DS 9 feeling left out & unhappy(13 Posts)
My lovely son is 9 and a sensitive soul. He cries at the drop of a hat. He's got a broad range of friends but has never had one really good friend- he's always been on the outskirts if you like.
Lately he has become increasingly unhappy in school- really feeling left out and always the one left on his own. I am inviting people over for play dates and sleepovers but if I don't ask, he never gets invited. He's so lovely and sweet and yet it's really making him unhappy. I have spoken to the teacher but think I need to go back in again.
Not sure what to do- sometimes I feel like he would benefit from a fresh start in a new school. It's a small school he goes to now so it's easy to get caught up in friendship patterns.
Aibu to think a fresh start is a good idea? WWYD?
We aren't averse as a family to a new start either.
Out of school groups perhaps cubs or drama group?
Seems like he could benefit from some confidence building activities. My DS boosted his confidence by doing drama class. Also made nice friends out of it too. Not sure moving school is the answer. You need to address he issue I feel. Really sorry he's going through this. Must be so difficult.
I think moving on can be tempting. But actually it might be more effective to look at increasing his confidence and teaching him how to make friendships.
I would really recommend joining things like cubs/scouts, martial arts, sports clubs (I would go for the regional training clubs in things like athletics/hockey that aren't specifically designed for dc). I've found for mine they offer a safe environment, where everybody is accepted, any nastiness frowned upon and nipped in the bud quickly. It gives a sense of belonging and as they improve, their confidence grows.
I don't know if he'd be amenable but I've found some of the friendship books quite good. Mine were quite clueless about how to make friends - it didn't come naturally. They give some good tips/techniques I think.
I was very tempted to move away from here at one point. But actually I don't think it would have solved the problem in hindsight. Maybe others will give a different view though.
He does do Cubs which helps - and a little ninja type thing as I thought that might be good. He just seems so unhappy tho and it breaks my heart
Bless him. It's horrible watching them struggle.
I feel like a new school at this age would end up worse for him, he would have to break into already established groups and might find himself more isolated. It must be awful to see him lonely at school but I'm not sure moving him now would be in his best interests.
We have been thinking of moving to a cheaper area for a while anyway & before he starts secondary school - I just want him to be happy
You say he cries at the drop of the hat. Do you mean much more than is normal for his age?
Could be a number of different issues and for me this would influence whether a move of school /location may help or not
1. Is he general less capable at making friends - if so this is not suddenly going to improve in a new school
2. Are there cliques /friendship groups in the current school he is locked out of for reasons beyond his control rather than because he cannot show typical friendly behaviour eg mums are all mates and keep their kids friendships restricted to friendships with DC of their mates or perhaps the children all do the same sport or whatever which your DS doesn't do or want to do
3. Do you just want to move - are you countryside people in a fast paced urban city or vice versa do that perhaps as a family as a whole you would benefit from the move
I ageee about the drama classes have heard of a few DC growing self esteem this way but I would say that generally while out of school stuff is beneficial in and of itself I do think that in terms of growing friendships out of them it's hard as the kids only see each other an hour or so a week and in my experience many of the children that go will already have pre existing friendships eg a group of friends go to X class or activity together
Let us know how you get on
Most kids don't make their long term best friends until senior school. Before then it's normally in waves and favourites. Some have them obviously but most are just on the sidelines revolving around a select few, like you say he is. He will come in to his own. Especially in a bigger year group where there will be more kids closer to his age-point in his school year. Those few months can make a huge difference still until about year 9.
Lym's post is excellent and I think you should really think about the points raised. I know that each school year feels like it's forever but really, if secondary is coming up in a couple of years then you are talking about two upheavals very close together. And if he finds making friends hard, that's two more times to find making friends hard, iyswim. I think you'd be better off working with school and extending out of school activities, especially if there's a way to target children he'll like end up in secondary with.
It's really hard though and you have my sympathies. But I do think you need to think about the next four years or so as a whole rather than what's immediately in front of you.
What do his teachers say?
Does he have siblings?
I think 9 is often an awkward age for friendships.
Is he ok health wise. I found my kids were a lot more likely to cry if they were ill or tired. If he is doing to many activities or not sleeping well might that be a factor in his unhappiness? It's still not good but a more palatable explanation than it just being about his lack of friends.
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