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Unpopular child(15 Posts)
I was that kid at school - it started in primary and last until I started secondary school.
My parents made a really sensible about a secondary school for me in many ways. It was really gentle, not academic (which is the only shame) and was known for the nice children.
Not every child is capable of reinventing themselves and it is not necessarily good for them to do so. Your child sounds a bit introverted and everything nowadays is about fitting in with the extrovert ideals, as in not being too sensitive, being exciting and hedonistic.
My DS1 was like this for a while, although (fingers crossed) he seems to be doing much better now. Scouts has been absolutely fantastic for him. He goes to a group slightly away from his primary school, which means he has a group of peers away from school. Without wanting to stereotype or offend, all the boys there are a bit different, I guess the sporty/musical ones are off doing those things instead. So, he had a place to go where he had a second chance socially IYSWIM. It also meant that when he started secondary, there were a number of familiar faces who weren't from his primary.
As a mother though I know I worry about my DSs friendships (or lack of) much more than DH does. We do need to recognise that girls and boys friendships are different (or so DH says) and that whilst girls will have close friendships, boys often don't but will have a fairly fluid crowd which splits and changes from time to time. I also know that my own social hang-ups meant I worried about things for DS that really weren't a problem to him.
I don't agree with BoyMeetsWorld (sorry BMW) Unless he's genuinely interested in those things, trying to be someone he's not will only make things worse (I was that child)
I don't subscribe to the idea that doing kind things make a child popular.
My dd1 was the sort of kind child that parents I didn't know came over to tell me how kind she was. She would give again and again and again and never have a bad word to say about anyone.And she was a very loyal friend, would always put them first and her own wants aside. Teachers, parents, other children (individually) would all say that.
Yet she was very unpopular by year 6, she would be the one who was on her own again and again with nasty comments coming at her. I think as a one to one they were quite happy to be with her, but get more than one child with her and she was always being left out and bullied. The nasty ones were the ones who seemed to be always surrounded by friends.
Thank you so much for this advice, do you know where I can access this professional help?
Recent research has shown that children who are kind to others are more popular and that a way to help children who are isolated or bullied is to manufacture opportunities 2-3 times a week where they can do something kind for other children. Perhaps a chat with his teacher could help to set up some opportunities for him to offer help to others. In my years teaching I have seen clearly how some children do seem to manage to sabotage their own friendships repeatedly. If your DS is like this some counselling or professional help to develop his social skills could benefit him.
Thanks also Boymeetsworld, nomadswantshome and SuzanneV, really helpful. I think suggestions to join clubs are helpful but seems that whoever he meets he alienates. I have heard research recently saying a new theory claims that being an unpopular child is a learning difficulty, just like dyslexia. Music may be an option though, he loves his swimming but no sports, tried everything over the years. As you say, as long as we are there to support as much as possible.
I have encountered similar problems in the past, before my ds took to football. I encouraged him to try a different sort of sport at a sports centre away from school and he really enjoyed the activity and the different people.
My dd aged 8 is just the same. It breaks my heart sometimes. She doesn't have a 'best' friend, doesn't get invited to parties/sleep overs and just seems so odd one out. Actually I'm getting a bit emotional thinking about it.
She goes to brownies, which she loves and she has swimming lessons - showing promise as a good swimmer.
I think that she will be a bit like me - she will have a few close friends in adulthood and that's it. I need to be able to 'click' with someone to be able to be friends if that makes sense - I've never really been a social butterfly - much to my dismay! The only thing we can do as parents is to support them as best we can.
One other thing I've noticed, just as an aside, is that she seems to lean towards 'goth'. She loves monster high and adores getting dressed up in Halloween outfits. Last year she wore a long black dress and we made her face up with white and purple. She was in her element. I'm not sure how I feel about this. In one sense, I personally wouldn't mind but on another level some others might find it a bit outlandish/stand offish? I wonder if anyone has any thoughts? I don't want to encourage or discourage really.
I worry mine's a bit like that.
Without being a pushy parent, could you encourage him to take up football (or another mainstream sport) or a musical instrument like drums/guitar? Stereotyped as it is, these 2 things do tend to help popularity at secondary school, particularly with boys.
Thank you all very much for your care and advice, it is very welcome
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I actually think it's much easier to find friends at secondary school. Because there's a bigger pool of people, you're more likely to find someone you have something in common with.
Could he join some social clubs? Scouts, St John, a social group of some kind? I was just thinking this would expand his circle of friends and give him lots of social oportunities xxx chin up, I agree you sound a lovely mummy xxx
I don't have any advice for you but wanted to say what a caring mum you are . Lots of parents dismiss their children's feelings, especially boys . I'm sure someone will come along soon with good suggestions how to help him
I wondered if anyone had any advice. My son is 10 and has never really had many friends at school, a couple of closer boys are now drifting away. He has never fitted in with the sporty or football boys, is the youngest in his year and just has never seemed to completely fit in. It bothers him at times and we do not have any extended family around. I think part of it is his attitute towards others, he is sensitive, can be angry and seems to drive himself away from others. As he will be in secondary school in September I don't want to see this escalate and hope for a fresh start, I know social isolation can be so hurtful. Thanks
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