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Will he ever make a friend :( ?(16 Posts)
I have a little boy, age 7 (yr 3), who is such a nice human being but he very much struggles to make friends. This has always been the case. I've actually started to get really, really down about it and question whether it's something I have done wrong as a Parent. I just wanted to find out other parent's strategies for not letting this have an impact of their child's or their own happiness. As a bit of background information, he is an only-child, but we have imersed him in social situations since he was 2 years old. He has a few hobbies, one of which is a team sport. He always goes over to other kids and desperately atempts to intergrate himself...but somehow fails. His speech is not quite as developed as his peers and sometimes when he's excited it all kind of runs together. I'm wondering whether this difference could be a reason for the rejection. He never has a mean word to say about anyone but is often the kid to be pushed around, picked on, despite the fact physically he is very tall and athletic looking. He's super sensitive and takes everything to heart. I remember Primary School as being fun and care-free but he is having such a rubbish time.
Have you spoken to school about this? What are they doing to support him and help him form friendships? Do you invite children over for play dates to help him get to know kids outside school? What about his team sport, could he have play dates with some of those children?
Is he having any speech and language therapy and if not, could school refer him for this too?
It’s hard watching our children struggle with friendships but if he’s being picked on and having a hard time then you need to put pressure on school to not let this happen and to help him form friendships.
My 8yr old is autistic and we have our ups and downs with this - he had one really close friend who moved house/school at the end of the summer term so this term is proving very tough. I’m doing lots of play dates and school are doing what they can to facilitate play with other children in the class and we will see how it goes.
Hope things improve, do get the school on side and hopefully that will help...
That's hard, I can completely understand why it's getting you down but I'm sure you haven't done anything wrong. My dd struggles a little with friendships and I think it's impossible not to feel heart broken when they come home upset and saying they had noone to play with etc but my advice is:
Try and act relaxed about it. I try not to ask too often about who she played with etc because I don't want her to feel she has failed or disappointed me by not making friends, that would make things worse.
Talk to school about it. Can they keep an eye on him, do they have strategies they could put in place to help him make friends?
If anyone seems a little bit interested in making friends invite them for a play date on their own so they can't run off to play with someone else - or gang up on him.
Have you looked into speech and language therapy?
My MIL told me the other day she had no proper friends until she was least 7. I was amazed as she is a warm, friendly person and very popular now. I think like with anything, making friends is a skill that develops slower for some than others but things will improve.
Thanks for the reply, I always end up dwelling on these things at night! Largely due to the fact he'll tell me about something that has upset him just before he goes to sleep He's had SALT since he was 3yrs, being signed off now and he's made good progress. We've had lots of playdates, things always seem a little easier outside of school. Recently moved schools, to somewhere a lot more suited to his needs (more support in place, slightly less hectic, good communication between school and home). If his unhappiness persists I shall pop in....however it was a recent move, so I shall see how it goes. I keep getting all panicked that the lack of friendships will lead to further problems down the line, in terms of mental health and it makes me feel so sad.
That's great advice @Rudolphtherednose I think I ask far too much who he plays with, who he sat next to at lunch...definitely going to make a conscious effort to stop this. Thank you
I haven't been in your situation as my DS hadn't started school yet.
But just wanted to say you sound like you have raised a lovely, lovely little boy and should be proud of that !! It sounds so heartbreaking. Hopefully our lovely MNers who have/will post can help. 💐
Your post reminds me of my worries about my son when he was little. In our case it continued through to secondary school. He then went to college, grew in confidence and things changed really quickly.
He is know a very confident, outgoing 18 year old with lots of friends. He has just started uni and has a lovely girlfriend.
My advice would be to not get too stressed or make it into a big deal, stop bombarding him with questions around his friendships.
This was me at primary school. I didn't really have a close friend until just before I went to secondary school.
Speak to the school. Does the behaviour at school happen at home too? Has the school mentioned anything to you?
Is he seeing a therapist for his speech? He sounds like a lovely little boy, but if he struggles to make himself understood then it will definitely put other children off.
Has he literally just changed schools (as in the beginning of this school year in September). In which case, I think you need to give it a little while re. new friendships.
But you and your DS sound lovely. I think he'll be ok!
I’d try and just listen to him, it’s great that he’s sharing his concerns with you, but be very careful not to reflect your concern onto him.
By all means be empathetic, but don’t let him know you’re anxious. He sounds like a very nice child, I’m sure other people will like him for his qualities.
Aww, thanks @tigger001 he is a nice little guy. We've attempted to make him a little more resilient to the world by taking him to martial arts classes and things, but it's never worked out and his teamsport, hobby would be deemed by many to be 'girly'...but it makes him happy and it's what keeps us going.
It's great to hear that your Son has come out the other side of this @Moonfacebiggins it gives me a lot of hope and you are very right I need to stop quizzing him, breathe a little and not stress (I'm very much a more fun Mum over the summer holidays!)
@hotdogwoof he's a different boy outside of school..really fun, more relaxed, his speech slows down and he's really articulate. He's definitely a bit on the Quirky side though. I hope he finds a friend before Secondary too!
@Raphael34 He's had speech and language therapy since he was 3years old, recently been signed off, but the difference between him and his peers in terms of clarity is still noticeable, which does make him stand out unfortunately.
I'm not religious but would you all say a little prayer to the Universe tonight and send positive karma his way? We're not greedy, we'd just like one good friend to start with
Thanks @JoanLewis and @Herocomplex I'm giving myself a good talking to, not going to mention friendships to him for a wee while and just chill. I think this is the area where I am going a little wrong
I definitely agree I'd be speaking to school. He might do better in one on one situations based around a structured activity. The teacher could engineer situations where he's doing an activity before plsutine with a likely playmate and hope it spills out onto the playground. She could also suggest kids he might get on well with who you could invite on a play date (maybe make it an especially fun activity so there's not too much pressure to find something to play).
Maybe see if the school has, or could introduce, a buddy system. Some of the nice kids in year 5 and 6 often volunteer to buddy up with someone in a younger year to help them make friends or even just give them someone to sit with..
If there's still a noticeable difference in speech between him and his peers, can I ask why he's being signed off by the SALT team?
If team sports (as in the traditional 'non girly' ones) aren't working out, could you try something like Cubs or the Boys Brigade to see if something less specific may suit? X
@TeddyToaster thanks for the reply and advice. As I understand it, SALT sign kids off when they can produce each sound, with the exception of 'th' which can be reached with maturity. That does not neccesarily mean that the child will make those sounds unprompted within conversation though. For example our 'r's' still frequently become 'w's', 'th' becomes 'd' and don't even get me started on sound clusters. He's done really well with SALT but there is still a long way to go