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"My cousin hates school because the other girls don't include her."

Hey Terra,

My cousin is in the 8th grade. She has been placed in a class for gifted children because she is exceptionally smart in math. The class only has a few girls. When she was younger, she seemed to get along okay with them. But sometimes she'd be invited to slumber parties, she'd come home early because she said some of the girls would hurt her feelings.

She hardly ever goes anywhere unless it is with her mom or aunts. Her mom was unemployed for a couple of years and needless to say, she couldn't afford to buy a lot for her to help her fit in... like name brand clothes, cell phones, four wheelers, etc. Now my cousin hates school because she says that the other girls all hang together and don't include her. For example, every girl in the class was invited to this party, but my cousin was the only girl in the class not asked to stay the night.

What should she do?

Concerned Cuz


Dear Concerned Cuz,

You're a good hearted person and your cousin is so lucky to have you in her life. Fitting in is a big problem for lots of kids in middle school. Whether it's because someone is gifted in a certain subject, or too tall or doesn't wear whatever other kids are wearing, middle school kids can be mean. You can't force kids to include everyone or to be nicer.

Your cousin is smart and that's going to take her far. It doesn't make sense to try to control stuff that she has no control over (like what other kids think or feel or do).

She shouldn't try to get in with people who "hurt her feelings." Stay away from them. But if she can find just one friend then her life in school this year will be easier. Are any of the other gifted girls having the same challenges on the social scene? Are any of these girls that your cousin would like to be friends with? Maybe she could invite one of them over after school.

If she can't find a friend at school, then maybe your cousin can find one through friends of yours or through some out of school activities.

Let her know that high school students are more mature and less cliquish than middle schoolers, so this may be the last year she has to deal with these unkind girls.

In the meantime, she should do her best in school, find true friends wherever she can and be her own person.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,


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