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10year old does not have any friends

(23 Posts)
PopsP Tue 11-Jul-06 01:33:25

I'm really feeling sad for my son, he has just found out that yet another 'friend' has not invited him to his birthday party. Over the last 2 years he has been dropped from all the parties he used to go to - only got invited to 2 this whole year. I know that people tend to reduce numbers as the children get older, but he seems to be the only one not being invited.

He's having real problems with friendships at school, and keeps crying that he does not have any friends. Even the few he did have seem to be fading away, and he is not making any new ones.
He's always had trouble making friends at school, but it seems to be getting much worse and I don't really know why. He always seems to be falling out with people. I think he lacks social skills but can't really put my finger on what he does that is so wrong, although he does not seem to read situations well if you know what I mean.

He has always been a bit of a handful, maybe a bit overpowering and I have wondered in the past if there was something slightly wrong with him. He is very clever and does well at lessons (although his handwriting is very untidy & slow). He also has problems with co-ordination (can't catch a ball or ride a bike) but his school seem happy enough with him. Although I think they only get concerned if children don't keep up academically.

What can I do to improve things for him and make him happier. It breaks my heart to see him so sad.

yawningmonster Tue 11-Jul-06 03:43:58

Does he have any out of school activities...sports, music, scouts etc, these can be good environments to meet friends who have same interests and can be quite disciplined too so the kids have guidelines for behavior (where as at school there can be a lot of nastiness and if you dont know how to handle a situation then children can be very fickle about friendships) Perhaps encourage the friends he does have to spend time at your house so you can "observe" the interactions and see if there are ways you can help support him. Hope someone else comes with some better suggestions.

PopsP Tue 11-Jul-06 12:23:46

Most of his activities are connected to school. He has music lessons during the school day. He also takes part in a couple of after school sports classes, even though he is not very sporty, he still joins things. However whenever they have to pair up or pick teams he is always the last one left.
He goes to cubs but then so do loads of the boys in his class, so he is not even enjoying that anymore.
I have tried to get him to invite more children over recently, rather than just the usual couple so he is not so dependent on them. However he says he keeps forgetting to invite them, I'm worried that he is inviting them and they are not interested ! God I feel so sorry for him, I know they say your schooldays are meant to be the best days of your life, but I much prefer adulthood !

stoppinattwo Tue 11-Jul-06 12:47:26

PopsP, my heart really goes out to you, there is nothing worse than knowing your child isnt happy, and your last post "^However he says he keeps forgetting to invite them, I'm worried that he is inviting them and they are not interested ! ^" It would hurt me to think that my child felt this way.

Is he an only child, or does he have any cousins nearby. Someone with whom he can feel close to apart from yourself. He may talk to them about how he feels and maybe whether he knows if/why others are leaving him out? Not that i dont think he can trust you or wishes to confide in you but I think he's trying to protect you as well as himself. He must know this hurts you too.

Sometimes we dont always fit in, but important for him to understand not to try and make himself fit, dont be something your not, just to please other people and make them accept you.

dont know what else to say, I am thinking of you, give DS a big hug when he's home from school.

Notquitesotiredmum Tue 11-Jul-06 13:24:24

Hi PopsP

Huge sympathy. This is a really heartwrending one, for you. My ds1 has very similar problems making and keeping friends - and the birthday thing is horrid, I know. We really struggle at times. I have resorted to finding organised activities for him, until his social skills develop. We found a karate class near us, which helped a lot with self esteem and co-ordination - and they meet twice a week, so he feels as if he is busier. Swimming classes can also be good. My hope is to keep him busy and mixing with people, though he does enjoy sports, which makes it easier for us.

I think it also helps if you can befriend the mums of those friends that he does have. I find that complementing their children (genuinely! but taking the time to chat to them about their kids) tends to help them warm to yours too.

Twiglett Tue 11-Jul-06 13:26:19

arrange playdates at your house

1 child at a time

Twiglett Tue 11-Jul-06 13:27:05

oops sorry .. just saw he's 10 .. ignore me

good luck with this .. sounds heartbreaking

Kittypickle Tue 11-Jul-06 13:32:59

I could be way off course here and if I am I really apologise but there are a couple of things in your post that strike a chord with me. I have a 7 year old DD with dyspraxia who does struggle a bit socially. The bits you have said about handwriting and co-ordination are what made me think of this. Can I suggest that you do a google search for dyspraxia and see if you feel what you read about it fits in any way ?
I think you are very right in what you say about the school only being concerned about if children don't keep up academically. We have been extremely lucky in that DD gets help to reach her potential despite being within "normal levels" (hate using those words but hopes that makes sense) and as a result when she goes through a bad patch with friends I do get some support from the school in dealing with it, though still find it hard. I have found that it is vital for me to get to know the other Mums to keep the invitations going. I know this will wear off in time but am making the most of it whilst I can. Hope I haven't upset you by mentioning dyspraxia and am probably way off mark.

gracej Tue 11-Jul-06 14:35:22

I read your post this morning and have not stopped thinking about it, I feel really sorry for your child.
I wanted to offer some advice, but I hope you don't feel offended. I have a SN child (he is only 18 months), so I have come to understand much more about therapies available,I realise your son is not SN in the least, but this info may be useful. I am not a professional in this area, so my obervations could be wrong, but anyhow, here they go.
If your child has co-ordination problems, etc, Could this could be affecting his playtime at school? Putting children off playing with him? It sounds to me like he may have trouble with his motor skills. With a boy his age this sort of problem could really can a big effect their selfesteem, and maybe that is why he feels he needs to be overpowering.
What I would do is look for professional help, the type therapist that usually help with co-ordination, problems with handwritting, etc is an occupational therapist.
My sister (who lives in a different country), was told by the educational pschycologist of my niece's school that she had a similar type of problem, they gave her therapy with the educational psychologist for 6 months, and she is now excelent, no problem at all.
I am not sure why type of help could be available in the UK.
Good luck with everything.

m1m1rie Tue 11-Jul-06 14:41:58

I would love to have the answer to this. DD1 is 11 and also has trouble with friendships. She is not a precocious 11 year-old, and I worried that maybe the others were maturing faster than she was, and that was why she is never particularly popular, but if I'm honest with myself, she never really has been. She has a birthday party every year, but never gets invited to anyone else's. On her last birthday we invited 32 children to a swimming party, and 7 came. I had going home stuff for 32 which we had to lug back home again, and I know it really bothered her because nobody had replied to say they couldn't come. She managed to convince herself that one girl she has problems with had told the others to stay away, but I don't think that was the case - they just didn't come. I know I'm not offering any help here, but sometimes it is just comforting to know that yours isn't the only child feeling like this. We are moving away from the area soon, and she isn't even a bit sad about it. I just hope she meets some nice friends (even one will do!) at our new place. It is hard to see them unhappy and to know you cannot solve it with a wave of a magic wand.

moyasmum Wed 12-Jul-06 14:13:47

m1m1rie I really feel for you and your dd1, My dd1 is same age, and so similar. We moved when she was 7 and it I was grateful to start again. I tried so hard ,she tried hard ,but they were a pretty stone faced lot. New locality ,much nicer people, but she still waits to be picked up socially by people, and im concerned the only social skills she will ever learn is to avoid people before they drop her. The only things I can suggest are obvious I guess. Don't really on the school to give her all her mates its interesting that all her new mates at big school dont include ANY from the last one,-extend activities to include being around animals (something she can relate to) ,acting, guides (things with a structure but not too pressurised) do something social yourself that she also has access to and she will follow eg helping at church events, local coucil recreation dos and so on .
About the party are you sure the invites all went out? Your dd1 might have been overcome at the last or they got mixed up with end or term stuff. It happens-a phone call to chase up responses particularly for a big (or small)event is not impolite and can allow for making changes if nec. I know this is popsp thread but m1m1ire struck a nerve best wishes on the move

florenceuk Wed 12-Jul-06 15:17:50

Have to admit I was a rather lonely 5 to 10-yr old, (geeky, horribly shy, hated sports, was bullied) and it didn't really change until I went to secondary school and met up with a larger bunch of people (streaming probably helped as well). Being stuck at primary school with people who have decided years ago that you're not one of the "in" crowd is hard - unfortunately that's life. Second the idea of more organised activities, maybe chess club? Also at primary school it does seem to matter which mum you know, rather than who your child knows.

m1m1rie Wed 12-Jul-06 15:45:14

Thanks for your support Moyasmum. Strangely, DD1 was 6 when we moved here, and up to that point had seemed a fairly confident only child (DD2 came along when she was 9). However, the lack of friends and a social life were obvious from the day we moved here. She has acquaintances and hasn't been bullied (apart from the nasty, catty comments from one particular nasty little article) and I have had her in clubs (swimming, running, art, gymnastics - within school and out) but she doesn't seem to have proper friends. She is horse-mad, and as horses are both mine and DH's profession, has had riding lessons and joined in with Riding school activities, but that crowd were as bad as any encountered - constant one-upmanship. I do see that she sort of allows herself to be victimised and point-blank refuses to stand up for herself in case it leads to repurcussions, although I have assured her in no uncertain terms that if she stands up to unpleasantness I will fully back her up. I'm not expecting her to be the most popular girl in class all of a sudden, but I just wish she had at least one good friend to knock about with.

Astrophe Wed 12-Jul-06 20:23:23

Pops, some friends of mine have a son who struggled in similar ways. They had a psychologist chat with him and he was eventually diAGNOSED WITH Aspergers sydrome. Now, I don't claim to know ANYTHING about it, but he also didn't read situations well, didn't always pick up subtle jokes, was uncoordinated, but a bright boy, gentle, loving and a real pleasure to spend time with. I only mention it as something you may want to look into.

One sugestion the psychologist had to help him with his friendships was to invite small groups of boys over (3-4) to their place and for the boy's Father to ask the boy what he wanted them all to do. Boy says, for example, 'I want to go to the Aquarium', so Dad says 'ok, shall we drive or go on the train?', boy says 'lets drive so we can get some lunch on the way; (or whatever)...the point being that the other children see the boy being respected by someone they respect, ie an older male.

If yous sons dad (uncle, older brother, grandpa) is around perhaps you could try this? My friends found that it did really help their boy to have a better standing amongst hie peers.

I really feel for your boy and for you. How heartbreaking. I'm sure he is a wonderful boy.

Best wishes,

southeastastra Wed 12-Jul-06 20:52:22

pops my ds(12) was a little like this at 10, they go through so many changes at that age and are into so many different things they find it hard to connect with others.

things will get better, don't worry too much, he will be fine and make friends!

PopsP Wed 12-Jul-06 22:47:20

I don't have time to answer all your replies at the moment (Mum is coming for a visit - so I'm busy cleaning the house!). But I just wanted to say a big Thanks for all your advice and support. There are a lot of useful ideas there, and just knowing that there are others out there that are supportive makes me feel a lot better. Thanks everyone.

MadamePlatypus Thu 13-Jul-06 12:27:28

"I know they say your schooldays are meant to be the best days of your life, but I much prefer adulthood"

The worst thing about school days is that the peer group who happen to be in your class are your whole world. School days are definitely not the be all and end all of everything. If he is clever, and not really that sporty, are there things like chess clubs, role playing, computers that might be more up his street?

bamboozleslover Thu 13-Jul-06 16:04:05

how about a drama club - my cousin had these problems and going to a drama club really helped boost her confidence. again secondary school isn't far off and hopefully he will make lots more friends.

sibdoms Thu 13-Jul-06 19:27:03

I really feel for you. I would slightly second the idea that your ds might be a bit dyspraxic, and that this cannot be helping him. I would look into that. Drama, karate, out of school things with a different social circle, all these things are very helpful. It's great to have out of school friends. If he is really unhappy, move schools - sometimes kids get entrenched in their position in the class - and a fresh start can be the best way to reinvent themselves. I don't think that's going too far for your child's happiness. Have you spoken to the school? Some schools run social skills programmes.

Chandra Fri 14-Jul-06 18:32:32

Don't really know what to say, but what you are describing is very similar to my own experience. The only thing I can say is that although I was not very popular at that age, I ended up having very little friends but very good quality ones (still keep in contact with many of them even when I moved several times in all these... 30 yrs?). I expect the same will hapen to him, he may be find the things difficult at the moment but I expect that with the change of schools in 2 yrs time, things are going to improve (EVERYBODY has to make new friends in a new school). In the mean time, any other activity away of the school can get him the much wanted friend/s. Even if it's only one, that's enough for a child not to feel so terribly alone.

Now, about not being able to catch a ball.... can't promise anything on that front, I can't catch one yet so I conceed defeat and declared myself an "intelectual" many many years ago.

Kittypickle Fri 14-Jul-06 18:35:29

I'd second drama, karate etc. My DD has been doing drama for about a year now (at her request).It's not something I would have thought of her doing but it has been absolutely amazing for her confidence and she has really really come out of herself. She loves the fact that she knows people out of school.

CatherineE Mon 10-Aug-09 10:15:14

If you are interested in going the Drama route, send me a message. I work for (and can therefore arrange very minimal fees at) a drama group in London Bridge / Southwark.

The teacher is lovely and sensitive, and the other kids in the class have all come along leaps and bounds in their confidence levels.

Drama will not only introduce your son to new people, but also encourage him to be a little more assertive and confident in everyday life situations.

If you (or anybody else!) are interested, get in touch!

C x

josben Wed 12-Aug-09 15:31:50

POPS I really sympathise with you, I could've written your post about my DS (8).

Could there be a poss that your son is dyspraxic - have you asked school about help? I think that my DS is slightly dispraxic and which i don't think helps with his social skills and ability to fit in when playing, riding bikes and running... I have spoken to school about his difficulties but nothing has been done - although when school ressumes in Sep - I am going to push for some help - maybe for him to see the educational Psychologist...?

It is worrying - I wake up worrying about my DS - so I really feel for you...

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