Our expert says:
Let's see what our other readers can contribute, after their weekend break ! It's difficult to guess what's going on, from a distance ( even you, caring and intelligent, find it hard from really close up ! ). I find that kids who feel out of the main stream often dress more oddly than the others, as if they're saying : "OK, if you guys won't accept me as one of you, and treat me like a freak --- I'll dress freaky, and embrace that role, and make it my own." Another kid might respond to a similar situation by becoming the class clown, so they have to laugh with him, rather than at him.
The chronic problem with aczema has probably not helped her to develop a positive self-image, either ; and dad's not managing to understand her or communicate uncritical acceptance may not have helped. Going abroad could be a major strain --- or it could be very refreshing for her, to be somewhere where nobody knows her, so nobody has any preconceptions about her, where she might feel comfortable being herself, without attracting criticism. But it might be worth encouraging her to accept a period of counselling, not because there's something wrong with her, but because there ISN'T something wrong with her, but she seems uncomfortable in some aspects of how life is working out for her, and she could, maybe, sort things out usefully within a relatively short space of time, with neutral professional help.
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