12yr Old with No Friends

Good evening
So my daughter is currently in year 7 and she has no friends. People make fun of her for no reason. She isn’t good at sport but she gets all A’s in school. (Apart from an occasional b every now and then) they call her a nerd for wanting to ace all subjects and wanting to try out for various clubs inside of the school. They also tease her for not wanting to wear make up at such a young age. Usually this stuff doesn’t get to her, but it lately has been. Any advice for her would be appreciated


  • +20

    Join clubs outside school and make friends there so that she doesn't care so much about not having anyone at school.

    Something that she might enjoy and excel at, if she is very bright, is bridge. There's a good youth bridge scene in Melbourne, send me a message if you'd like me to give you the contact details of the Victorian youth coordinator.

    Other things that are good are things like Scouts, or a sport where you don't have to be quick or fit - example archery, Frisbee golf or regular golf.

    A more nuclear option is to change schools to one that better matches her aspirations, goals and personality or that has a gifted program so there are other kids like her for her to mix with.

    • +2

      +1 for scouts.

    • +14

      Take her to a local kids karate club. Not only will she get fit, have fun and make friends but she will gain the self-confidence and strength to be able to shrug off life's idiots. Get her away from social media, that crap is toxic to everyone but especially young people and more especially young girls. We didn't allow social media AT ALL for our kids and they were much happier for it. Now they are adults and still not interested in it so at least we got that right. :) But generally as a parent keep reinforcing her identity (in a positive way not an indulgent way), keep encouraging her, teach her about human nature and why people act the way they do. Information is power in these situations at ANY age but is especially important for young kids.

  • +12

    My daughter goes to a selective school where the kids care about their grades, and wanting to get good marks is considered normal. I'm in NSW, so I'm not sure about the school choices in Victoria, but sending her to a selective school (or it's Victorian equivalent), or a school with a gifted program may be better suited to her needs.

    • This.

      Also, im not sure what are you are in, but generally a private school in a bad area is still way worse than a public school in a good area.. just my two cents worth.

      • My daughter doesn't go to a private school, she goes to a selective school. A selective school is a public school specifically for gifted students. It might be a NSW only thing:


          • +7

            @kerfuffle: I'm sorry if that came across as condescending. I didn't mean it that way. I thought that Rambutann had misunderstood and thought that I was suggesting a private school to OP, so I was just explaining that a selective school is not a private school.

            I genuinely don't know if all other states use the term selective school, which is why I provided the link to explain.

            I don't understand the research skills comment.

      • +3

        Hi Rambutann, I seem to have upset you with my comment. I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to. I thought that you had misunderstood me and thought I was suggesting a private school. All states do things differently, which is why I provided the link to the NSW site. I didn't mean to suggest anything else by that.

        Very sorry about that. I didn't mean to be condescending.

        • +4

          I'm so confused.. I was actually agreeing with your comment. I actually missed out a few words in my comment which may have made it more confusing.

          I didn't neg your comment, I think there was just a bit of confusion - your clarification would have just occurred because my comment was a bit confusing.

          • +3

            @rambutann: I'm sorry again. I'm confused too. I seem to have upset other people.

            I really did just misunderstand and I absolutely never meant to be condescending.

            • +4

              @wizzy: I thought your comment was very helpful & in no way did it sound condescending .Who knows how people take things it's the internet.

        • +1

          All your communication read fine by me, nothing to apologise or feel bad for, you were just contributing from your experience!

    • +3

      a school with a gifted program

      Is this run at the Xavier Institute?

    • +1

      You can't "send" your child to a selective school. Remember all the exams your kids had to do? It's crazy competitive. My daughter just finished her science degree with a HD average and several awards and couldn't get into selective high school.

      The OP might get his child into a gifted & talented stream at a general public school but that still requires proof of capability and in my experience is quite isolating as you are the group of "smart kids" in all the same classes together and the other 80% of your cohort are all mixed in together and don't really mix with you. This is made worse by the international students taking up the bulk of the G&T group and I assure you, just like International students at Uni, they don't assimilate or mix well. I really don't understand why they bother coming out here but that's another topic.

      • Very true. The exams, competition and selection process are horrible. Lots of kids unfairly miss out too. Your daughter's achievements sound amazing though. Well done. You must be very proud.

        • I'm proud of both my kids. They achieve in their own individual ways.

          Hopefully the eldest one will have a job in her field of study before Xmas (She's finally getting some interviews) and the younger will surprise me with her HSC results. :-)

          • @brad1-8tsi: Good luck with the job hunting and the HSC. I'm not at that stage with my kids yet, but I will get there soon enough!

      • As far as I remember, selective schools take the top certain % of students from any school. They cannot discriminate against a school.

        I remember when I was in school, and a certain demographic moved their kids to a crappy school for the year. Most of them moved back the next year (I'm not sure how as my school was hella difficult to get in). Parents were moving their kids to low scoring schools to take the selective schools exams.

        Too bad the parents aren't bright enough to know some other parents are thinking the same way.

        • My kids went to school in the Hurstville catchment. 38% of the population in Hurstville were born in China/Hong Kong so you've got to be pretty smart to get up into the top few %, crappy school or not.:-)

  • +5

    How does your daughter feel about this? Has she talked to you about what would make her happier?

    • She just wants a friend :)

  • +15

    Add another vote to moving her to a different school, if the one she's in goes from yr7-12. She won't be able to change the kids perceptions of her and the teasing won't stop

    Get her into a school better suited to her talents, and find the time in her week to have a social thing outside school with different kids

  • +13

    Tell her to keep studying. There will be plenty of time for finding real friends. And chances are, these other shit stains will end up on welfare or work in dead end jobs and your daughter will probably be their boss. Just don’t let these arsehole kids drag her down to their level. Friends will come and go and can be made at any time, but doing well at education is something hard to pick up later in life.

    • +7

      This is true, and she'll realise this when she's older, but from her perspective it is her whole world so is pretty important to get fixed now. Each year seems twice, three times or four times as long as it does to you (depending how old you are). And childhood hurts continue through adulthood.

    • +1

      This is true but between now and then, a child can sustain significant social and psychological damage by being an outcast.

      The academically gifted may not necessarily become the boss either. It is the socially well adjusted that become the boss. Academics have a far higher chance of being irrationally non-confrontational.

  • +1

    My eldest was in a similar situation (gifted & talented stream at her school) and ended up making friends with all the International Students… who all went back to China after the HSC and left her with basically nobody so she had to start again.
    Since then she has made friends from Uni and also where she has a casual job and also her "sport" (competition cheerleading) and hobbies (photography and snorkelling).
    It doesn't seem to have affected her and she is outgoing and articulate and ridiculously happy.

    My youngest has lots of friends… except they mostly bogans and dropkicks with too much money and not enough brains.

    So which would you rather?

    It's hard not to worry when you are a parent but sometimes you have no control.

    I do recommend some type of group thing. Scouts, church group (if you are that way inclined), a sport (find a social rather than competitive group), chess, part-time job, community service, book club, etc. And it takes effort on your daughters part. Friendships have to be cultivated and worked at.

  • +2

    I don't have any advice for you that hasn't already been said here.
    But I sincerely hope you find a solution, must be had as a parent seeing this unfold, but atleast you're paying attention to this problem. Alot of parents brush it off.
    Best of luck mate

  • +1

    Those teasing her because she wants to be academic… will later in life be the ones taking her orders at the drive through, while she's on her way to a European holiday.

  • +2

    She's fine, you're very lucky to have a child that is focused. She just needs a new understanding, that students make fun of her because they don't understand her, and she doesn't understand them. People are attracted to similar interests, and there are plenty of young students like her at every school that is focused on their job of being a student.
    It is pure having no distractions (like makeup and sports) and academically she will be miles above the rest for a very long time (source: ex-school teacher who has kept in touch with some students and their families for years).

    Likes attract. She needs to find a friend or group of friends like her. I'd even search out at libraries and universities for study groups, particularly if shes interested in technology, science and/or maths. Something where you and your daughter can go to an academic library for the afternoon and talk about pathways in academia. Your child will get a lot of joy from seeing where they are heading. She needs to understand that social challenges are just as important as academic challenges, and needs to test it out.

    Finally, monkey see, monkey do. Your child absorbs so much from you. They know how your see and interact with your friends, and relate and react to your relationships.

    Your child will contribute a lot to her chosen field, godspeed.

  • +1

    I was never a 12 year old girl, but I was a 12 year old boy… My parents shunted me into Boys Brigade when I didn't have many friends (cheers homeschooling), and I still keep in touch with a lot of those guys almost a decade later. I imagine Scouts is fairly similar from what I've heard - but creating a new friendship circle outside of school is a bloody fantastic idea, and ensures that whatever happens at school, there'll always be other friends to see.

  • This is really not the place… have you tried a child therapist/counsellor? We have far from all the details needed (or the expertise) to advise you how your daughter can make more friends.

    But I do wonder - is she getting straight A's because she wants to (and actually wants to), or she's getting them because of family pressure and the fact she's at home doing homework every day and both days weekends?

    • She is the one that likes getting good grades. Im happy when she gets a b+ Or an A but she says it’s not good enough. She does her school homework because they are obviously required to, but She definitely doesn’t do extra homework everyday / homework on the weekends.

  • +1

    If she's up for a professional help to guide her in processing her daily experiences in school, then do it. What you can also do, as many already suggested, is to open more opportunities for her to meet other people. Non-academic clubs within the school can be a good start.

    • I would also like to add that support from a parent would help her tremendously. Tell her that she is great the way she is, that there are people out there who share her interests and some people will see her as cool for her hobbies. It would be great if you can find clubs where she can share these passions.

  • If its a recent thing just see how the year semester pans out. It might just be some students. If after awhile it still doesn't improve then maybe look at another school. She just needs to believe in her self. Or she can just cave in a be one of the girls. It might help her we part of the group. IMO

    Find her another school with a more friendly environment. My 10 year old son at the time didn't like his school and asked if he could move. He's never looked back. Still usual school stuff though, but passed that and he enjoys it there much more than the last school.