DS STILL has no friends and is now in year 1...(35 Posts)
But he says he doesn't care so should I be bothered?
The boys have teased him constantly since reception even though the teachers have been very aware and tried to stop it but in the playground it seems to be a bit of a free for all. They seem to gang up and wind him up so now he is starting to lash out (often in retaliation) and is getting in trouble for it. He has a few SEN (speech problems, poor motor skills) which we are getting a lot of help for via school and privately. He seems quite immature and inarticulate compared to other boys his age and to be honest I think it would have been good to hold him back a year as he wasn't really ready for school but it wasn't an option.
He is perfectly happy to play by himself and says he doesn't care that he has no friends and wouldn't be interested in moving to another school or class. He is a bit behind with reading etc but is coming along pretty well and enjoys learning.
I have invited a few boys for play dates but they are rarely reciprocated and he hardly ever gets invited to birthday parties that all the other boys are invited to.
Do I just leave it and let him be considering he is happy as he is?
I would leave it if he says he's happy and you don't doubt him. He'll make a friend eventually, and they'll probably be really good friends, very close. Try not to worry.
Mind you, I would speak to the school actually. It sounds like he's being bullied.
I have spoken to the school and they seem to be trying their best to help him socialise. I don't think they see it as bullying though more that he just doesn't get on with anyone and they enjoy winding him up. Should I take it further?
Any friendly girls in the class?
We found it useful to widen the pool of contacts as much as possible, Beavers, family, friends children. I think it's really important for school not to be the only social focus in a child's life.
I am always and reading posts like yours.
I have no knowledge here but if it was me I would let him be, ensure he was very aware of my love and if it was still happening when he got older I'd look out for depression. I would also chat to the teachers and see how they could offer support.
Poor love. I think you are right to be worried. The development of social skills is very much determined by the Mathew affect. (Ie. the rich get richer, the poor get poorer) The gap between his social skills and peers will only grow unless someone intervenes. Your son will be unemployable and depressed as an adult if he cannot learn to get on with people.
He is really caught in a vicous circle. Unless he gets the opportunity to have playdates then will develop good social skills. Children have plenty of playdates get more playdates as their social skills soar. Being happy and sucessful in life is more dependent on social skills than academic sucess.
Do you have friends outside school with children of the same age? Do you go to church or any other social clubs where you could meet children outside school. If your son is dyspraxic then there might be a support group where your son could make friends. Maybe it would help for him to play with a younger child to gain confidence.
I would also suggest social stories to help your son deal with people trying to wind him up. There are social stories you can get that can show your son strageries for getting children to play with him. If your son has a speech and language theraphist then prehaps she can suggest resources.
I have no idea whether your son is bullied or not. However it sounds like his social skills are not progressing. I think you should ask the school to draw up an IEP to develop your son's social skills to help his long term mental welbeing.
in a way there are two separate -though related - issues. The ganging up and winding up in playground - school should be going all out to stop this, and it sounds as though they are responsive to you so I would go in and discuss it.
the second thing is friends. I think I would be inclined to persevere with playdates with any likely candidates - maybe not too often, but every now and again. I wouldnt read too much into lack of reciprocation - there can be loads of reasons, including parents just being too busy, do just keep ploughing on regardless. And it can be useful to keep an unobtrusive eye out during play date, to see how the two are interacting and whether there are any tips you can give him.
Good luck - these things are gruelling, so loads of sympathy to you from me!
There are some good social stories on Youtube that you could play to your son.
The other thing that might be worth doing is discussing with ds how to react when children try to wind him up - the 'yawn, whatever' approach.
But that is very difficult for a young dc to do, (for anyone to do, actually!) and school should definitely be addressing it if it thinks dcs are winding him up, whether deliberately or unintentionally.
Can you get him some social support group or something at school- people have posted about these. He shouldn't have to cope with kids winding him up, not having friends etc. The whole class should be improving their social skills and should be practising being kind/being a friend to others etc. I wouldn't be happy with how things are at school.
Other than that I would just do your best to get him to be comfortable in his own skin (is he? sounds like he is, just not the most extrovert?) and then friendship should follow from this. I think a lot of the friendships that exist in Y1 are pretty flaky anyway tbh. I'm not sure I agree with ReallyTired's post. The school day is long here and not every child in Y1 is suited to playdates after school, or not on a regular basis anyway....
I moved ds2 in year 1 as he had too small a pool of friends in the school he was in. Tough at the time (especially as I was leaving his elder brother at the school), but neither of us have any regrets. See if you can find him a nicer environment.
"Your son will be unemployable and depressed as an adult if he cannot learn to get on with people."
Bit of a ridiculous leap there ReallyTired.
And unconditional love and support from primary caregivers are greater determinants of future happiness and success than social skills alone.
He's Y1 - there is plenty of time to help with friendship issues. I was that child at that age and I am far from "unemployable and depressed".
OP, like others have said, continue with the playdates and outside social activities. We got my DS involved with Cubs, which he loves, and it has improved his social skills both inside and outside school. It is important for children to know that school is not the be all and end all of social interaction.
Can we all please remember though that it takes all sorts. Not all children are going to be the life and soul of the party, some are going to be the ones who stand back, assess a situation and warm up slowly. And there's nothing wrong with that.
I would talk to the school about the ganging up. It sounds horrible and this sort off bullying can begin to sap a child's confidence.
Your DS sounds like an independent chap who knows his own mind. Friendships will develop when he's ready.
Thanks ladies. I have been thinking aboutthis overnight. He plays very well with his older sister and is not too bad with friends children (all girls though). He is not good at approaching others although he did try in reception according to the teacher and got shunned. At the end of reception he had a friend for a few weeks but that friend seems to have gone off him now. I think he is happy to be left alone and either the boys in his class just approach him to wind him up or he approaches them badly and they get cross with him. Wish i could spend a day observing him so i could figure it out really. He says he hates everyone in his class and the boys hurt him. The fact is that 30 kids cant all be horrible little buggers. He is hard to make friends with so needs help. School do a lot to help him socialise but it isnt really working
Very much agree about school not being be all and end all of social interaction. As well as out of school activities, are there any local (or even not so local!) non school dcs who ds could get together with occasionally on a one to one basis - just playing around at home? It is great for dcs to have those out of school friendships - as well as larger groups like cubs, which are sociable but dont necessarily foster close friendships (no criticism of them, that's not what they're aimed at! And they are fantastic at providing group activities - thank you to all the volunteers who make it possible!)
And the teasing at school has to be addressed - as others have said, I would speak to them about it and ask what steps they intend to take.
Cross posted, not deliberately ignoring your points angryf! so, he gets on well with girls so does have social skills, that is v encouraging. Large Groups are much harder for some (including many of us!) and as previous poster said, nothing inherently wrong with that. There is a book called the unwritten rules of friendship which contains useful tips about children interacting - would it be worth speaking to school about their observations of the way he interacts, so you can gently advise him?
he is very lucky to have you on the case, as well! It can be so stressful for the dparents, surprisingly so really - so make sure you watch an episode of modern family or new series dallas to look after yourself!
I think its encouraging that he gets on with girls and his sister. Getting on with peers is the biggest challenge for a child as they are less forgiving of weak social skills. Older children tend to be forgiving of weak social skills in young children and a child who is younger will also have immature social skills.
The teasing at school definately needs to be addressed.
The fact that you realise that there is a problem is a huge advantage for your child. Your son is still young and there is time for him to learn social skills.
I agree that it sounds like there is a very unpleasant group dynamic going on that the school needs to deal with. However, if you think your ds might benefit from developing his social skills a bit more, it might be worth looking at this book to get some ideas. I think the "Unwritten Rules of Friendship" book someone talked about further up the thread is excellent but the approach might be more suited to a slightly older child. In Year 1 it's probably easier for a child to learn things through play than just through talking about stuff.
At that age mY DS socialised very little with his class or any one at school. The others left him alone though and he wasn't teased too much (I think a lot of children, including my DS, are teased quite a bit.) He has improved as the years have gone by, I put this down to 2 things, first his excellent childminder, he has had to get on with a few children there and it has helped and the second is through sport and joining sports clubs. But he rarely gets party invitations and simply doesn't want me to arrange friends to come over, he 10 now by the way and by nature is a bit of a loner. But I think sport is helping a lot as he is happy to go to clubs and is learning to get along well with other kids.
I wouldn't worry too much about lack of friends, but if he wants , I'd encourage activities like beavers and arrange a few play dates. But I wouldn't force it. And yes, I think a word with the school to stop any ganging up, that isn't right and the school should be able to sort it out.
<<He says he hates everyone in his class and the boys hurt him.>>
He may say he doesn't care and likes to play alone, but their is a difference b/w choosing to play alone and being ostracized. He doesn't sound very happy.
The school should be able to deal w. bullying, including at play times. Of course he'd prefer to play alone than be picked on but that shouldn't be the choice on offer.
I would think carefully about having him moved to another class. Would their be children in his he would miss? Also, if you do decide to wait and see, I'd give yourself a time limit and a plan, if things are not better by ....then I will .....
Yes, a time limit is a good idea. The thing about his not wanting to move school, and being happy enough without friends, is that ds doesn't really know how life 'could' be if he was in an environment that suited him better. Do you think there are alternative schools where he might be more at home? Would it be worth going to look round a couple, just to get a feel for them?
You say that you'd like to spend a day observing him.
I think that's a great idea as at the moment you only have your view and a little feedback from your lad and his teachers to go on.
I had concerns over one of mine being shy and not making friends and felt completely different after observing him for a morning.
Ask school if you could sit in class and playground for a day.
If its' a total no, perhaps half a day or each lunchtime for a week. You need to be observing for long enough for him to have forgotten that you are there.
If no possibility then could you orchestrate a session or two ?
I friends from his class regularly go to to a park after school for example you could takre your lad along.
Also could you ask other parents to truthfully tell you what their view of your lad is ? In my experiance lack of party invites and no reciprical playdate invites comes far more from mums not wanting your lad round than from the children themselves. Is is possible that other parents fear having to look after your lad as they think he will be difficult ?
I would ask school about the pals programme. It is Australian but used successfully here. It is a socialisation programme that may help your son (and some of his mean peers!).
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