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UNhappy at new school

(21 Posts)
GreenGables1 Fri 26-Oct-12 10:52:49

We moved our yr 5 DS in Sept to a prep school as there were major staffing issues at his primary and things were looking to get more unstable. He had been very happy there and was doing ok and had in the last year made a good friend. But when in the summer we said we wanted the best for him and wanted to give him a chance at the prep (where another person he was friendly with had gone) he was up for it, so we seized the moment and did it. He was very wobbly and tearful for the first week or so as he settled in, then things seemed to get better and according to school he settled well and mixes in well, though he said occasionally he couldn't find people to play with. But now on half term he's been very moody and clearly unhappy and has said he hates it and no-one is friendly or listens to him and he can't break in to the established group of boys in his year. He has seen his friend from previous school this week and the difference in him was huge; all smiles again. I'm worried we've made a terrible decision, he is clearly unhappy now - but should we rush to change things (my emotional response) or wait and see? He is a quiet boy who doesn't make friends that quickly, i know, and they are all pretty confident and established in this new school. Hate to see him unhappy, specially when we feel responsible for it sad(

cavell Fri 26-Oct-12 10:57:51

Sorry to hear your son is unhappy.
Go and talk to his teacher about it. In my own experience (of 4 state schools and 2 private ones), private schools tend to be a lot more pro-active about dealing wth friendship issues and so on.
Meanwhile, you could try the normal route of asking who he gets on best with/who he would most like to be friends with and asking them round to tea or to do something together over half term.

smee Fri 26-Oct-12 10:58:53

A girl from my son's school went off to a private prep and came back. She had a similar struggle. Her mum said the girls were v.cliquey at the new school and hugely competitive, so she couldn't break in either. Why not wait until Christmas though to give it a proper go. It's not that far away.

GreenGables1 Fri 26-Oct-12 11:11:11

He has been over to one boys house ( as I know his mum a little) and said it was fine when he was there, but in the school environment this other boy doesn't bother with him.I think he really is trying hard and is definitely pushing himself beyond his comfort zone with friendships. Don't want to give up because worry that sends wrong message too, but equally don't want him long term unhappy. Think I underestimated the strength of friendships for a nine year old....

missmapp Fri 26-Oct-12 11:19:29

I'd give it some more time. I am a teacher of Yr6 and find that it takes longer for the older children to feel settled in a new school as the friendship groups are more established HOWEVER, they do settle and fit in and generally, at the end of the year, you can't tell who was new in the class.

I would talk as positively as you can about the new school, have friends over as much as possible and see if there are any after school clubs that the boys in his class go to, as this is often where friendships are developed.

Good luck to you and your son

mrsshackleton Fri 26-Oct-12 11:35:42

symapthy, as I'm having exactly the same issue with 7yo dd. All the children in her class are new but she's REALLY missing her old friends, though she plays with them at weekends etc. I think it does take time and you and I and our dcs just have to grit our teeth, organise some playdates and with luck they'll get there

GreenGables1 Fri 26-Oct-12 11:51:20

So hard isn't it.. gritting your teeth is right. Sometimes think i'm far too soft and should have a 'get on with it attitude' ...

mrsshackleton Fri 26-Oct-12 13:29:07

I'm exactly the same, it really gets to me - it's easy to tell someone else to man up but much harder in practice. I just remember it took me a couple of terms to settle into a new school - nothing in hindsight.

trinity0097 Wed 31-Oct-12 16:32:09

Don't forget also that the switch to a prep school from a state school can be a huge shock and he was probably knackered last half term coping with probably longer days, more intensive teaching (if there are less kids in the class the it's harder to take a back seat), more sport, plus the usual different rules and routines and people to get to know.

midseasonsale Wed 31-Oct-12 19:47:26

In your shoes I'd talk to the teacher and also invite some prep friends home to play. Ask him which ones he likes. Work on making some new close friends at the new school. It's still very early days and it will of course take a while for him to feel comfortable. He has only been there half a term and in reality it could take a year

MrsCantSayAnything Thu 01-Nov-12 09:25:02

I feel for you. My DD is in year 4 and moved last year FROM a prep to a state. It took her a whole year to settle. That's very usual her teacher told me.

She spent entire playtimes moping because it was all so new. She's got a new set of friends now. Give it time. Friendships are made through shared experience and as your DS has more experiences at school, more links will come through....more things in common.

Leeds2 Thu 01-Nov-12 09:59:00

I don't think this is an unusual predicament (although horrible to experience) and, personally, would stick it out a while longer.

As well as asking his new friends round to play, I would encourage him to join a couple of after school clubs and, if they have them,lunchtime clubs. He might find it easier to bond with boys he has something in common with.

LIZS Thu 01-Nov-12 10:15:39

I too think you need to give it a bit longer. It is hard to start again and you need to help him accept this as normal, but he won't be "the new boy" for long. If he has any particular interests has he joined clubs and been included, if not ask school to encourage this and buddy him up. You may well find that groups of boys socialise at weekends outside school through rugby, football, drama and so on - is that an option. Do you have a form rep and have there been opportunities for you to socialise ? Once you are more in the consciousness of other mums they may be more inclined to invite your ds and include him. Maybe even find someone whose ds has a bday at similar time and arrange to do something jointly. Go along to everything and ask lots of questions about how things work - Christmas fair, gifts for teachers, parents evening format and so on. Also while it is lovely your ds sees his old friends you may need to limit it short term so he isn't always thinking grass is greener.

acebaby Thu 01-Nov-12 10:53:30

I am watching with great interest. My two DSes started at a new school this year (mainly because the fees at the old school went up quite suddenly).

DS2 is fine. He went into reception, so most of them were new and they are a lot younger. He is also naturally popular and confident. Different story with DS1, who went into year 3. I'll stop there because I don't want to hijack your thread. I really just wanted to send you some sympathy and to let you know that you are not alone.

MrsCantSayAnything Thu 01-Nov-12 11:13:20 DD is shy...she did settle and now, one year later says she prefers her "new" school to her old one. It will sort itself out.xx

laughtergoodmedicine Fri 02-Nov-12 13:01:52

It is common for children not to like new school. It can be something or nothing. So have a word with teacher and see if bullying might been involved. ( I went to one secondary school which I loathed)

CouthyMowEatingBraiiiiinz Sat 03-Nov-12 12:04:54

I was shunted around a lot between the ages of 5 and 16. I went to 4 different Primaries, and 4 different Secondaries. I was always the 'new girl'.

Some ages were easier to move than others.

I moved in Reception, and don't even really remember the first school.

I moved in Y3, and that was fine, made friends very quickly.

Moved at the end of Y5, started Y6 in a new school. THAT was a hard move, nobody saw the point in making friends with someone for just one year, when they might not see me at Secondary.

Started Secondary with quite a few from that Primary school - and they became my best friends!

Moved at the end of Y8, started Y9 in a new school. Had no trouble making new friends.

Moved at the start of Y11, again, an unmitigated disaster. Again, nobody saw the point in making an effort with me as they already had their friendship groups, and were leaving in less than a year.

Moved again, but to a different school system in Scotland, and was moved down a year and put in what was Y10. Had no trouble making friends.

My advice? Don't move for the start of Y6 or Y11, it will be miserable for your child.

If your child is younger, give it AT LEAST a term for them to settle and break established friendship groups.


Mutteroo Sat 03-Nov-12 21:06:40

Had some experience here!

There must have been some pretty compelling reasons for you to move your son half way through his junior school? Right now, he's unhappy and so you and he are bound to see the grass is greener on the other side. Talk to your son's class teacher, see what the school can do to help. It is amazing how quickly a child's opinion can change and it could be that a newbie joins his school after half term and this turns out to be your son's best mate? I've been in your shoes and know how horrible it is both for you and DS. You'll know ifit's time to give up. We gave it two terms (DD had been in a mixed class for 1yr and 2 terms, happy for the first year then best friend left and the world felt like it was collapsing around her). DD then moved schools half way through yr9. Terribly unhappy at the first school, found the second school hard to break into. She's now 19 and admits (grudgingly) that moving schools was the right move.

I wish your dear son lots and lots of happiness which I'm sure he'll find.

GreenGables1 Mon 05-Nov-12 10:49:13

Thanks so much for the lovely messages, made me feel tearful sitting at my desk here at work! It was hard this morning going back after half term, he spent a lot of the holiday worrying and we talked things through though I had no real answer to his continual question, how long will it be til I have a good friend?. He was resigned this morning but not happy.. fingers crossed that he has a good start to new term. He isn't very confident at first so finds it hard to break into established groups, and unfortunately he isn't sporty either so not into doing after school clubs. He saw a lot of his old friends at half term which I know probably wasn't a good move but I hadn't the heart to say no... My husband has to drop him at new school as I have to work, so he doesn't tend to stay around and chat, which makes us integrating harder too. He did choose some Bach flower remedies to take at half term to help him feel more confident which I thought was a positive step (tho DH convinced waste of money) even if its placebo!

GreenGables1 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:18:50

Try this

GreenGables1 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:21:03

Excuse last message trying to post link to this thread on another and not v competent at it!

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