making friends

Q&A: “I’m a 12-Year-Old Girl Who Doesn’t Like Her New School”

Written on October 9, 2012 at 10:50 am , by

Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman answers your tough questions.

Q. I’m a 12-year-old girl who doesn’t like her new school. People aren’t open to helping me, there are so few kids to make friends with and I’m getting frustrated. Is there a way to make things better?

A. That’s terrible! You’d hope everyone would realize how hard it is for you as a new kid. It’s time to take matters into your own hands. First, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you can make one or two friends by spring break, I’d consider that a win. It’s possible the kids in your class have grown up together and that can be really intimidating, but the work you do as a team will give you opportunities to strengthen bonds. Are there any group projects coming up? Things you’re interested in at school that other kids are into as well? If so, invite a group over to your house to work or hang together. Friendships will develop from there.

Do you have a parenting dilemma for Rosalind? Send an email to askrosalind@familycircle.com.

Rosalind Wiseman helps families and schools with bullying prevention and media literacy. Her book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” inspired the hit movie “Mean Girls.” She writes the Ask Rosalind column for Family Circle, and blogs about parenting tweens and teens on Momster.com.

Ask Rosalind: How can I help my son with Asperger’s who just started high school?

Written on October 17, 2011 at 10:00 am , by

Smart ways to help your tweens & teens navigate the real world by Rosalind Wiseman

Q: I’m worried about my 15-year-old, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and just started high school. He is bright and high functioning but has trouble socially and is very small for his age.

 

A: I totally get your concern. Navigating the complex world of high school social dynamics is hard enough, but kids with Asperger’s have even more difficulty reading others’ social cues. On top of that, they can be so concrete-thinking and honest that they may not pick up on people making fun of them. All this makes them especially vulnerable to being mocked or bullied. On the positive side, a lot of Asperger’s students I know want friends—they’re just not as concerned about fitting in or keeping up with the latest trends. So it’s crucial that your son learn three things: social skills, like not interrupting or constantly sharing stories about himself; communication tools, so he can speak to others about his Asperger’s (being honest and direct works well for my students); and strategic plan development, in case someone is cruel (this will help him reach out to teachers or counselors at school).

Read more Ask Rosalind.

– ROSALIND WISEMAN

Rosalind Wiseman helps families and schools with bullying prevention and media literacy. Her book Queen Bees and Wannabes inspired the hit movie Mean Girls. For more info, go to rosalindwiseman.com.