What can I do to help ds toughen up a bit?

(36 Posts)
seeker Tue 15-Jan-13 08:40:28

That sounds awful- but he does need to! He's in year 7, and both his friends and his "enemies" know exactly how to push his buttons and he gets upset- so obviously they do it again. It's not bullying, I'm sure of that, it's just normal messing around- and when we talk about it at home he is very aware that he has over reacted, and kicks himself. We're trying to come up with strategies to help, and they are working a bit- a clever come back is his favourite, or if all else fails, to ignore. He's a very cosetted and petted younger child with a big sister who adores him, and I'm beginning to think that a bit more emotional rough and tumble would have been good for him- he's not good at being teased or laughed at at home either. I think because I was very conscious that I was raising a boy, I worked too hard on the sensitivity and neglected the resilience! What can I do at this stage to help?

BooksandaCuppa Wed 16-Jan-13 20:25:39

Oh, seeker, I don't have advice about the over-sensitivity thing, I'm afraid (if anything my ds doesn't notice if someone has been a bit mean; his best friend is a different kettle of fish altogether)...

...but the forensic questioning does ring huge bells. I've been interrogating ds each and every day since he started yr 7 (he has Asperger's; he has a special diet; he knew no-one when he started; he has a tendency to tell me/remember nothing) BUT he recently said to me, 'Mum, I wish I was still at primary school because you didn't used to grill me every night back then.' It was sobering and I have tried to tone it down. It's hard to let go but maybe necessary so that any other problems he has aren't compounded by your anxieties/questions too?

swanthingafteranother Wed 16-Jan-13 22:32:15

Booksandcuppa my son has been a bit hit and miss at secondary too, and I had got into habit of sitting down and asking him about his day when he came home, with tea and biscuits wink. However, I soon realised the best thing was just to give him the tea and biscuits large sandwich and SAY NOTHING. Just sit there, or be around...He soon told me whatever he wanted to say, but it became less of a debriefing, more of a casual recounting (if he wanted to recount anything). He generally says what went well, and what didn't without me even asking. I try and leave an opening so he can mention anything which is bothering him without direct questioning.

Seeker My son is not very good at dealing with teasing. And not that good at making friends. He manages to get along most days, and seems to enjoy school, and the institutional setting (I think he finds safety in groups) But he has learnt to just accept it - sometimes he tells us, sometimes he over reacts, sometimes he just moves forward, and kind of works out how he should behave next time to his peers. It is a slow process. The teachers are quite good at reassuring on one hand, yet encouraging them to "man up" on the other. The rule of thumb is , if someone says something unpleasant, move away, and ignore them and assume they are not going to do it twice, if someone says something "downright rude" or "threatening"or uses physical aggression, or continues to "harass" you tell the teacher, and that is not considered sneaking.

I think it is getting better, but it is a two steps forward one step back sort of situation. We are assessing for dyspraxia in our case.

swanthingafteranother Wed 16-Jan-13 22:35:46

The other thing to say, is that what worked as a dynamic between you as mother and son, does change as they enter teens. My son is a very affectionate child, but I think he does want a bit of distance, and independence. I think this is why it is an emotional stage because they keep moving between relying on you to solve problems, and then wanting to live their own life grin and NOT be helped. It is very important for them to feel they can solve their own problems.

seeker Sat 19-Jan-13 09:35:23

Just thought I'd keep this bumped as there seem to be a lot of us, and there are some really helpful and thought provoking posts on here.

guineapiglet Sat 19-Jan-13 13:22:47

Hi again - my son returned on Wednesday night looking shattered - gave him a brew with honey and a snack, and he started sobbing - it was very upsetting - said that HS was tough, the big ones just push through the year 7s like skittles and he felt very low about it - also had a slight temperature and went to bed early, , had Thursday off school as was very hot and bothered, so obviously not well, plus Friday was a 'snow day' so he seems back to his old self again today - but some days it obviously all gets to them, and they are constantly expected to 'man up' and get on with it. I remember this time last year he was in year 6 preparing for SATS and an Aladdin play at school, so in a very short time things change for them... these things are rites of passages, and next year the focus is off them, but still hard to watch them coming up with coping strategies, but glad when they can.

swanthingafteranother Sat 19-Jan-13 16:18:44

Just thought I would add to this rather shamefacedly by saying that ds got a detention on Friday for being rude to someone blush Oh dear, the manning up can backfire...

I think this one is going to run and run, so many lessons to be learned..

marriedinwhite Sat 19-Jan-13 16:40:02

I have a very sensitive dd seeker - now in Year 10. I cannot change her and would not want to change her - we have to accept our children for what and who they are and help to deal with other people.

DD found Year 7 unspeakably difficult and I think it's important to realise that the friendships are very fluid in the first few terms of Year 7. Her close friends by the end of year 7/beginning of Year 8 were different from the girls she was friends with at first. She settled down and was much happier after the first year.

We moved her however at the end of Year 8; not due to friendships/sensitivity but because we felt the school was slipping from its perch academically and socially and had lost the vision and passion built up by the previous head. No probs with the change though - and a much happier all round dd so we did in the end feel that there was an innate problem at the school or she just didn't quite fit it but it was working out and if we hadn't been able to have moved her she would have been OK. Y10 now.

ShebaQueen Sat 19-Jan-13 16:58:10

Seeker, your post could have been written by me! My DS is in Y7 and has found it hard moving from a small primary school to a huge secondary one. He is very sensitive and has always been an anxious boy and although doing very well academically he has struggled socially so far and seems to spend a lot of time on his own at break and lunch. When he does manage to tag along with a group he seems to get upset by the teasing and sarcasm. I have been talking to the school and they have been helpful, offering a mentor from Y9 and suggesting after school clubs. I haven't manage to convice him to join any clubs yet though.

I think I question him too much about what he has been doing, but I really worry about him. He did try martial arts beacuse so many people had recommended it but it didn't work for us, he used to get stressed about going there.

I tend to agree with those who have suggested laughing things off or ignoring them all together, it isn't a bad idea to have a few witty comebacks prepared too and that's what I've been trying to work on with my DS.

Hugs to you, you are not alone smile

takeonboard Sat 19-Jan-13 17:37:41

I am surprised there are so many DC's going through this and mostly boys, is it easier for girls? Or is it that "banter" is part of boys language in friendships and our sensitive boys just can't handle it? Can it be taught?

marriedinwhite Sat 19-Jan-13 18:30:15

I don't now. My dc are so different. DS is alpha and dd is so quiet and shy it's amazing they are from the same stable. I think there are so many different dynamics in every family it's hard to say.

GreatUncleEddie Mon 04-Feb-13 13:55:17

I have a similar y7 DS (who i strongly suspect can "dish it out but not take it") and has been overreacting to banter-type comments, but IMO is not being bullied. I have decided to reawaken this thread just to say that things have been better over that last few weeks. I reassured him that he would find a way to deal with the boys whose comments were upsetting him and said that if it ever did turn into bullying we could decide between us to talk to the school. I tried to make him feel that he had some power in the situation, and then to see that he also had the power to decide whether he let the comments upset him or not. I bought the "Bullies Buddies, so called friends" book and he did read it. He has set up a worry box and I think it is helping him to see that most of the worries that go in it never actually come to anything.

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