Please help me help my son...(173 Posts)
My son is 7 and very lonely. He is kind, sensitive, polite and generous, but he’s always struggled to make friends and summer holidays are breaking my heart. He’s desperate to go out and play and meet up with friends, but he just has nobody. There are a couple of people in his class who live near us but they a bit too rough and boisterous for him. They’re also prone to being quite mean to him so he’s given up trying to be friends with them. Our neighbour’s children have bullied him in the past. I’ve tried to arrange play dates with other parents, but everyone is working or on holiday. His only friend from school is ignoring his messages.
I feel so sad for him not being able to go out and play.
I was wondering if anyone is in a similar position? I’ve posted on the local thread to see if anyone near me would like to meet up but I don’t know if it will work.
Or if not, does anyone have suggestions? He’s too shy for sports clubs and things like that. His self esteem and confidence are so low. I just want him to have fun and be happy. All he wants are some friends.
Sorry for the sob story, I don’t know what else to do.
This might sound silly, but do you know any girls his age that he could play with?
My daughter has a friend like your son and his mum made a comment about how nice it was that she doesn't play rough.
I don’t unfortunately. I’d love it if I did. I think he would really benefit from having some female friends.
Our local universities rub summer schools for science and reading, could be fun for him!
I feel for you (and him) My younger son was the same, made worse by the fact he had a very gregarious and outgoing brother. It's so sad to watch them home alone.
There's not a lot you can do that you haven't already tried. I used to involve mine in cooking to use his time, plus we had dogs so he was always up for a good long walk with them. We also loved in an incredibly safe place where he could go out alone on his bike from quite a young age. He preferred adults to other children and was often found chatting away to neighbours.
The only 'solution' I found was when he started secondary school I sent him to one out of the area and he had a fresh start, for the first time in his life he had friends. It wasn't ideal as they all lived a distance away, but it was better than nothing.
His only friend from school is ignoring his messages
How is your 7 year old messaging his friend? Surely he doesn;t have social media? If he does, I think you should call the boy's Mum yourself.
Roly regarding the University clubs, you should contact your own local unis and ask them about similar schemes.
Campsites are good. Kids just run wild and make friends for the week or weekend. Would a little trip away be possible? It needn’t be far away and he might just gain some confidence in the area.https://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/sites/index.asp might help.
Best of luck with it.
Instead of "play dates" get him involved in summer activities: swimming lessons, karate, chess club, judo, etc. Local churches usually have child and youth activities during the summer break. He will be active and learning new things and interacting with different children. Summer will just fly by!
With all due respect, I think you should let me make our own choices. He doesn’t have social media but he does have a phone.
Can't you send him to a holiday club or something where there are other children- at least this will give him something to do/people to play with?
And on the bullying/being mean to him - are you sure? My nine year old claims children are mean to him/bully him but when I look into it its because they don't do what he wants them to do or play what he wants to
I can totally relate to the idea of not sending him to the closest secondary school. Unfortunately all the ones in our area are oversubscribed so i don’t think there will be any choice. I have considered moving house to give him a fresh start but he isn’t keen on the idea
Sonia with all due respect, 7 year olds are not the most reliable when it comes to keeping in touch. His friend may not have answered his messages because he might not have seen them...his phone might be flat, or lost or his parent might have taken it away.
It's more reliable to contact a parent.
My child has relationships with lots of adults as we don’t know any other parents with kids locally. He plays well at nursery so we don’t worry
Lots of free activities show up on Eventbrite with plenty for children (but this does depend where you live). Local community hubs / centres / churches and youth groups tend to put on summer holiday events. Is there a local cubs / scouts group?
What about volunteering? My friend's children are volunteering at the local foodbank this summer. The adults there will adore your son and they might also have children in tow.
He might be too shy for sports clubs, but perhaps you could consider a specific activity that he could take lessons in, including horse riding, which is a shared experience but not competitive? Or chess, which is competitive but tends to attract the quieter, brainier type.
Another friend takes her children to volunteer at the local nature reserve. It suits her children's temperaments, which are similar to your son's. Again, the adults there love them and children go along too, plus they learn so much valuable information about nature, team work, responsibility...
There might be a music group he could join, for example a ukelele group which would be fun and he would be learning a great skill. Music is a good skill for life. Give him guitar lessons. Everybody loves a good guitarist.
Set him up for his future, not just his present, by considering something educational that involves others, including adults, who will treat him with respect. That will be invaluable to his sense of self-worth.
Best of luck - your son sounds adorable (keep telling him how fab he is and how lucky you are)
I think you’re just being rude and very unhelpful.
Rather than being empathetic and understanding you’re looking for a reason to criticise.
I do not know this child’s mother. He is my son’s friend from an older year group. They swapped numbers to keep in touch over summer.
Sonia I think if you ask other people on this thread whether I've been rude and unhelpful, they will agree that I have not.
You're being very oversensitive. I wasn't criticising you....but advising. Most 7 year olds are not very reliable with phones...which is why it';s better to make contact with the parents of your child's friends.
If you go to the playground to collect him or drop him off next term, that is your opportunity to meet the parents of the children he likes...chat to them and swap numbers.
This is how most parents manage their child's social lives. The majority of 7 year olds don;t have mobile phones and those that do are poor at keeping on top of the messages or even the battery.
I think that we can fall into the trap as parents of taking on the emotions and personalising every drama our children have. I really believe in teaching kids resilience and if that involves pushing them a bit outside their comfort zone then great.
If he's bored or lonely then suggest ways to rectify it. So perhaps swimming classes or art groups where he's not directly having to socialise or a team sport where he'll be encouraged to take part.
I'm not sure unless the bullying is horrific that moving house for a 7 year old is wise. If it happens somewhere else then what? You need to be teaching him coping skills not reinforce that he's a victim.
My mother always told my brother he was poorly treated and gave him a poor me attitude unfortunately by constantly reaffirming all of his fears and agreeing everyone was mean and he was a victim. He's now mid 30''s and has no life skills or resilience and she still is there doing the same as when he was young.
7 is very young. Unless he has special needs or mental health issues then this can be overcome. Give him some credit and try not to take it as a wound to yourself. He'll be fine.
Henny is totally right. I was managing my children's social lives - arranging play dates etc at that age. Even now - early teens I will nudge things along with messages to parents and offers to take them out for the day. Most kids that age, if they even have phones, run out of credit and can't/don't think to return messages. Seven year olds can not arrange their own social lives and play situations especially if they're not living in area where there's loads of kids just playing out as a matter of course.
I agree with Cucumber. It sounds like you need to be more proactive in helping him with friends. I'm not being mean when I say that most 7 year olds don't have phones...it's true.
Most 7 year olds have parents who swap numbers in the playground and organise playdates.
I teach a similar age group and the children do not organise their own social lives.
Often, mum has other mum-friends that she meets up with and their dc become friends.
Or, as pp have said, you need to be proactive in chatting to other parents and making arrangements on his behalf - meet ups, playdates etc
One thing I would say, but I don't suppose you will like it, is that it is extremely unusual for a 7yo to have his own phone. It suggests a parenting style that I know many parents would want to avoid.
To be clear - I have clearly said I’ve done what I can. I’ve tried to arranged play dates, signed him up and taken him to clubs, taken him on day trips. I am doing everything I can possibly think of. I work full time and do not pick my son up from school.
I do not rely on my son to organise his own social life. It’s one example. I feel really upset about this to the point I’m not sleeping, and it’s having a big impact on my son’s confidence and self esteem. So I thought I would ask for advice from other parents who I believed would not be patronising or condescending.
Thank you to anyone who tried to help.
I’m so sorry I work full time and therefore am not like most parents. Please, make me feel worse if you can.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.