Help needed with DS (5). Not sure what to do.

(3 Posts)

Hi everyone.

I am after some wise advice to help me, help my five year old. He is very clingy at home, refusing to play with friends, and mostly being quite hard work! He is Year 1, has always been fairly shy, but has coped extremely well with preschool/primary school. Much better than I expected actually. He has a couple of very good friends, and until just recently seemed to mess about quite happily with some of the others from his class if we saw them out in the park etc. His shyness is noticable in situations such as if we were to see a classmate in the street, he would look away and refuse to say hello. Basically if he doesn't know someone he wouldn't speak, but once he got to know them then he would be fine. At times he has surprised me, like we went to open him a bank account, and he sat and chatted to the lady helping us quite freely.

About 6 months ago we started him at football training. This was in the next village and so none of the boys were anyone he knew, they all went to school together. We thought this would be good for him, to help him to make more friends and build some self confidence maybe. It was okish, he would join in with the training, but refuse to get involved in the actual game at the end at all. He just moped about, looking at me, saying he was tired etc etc. Finally a few weeks ago we decided to stop going, as he said he didn't like it. I think since this point something in him has changed. He now says he doesn't go to football because he was "shy". I suppose we have said this at some point, when I asked him why he didn't like going maybe, but it seems to have reinforced his shyness in his head - he seems to have labelled himself with it. (His reception teacher mentioned he was shy at a parents evening once, he was there and definitely picked up on the word at that point also.)

I asked at school if he was OK, because he has become so clingy at home. We went to a party, and he refused to let me leave where-as I have done so before. The boys mother had to drag him from me kicking and screaming so that I could go. She said 2 minutes later he was fine, joining in and no further crying.
We go to the park after school, and he won't go and play with any of his classmates, where-as he used to.
My parents took him to a local family farm with his cousin. He got in the car, then started crying saying he didn't want to go without me. He spends half the week at his grandparents house! They are far from strangers to him. Eventually I coaxed him in and off he went - fine.

I spoke to the teacher at school, and she said he was 'being picked on a little' but she had dealt with all incidents. I know his "best" friend had pushed his head against his a few times a bit aggressively. And his other close friend had given him a chinese burn on the field, he had told the teacher, but the other friend said my son was calling them all idiots on the field. (DS says this isn't so, but who knows.) She suggested broadening his friendship group. I am trying to persuade him to let me invite someone else to tea! I asked again this morning how he has been, and she said he was much less willing to chat than normal, and definitely quieter. She didn't say whether the 'being picked on' was still an issue or not. I suppose I should ask really!

We thought to build his self esteem we would do things he enjoys doing and is good at. So his dad takes him to the driving range at weekends. Usually he does really well, yesterday I went to watch and he goes all daft, pretending he is tired, falling over and generally not playing at all. It is like he has to do this whenever I am watching him do something! He wants me there, but then goes all silly. We have tried to big him up, praise him for everything he does well, but it seems he takes that to the limit then, and thinks that all manners and respect go out of the window. He has been pretty rude to me these last few weeks, telling me to get him stuff, ordering me around generally..... I don't let him get away with this, but it hasn't stopped.

I don't know what is wrong. Sorry this is such a long post, I'm trying not to drip feed. I wonder if ultimately he has lost all self confidence? Picked on at school, reinforcing being shy with the football training. I don't know. I don't know what to do to help because I don't really know what is wrong! I don't expect any of this makes sense. I just wondered if I wrote it all down then someone might just help me see the light smile

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 07-May-13 17:08:17

Hi OP
It sounds to me as if your DS is currently out of his comfort zone when dealing with scenarios without you. However you brought him up before starting school, it worked, he was happy and confident. Building up his confidence with his Dad is good, one to one time is important and ditto a positive male role model. Unfortunately, since starting school his hitherto close friends are now making other alliances and that support has dwindled. All of which is natural at this stage.

He relates better to adults than peers at present because adults don't bang his head or give him Chinese burns. He tries to throw his weight around at home because he feels things are beyond his control at school.

Ask his teacher to identify those classmates who would be likely to get along with him, then invite them round. Your best bet is to enrol him in an after-school or weekend activity where others from his class go.

I would either try taking him back to football if that's still running, or find him another activity that lets him meet and get along with children his own age. Don't be put off by him complaining about being 'tired' or 'shy'. He's not old enough for Cubs, is there a Beavers' group in your area he can join when he's 6? When the long summer holidays come, try and sign him up for holiday activities.

Hello, thanks for your reply. Yes that all makes sense. He has started a sports club after school on a Thursday, and I thought that Beavers would have been great for him but he is on the waiting list and unlikely to get a place until next January.

Thanks again, you have definitely enlightened me on some aspects of his behaviour. The toddler years seem so easy now, this kind of stuff is far more complicated smile

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