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7yo having trouble making friends at new school

(21 Posts)
acebaby Sat 29-Sep-12 06:47:52

DS1 (7) started at a new school this term. The school is lovely - very nurturing, small classes etc. but DS1 is having trouble making friends. One boy (J) was friendly to him when he first arrived and initially they played together quite a bit. This week, however, J, seems to have cooled a bit to DS1 and DS1 now says he has no-one to play with sad. What's more, J has said some unkind things, which DS1 has taken to heart (eg he doesn't like the way DS1 smiles, and DS1 is now trying not to smile at school so that J will play with him). I have suggested that DS1 plays with other children, but he seems unsure about this.

At his previous school DS1 had a couple of good friends, and generally got on well with his classmates. Another possibly relevant point is that DS1 seems to find it difficult to learn who's who in his class (ie to recognize people).

Any advice about how I can help ds1 would be very welcome!

visualarts Sat 29-Sep-12 07:09:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

acebaby Sat 29-Sep-12 09:49:50

Thank you so much! Those are all really good ideas. I was concerned about talking to the teacher, because this isn't a bullying issue and I don't want to seem like I'm complaining, or being overly precious. The play date idea is good, although children come from all around, so arranging evening get togethers may be tricky. Perhaps we can do something at the weekend though...

Thanks again for your sympathy. I am finding the whole thing very upsetting (silly I know - seen written down DS's problems look minor compared to what many on mn go through). I'll make an appointment with the teacher and let you know how I get on.

visualarts Sat 29-Sep-12 10:27:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

acebaby Sat 29-Sep-12 11:04:07

Thanks again! Yes, we are keeping in touch with old friends. We have not moved house. We are off to the park to meet up them a bit later (also for me to meet up with my mum friends!)

acebaby Mon 01-Oct-12 23:36:20

Just to update... Today, J told DS1 that everyone else in the class hated him, and that he didn't want to play with him anymore sad. I have emailed the teacher, asking for suggestions about play dates, and possible pairing up of ds1 with potential friends. I hope she will reply to me tomorrow.

I also asked about the mixed age 'buddy groups' that we were told about when we went round the school, but which haven't materialized. DS1 is so isolated in his class that having someone to say hello to from a different class would make a huge difference to him.

At the moment, I feel just so low about this. Dh says not to make a big deal about it, but I cant help being scared that this is rapidly escalating into bullying and is not just settling in issues. We had very good reasons for moving him from his old school, but I am starting to think that this has been an awful mistake sad

sagelynodding Mon 01-Oct-12 23:45:52

Oh sad for you and your DS. I am watching with interest as I will be moving my DS1 either during the school year or in September (house move) and I am very worried about him leaving his lovely school friends...
You were right to email the teacher-hopefully she will keep an eye on things and find some solutions for your DS-fitting into an established group can be so hard at that age.
maybe J is the class pita and is lying through his teeth though

How is your DS handling things?

acebaby Tue 02-Oct-12 00:00:48

Thank you. DS seems okay. A bit bewildered by it all. I think he is desperate to replicate the close friendship he had with his best friend at his previous school and has fixed on J sad. I will see what his teacher says tomorrow.

acebaby Tue 02-Oct-12 00:02:32

Ps sorry I meant to wish you good luck with your move. I hope your DS1 settles well.

visualarts Tue 02-Oct-12 07:54:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

acebaby Tue 02-Oct-12 12:06:59

Thanks so much for the support. Yes - I have been quite frank in my e-mail to the teacher, naming J. She needs all the information I think. I'm sure she will deal with J sensitively - after all he is very young and, like DS1, still feeling his way socially. Saying that, although I don't think J is particularly vindictive in character, he needs to learn that some types of behaviour are not acceptable.

I have suggested to DS1 that he play with other people for today, and I am meeting the teacher on Thursday.

Thanks once again for your support - it means a lot. I will keep you posted!

GooseyLoosey Tue 02-Oct-12 12:11:41

Moved ds and dd last term (aged 8 and 7). Both had problems settling in. I have been in to see both teachers and spoken to them about it. Ds in particular encountered one child who seemed destined to make life hard for him. Now the school are aware of it, they can keep some distance between this child and ds and encourage ds to bond with other boys in his class.

In dd's case it was more about making the playground supervisor aware that there was an issue and keeping an eye on things. I have now peeked over the wall and if dd is alone, an adult seems to steer her into another group. She is much happier.

The school should definitely be able to do something to help.

acebaby Tue 02-Oct-12 12:39:31

Thanks Goosey - that's really reassuring that the school were able to take simple measures to help things settle down. It's what I'm hoping for for DS1. I really don't want a lot of drama, punishments etc for anyone in the class. The school has a reputation for being very nurturing and gentle, which is one of the reasons we moved the DCs there. DS2 (4yo and in reception) has had no trouble at all. I guess that it is easier for really little ones.

sagelynodding Tue 02-Oct-12 16:32:51

I hope it all goes well on Thursday, let us know how you go! smile

sagelynodding Tue 02-Oct-12 17:08:37

I hope it all goes well on Thursday, let us know how you go! smile

acebaby Wed 03-Oct-12 08:56:30

Thanks - yes I will certainly update you all after the Thursday meeting. It is so helpful to have somewhere to 'talk' about this.

DS1 got on better yesterday. He decided to drop J. - and as a result J. was all over him, wanting to play at break time hmm. Poor DS1. He is such an unsophisticated, straightforward boy (i.e. 'if yesterday J said everyone hated me and he didn't want to play with me anymore, then why would he want to play today?') He is totally bewildered. I wish J would just leave him alone so that he could make proper friends grrrr.

GooseyLoosey Wed 03-Oct-12 09:00:34

I think I would encourage him to concentrate on making other friends who don't make him unhappy. He can still be friends with J if he wants to, but explain that it is good to have lots of friends.

Sometimes I find that ds cannot work out what is happening and why people might be acting in a particular way and it helps a lot if we talk about it together.

Good luck talking to the school. Should have asked, is it a state school or a private school?

acebaby Wed 03-Oct-12 10:42:40

That's good advice about the friendships. He shouldn't be depending on J (or any individual child) too much - particularly when he is new and needs to break into the established group.

It is a private school. We moved him from another prep this year - mainly because the other school has a huge focus on team sports, which DS doesn't enjoy.

acebaby Thu 04-Oct-12 21:12:46

In case anyone is still watching this... I had the meeting with the teacher today. It was really helpful. She has given me a few ideas of people to invite over, which will be a good start.

also, it turns out that there are a lot of social problems within the class, and that it wasn't a particularly happy group even before four new children joined, this term (raising the numbers from 8 to 12). So DS1's issues are part of a tricky class dynamic, rather than a tight-knit group turning on him - which is what I had feared. The teacher is working with the whole class through circle time, and some extra organized activities to try to help them gel better. I think that this is already starting to have an effect - with DS1 feeling more included over the last day or two.

All in all, I think it is going to be a long haul. But I do have faith that the teacher is doing all she can, and that she will keep an eye on DS1.

Thank you all so much again for your support on this thread smile.

visualarts Thu 04-Oct-12 21:45:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

acebaby Fri 05-Oct-12 09:10:33

Thank you visualarts! It is good to have a plan (even one that involves dozens of playdates <yawn>).

I know that social problems and friendship issues are inevitable at this age - but it doesn't stop it being intensely stressful for the parents. Thanks again for the support.

Thanks so much again for your support

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