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I am not coping, my 5 year old is struggling in school and I think it is all my fault.

(15 Posts)
kathsmj Tue 25-May-04 17:38:24

Hello, I haven't been in touch with Mumsnet for some time, the last time my husband got annoyed as I was spending too much time typing rather than doing normal stuff!
Anyway, I have a 5 year old Son, he is a very sensitive little soul and is in Reception year at school. Well, it took him a long time to settle in and after a while he latched onto a little lad who is one of the babies (in age) of his class. This little friend is a pleasant, quiet lad he tends so be moody but is intelligent and a nice choice. My son has had an obsession with him since I first invited him back to tea in an effort to help my boy settle into school.
However, before Easter, he was talking to me about how some of the other children say things he doesn't like and he gets hurt, I told him to walk away or tell a Teacher.
Well, since Easter things have been fine but suddenly he's telling me how no one will play with him, how his best little pal doesn't want to be his friend and how a few little boys are keeping calling him a Naughty boy, which he hates, my boy is not naughty and this is not a word the teachers use to describe behaviour, his class does have a "sad" board and when I spoke to his teacher yesterday she told me that my son isn't naughty and that he's only ever had his name on the sad board 2/3 times in the whole year for just silly things really.
Anyway, today his teacher csalled me in again and she said how overly sensitive my son is being, how he is crying at the least little thing, even getting upset very easliy over silly things like wanting a particular pencil for example. She also told me how he has screamed crying, I know how this is as he has a v loudly pitched cry, there are issues surrounding his speech and recently when he saw the school nurse she recommended he went for a hearing test.
Well, I asked my son today why he was behaving like this and he said it was because he is lonely in school and that no one will be his friend.
He did have nightmares last night and woke.

I think it is my fault as I have been suffering with depression, I hide everything behind smiles and get by through talking to everyone, I am a nervous wreck and thought I'd disguised it well to stop it affecting my son, but this has ultimately made me think that it's having a profound effect on him and his lack of ability to form relationships is all my fault, I can't see the wood for the trees at the moment, is there anyone out there who can advise me.

Copper Tue 25-May-04 17:48:38

First thing is don't blame yourself - you have been doing the absolute best you can. Can't advise but I expect some other people can and will. It is not your fault: it isn't anybody's fault and it is not the end of the world. Yor ds will get through this and so will you - and we are here to help

coppertop Tue 25-May-04 17:50:11

Have you spoken to anyone about your depression? Your GP may be able to give you some help to get back on your feet. In any case I honestly don't believe that your ds's problems are because of your depression.

Have you been given an appointment for the hearing test yet? If there is a problem with your ds's hearing it could explain some of his frustration. I have a hearing loss myself and know how difficult it can be to cope in a noisy room full of people. If his hearing is fine then you will at least be able to put that particular worry out of your mind.

Have you thought about perhaps enrolling ds for some activities outside of school? This might give him a chance to find new friends, either with other children from his class or people he didn't know before. It may also help him with his confidence.

kalex Tue 25-May-04 17:53:25

I can't really give you any advice, but i am sure that someone will be able to!

I had severe depression last year for 6 months - and also felt guilty about how it affected the kids, but you can't beat yourself up like that, if every child who has had a mother who at some point had depression there would be a whole world of messed up kids.

The thing is you know there is a problem, and now you can start to look at solutions to solve it.

PLEASE PLEASE don't blame yourself, you are being the best mum possible, even when you have depression and your son knows that you love him.

Sorry if that a bit ramblie! Hugs Kalex

Freckle Tue 25-May-04 17:54:11

Have you asked your son's teacher how he is interacting with the other children? I've lost count of the number of children who tell their parents that they have nobody to play with, when in fact they are perfectly happy playing at playtime and have a number of friends. It is sometimes just how these children see things or could also be a ploy to attract attention from parents.

Children of this age do go in for a bit of name calling. If the teacher has refuted the suggestion that your son is naughty, I suspect that the name calling is just because they can do it and your son probably reacts in a way which makes the name-callers feel they have scored a "hit". It's not nice, but it happens.

Also, at this age, children can change "best friends" almost as often as they change their underpants. Perhaps you could broaden his range of friends by inviting some other children back for tea.

kalex Tue 25-May-04 17:55:16

Agree with CT,

DD was not coping in reception calls at the beginning of the year, hated it didn't want to go. She now goes to swimming lessons and drama, and I don't know whether they are related to the change in her but she is much happier

Batters Tue 25-May-04 17:56:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bundle Tue 25-May-04 17:57:13

agree with what's been said here. if you had a mobility problem or were partially sighted people would expect you to ask for help, but because your illness is *hidden*, it's hard for everyone, and you definitely shouldn't blame yourself. there are plenty of other mums on MN who have/had depression and I'm sure they will be around to offer you some help/advice. sorry can't be of more help, but thinking of you, x

kathsmj Tue 25-May-04 19:03:46

I do agree I need to invite another child for him, I think what freckle said maybe true, it is easy to score these "hits" with him, he is v sensitive and I moreorless got that indicated to me today by his teacher.
She also said he was immature for his age, how do you geta 5 yr old to mature quicker, I do silly things like let him go to sleep in our bedroom as he is scared of being alone, he does get over protected by me but that has been in a bid to shield him from myself, my depression has stopped me from making plans with other mums, I've always got an excuse!
Thankyou for your advice so far and I do go to the Doctor, I haven't for a few months though as I thought I was clear of the depression,it looks as if I will have to learn to live with it, I have been on and off antidepressants for years.
My main concern is for my boy, how to make him stronger and less worried about everything - ha- fine one talking!!

kalex Tue 25-May-04 19:12:56


Get back to that dr, if you kept breaking your arm, people would expect you to keep getting it treated. Why not depresion? i have been on and off anti d's for three years, I take them when I need them and after 6 months put them in the bin, if i feel I can.

I really know how you are feeling, and if you can take something to help you cope take it. Life is too short to feel this helpless,

If you want to talk, contact me via mumsnet

Tinker Tue 25-May-04 19:15:02

Aw, you sound so nice with him. Don't know how you make a 5 year old more mature but don't see why you have to really, he's only 5! Aren't you meant to be immature at 5? Maybe it is time to change the bedtime routine? Has he got a birthday coming up that you could use as a "tool" to coax him to sleep in his own room? If he is very sensitive and quite, maybe some sort of gentle out of school activity with other kids might help his confidence? Something creative? Maybe? I'm not very good at this kind of advice but maybe he is just one of life's sensitive souls. But you're certainly NOT to blame, please don't think like that.

walnuttree Tue 25-May-04 20:13:03

Kathsmj - I can sympathise. My daugher was only 4 when she started school, is always the youngest. She is also very sensitive and takes name-calling to heart. Everything at school and in society is conspiring to make them grow up so quickly, but they have to be themselves. They're like plants and grow and develop at their own rate, whatever the government say !! If they are shy and sensitive things might take a little longer, but they will become more loving caring people. My daughter is 9 now - still finds it hard sometimes, but has survived and is very understanding of others.

I also had PND and depression when she was younger - it's an illness and your child will be OK. You are treating him young because he is !

All the best. I find things turn the corner and get better of their own accord. More play dates might help and things outside school. If he feels your love and reassurance, that's the strongest foundation he can have.

kathsmj Tue 25-May-04 20:52:46

Thankyou Kalex, Tinker & Walnuttree, you've given some reassuring advice, I feel the same as Walnuttree as far as children growing at their own place is concerned, this is exactly how I have allowed my Boy to develop, I have just put him to bed and he still likes to snuggle in like a baby, have a story and a song, I looked at him and thought of him still as little thing, not the mature and streetwise creature the system wants him to be so soon. He is very loving and doesn't understand when a Teacher won't give him a magic kiss when he has hurt himself, obviously because they can't these days but he is so innocent and craves affection from all.
I'm rambling now, but what Tinker said was amusing, exactly what I thought!
Huge thanks for your offer to let me contact you Kalex, I do really appreciate it, I've not got any family of my own so I rely on things like this as my counsel, I may take you up on your offer.
Lots of ideas to work on and will try and involve my boy in more out of school activities too, the thought is there, hope to have the confidence to carry it through.

Marina Wed 26-May-04 09:57:41

kathsmj, I've got a young boy in Reception too, and a lot of what has been said here by you and others rings bells. They do chop and change a lot at this age (shamingly I had thought this was more of a girl thing but I am WRONG) and we get the "I've got no friends, boo hoo" moments too. Ds had a very sad patch during the Easter hols and we got him to "write" out a list of things he liked doing/was good at to make him more cheerful (he is little in stature, young for the year, and not a fast runner).
It is also possible that you have been given misleading information from *him* about this best pal. Our ds talks incessantly about a lovely boy in his class and we fondly thought they were best friends. Come Parents' Evening, we find out that every other child loves little X too and there is usually a scrap to sit next to him at carpet time...
I feel so sad to hear you blame yourself for what sounds like pretty normal behaviour for a young child. I went through a patch of depression in 2002/3 and blamed myself during that time for every quirk of ds' behaviour. Children may be sensitive but they are also pretty empathic and shrewd at this age, and if they know that mummy is very sad, they also know that mummy loves them. I tried to focus on making sure that ds also knew that my sadness was NOT his fault and that he was one of the things in my life that made me happy. You sound like a wonderful mum who is struggling a bit at the moment. I hope you are getting support from your GP for your depression, and that your dh is not as dismissive about other things as he is about Mumsnet!
Keep the faith with treating your ds like the very small child he is. Our ds still likes to come in for a snuggle at night and my advice to you is if it is helping him and not a bother to you, keep it up. He will outgrow it before long, I bet.
I think the School could be more supportive, though. Ours is very good and that makes a difference. It might be worth talking to his teacher in more detail about strategies to help him cope with school life.

twogorgeousboys Wed 26-May-04 12:30:38

Hi Kathsmj

I had a little boy in a year 1 class who was very much like your little boy. I taught him in Y1 and Y2 as we all moved up a year together (it was lovely to teach the same class for 2 years, I got to know the children really well).

What I did, which seemed to work really well, was I asked a small group of children to make a concerted effort to befriend the child. This group of children were not the super-confident ones in the class, but they had a quiet confidence and were quite gentle natured themselves - there are always specific friendship groups in a class and some friendship groups are more open than others - ie happy to welcome new recruits!

I asked all the other teachers to "keep an eye" on things when it was their turn for playground duty. Plus as part of the "how was playtime chat" I'd do every other day or so, I'd ask the little group if they were getting on ok.

Anyway, over the course of year 1, the little boy gradually grew in confidence. The crying every morning when he came in and the frequent crying throughout the day just gradually subsided.

He adjusted to school really well, but it just took a bit of extra time and patience.

Do not blame yourself and your depression. I honestly don't think it has anything to do with your son's experiences in school. He needs to do things in his own time at his own pace. See if you can have a chat with his teacher about encouraging his involvment with a suitable "friendship group". There are usually some children in a class who are really good at taking others "under their wing" and helping them find their feet.

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