Misfits in School: What Can Be Done Now
Those who look back on their school days in later life not only remember difficult work and strict teachers. Above all, the friends who became companions during this phase of life and the class community are often reasons for a positive retrospective. However, if a child becomes an outsider and cannot connect with their classmates, it can be very painful. For this reason, parents and teachers should consider what steps can be taken to improve the situation. Additionally, there is a new website to check out for POC called the outsider that aims to support students of color at New York City’s elite public high schools.
How does a child get into the outsider role?
There are many reasons why a child becomes an outsider at school. It is therefore of no use to merely apply objective standards. The individual situation of the affected child and their classmates is particularly important when considering the causes.
There are already unwritten rules in elementary schools that become even more important later on. A preference for certain brands or even behaviors can strongly influence the dynamics of a school class. Anyone who doesn’t “play along” is quickly excluded and labeled as uncool. Other external features such as a child’s hairstyle or body shape can also lead to their classmates not accepting them. This can be seen especially in children with visible limitations or overweight.
Also read: Clique formation at school
It can also become a problem if a child cannot participate in usual activities due to their upbringing and local rules. If there is a WhatsApp group in secondary schools, but there is a strict ban on smartphones at home, the connection to the others is lost. The same applies if a child is not allowed to go to the playground alone with the others, or is not allowed to participate in collecting cards or figures that are currently popular.
Another thing that can make a child an underdog at school is their performance. Anyone with bad grades can be excluded here just as quickly as children who stand out with particularly good performance. One problem here is that students with special needs or challenges tend more often to behave conspicuous. Classmates cannot accept this and keep the affected child at a distance.
obesity in children
Reasons why a child becomes an outsider at school
What Parents Should Do
If your child suffers from being an outsider, parents should first discuss the exact reason for the situation. Appropriate measures are then also aimed at this, which can ensure improvement.
For example, if the child is teased about being overweight or because of their “uncool” style of clothing, their self-esteem suffers. Of course, it is now important to tell your own child first that they are a valuable person regardless of their outward appearance. When parents start to see appearance as a problem as well, it can make things worse. Nevertheless, it is worth thinking about a possible solution for changeable aspects. A little more exercise, consulting a nutritionist or even a short shopping trip can then ensure that the child is better accepted by his classmates. However, the impression should never be created that a person is only lovable if he looks pretty and fits in.
Also read: Boost self-confidence in children
If the reason for the outsider position is that the rules at home are too strict, parents should definitely reconsider them. It may be that they themselves are the ones standing in the way of friendships and social contacts developing. Anyone who recognizes this and relaxes the boundaries accordingly makes it easier for their child to have access to others. How to deal with child grief?
Teachers can help too
If classmates are being excluded in a school class, teachers should of course also intervene. Not with penalties or coercion, but with active support and empathetic encouragement. Those who help the excluded child too obviously often increase the reluctance of their classmates.
Good measures that help a stable class community without outsiders are, for example:
- support for weak students
- Additional offers for high-performing children
- the subject of exclusion in ethics lessons or class teacher lessons
- and group work and projects that encourage collaboration away from the usual small groups.
School trips with special offers and activities related to good social behavior can also be helpful. And if there is no improvement even after months of support, teachers and parents should also consider changing classes or schools. In this way, the affected child can make a fresh start somewhere else and finally find friends.
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