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Huge row about son entering junior school

(99 Posts)
Crazedmother100 Thu 13-Aug-15 23:16:23

Autistic son aged 7 is going to start junior school in September. He only joined the school last year after being home educated. He really liked his last year, he didn't make lots of friends but made a couple of really good friends - I felt it was a positive decision until now. He's already crying about going because a few of the older kids said something mean in their preparation sessions in the playground. From what he has said, it was not that bad and not worthy of complaining to teachers about but he is a sensitive boy - am already upset at the thought of someone being nasty to him, struggling to sleep and panicking that he is an easy target.

DH and I have argued tonight because I have said I want to get his hair cut before the start of term and spend a lot of money (to us) on clothes for him. DS has his hair cut in a feathery Oasis/Stone Roses style since he was 3 and although I love it and would cry if it were cut, it is not the norm for kids in his school. DH is arguing I will take away his individuality but I think this is a look WE chose anyway - not him and if it makes things easier for him, why not have it cut? He has not been picked on for it before but trying to think ahead.

DH is also angry and says I am being shallow because i want to spend 200 pounds aside from uniform buying him expensive jackets, trainers, jogging bottoms, pe bags etc to go back with. I don't mind going without this month if it makes DS a less easy target and I know it's not right but I remember my own school days and how fickle kids are. I am terrified for DS although we are being careful not to show it. If we are really sensible with our money this month , we can afford the stuff I have looked at but DH is a little in denial over DS's educational needs anyway and does not want to do without his day strips, steaks etc- says we just get him the normal school attire. DH says I am going to turn him into a conformist and I can see reading this back how shallow and stupid this seems but to me, surely, when kids are facing a struggle, as parents we give them whatever helping hand we can?

decisionsdecisions123 Thu 13-Aug-15 23:25:31

Does he want to have his hair cut? I get your point about not wanting him to stand out and would probably consider doing the same. At 7, I'm not sure you need to buy £200 worth of extra 'stuff' for school. I don't think the majority of boys at that age are bothered at all. Make sure he had a decent amount of uniform, decent trainers and a bag that he likes and i think that's ok. Save your £200 for year 7.

I say that form London, maybe things are different in other parts of the country and people care more about what 'stuff' they all have.

I dont think you are at all unreasonable though, you just want to make his life easier. For that, I think you sound great!

thegreylady Thu 13-Aug-15 23:30:37

I think you sound like a great mum. I agree re the haircut and make sure he has whatever are the current 'wishlist' bag, trainers, lunchbox etc.

DeeWe Thu 13-Aug-15 23:31:12

I think you are right and wrong.

It is nice if your dc can be an individual. However not all children can carry it off. If he's a bit sensitive, particularly if he might overreact in the playground, then I would go for a more conventional hair cut.
Yes, you'll get mn up in arms That their ds had ankle length hair and no one said anything. But they're not your ds. Once he's accepted he can grow it back if he wants to.
I'm very much of the opinion don't give bullies an easy handle.
Dd1 going into year 10 has her hair in pigtails because no teasing will alter her.
Dd2 looks and wants to fit in, so asks for what others have.
Ds comes home upset because he's been told his hair looks wrong...
So I will suggest to ds before it happens how he can fit in. I don't with the others.

Bt the spending of stuff sounds a bit OTT. I'd cut that down to essentials and a few treats.

orangepudding Thu 13-Aug-15 23:34:32

I understand how you feel. My son also has asd and is starting juniors in September. I am worried about the older children on the playground learning that he is an easy target. The SENCO and teachers have reassured me they will keep a close eye on him.
There is no need for expensive jackets, jogging bottoms etc in year 3. Go to doe where like Sports direct if you do want branded it,was as they will be cheaper there. The likelihood is items will get lost so it's not worth spending too much.

SavoyCabbage Thu 13-Aug-15 23:35:50

DeeWee is right I think. Some dc want to be individual with their 'look' but they have the confidence to carry it off. It your boy is already a sensitive child then you are right to help him not to stand out.

I don't think he will need all the paraphernalia at year three though. The boys in my dd's class mostly talk about Pokemon and the like. They couldn't give a hoot about trainers.

Morganly Thu 13-Aug-15 23:47:27

I am really sorry to have to tell you this but if your son has autism, you can spend £1000 on the latest stuff and the other children will still see that he is different. Spending tons of money is not the answer. Yes, it's sensible to make sure that he doesn't stand out in terms of appearance so if the haircut is weird, get rid of it. But, the most important things are reassuring him that it is OK to be different, bigging up his strengths, encouraging the friendships that he does make, teaching him how to deal with low level teasing and being very proactive in working with the school to tackle bullying.

Do you have a local support group for parents of children with autism? These can be a brilliant way of exchanging ideas for supporting our children through the school years and also a chance for the children to make friends outside school which can be a lifeline sometimes.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Aug-15 23:58:51

"I am really sorry to have to tell you this but if your son has autism, you can spend £1000 on the latest stuff and the other children will still see that he is different. Spending tons of money is not the answer."

No, but I did the same thing when my DS went to secondary school... I think, it's a - this is something I can actually do type thing.

As in, I can't do anything about the AS and it makes me feel better that I'm actively doing something...

RealityCheque Fri 14-Aug-15 00:10:07

I'm with you on the haircut, but with your husband about wasting spending £200 on unnecessary shite.

amarmai Fri 14-Aug-15 01:06:39

do everything you can to help your son op. You are on the right track.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Fri 14-Aug-15 02:12:28

I agree with the other PP - I would do the hair cut but not go without to spend on all that stuff. A couple of key things (bag, lunch box, PE bag), but not the full kit. Or at least until you know what the other boys do actually wear for PE etc.

Slightly different situation, but when we moved countries I didn't want DS to be "the foreign kid", so got his hair cut and went shopping for some new clothes after a couple of days sussing out what the others wore to school (no uniform!). It helped me feel that I was doing everything I could to compensate for uprooting him and taking him half way around the world.

I think your DH is being short sighted and a bit selfish, I'm afraid

bearleftmonkeyright Fri 14-Aug-15 03:59:16

Ask him if he wants his haircut? Honestly I with your husband on this. I think you are moving the parenting goalposts without discussion with your husband. You have left him out and decided this is the way things are going to be done. I don't think any of the things you have done are going to make a blind bit of difference to how he settles in at school. I know plenty of primary school boys with feathery style haircuts who are extremely popular and well liked. I get that you are worried and concerned but fancy trainers etc are not going to change the fact that you will worry. If he has been home educated I am guessing you do not know that these things just don't matter, especially at primary school. You would be better getting him a bunch of Pokemon cards to trade. Sorry to sound harsh. I wish you and you're son all the best and hope he has a wonderful time at school.

wheresthelight Fri 14-Aug-15 06:37:34

If your ds wants his hair cut then great but at 7 he needs to be involved in that decision.

As for money and latest trends sorry but I agree with the above irrespective of him being autistic, if he is different in any way the other kids will pick on him. Anything from the way he pronounces something to which street you live in. Some kids are just evil little shits and nothing you do will change that. You can lessen him as a target but it won't protect him if the kids have that mindset sorry.

Hope he feels better about school soon and his first week goes well as that will dramatically change his outlook

BoyScout Fri 14-Aug-15 06:58:30

I would do it. Though you may not need all of that expensive stuff at age 7, maybe cherry pick the important bits. Save your money for when he's a teenager and that shit really matters.

GloGirl Fri 14-Aug-15 06:58:40

I'd ask him about the hairdressers cut. If you had something that was 'your thing' and it was taken away just before school - you might feel lost without it and therefore even more vulnerable.

I'd probably buy him cool school shoes and bag. Coat/lunchbox /clothes. You probably won't know what's cool to buy anyway, just get him semi decent smart ones.

You'll need money to buy him replacements don't forget. If you get him expensive trainers he will lose them!

thehypocritesoaf Fri 14-Aug-15 07:00:45

I think you've got a good argument about the haircut but spending £200 on fancy extras (esp when money is tight) is nuts.
7 yr olds aren't impressed with designer stuff. Most are lovely. His favourite lunchbox is all he needs.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Fri 14-Aug-15 07:13:11

£200 of fancy trainers and bags for 7 year olds? Surely they don't notice stuff like that at that age?! Mine certainly doesn't and nor do his friends. Older kids might but all the year 2/3s will have the primark backpacks and £2.99 plimsolls so I can't see him being singled out for that.
The hair - if he wants it cut then of course. I would be tempted to agree with you here, I'm not loving the idea of a feathery oasis cut as it's not at all current or fashionable.

OneInEight Fri 14-Aug-15 07:15:23

No matter how much you spend the other kids will find something to say that will upset your child at times - ones I remember upsetting ds1 are you're not wearing a vest, why are you wearing baby pants (he wasn't), you're Scottish (he's not) although he was quite proud of the you're weird one!. You will do better if you role play with him what to do in these eventualities - we had some success with getting ds1 to reply "And that matters because...... " (probably not great when he started doing it to adults too but that's AS for you!). I am also being a bit hypocritical about this as we did go out and buy the apparently socially acceptable boxers immediately.

coff33addict Fri 14-Aug-15 07:24:18

so he is being bullied and your solution is to go to the hairdresser and buy stuff.

You really need to take this up with the school and nip it in the bud. DC1 has ASD and I find that things get more difficult (socially etc) the older DC becomes. the early years were much easier.

oddfodd Fri 14-Aug-15 07:27:41

My son has SN and is the same age as yours. He wouldn't know a Nike trainer if he tripped over one, neither would any of his NT friends. More important to spend money through the year on helping your DS join in with the latest playground crazes and/or after school activities at this age I'd have thought.

Similarly with the haircut - DS has a sort of longish boy band cut because that's how he likes it. Some kids have a number 2 all over. Doesn't seem to make a difference to their fitting in or not.

And actually I would tell the school about every tiny bit of teasing. That's the sort of thing if left unchecked can turn into bullying and your DS needs to knows that you and the school have got his back. I think that's more important than haircuts and flash clothes which he'll grow out of

Mehitabel6 Fri 14-Aug-15 07:54:29

I think that you and your husband are lumbering the child with your own experiences and ideas rather than letting him be the individual.
If he has had his hair the same way since he was 3 yrs old that was your choice. What does he want? Has he been asked?
Individualism isn't necessarily standing out and being different - it is making up your own mind.
Clothes are equally unimportant - let him have some choice when you get new ones. No need to spend a lot.

I think you need to forget looks etc and concentrate on socialisation. Have children around to tea. Follow interests and join out of school activities like Cubs. Have you made any arrangements to see school friends in the summer holidays? If not there are lots of activities that you could do- often for free. E.g the National Trust do 'Wild Wednesdays' in some places, libraries often do activities etc. Or just go to your local park. I took 2 visiting children last week and before long they were just playing with other children they had never met before.

He is hardly being individual if he is conforming to his father's ideas of individuality.

It sounds to me as if his father is a strong character with set ideas that it would be difficult for a child to go against- and that because you were bullied you are fearful that it will happen to him and this clouds all your thinking.

I would relax and give him space to find out who he is for himself.

Mehitabel6 Fri 14-Aug-15 07:59:03

You are making him grow up before his time. Clothes and bags might be an issue when they start secondary school but not starting junior school. They are all 7 yrs- some might still be 6 yrs for the rest of this month. As someone said - a choice of lunchbox is more important than clothes they won't notice.

PenelopePitstops Fri 14-Aug-15 08:04:09

You are bonkers regarding the stuff, save your money. All kids stand out and are different, some more than others. A nice jacket that nobody will see is not important. Instead spend your time building up his confidence.

Superexcited Fri 14-Aug-15 08:05:58

As the child who was teased for not having the same branded goods as the other kids at school I would spend the £200 whether my child had AS or was NT (I do have one with AS). Anything that helps a child to fit in even a tiny bit more is worth doing if you are able to. Obviously he isn't going to totally fit in due to his AS but why should he stand out for other reasons too?
I do agree that junior age is still quite young to be worrying about brands but I was definitely worried (and teased) during my junior years and when I see the children in my area going to junior school most of them do have branded coats, trainers and rucksacks.

oddfodd Fri 14-Aug-15 08:12:50

In year 3-4 Super? I don't know any kids who care. All the children I know of that age are in the SE though / maybe it's different in other parts of the UK?

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