New Student in school & miserable - FamilyEducation
New Student in school & miserable
09/22/2009 at 13:11 PM

My daughter is in fifth grade and was just transferred to a new school. My husband & I tried a Charter School for her last year and although she made friends there, we did not like some of the things the school was or was not doing. This year, we decided to move her to the public school that is assigned to us for our area. My daughter is new there and it has been only been a week but she is a mess. Crying before and after school, telling me she is uncomfortable, she can't adjust, she has trouble making friends. She has done everything possible to get us to either keep her home or transfer her back to the Charter school. She has done this in the past with new situations....she did this in pre-school, kindergarten, and also when we recently moved. I did get the guidance counselors involved each time and the issues stopped. I am so frustrated and I'm also on the brink of tears myself which makes it hard to deal with this. Did I do the wrong thing by moving her even to a better school that we as parents feel more comfortable with? How can I help her get past all this unhappiness? I did call the guidance counselor today and I'm waiting to hear back from him. Can anyone give me some advice for a child this age? Thank you!!

Are there maybe some other moms you can sort of be friendly with who have kids in your daughters class?  I did that with my 8 year old. We got together for play dates and my son began to adjust.  Can the school set her up with another student who can show her around?  


It's been a week.  Move her back to the charter school.  Tell her you are sorry, and that you will try to be more respectful of her needs in the future.  Take her out for icecream.


The school has done a wonderful job of welcoming her. She has a student guide which happens to be our neighbor's daughter on the corner of our street. The teacher has included her in every way she can. The guidance counselor will be talking to her tomorrow to also give her support and find out if there's anything else that he can do to help out. My daughter has a habit of making one single friend and not reaching out to any others once this friend is made. Most of these friends then become posessive and give her trouble if she decides to befriend others. That is what happened here at the other school. Because of this, my daughter barely knows the kids in the neighborhood we live in for two years now. This friend would tell her that all these other kids were mean, or this or that.....and she took this as truth and never tried to play with them. Now, these are her peers in school and she's having to deal with the fact that she distanced herself from all these kids for so long that now they wonder what her agenda really is? I hope I'm making sense. It's complicated and kind of a real mess. We will not be letting this happen again as I'm literally watching her and the friend scene very closely. Do you think I should send her back to the old school? Even after my husband and I do not think it is the right school for her to be in? She has been placed in gifted Math & Language Arts at the new school. Her old one cannot accomodate her for this and it's what she needs. The other lady who commented on here said I wasn't being respectful or attentive to my child's needs......what do you think of that? Just asking.


I was a military brat, at least that is what we were called.  I moved around and went to 7 different schools.  Not all the schools were because we changed cities or states, but because my parents realized that there were better schools that offered better oppertunities for me.  I didn't always agree, but now, as a parent, I understand.  Sometime we have to do things that make it hard for our children, but it is because it may be best for them.  Children don't always see the big picture.

It took me, a times, a year to adjust to a school.  I sometime would only have one or two friends.  I found that kids who grow up together, stick together, and don't always let people in, but not in all cases.

Changing school, though difficult, socially made me stronger, confident, and able to see people for who they are and except it. 

Your daughter, will eventually make friends and feel more comfortable.  You need to be supportive and listen and try to keep her involved in activites.  Some times going to dance or gymnastics or soccer will get her in with girls with the same interest. 

If you don't like who she is with, talk to her about it and the behavior you don't approve of and include her in you fears so she can see you are trying to look out for her best interest.

But, if this school is best for her, then all means keep her there and help her learn how to adjust to a different social environment.  It will actually help her adjust to situations in the future when things are not easy and familiar.



Thank you for this, Jenny. I too, changed schools when I was a child because my dad was a fairly high-profile executive and his job took him and our family to different places. I moved when I was 2, 5, 10, and then a senior in high school. All into new schools. By the second move, I was a pro. This moving did give me the ability to excel at change and adapt to anything and anyone. It also made more well-traveled as a young lady...moreso than my friends the same age. My daughter has changed schools only once before this and it was because we bought our new home here 45 minutes north of where she grew up. This new school has a gifted program and within three days in her new class, they moved her into gifted Math and Reading. They figured her out quickly and the school can meet her needs academically and give her what she needs to excel. I know as a parent, this is important and I;m glad that you feel the same way. It meant a lot to hear this from you because when I say it to doesn't sound as good. I don't know why but since she is my youngest, her tears and her pain is often like Kryptonite to me. My older daughter is so outgoing and adaptable that she's like on auto-pilot through things like this. Kind of like me. My youngest struggles with every change in her life. How will she ever get anywhere if she doesn't learn to cope better? I hope we didn't fail her in this area. Lord knows we've done all we can as parents to give her a leg up in the world without "doing it all for her." I've talked to the guidance counselor and the teacher and they say to give it time. No one is bothering her in class and they say she's fitting in fine so they want me to downplay it and let her work out her issues and cope. Part of this is her unwillingness to find an open door to jump through when an old door has closed. Instead she just stares at the old door and wishes for it to open again....know what I mean? Thanks again for your help and comments. If you have any other advice in regards to my reply....send it along. I like your thinking and you and I have the moving thing in common. Thank you!!


Sometimes, as parents, we need to hear "you are doing the right thing."  I glad I could help.  Take care and God Bless.



It is always hard to watch our  children struggle or be unhappy even when we know it may be in their best interest long term- right now she is only able to see the short term.

What are some of her interests?  Does the school have any type of clubs or activities that she would like?

What are some of the things that have helped her adapt in the past?  Those "tween" years can be really tough, girl culture is much harder to understand and break into than boy culture.  Give her some time, support, let her know it's ok to be upset but help develop a plan to feel better about the changes in school.

What about keeping in touch with a friend from the charter school?  A sleepover or fun outing so that she knows that  she does have friends even if they go to a different school, remind her what it was like when she first started the charter school and how things got better there.


How's the change going?


My son switched school this year too. I  think its a little less intense in our situation, but I just wanted to say its totally normal (in my opinion) for friendships to take quite a long to time to grow. My son gets along with other children, but he just now in December asking if a new friend can come over. Its also weird, becuase I feel like he's beyond playdates -- he's 10 and I think perfectly capable of inviting a friend over on his own.


He's also going through a new round of mssing his old school and friends, although we stay in contact with some of them. He asks if he can switch back. But we had real reasons for the change and I just tell him, no -- you need to be where you are. 


My advice  is stick with your decision, and be patient, and don't force the friendships. Find programs or afterschool things where she'll be around other girls, and over time she'll find a new friend.