Whew....I feel like I have so many questions for this forum these days! Thank you all for your words of wisdom!
So, my observation, and question. I feel that social relationships and their complexities have been kicked up a notch in junior high. The drama among the girls feels a little more intense, it feels like groups are forming and re-forming, and there is definitely a hint of some boy/girl showing off, etc. I understand that this is all normal for the age, I just haven't seen it up close like this since....well, since I've lived it myself.
My question is that I am not sure my dd has as complete social skills as some of the other kids I'm seeing. She's getting feelings hurt one minute, and the next everything is fine and she's not sure there was really anything to be upset about. I think that her reactions to situations might eventually isolate her though because to some degree part of the distress is about her only being able to see her own point of view. She holds onto it until the next interaction with the friend, when all seems well
:. I don't know if other kids do this, or to the same degree, or not at all? Honestly, it's hard for me to know.
I was thinking that some sort of social skills group or counseling for a pre-teen would be great. DD and I have pretty good communication, but this is definitely an emotional place for her, and I feel a bit "tuned out". How can I help? Should I help? Should I worry? Any input would be wonderful!
My DD is 13 and in 8th grade, and what you are describing sounds a lot like what she has experienced. There is a LOT of drama among girls in Jr.High. The ability to only see one's own perspective is very developmentally on track IMO, at least that is what I have seen with DD and her friends. I feel fortunate that she does talk to me about it. One thing I have learned (by messing up and trying to offer advice too quickly) is that if I listen patiently and reflect back that I understand how she feels about a situation and give her opportunity to really feel heard and have her feelings validated she is then more able to begin to think about other's perspectives. Questions like "How do you think Xgirlfriend perceived the situation?" "How do you think she is feeling about it?" can sometimes help her to have a broader perspective.
As far as the feeling hurt and then all being well part... We have that ALL THE TIME! They are so emotional at this age. There's lots of cryinga and venting at home and then I'm a wreck thinking she is so devastated. By the time she gets home from school all is well and she's moved on to something else. Meanwhile I've worried about her all day. I'm working on getting a handle on that for myself!
A book that really helped me understand the whole Junior High Social Scene is "Queen Bees and Wannabes" I can't remember the author, but I got it at the library. I think its got a pretty wide distribution. It really captures the social hierarchy that girls experience in Jr. High and the whole "mean girl" phenomenon.
We talk alot about how mean girls can be to each other. For us a lot of that started in 5th grade. I think now in 8th, DD is finally beginning to understand that the girls who act so mean mostly do it because they feel insecure and are hurting inside.
Good luck to you and your daughter, it is a challenging time of life. My friends with older girls keep telling me it gets easier in high school. I hope they are right!
Thank you pink gal! Every word of your post resonated with me. It's true-I am a wreck, but I think dd moves on more quickly. I'll look for the book that you suggested. My suspician still is that my dd has either younger social skills, or some other kids have more advanced (and not always so nice) social skills.
My daughter is 14 and just started 9th grade. I'll just say that all that Pink Gal described is accurate per my daughter's experience. And this year is MUCH better. The anxiety started in 5th grade, grew for the next three years and dwindled quite a bit in 8th grade.
And, yes, I frequently had to stand back and get perspective on where dd's anxieties ended and mine began.