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Help me give my 10 year DS confidence - been told he's a weirdo with no friends

(21 Posts)
beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 14:22:11

My son has struggled with friendships at school and he's now in Y5. He always seems to be by himself in the playground, he's not sporty or a group person. He is a very sweet, kind boy and it breaks my heart when he tells me some of the things the 'cool' kids have said.

I think he doesn't tell me a lot of stuff that goes on as he doesn't want me to get involved and make things worse. How can I give him confidence in himself? He is quite nerdy, very enthusiastic about things which doesn't go down well with his age group.

Camelopardtoes Tue 07-Feb-17 14:24:41

I'm assuming they didn't actually say this...but maybe try and enroll him
On some geeky extra curriculars? My son was a bit of a loner but grew into a confident young man, so long as he's not upset by it I wouldn't worry too much

ineedamoreadultieradult Tue 07-Feb-17 14:26:32

What things is he enthusiastic about? Are there any out of school groups that he could attend based on his interests? It would be easier to be on the outside of friendship groups at school if you feel you fit in somewhere else. When he goes to Secondary it should be easier as there are so many more friends to choose from and he is likely to find someone with the same interests.

beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 14:27:45

Yes, he does do the geeky extras but the person who said that he was a weirdo with no friends is part of a big group that do the classes too.

That is comforting to hear about your son.

ineedamoreadultieradult Tue 07-Feb-17 14:30:32

Are they after school clubs run by the school? If so maybe a club not related to the school at all will help him meet other like minded people without the cross over of school and club.

Sittinginthesun Tue 07-Feb-17 14:31:04

I have a year 5 boy, and am very relieved that he is not one of the "cool" kids, as a lot of them are very over confident, and unkind at the moment...

I would do the following:

Talk to his teacher. That kind of language is unacceptable.

Find his "thing", and get him to throw himself into it. Computer club/Minecraft club/ bird watching... Whatever it is, get him in a group doing it and let him find his place.

My ds found a hobby, where he is with like minded friends. He is good at it, and his confidence grew.

beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 14:40:36

Yes, Sittinginthesun, I agree that the cool kids do not seem very nice at this age.

He has many enthusiasms; computers, writing stories, nature, fantasy. I didn't think of looking for a club outside school, you are right ineedanadultieradult, he needs to get away from that group of children.

He is in a very big school, but I have been out with him when different groups of children have made unkind comments. He is confident in himself so maybe I worded it badly, but he is definitely struggling with his peer group. He gets on well with adults.

JurysOutt Tue 07-Feb-17 14:47:03

What are the things he is enthusiastic about? Perhaps he can find a club that supports that? DS is very enthusiastic about wildlife and endangered species, no one that he knows of at school is interested so he attends our local wildlife group were he's met other like minded kids who enjoying saving frogs, wtacthing spiders hatch etc.

Had your son been younger I would have said to move him to a bigger school (if he's not already at one). This worked really well for one of ds's who once moved to a larger school immediately met similar type personalities where he had been on the fringes of everything previously.

JurysOutt Tue 07-Feb-17 14:48:09

Sorry cross post! I see some of things I mentioned have already been raised.

bingolittle Tue 07-Feb-17 14:49:51

Maybe try Cub Scouts?

Seconding Sittinginthesun about talking to his teacher - this could be a very good way forward. A good teacher/school will be proactive in helping out kids in this position.

I have 2 kids who sound very similar to your son. From time to time they've needed intervention from the school about friendship / social stuff. The school can (and should) be keeping an eye on kids at breaktime, suggesting possible inclusive group games for kids in various years to play, having lessons on being kind and friendly to each other (including roleplays, appropriate stories/books, etc). I'm not talking about singling your son out in front of other people, but about the whole class or year group being educated and monitored about friendship and social skills. (He may also benefit from individual chats with a sympathetic member of staff to check how things are going, but this can be done on the quiet.)

My kids' school has been very helpful with this, and yours should be too - it's part of their actual job. What your son is experiencing is bullying, and the school has a responsibility to prevent that and deal with it. If for any reason your school's initial response is unhelpful, try asking to see their anti-bullying policy (I think all schools are required to have one) - this should focus their thoughts a bit.

beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 14:50:57

Thank you Jurysout, a wildlife club like that would be perfect for him.

beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 14:55:46

Bingolittle, that is so helpful. I do feel that the school have not been helpful and are not proactive in this situation.

One example I thought of from when my son was very little is that they they have 'friendship stations' set up in the playground where children were told they could go if they didn't have anyone to play with. My son said that he stood there a few times and nothing happened! Everytime I saw these stations I felt sad as it seems like a way to stigmatise those children who are struggling to fit in.

inkydinky Tue 07-Feb-17 15:00:09

oh that's hard sad

My year 5 DC is the same. Luckily for her there are a few similar kids so they band together. The "cool kids" (who do actually call themselves "the cool kids hmm) pretty much leave them alone thankfully. Her and her friends (accurately) call themselves "the nice kids" which speaks volumes...

I agree that he needs some like minded people and clubs etc might help him find some. I bet there'll be lots like him at high school and he'll be fine there and feel much more confident as a result. In the meantime though, I would definitely involve school if he is unhappy. Good Luck

beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 15:04:42

Thank you inkydinky, I like the sound of the 'nice kids'! I can't believe how big this whole 'cool kids' thing is. I went to a little rural school so it wasn't like that. These cool kids throw their weight around in an unbelievable way from what I can see the mornings and afternoons.

Sittinginthesun Tue 07-Feb-17 15:06:43

Re: the adult thing - my ds is at a club, outside school, where he mixes with all ages. He is as likely to be with a 70 year old as a 7 year old. And they are all passionate about the hobby.

I also have an older ds - it settles in year 6, when a few hit puberty. By the time they are at secondary, the boys are a lot more sorted.

beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 15:21:42

I'm glad it settles in year 6!

bingolittle Tue 07-Feb-17 15:29:37

Oh dear - it does sound like the school are really not pulling their weight at the moment. Fingers crossed that you can get them to pull their collective finger out!

One thing that's really standing out here is the fact that the problem is not with your son. The problem is with some other kids and their toxic culture and the school which is not tackling it.

Keeping his confidence up in these circumstances is an uphill struggle and it sounds as though you and he are both doing a great job.

Hope you have some choice of senior schools and can move him on to a better place!

And in the very long term... I was a kid like that myself. Now I hear stories from the school reunions (which I avoid like the plague) and it's the 'cool' kids who are all on their third divorces. You get a better life as a 'nice' kid.

TheMythOfFingerprints Tue 07-Feb-17 15:45:09

My dss was like you describe in primary op.
A quiet little thing, interested in science, coding, reading, and nature.

His primary was very small which didn't help as he'd be the only boy not chasing after a football at lunchtime.

He's year 9 now and has absolutely blossomed, he really did find his people at secondary, the varied clubs there helped enormously.

beetlingaround Tue 07-Feb-17 16:52:49

It's good to hear all the positive stories of secondary, I thought it might get worse as he gets older.

doggle Tue 07-Feb-17 16:59:59

geeks are way cool here at secondary. they desperately try to out-nerd each other and being different is the epitome of cool. ds (who is 15 and frankly was your ds at 10) protects his oddity with a fierce passion. he plays hearthstone instead of minecraft now, and is quite proud of his 'worst player on the basketball team' status. we also suspect strongly he faked his eye tests to get glasses, but have never really worked out how. he hams up how bad his eyesight is, in any case, as a weird badge of honour. odd child, but at least he now has a peer group!

BotBotticelli Tue 07-Feb-17 18:01:59

I have heard Scouts (or whatever the age appropriate version is?) can be really good fun for boys who are less interested in the more obvious football type clubs that schools run.

Your ds sounds lovely btw xx

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