Q Dear Auntie Pearl, I have a 12-year-old daughter and I am a bit worried because she tells me she feels like an outcast at school.
I think it is great that she spoke to me about it (we have a good relationship), but while I tell her alles gaan okay wees, I still paap ’n bietjie.
I don’t know whether it is a real problem or just the way 12-year-old girls are.
My daughter seems to have a few friends, but apparently, they don’t always invite her along to hang out. Any advice?
A Hi Veronica, shame, you sound really worried for your little angel. Auntie has to immediately compliment you on being a good parent.
The fact that you are strong enough to ask for help, and that you communicate with your daughter (and that she communicates back) is something we can all learn from.
It sounds like you are doing an incredible job.
Now, regarding your question.
The truth is that many children your daughter’s age feel that they don’t belong. Just think back to your own time at school!
“Fitting in” is one of the biggest challenges of the early adolescent years.
Ask your daughter why she feels like an outcast.
Is it a specific child or group of people who make her feel like this?
And what is her relationship with them like?
Perhaps she is not an outcast at all but simply wants to be part of another social group.
Auntie suggests you help her focus on the friends she already has.
Brainstorm ways for her to deepen the friendships.
Maybe she can be the one to organise an outing, like going to the movies, or you can have a movie night and sleepover at your house.
But also keep in mind that girls of this age can be vicious, especially if they are in a clique.
If they are nasty to your daughter and aspris don’t want to invite her, it’s time she finds new friends, people who will like spending time with her and who won’t put her down and make her feel like an outcast.
Keep the lines of communication open, and support your daughter through her teenage years.