DS (7) not settling...advice/he
Wemoved house last year to a rural area, had a new baby and changed schools for ds (7), who has gone from the biggest school in the city (close to 800 kids) to a wee village primary school of around 70 kids.
Ds2 (5) started school at the same time as him in P1 at the new school and is getting on swimmingly, despite the fact that he also came in not knowing anyone. He has made friends, settled in really well and loves school.
Poor Ds1 though is really struggling. He is in a mixed year group of P3,4,5 and is the youngest in his class.
He's always been academically bright - his reading is way up at a P5 level and his maths is amazing too. It's socially where he is struggling.
Ds1 is a bit different - has always preferred the company of girls over boys, isn't really into football and loves playing video games, whereas the other boys in his class love playing football and have known each other since nursery.
I thought he was finally settling in, having started last summer, but got a phone call from his teacher yesterday asking me to go into a meeting with her to discuss his behaviour in class and that she is really worried that he's not settling.
I make a point of asking him every day how his day was, who he's been playing with etc and he's given no indication that he's rally unhappy. He does occasionally tell me that he had an issue with one of the boys in his class who has adhd and has seemed to focus on DS1 as a target of sorts,but when I try and whittle down what has actually happened, I can't make out if DS1 is being a bit sensitive or if the boy is actually bullying him a bit.
DS1 is really not happy at school. HIs behaviour at home has changed too - he was always my strong dependable one, the one who was happy go lucky and well-behaved and well-mannered, but now I get lots of attitude and cheek from him, which when I ask him why he's doing it, he says he 'doesn't know'.
I'm really worried for him. He keeps saying things like 'I want to go back to my old school' and talks about how he has no friends apart from his brother (which can't be good for him either). I don't know what to do.
It's a lovely small village and we do as much social stuff as possible. He always gets invited to parties and stuff, and goes. He is clearly so very unhappy though and it's been a long time now.
What can I do?
We went through the same. When DS(1) was 7 we moved from a small rural school to a large top private school. He was in one of those schools that you put your name down since birth - and it was a complete fluke he got in. All the kids had known each other since nursery. (This was overseas - not UK). It was so cliquey that the only friends I made were the mothers that were new to the school.
DS doesn't like sport (apart from karate) and loves computer games/science. DS has always played a lot on his own so he was never very sociable even in his old school. He moved to an academically rigorous school and very sporty school and had no friends for the entire first year - not one. He played on his own all the time. His 'buddy' gave up on him when he found out he hated sports. He was excluded from birthday parties that all the other kids went to and was bullied by a group of girls in year 1 (he was year 3!). His behaviour became grumpy and rude. It took a lot of cajoling to get it out of him that he was being bullied and excluded. He never felt like he belonged there - and the kids always reminded him of it - it was as simple as that.
He developed real anger issues. We even had the school ask us to have him see a counsellor for anger issues. It did help by giving him some strategies to control his anger and for him to express why he was angry. He would come home and say he liked the teachers but hated the children - as they were all rude.
Things got marginally better the second year at the school when he made one friend and got to go to one birthday party. But overall he just never felt settled there. The teachers loved him and he did fantastically academically speaking - winning prizes etc - but he only was happy when he was home.
He only started loving school again when we moved country back to the UK and it was like chalk and cheese. He became sociable, made friends and he loves school. Academically the school in UK was 2 years behind and had less than a third of the facilities of his previous school but I honestly don't care as he is finally happy.
Even now he talks about how horrible bullies are, but he is still referring to his old school.
I would talk to the teacher and ask her to encourage friendships with other kids like having a buddy - or asking one of the girls to look after him during playground break.
It will only get better when the other kids make him feel welcome there.
If it doesn't get better - please please consider changing schools - however inconvenient it seems to you.
My ds(yr3) is similar to your ds, and really struggled with friendship until this year. It was really strange, his best mate now was in his class since yr1, but they never became friends until they bumped into each other at local park and played together.(He already had group of friends, and didn't really know, or interested in my ds at all.) Now they are inseparable. Friendship is a funny thing.
Do they have any school clubs that your ds is interested? Maybe it might be easier to find like minded people through hobby? It must be difficult for your ds to join in when friendships are already made. I really hope you can sort it out for your ds with school and teacher's help.
Thanks for your replies.
I guess he's just really struggling with the microcosm of the smaller school - everything is magnified tenfold, including gender divide, which seems to be really apparent. The boys in his class would never play with girls and the girls only play with each other, which he is struggling with a lot - a lot of his old friends were girls. He's just a bit more canny than the other boys and a bit sensitive.
I'll try a club I think, hopefully he can find some friends there, though local stuff is very few and far between.
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