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DS and Friendship Difficulties(2 Posts)
Have posted this on the SN board as well - am looking for any advice or reassurance with regard to my DS aged 9. It might be a wee bit convoluted so apologies.
Background - he's an only (not through choice) and has what I hope is a stable home life with a lot of love from DH and myself. Unfortunately I'm now having to work F/T and worry that this may not be helping with regard to some of his issues although I think there are lots of other things going on. He displayed some interesting traits as a small child - sensory issues, picking things up early e.g. reading and numbers, perfectionism. Of course these were identified as red flags for ASD when he was in reception as his behaviour was a problem (at school but not home). In Year 1 this all calmed down and the school stopped worrying. I felt it was important to monitor, keep an open mind and look at more assessment later on if he needed it. We all worked hard on strategies to help him.
From Year 1, he was a different child - started playing with other children and making friends. Football really helped him and he was part of a group for the first time. He never expressed any concern over his friendships and was invited to birthday parties etc. However, I did feel like I needed to make more effort re playdates etc as it seemed a bit one-sided and partly put this down to never being in the playground.
He continued to struggle sometimes with becoming "overloaded" and the school were good at helping him to find a quiet space when he was overwhelmed. He continued through Y2-3 seeming happy and generally running into school each day/ talking about his friends etc. Worries about ASD and its effects seemed to fade into the background and school were always very pleased with his progress including socially.
Fast forward to Y4 and things aren't going so well. I'm worried but am wondering if I need to put things into perspective. I talk to friends in RL but obviously I only have one child so this is my first experience. One of the group moved away last year (the lad who DS had the most in common with). As a result the group dynamic has changed. DS is now very concerned that his friends don't like him and is getting quite down about it. His self-esteem seems to have hit the floor - quite a lot of this is due to one of the others in his group who has been doing some stirring between the lads. Luckily DS talks to us a lot and has been keeping us in the loop. He's insisting we don't talk to his teacher and says he won't trust us if we do. However, he believes a lot of what the ringleader says and it's not always kind.
He's written down some of his thoughts and showed us - a difficult read as he says that he has a problem with friendships, low self esteem and seems to be writing himself off socially He's asked for a lockable diary which we've bought him.
I know all this is quite common. We listen to him, show lots of love and I'm trying to encourage playdates with another boy in the class who DS has a friendship with, which the other Mum is pleased about. However, much as DS does like him he's more attracted to the slightly more lively, popular (less quiet) lads he usually plays with - it's a chemistry thing I know! We've ordered a book about friendship and DS wants to read it with me. I've reassured him that all kids have L-plates when it comes to friendships. He's also about to join an out of school sports club as he has ability in a particular area and possibly cubs.
It's probably me that has the most difficulty with this. Bar the sensory problems I was SO similar to DS at his age... Shy, difficulty with friendships, academically well ahead but socially immature/behind. My difficulties with friendships continued until my thirties and I've recently had counselling and CBT which has finally helped me to get rid of the shame I felt around having friendship issues. I finally feel comfortable in this area and hugely grateful for that. However, the huge difference is that I grew up in the 70s and 80s and had a Mum with MH issues who emotionally abused me and a Dad who did nothing to stop it happening.
I stupidly thought that with a different upbringing, DS would be ok. I know the fact that he's talking to us is great and he's in a stable family which should count for something.
My questions: am I overreacting and projecting? Am prepared to go back to counselling so that I keep a level head for DS. Also, is all this in the realms of normal or should I be helping him more somehow? It's painful to watch and feels like history repeating itself
Just read that through properly...
I'm having difficulty with this NOT "It's probably me that has the most difficulty with this" IYKWIM!
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