasn't academically prepared and has struggled, she is glad to be finally challenged (not a 'gifted' student by any means). One of the reasons we moved here is that she had a best friend in the school and we didn't know anyone in other schools.

She has made in-school friends and has been accepted in her friend's girl scout troop. But she is not asking to get together with any new friends, had an invitation from the girl scout leader's daughter who is in her class, invited to a couple of parties. Earlier in the year she said that school was so overwhelming academically (it is!) that she would make friends NEXT year! She still has her good friend, but my daughter depends on her and not vice versa.

More info: My daughter is attractive, nice, easy to get along with, but a little reserved.
We just moved to a new neighborhood and we thought there would be kids her age. There is one boy who seems to be focused on finding girlfriends (at 11!), a girl who is not friendly, and one my daughter knows who is very scheduled.

How can I coach her or encourage her without pushing? I had so many friends at this age and don't want to act out of my own needs for her.

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answers from Chicago on


I agree with the other posts, it sounds like you are an extrovert and your daughter is more introverted. I too have struggled with this issue of "projecting" what I think my daughter needs versus how she feels and what she wants.

Also, it sounds like you moved because you were worried about your daughter's schooling and friend situation. Your daughter has changed school districts, changed schools, is newly challenged academically and has moved houses - give her a break! It sounds like she is still very young, making friends and being a good student. What more can you expect from her?

I realize that as a parent we all want what's best for our kids. We all worry about them - how they are behaving when we're not around, who are they hanging out with, how are they doing in school, etc. It sounds like your daughter has handled all of these BIG changes very well.

If you are still "worried" about her making friends, what about a summer camp? Either girl scouts? The YMCA? I have talked with the parents of kids "we like" and said, "Hey what are you guys up to this summer?" Get some ideas, then approach your daughter and see if SHE is interested.

Like I said, you can do things "behind the scenes" to try to facilitate sleep overs and good summer experiences. Find out who she likes and wants to do more with and then pursue activites, like a Great America outing, etc. that she'd love to have a friend to do things with. Maybe you can play it off as, "I thought you'd like to go, but I can't handle those rides, so why don't we invite a friend to join us. That way you can have someone to ride the rides with and I'll bring a book or talk with her mom while you girls have fun." Also, what about something as simple as a summer "pool pass" or something else that her friends do? I know we meet LOTS of "friends" at the pool and always have a good time. My kids love going there and seeing who shows up.

Tell her how proud you are of her. Tell her how amazed you are with how well she has handled all of these changes in her life. Be supportive and encouraging in your words and actions. She will take notice. Worry silently. It sounds like this is YOUR concern, so just be strong for her and display your confidence in her.

I think you're doing everything you can. Be supportive and quietly try to make things happen.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Just because you had a lot of friends at her age, does not mean that she wants to or needs to. I always had one or two very good freinds each year throughout elementary, middle, and highschool, and I am still content with that now, I am 31 years old. I was not considered a "nerd" but I was not in the "popular group" either, I was just me! As long as it is not bothering your daughter, definately don't let it bother you. If it does bother her, you should explain that she does not need to have a ton of friends to be happy!

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answers from Chicago on

Hello CP, well when we moved here my 10 year old had the same problem as your daughter...I wasnt worried about my daughter having soo many friends but was more concerned about her feeling down, what I did at that time was I made a party for her and she invited her whole class to our house,,it was soo nice (alot of work) and she was soo happy, she ended up clicking with one girl in her class and they are best friends and always look out for eachother..The most important thing is that you keep a positive attitude and do not push her into being the way you were as a young girl, times have changed sweetie, believe me, I have gone through the same feelings that your going through and my daughter on her own started making her own friends,just give her time and she will explore her options of friends..I wish the both of you the best of luck and I hope this info helps you.



answers from Chicago on

I completely agree with the previous poster.

Is your daughter upset or worried about this? If not, then you shouldn't be either. Middle school is absolute hell for girls - they're just so mean and catty and well, bitchy. Trust me, you'd probably know if she was being ostracized or treated poorly.

Some people are the type that attract many friends like magnets and are very social, then there are others who are a little more introverted and have a close-knit group of just a few friends. Neither situation is better than the other; just help your daughter find her stride and support what is best for her.



answers from Chicago on

Don't worry about your daughter making new friends at school. Middle school is hard and you say that she has her good friend. Friends will change. Activities will change. Just keep introducing her to activities that interest her at your park district, library, etc.... She's in girl scouts so that will give her a chance to be social. She's old enough to take a red-cross babysitting class at her park district. She may enjoy taking some younger kids to a park this summer. Just get her comfortably involved without a hectic schedule.

Your daughter displays nice qualities - and good focus in school. Just because she is not eager to befriend others isn't a bad thing. It just may mean that she is very choosy and instinctive or is still finding her own niche. Let her enjoy the time with you and her sibling. Personally, I loved being involved with groups at that age but I only had a couple OK friends. There are years like that. I currently live in a neighborhood with 21 kids on a small street. Having lots of kids around, these days is not necessarily the answer. Be careful what you wish for!

It's amazing the stuff they are learning, socially, in middle school. Just keep talking to her and teaching her life lessons. I have a son that age and it's amazing the things his friends have to deal with in their families and some of the nastiness that my children have experienced in their peer group. Just keep being a presence around your child's friends. She's learning a lot watching you deal with your friends as well as her friends.

Good luck.

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