Year 7 feeling wobbly(15 Posts)
My son started Year 7 in September very happily but over the last few weeks has decided the school is not for him. I think it may end of term new school blues but he is insistent that he wants to change schools. He says he feels unwelcome, lonely, and weird (his words). How long do I leave him unhappy and do I look at other options or is that going from one frying pan into another fire?
My gut feeling would be to have a chat with teachers at the school. Does your ds socialise outside of school with other kids? It could be teething problems, early adolescent angst or there may indeed be a problem. I would want to see what can be done to make your ds happier before looking into moving schools. If he is lacking confidence or feeling vulnerable, moving schools mid year can bring it's own challenges such as trying to make friends within already established social groups, being seen as the "new kid" etc. My son (10) had social problems at school and has also had to change schools as we've moved a bit and even though he had trouble settling in at his current school, after staying in one place for a year is now happy
I think you are right WantonMother, I will chat with the teachers. My son does socialise outside school an never had a problem socially. He came from a tiny primary so I suppose secondary school must feel pretty daunting. My confusion is that he has always been very confident. He is the youngest of three and is not shy of older kids so this seems out of character. It is also really hard when your child is crying in bed asking to move. I feel I must stay strong but don't want him unhappy.
I feel for you as it really is hard. Secondary can often be a shock for children from smaller schools esp if they were big fish in those small ponds ifyswim. I think the solution is to keep talking to your ds and the school and maybe if his older ds are at the same school and willing to ask them to keep an eye on him from a distance? Might make him feel more secure. I guess if he's not in school today and you're not at work, try and have a nice time today and maybe gently raise the issue and see if he wants to talk and explain that it is something you will get on top of together and improve things. Boys often like practical solutions so some constructive advice to deal with any problems he says he's encountering if that makes sense? Also, tell him to keep in mind he has a break from school very soon! Good luck
It might be all sorts of things. Adolescent angst, generalised anxiety, hidden bullying, etc. Not all of these would be helped by moving schools. I think he needs to break the problem down into specifics, then look at which of these can be addressed.
To be honest I think these are normal feelings - it's the end of a very busy term, kids often look about seeing busy people and by default think busy, happy people - when in fact that may not be the case.
I think Wanton's suggestion of considering joining in more things may be the solution - most senior schools have all sorts of clubs from coding to Karate, film to choir, etc.... He can also continue or consider rejoining groups outside of school.
A friend with older children (two boys) said her policy was keep them busy - keeps them out of trouble, helps them make friends/ get to know people, and makes them feel part of things. I've more or less followed that policy with DDs very active - one sporty & loves dance/ one musical - and we tend to always say yes to more commitments in those areas.
It helps make school less all important to their lives or world view - IYSWIM.
I think being confident is a very small Primary masks what he could be experiencing at secondary school. His comments of feeling lonely and unwelcome suggest that he does not have friends. Where did the other children from his Primary school go? Was he alone in going to this school?
I would concentrate on how he can fit in and how to generate more friendships. It might be a temporary blip in that he is excluded from something at the moment, but this might change next term. I agree with other suggestions about joining clubs and activities. Try and find out why he thinks he is weird? Is this how other children perceive him? Why might this be? Can he think what would need to happen for him to be happier? You may find that another school would be exactly the same but if he is not remotely weird and totally good fun to be with, then perhaps it is other children in the year group who are the odd ones.
It is quite common for DC to go to the wrong school (for them) in Year 7. Don't rule out changing him.
Maybe he just doesn't fit in but would fit in elsewhere? I was fortunate that I fitted in well at my high school and was happy, but I've sometimes found myself amongst groups of people as an adult where I've felt that I really haven't fitted in and it's not a nice feeling and makes such a difference. Could you take him to look around other schools and tell him you can apply for him to move if he feels the same in the first half term of the summer term?
And it would be harder for him to settle in new school as friendship groups are in place.
I think as long as you listen and take his worries seriously you can't go wrong. That might mean finding ways to make school more enjoyable or moving him altogether, depending on why he is miserable. Often things that are really good (and worth doing) start out being really hard. This is life, and we need resilience to try to get through teething troubles. But it's also really important to learn that sometimes bailing out is the proper course of action. You can help him to learn these skills I guess....
Make sure he feels heard and listened to by you. (Think that bit is already covered )
Make a plan with him, for example chat to his tutor (maybe take him too) and see how things could be improved, meanwhile tell your DS that if he is still unhappy by summer you'll move him to another school.
Behind the scenes, call up other schools and ask about waiting lists.
It could just be a blip, you don't want to pull the trigger too soon. Neither do you want him to think he is stuck in an unhappy school/tutor group forever.
I imagine a lot of thought went into choosing this school, how do YOU feel about the school? Does your gut instinct tell you it is a friendly school, a good school ethos, approachable staff, good pastoral care? Could he approach the pastoral care worker himself?
It's the end of a very long term in a new environment.Lots of children will be flagging and feeling low.It is not a good time to make a decision.
We had to move our son from a good secondary school where we had assumed he would thrive. He was also from a tiny primary but confident and happy to go despite not having friends there - there were only a few kids in his year and they all went off to different secondary schools. After weeks of seeing him becoming more and more unhappy and begin to complain that he didn't fit in I went to see the pastoral care leader who agreed to help him integrate more. On Christmas break he burst into tears one day and admitted he dreaded every lesson at school and was alone every break and lunch time. He was completely excluded in his tutor group and being teased/bullied - kids didn't want to make friends because he was not popular and they in turn might be teased. he joined lots of after school activities but these just became places where the exclusion continued.
He is fairly resilient, sporty, academic and never had problems fitting in. Research shows that the transition to secondary without friends or family in older year groups is a major risk for bullying. We moved him to a different school a few months later and he settled quickly. He lost a lot of confidence and I wished I had tackled it sooner but assumed things would work out as they do for most kids.
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