Problems with so called "Best Friend"(4 Posts)
Can anyone give me some advice? DS is 6.5 and has DCD (Dyspraxia). He seems to be struggling with a friend at school and I dont know what I can do.
He comes home and tells me "best friend pushed me, called me a baby and told me to shut up!" also he told him "if you tell the teacher, I wont be your best friend anymore and no-one else will want to play with you".
Picked DS up from school the other day and saw Ds being hit over head with bag by this "best friend". I also have noticed DS trying so hard to impress this "best friend" and him ignoring him. DS following like a puppy for his attention. Heart breaking. I have already went into school end of last year as this has been ongoing and they told me "the boys do tend to play rough and DS does tend to over react (which I do agree). But these things DS telling me best friend is saying just seems wrong to ignore, so manipulative!? This years teacher also has already said he is dramatic and also acts like things are the end of the world!
I just wish he would get away from this boy and play with others!
Any advice on what I can do?
I would have a word with the teacher as being picked on to this extent is not acceptable, however much she feels your DS "over-reacts". I would also try to encourage new friendships for him by inviting other children round for tea, joining different out of school clubs etc to build his confidence. If he has specific behaviours which you can see would cause other children to pick on him, maybe try to address those behaviours with him. My dd (6) had a friend who often told her that she "won't be her friend anymore". I have told dd to say "OK then well I'll play with X" and walk off. The threats of ending friendship seemed to stop then.
I can sympathise totally with this scenario as I also have a dyspraxic son who is 7 and he has had ongoing issues with one of his "best" friends to the extent that they were previously separated in KS1 as we were lucky enough to have 2 mixed year groups. They are now back together in kS2 as classes are allowed to be slightly bigger and I have already been in twice (this term) and wrote a note to the teacher explaining problems. My son has been called "stupid" countless times as well as being punched in the stomach for not playing with his "friend" at lunch time. I have found that the best way to deal with it is to explain carefully to my son why this friendship is not acceptable and that he deserves a friend who will treat him with kindness and respect. He is very good at understanding this at home however,I have seen him in the playgroung trying to impress said "friend" and it is v. frustrating at times.
My other stratergy is to get him involved in lunchtime clubs so he doesn't have the opportunity to see this other boy. Also, his older sister has been tasked with keeping an eye out for him (although I'm not sure how successful this is as she is always doing lunchtime clubs herself)
The school have been pretty good but I think you really have to make youself a pain and get the point across that this kind of toxic friendship is v damaging to any child, particularly one with dyspraxia or any other type of sen. Write down specific incidences and show exactly what has happened / been said to teacher. My son is currently doing an outreach programme after school once a week to help specifically with handwriting skills but a lot of the programme is designed to boost self-esteem. I took the leaflet in explaining the importance of self-esteem into his teacher and told her that it was such a shame that his after school programme was working so hard to boost his self-esteem and yet this was all being undermined in school by some thoughtless, nasty comments from said "friend". She took this on board and has tried to separate them in class as much as possible. I also think it helps that she knows I am on the case now and won't be fobbed off with "it's just boys play fighting etc.. " mentality. I have also told my son to always tell the teacher of any incidences so that they can be dealt with asap, rather than telling me at home when it is often too late to deal with them.
When in their previous class together my son developed a nervous tic of licking his lips as he became so anxious and confused by the whole situation. I have explained all of this to his teacher now as I suspect she wasn't aware and I wouldn't hesitate to go to Head next time an incident happens again. Ironically, the other boy seems to have no real understanding of how bad his behaviour is to DS and went crying to teacher stating " DS wouldn't play with me a lunch today" This was after being called stupid and later, being punched in stomach! Be strong for your son as, if he is like my DS, he will be slightly more vulnerable to this sort of behaviour - i.e. enjoys the attention of having a "friend" but then can't deal with the fallout when it all goes horribly wrong.
Finally, definitely try and encourage other friendships by inviting friends for tea etc.. We are having a playdate this week with a friend whose mum totally "gets" my DS as she has a sen child herself - also the boys share several interests so there's hope for DS yet! I have also tried to encourage after-school clubs to broaden friendships. Last year my DS wouldn't do any (scared of looking silly / letting team down due to lack of co-odination etc) but now does a couple a week so this keeps him busy.
Sorry post is so long -jusy wanted you to know that you are not alone in this.
My ds has a similar toxic friendship (now in Yr 2, just age 6) and the school have been useless. I did speak directly last year to the other child's parents about certain incidents. They then just complained to the school. My preference had been to allow the friendship to continue out of school so I could watch it carefully but get school to separate the boys - there always seemed to be fighting and rough play. But I now get DS to play with other children out of school. I felt my DS was being used as a foil as this other boy was not popular and it gave him a friend. My son has real issues coping in playground and with friendships (on school action for this and other stuff) and just doesn't seem able to get away. It has damaged other friendships particularly with parents of girls - they hear about the rough stuff and dont like it. Thankfully I have good kind friends who are supportive. Bluntly the school probably do think you are being a pain but then they don't deal with the backlash at home. Stay strong!
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