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My 9 year old daughter is a social reject. What can I do to help her?

There's nothing 'wrong' with my daughter, as far as things that would normally make a kid unpopular. She is reasonably pretty, smells fine, wears nice clothing, but she is very shy, naive, a little awkward, and very emotionally immature. It's not that she is bullied by anyone, she is just ignored. The only other girls who want to be her friend are the domineering girls who just want someone they can control. She doesn't have any friends in her class at school. She is in a Girl Scout troop and none of those girls seem to want to socialize with her. Again it's not that they dislike her, they just ignore her. She doesn't get invited for playdates. I have tried to help in a non-meddling way, mentioning to other moms that we should try to plan a playdate for example. Nothing is helping.

Now my daughter seems to be really suffering from esteem problems. She feels like no one likes her because something is wrong with her. I have talked w/ her extensively about it but it's not getting through. The rejection is really taking a toll on her. But it's also starting to cause her to 'play the victim' and that is really annoying. It's like she's given up on trying so it's just "oh poor me, everybody hates me, wah wah wah". I am going back and forth between feeling heartbroken for her and feeling completely frustrated with her. I am at my wits end. Any advice? Anyone been through this?


Asked by Anonymous at 11:00 AM on Dec. 8, 2010 in Tweens (9-12)

This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • --Some people will always be shy or introverted (needing to be alone sometimes to recharge). My favorite people! We can still be fun though

    --I agree that having a friend that she can be herself around and be totally accepted by can make a HUGE difference. When I had friends, I still hated large parties of strangers and wanted some alone times, but a group of 10-20 friends, I could be fun and have a great time, help lead hikes and comfort other shy/awkward people, etc. But you can't really force that. Just getting her around people with her interests, it can happen. And some of us, we are more "quirky" so it can take a few months/years

    --When my parents or friends tried to push me into social stuff, I went back farther. Take her personality into account. You may have to let her go slow

    --Many times, shy people are great helpers and really love to volunteer or become active in a church, somewhere helping others

    Good luck!

    Answer by Tracys2 at 9:16 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • You mentioned your daughter was in Girl Scouts and I'm guessing she is probably a brownie or a junior. Maybe if she were to help out a daisy troop for a little while it would make her the "big" girl and might give her the confidence she needs to be a little more assertive. Good luck (c:


    Answer by scout_mom at 11:03 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • I think seeing your child experience that type of social rejection is one of the hardest things as a parent. I think there is a reason for it somewhere and quite possibly because she does play the victim role. Unfortuantly she is not only setting herself up to be a punching bag for the mean girls, but she is also setting herself up for much worse down the road, future relationships, looking for negative attention and even becoming a bigger target for devious characters. So I would be very concerned for her emotional growth and health, and also her safety to some degree.

    I believe you should talk to your pediatrician and get some better answers. I think counseling would be a necessary step at this time. She is on the brink of adolescence and it will be MUCH harder to turn anything around in a few years. Your child is driving you crazy because she is crying out for help, but neither of you know how to fix this. *Hugs*

    Answer by spottedpony at 11:07 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • What interests does she have? maybe introduce her to other activities where she might feel more comfortable and accepted....maybe a sport, physical activity, pottery, painting, horseback riding.....something to do that will boost confidence that she enjoys, that she lives for ! Eventually it might even make her more interesting to others...she'll have more to talk about and interact with, etc....

    That was me when I was a kid....I was too shy to do anything outside the an adult i'm completely opposite now....but also as an adult I find myself saying "gee, i wish my parents pushed me to do more....i really wished i had learned to dance....or got involved in sports...." I wasn't into team sports and that would be touchy to push, but something like archery or a sport where you compete individually or just for fun, but not on a team.....

    Answer by FXmomTo3 at 11:08 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • What about a party for her? I would invite people (or maybe girls) from her class and scout troop and take them all ice skating or to the park or smtg. A just because party every once in a while might help.

    Answer by bseastrand at 11:08 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • Poor girl.. reminds me of myself when I was her age. I grew up the only child. Only cousins that I had were babies when I was a tween and I was never put into daycare or pre school. I just simply didn't know how to communicate with other children my age and I felt very awkward trying to do so. All it took was for me to meet one GOOD true friend in the neighborhood and things got so much better for me. I had more confidence, talked to other kids more, and never really had a problem after that. Hopefully it will be the same in her case. Sounds like she just needs a confidence boost and a good friend that she can relate to. Does she actually enjoy girl scouts? I only ask because maybe if its an activity that she really isnt all that interested in she isnt willing to make friends with the girls in that particular group. I hope it gets better for her soon.

    Answer by Ctink8189 at 11:09 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • Is she talented in anythiing? artist? music? sports? acting? I think one of the best self-esteem builders is to be good at something you like. it puts a barrier between the child and hurtful people, and it also makes her admired by those who share her interest.

    Answer by charlottej at 11:11 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • i like the party idea, but i would do it at your house. it would be more intimate. a park or skate rink would make it too easy for the girls to ignore your dd.
    are there girls her age in the neighborhood?
    sometimes we host a movie night at our house and invite the boys in the neighborhood over. all the kids love it, and it makes all the kids in the hood closer, which i really love.
    anyhow, try to have a few girls over, maybe you could do mani's and pedi's, or try that wii dance game, maybe decorate your own cupcake?
    good luck mama!
    (some kids are just shy too!)

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 11:20 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • party is a good idea, i also like the idea of experimenting with more extra curricular activities. It took me a while when i was young to find something that i was real good at. And, when i found that THING that i was good self esteem BOOMED because i realized that i had something that i LOVED that i was actually good at doing. There is something out there for everybody, maybe girl scouts isn't it for your DD.

    Answer by samurai_chica at 11:31 AM on Dec. 8, 2010

  • I was a ridiculously shy kid so much to the point where I was 11 and still would not go to the counter at McDonalds and ask for a ketchup. Not anymore though I am more of the the comic relief in the group but I do still pull back into my shell when I am in large groups. I wish my parents would have pushed me to do more and make me do something rather than catering to me to be so introverted. I agree with getting her and keeping her involved with peers her age.  I disagree with having a party that may give the wrong idea that friendship can be bought and that's only a one day event then its over.


    Answer by SueAnd2 at 3:05 PM on Dec. 8, 2010

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