| Struggling girl           |
06/05/2018 12:23 - Bullying (Locality: Kerry)
I am hoping that people here can offer some advice for my husband and I. I know there are educational professionals on this site and of course there are parents who may have been in our situation in the past, who can offer some advice to our situation. This may be a long post but I would appreciate if you could take the time to read it as we are desperate and the entire situation is outlined so as for you to get a full understanding of the situation as a whole.
Our daughter is currently in first year of secondary school. She asked me last night why nobody likes her and no one wants to be her friend? She has no friends, feels lonely, believes that no one likes her because she is fat, weird and ugly and the worst of it - she believes that she is not worth having as a friend for all the reasons stated above.
She was not always like this, she was a bubbly, excitable little girl who was the most enjoyable and positive personality to be around. She had plenty of friends and was always at play dates and coming home from school laughing and telling us the tall tales from school that day. It all changed in 4th class of primary school when she and her best friend had a falling out. She would regularly come home from school sullen and angry. We asked who she played with that day and she would tell us no one. We asked why and she said that no one would play with her. We encouraged her to play with other children but she wasn’t interested. The school year ended and during the summer she was back to her old self. At the start of 5th class initially she was doing ok from our perspective but her personality had started to change dramatically. She was angry, and withdrawn again. After school she would be crying and her sleeping pattern changed dramatically. We were called to the school on a couple of occasions about her ‘anger’. She never physically hurt anyone or even verbally threatened them, but she would clench her fists and vibrate with anger. She was on her own all day and completely isolated from everyone else. The instigator behind all of this isolation was her old best friend. No one in the class was allowed to play with her or they couldnt be her friend any more. The teacher tried to encourage the other girls to play with her but they wouldn’t.
I asked the teachers was there’s any indication that my daughter had done something to upset them and through vigilant observation, they maintained that my daughter wasn’t doing anything because she wasn’t even talking to them. She had completely alienated herself from everyone. She no longer slept more than an hour at a time and when she did it was a fitful anxious doze more than a sleep. We started her with a play therapist and through that we learned a lot more about the targeting of her buy some of the girls in the school. My daughter was not allowed a phone or access to the internet but it seems a fake Instagram account was created by one student in my daughters name, notes were sent around the class by a couple of girls sopposedly from my daughter saying nasty things about other students. We were lucky that the girl who set up the social media account admitted to doing so, and the teacher was able to see that my daughter had not written the notes.
The play therapy helped but it was also the summer time and she was away from school. That summer we focused on encouraging her to hang out with the boys. And for 6th class it worked. She became friends with 4 boys who were great friends to her. 6th class was better all round. Unfortunately we gave in at confirmation time and got her a phone. We agreed on it only if we could sync her phone with ours for safety purposes. She fully accepted that and we have complete access to her phone, messages and snap chats groups. I know that may seem severe in the broad scheme of things but we have always felt that social media is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands and though we cannot protect her from everything we could at least monitor the incomings based on her experience in 5th class.
It turns out this was the best thing we could have done. In October of last year after starting secondary school (which was hugely successful and she was turning into the little girl she once was) anonymous messages were being sent to her through snap chat. These messages told her that she was fat and ugly, nobody likes her and she should go and kill herself. We were devestated for her. She was doing so well and her parent teachers meeting had been hugely successful, they highlighted her bubbly personality and interaction with her fellow students. We immediately contacted the guardi to see if there was a means of sourcing the IP address of the sender. They said that we couldn’t but asked was there a possibility that we knew who was the sender. Based on what was said in the other messages we suspected her old friend from primary school. He said he would call to her home and discuss it with her parents. Thankfully, following the guarda visit, the messages stopped.
But the damage was starting to show. In November last year, my daughter started wearing a glove. I had my suspicions but I didn’t want to push her. 2 nights later, after her shower, we saw why she was wearing the glove. She had shredded her hand with a knife. I’ll never forget her reaction to our shock and tears. She couldn’t see what the problem was because she was not worth worrying about in her opinion. I slept with her that night. Back to the fitful anxious sleep from before and awake most of the night. The following morning she was still confused by our reaction as she said “it’s only me” - “they won’t care, why do you”. I was in a daze. It had to have been the shock because I dropped her to school like it was a normal day. I went to work and didn’t come out of my daze until lunch time when her school rang looking for me to call to the school. It finally registered, all of it. He suffering, her coping method, sending her to school!!!!! What the hell I was thinking, I will never know. But In one way, it benefited my daughter. The school offered every support necessary and constant subtle supervision. We will be forever grateful that we sent her to this particular school.
Following this my daughter attends CAMHS and Pieta house. She is receiving great care for which we are lucky but unfortunately her story doesn’t end there. She was not progressing as she should have been with the services she was receiving. She admitted in one of her Counselling sessions that a student in school was telling her to kill heraelf every time she walked past him. He would regularly tell her to”fuck off and die” and no one would miss you”. Photographs were being taken without her knowledge and shared with everyone in her year. They were deliberately taking unflattering pictures and sending them to everyone. one of the kids doing it was a girl she considered a best friend. It was primary school all over again. She was now suffering from suicidal ideation and had a couple of methods chosen to do it. We emailed the school and informed the principle of the situation. He immediately took action and the student admitted to everything- even some incidents she had not told us or her Councillor about. He was suspended and all the students involved in the photographs were given detention. The school did what they could but I think our need to protect our child has led to her being an outcast.
She is alone all the time. Regularly has panic attack’s and as a result become a target of ridicule. She would regularly message a girl (same friend who shared the photos) to meet for pizza and told that she is too busy only to later receive a picture of the same girl having pizza with someone else. She sat at a table near them recently as they said their table was too full and after she went to get something, came back to find her belongings moved away to a further away table and the girls laughing and sneering at her. All my daughter wants is a friend. Someone to meet with, some one to talk to. But she regularly gets vocal jibes thrown at her for my husband and I highlighting the bullying that went on earlier.
We don’t know how to proceed. If we go to the school again, I know they will do everything in their power to help her situation but I feel we will create a situation where she is even more of a target. We don’t know how to help our girl. She will not join any group activity because of the panic attacks and also, in a way protecting herself from further rejection. Can anyone here offer advice from either a teachers perspective or from a parent who has dealt with something similar? Please, we are desperate for our girl to find happiness. Our hearts are breaking for her and her spirit seems to be broken.
| re : Struggling girl           |
07/05/2018 11:28 - Bullying
Hi Dee I read your post and was heartbroken to hear about your daughter.I am not a teacher,not a professional just a mother of 3 kids myself.I went through an awful time with bullying and went through similar experiences like your daughter.I wont spend ages writing a long post I will just leave you my number and if you want to talk to me you can.
| re : Struggling girl           |
08/05/2018 10:25 - Bullying
Take the phone away. Full Stop. There is the source of the problems.
| re... : Struggling girl           |
09/05/2018 13:25 - Bullying
The phone has been gone for the last 6 weeks. She was only ever allowed the use of her phone when she was away from us (i.e. school in order to contact us) and for 1hr in the evening. All that is gone now.