What do you do when no one wants to be friends with your child?(92 Posts)
I'm not sure if this is the right place, but I am desperately worried about DS.
He is in year 5 and is struggling so much with friendships. He is a kind, sociable boy who loves playing with other children. However, in his own words, he is geeky and "uncool". He has no interest in football and Fortnite, which seem to be the current obsession with most of the boys in his class. He is very clumsy and hopeless at any sports. He also finds a lot of the boys in his class silly and he doesn't take a joke well (which means they tease him a bit to get a reaction).
I was worried about low level bullying, but school seem to have sorted this. However, the boys in his class just don't want to be friends with him and he is becoming increasingly isolated. I have spoken to school so many times, but I don't think they really know what to do. To be honest, I am not sure what they can do. How can you make children be friends if they just don't want to?
I am so sad for him because he would love to have a great bunch of friends. I am also terrified about what the future holds as I fear he may be at risk of bullying at high school.
One option might be to move schools in the hope that he can find a group of friends he has something in common with, but then there is the risk that we just have a lot of disruption only to end up in exactly the same position.
I have tried encouraging out of school clubs, but that hasn't really been effective.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Did you find a solution?
Are there any girls he could be friends with? Growing up, in my teen years, I was friends w a lot of boys - their gfs were awful to me and jealous, but I grew up with these boys so no romance at all. I tried to be friends w the girls, but they were nasty, so I just remained friends w the guys. I did have a couple girl friends outside of the school that I hung with out of school.
I wonder, who did he play with when younger? Why are you only now worried? I am involved now with my dc friendships, encouraging friendships etc. If I was worried, I would set up play dates etc. If I thought a child was not being nice to mine, I would have no problem saying "Be nice" But mine are 5 and just 7....when they are older I am sure its different.
What about outside of school? What does he do? Anything like chess club, art? Music? Sign him up to some none sports activities after school and perhaps he can meet friends that way.
Yes, we had a horrible time with ds1 in the equivalent of year 5. He had had one particular friend up to that point who was fairly posessive, and when they decided they didn't want to be ds1's friend anymore (basically because ds was also "uncool" and geeky), he was left out in the cold.
He's also a friendly, sociable child but tends to be on the fringes of things. I empathise because I'm the same - I tend to have one or two close friends and I don't find it very easy to be superficially sociable which can make me seem standoffish and awkward.
Anyway, we did do outside clubs. I think they helped with his social skills, even if they weren't an overnight fix. Clubs where they're doing organised activities with limited aimless standing around are good - we went for Boys Brigade and a martial art.
The following year he (to quote his teacher) "found his tribe" and made good friends with a couple of boys who are very similar to him. He then moved up to high school the next year and found other like-minded people. It's all good now.
It's very hard to see your child lonely and left out, but it's important I think to check that it's not bothering you more than it's bothering him. Some people (like me) are broadly happy in their own company a lot of the time.
Encourage him to be open to friendship and that friendship may come from unlikely quarters - one of ds1's best friends now was his mortal enemy in their first few years of school!
You get through the next year and a half, and pick a school with strong pastoral care for secondary.
You find out when selecting the school what they do to help kids meet like minded friends.
DD2 was similar. Not actively disliked, but overlooked as not as articulate, clever, able. She now has a lovely group of friends at secondary.
How about kids clubs out of your area a bit where he may meet new friends. Less upheaval than moving school.
DS had a couple of wilderness years when he was left out of friendship groups. I found clubs helped for us.
I have tried to encourage him to be friends with the girls, but in his class there seems to be a deep divide between the girls and the boys at the moment.
He didn't really have any problems in infants, but in the last couple of years the divide between him and the other boys as been growing and I have become increasingly worried.
I have tried out of school clubs. He loves piano, but that is hardly sociable! He doesn't like art (and is terrible at it, like me!). Our school don't really have any clubs other than sports clubs unfortunately. He goes to drama outside of school, but it is mostly girls and he doesn't seem to be able to relate to them at all.
What are his interests? To be honest, a lot of boys that age are in two camps, sports including football or gaming or both. Many of the mums of boys in my kids school get their boys to go to football after school even if they're not that good at it, as it provides them with a common interest especially as they get older. My ds (8) is very much into his games, Roblox, Pokémon on his DS, but not really Fortnite so I know he talks about that with his friends and they recreate it in the playground. Do you have boys round to play? I don't much as ds has had a solid group of friends since reception but I'd consider it more if he was struggling.
Hi. Sorry your DS is having a bad time at school. I have two older children and they have both had ups and downs with friendships over the years which is very distressing as a parent.
There is usually a mix of children in most classes, and there will be others who are not sporty, more geeky. Could he seek out a couple of them? They might be hiding, keeping quiet and trying to keep out of the spotlight.
If that doesn't work maybe check out a couple of other schools in the area. It worked for us. DD went for a taster day and I was concerned to see that she was crying when she saw me at the end of the session. When I asked what was wrong she told me it was because she didn't want to go back to her old school. We moved her and she settled in straight away.
Could you sign him up for some clubs or classes after school or at weekends that fit in with his interests? If you’re worried a lack of common interests (football etc) with the boys at school might be causing problems with bonding and making friends, perhaps socialising with other children who have similar interests may help him form some closer friendships?
I was a pretty geeky kid and didn’t really have any particularly close friends from primary school. I wasn’t bullied or anything and had people I could run about in the playground with at break times as a group but definitely nobody I really bonded with. I made lots of friends through Brownies and dancing classes so the lack of close friendships with children in my class never bothered me, to be honest I don’t think it even occurred to me as a child as my after school time and weekends were generally pretty full of activities and spending time with the children I’d met through that.
That's not a bad idea to consider clubs a bit out of area. I will take a look.
Unfortunately he is very aware that he doesn't have any friends and desperately wants friends. He is actually such a sociable little boy.
I am hoping that moving to high school will help as there will be a broader range of children to mix with and hopefully he will find someone similar.
Could you work on friendships outside school? Does he do scouts/karate/music etc? Even if he isn't into football, there may be some other sport he can get involved with.
Also, although I'm sure this is bad advice, there is nothing wrong with faking a mild interest in Fortnite.
He needs to find his tribe, but unfortunately primary school is often too small to get the right mix.
DS2 never really fitted into primary. He had a few friends, but wasn't in the main gang of football loving, fortnite playing boys.
He's moved to secondary now, and has already found a strong group of boys into the same things as him.
What does he actually like to do? Not clubs, necessarily, but just in his spare time?
I have tried inviting other children round, but it never gets reciprocated, so I just gave up. He has one "best friend" who he sees after school sometimes. But during school hours, this friend often dumps DS if someone better is available. They also have very little in common, so to be honest I can't see the friendship lasting too much longer.
He is massively into Minecraft, but the other boys tease him a bit about that as apparently it is "uncool".
He is also really interested in history (he's quite a serious boy), but I don't think I will be able to find a club focussed on that.
Does he get on well with slightly younger children? My DD is a bit like this (although better at faking an interest in what interests others) and her best friendships at the moment are with our neighbours' children, who are younger. On the other hand, my niece, who never had childish interests, didn't really make friends till secondary and her mum, my DSis, was the same.
I was going to suggest clubs such as athletics, Scouts and street dance but it looks like you've looked into that sort of thing already. My youngest son really grew in confidence with athletics and hip hop (boys only class).
I have discussed with DS about faking a bit of an interest in other things such as football and Fortnite.
He does have a habit of only wanting to play his games and I have discussed with him that sometimes you have to play a game that other people like as part of a friendship.
Are there any boys who live local whose mum's you chat to or are friendly with? maybe you could arrange all going for a pizza one weekend or going to the cinema if there's something the boys would like to see. I think at his age a play date at home may be a little awkward at first.
History's easy! Join the National Trust/English Heritage and join their local groups/family and holiday activities. You will find a like minded child eventually.
Have you tried Cubs/Scouts? I was a Cub Leader for years & we tended to attract youngsters who weren’t so interested in football & were more open to trying a wide range of activities? Or are there any church based clubs for young people near you? You don’t necessarily have to be a Church attender.
This was my son but he was quite sporty and the whole no friends thing went on for almost 7 years. He refused to move school because he was thinking 'better the devil you know'. Right up until 6th form when I eventually put my foot down and told him I wanted him to have 2 years of a 'normal' school experience and he was coming out.
Best thing I ever did. He moved to a college where he knew no one and no one knew him. Had him join out of college sports clubs as a sort of insurance just in case the same thing happened. Made him get a weekend job. He's got loads of new friends, is so, so happy. Less anxious too. I kick myself every bloody day that I didn't insist he moved years ago.
So in short, don't let it go on for too long! If you need to make the move just do it. It can't be worse for him than it is now.
He goes to cubs but it is essentially the same boys as at school.
Thanks for all your suggestions. Lots of good ideas. It is such a worry though.
Does he like archaeology? There are some great young archaeologist clubs around - the one near us is full of kind, geeky children - they do quite a bit of history.. This weekend they have a medieval walk with a proper guide and everything..
Is get him involved in things out of school with like minded children.
My son was like this but when he went to secondary and there's 220 in a year compared to 60 he found there was more 'geeky and uncool' kids to hang out with!
He loves archaeology. I need to look into this more....
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