Struggling with friendships(9 Posts)
My soon to be 14 year old has always struggled a bit with friendships. Choosing not particularly nice kids and then having unbalanced friendships with them.
Now he's older he's making better choices but he's very much on the fringe of friendships. He never gets asked to anything and doesn't have the confidence to ask others.
His school day is long (private school) so there's not much scope to do stuff out of school. I was keen on the scouts for him but he just won't do it.
It's come up a head as he's got a week of the holidays whilst I'm still at work and he won't arrange anything. I feel it's too long to leave him on his own (4 full days). I'd be happy for him to chill and do his own thing for 1 or 2 days but not 4! He said he didn't want to ask anyone and he would go to the cinema on his own etc... 😔
I am happy to text and make plans for him but he doesn't want me to. I just worry that he's going to become more and more insular and isolated if he doesn't make an effort.
Thank you for any advice.
Have you raised the issue with his Form Tutor or HEad of Year? They may have some advice for you, or perhaps be able to comment on some children with whom he is friendly/gets on well at school. It might be less intimidating if there is a group of people who are invited to go to the cinema or something. Cinema is good because it doesn't involve a whole lot of conversation if he finds it difficult to chat casually with people.
My DD has Aspergers and has always struggled to make friendships, but has a few close friends. She is always very negative about socialising and doesn't even want to invite anyone to her 14th BD celebration, not even her very good friends!
It's a tricky age for any teen, as they can get very self-conscious about being 'cool' and fitting in.
I would encourage him to just TRY one occasion of arranging to meet a few people - it is often the fear of it or not wanting to make an effort and be disappointed that might make him reluctant. And if he receives any invitations not to decline them!
Some kids really do prefer their own company, which is to be respected too. However, if he seems a bit sad that he doesn't feel he has many friends you might suggest some strategies for trying to deal with it.
Good luck. It can feel never-ending!
It is a very tricky age when they are finding out who they are, and where they fit in, and it is great he has a mum looking out for him, and pointing him in the right directions. Have you thought of getting him to invite a group over so its casual, or get tickets for a particular event/concert/activity or encourage him to do activities out of school as well as in school - climbing, or tennis or whatever. Anything that gets him out of the house and involved with people. If it is outside school, he might feel less pressurised, and be himself, as often I find the dynamic is different in different arenas and its healthy to have lots of interests that gets you involved with other people. What about Duke of Edinburgh? judo that sort of thing…they are all confidence building, and it will lead to the same place. Hope he finds his groove
Your making this worse. What is so bad about about letting him enjoy his own space, not every one is a social butterfly.
what does he like to do in his spare time?
i would try finding some like minded people out of school
or an exhibition he could go to
just something to get him out of the house
I second don't push it. There is a danger you will cause social anxiety. He might need a break from sociakusing in the holidays. One thing I did with Ds2 when I was working was arrange to meet him for lunch. He had to get the bus to my wok place. We went out for lunch a couple of times. Leave him a few jobs to do. Pop to tesco's or whatever to pick up a few things. Put diner on.
Socializing will come when he is ready
Do you know his friendship group? You may can arrange something for him.
The trouble with the private school is the longer holidays,and friends don't live closely. My DS1 has to stay at home on his own a lot as well. He normally would play games, reading, and then have a ride in the park, go to library etc.I agree with the above post, I sometimes ask him to do some odd house works.
DS1 normally ask friends to our house a couple of times a year, 7or 8 people everytime( not everyone come), so he get invited to his friends' house as well, and add up birthday parties, so he can have the chance to meet his friends outside school. I helped him in Year 7, I asked him who he normally stay with at school, then emailed his friends mum to invite them( emails from the school's list) around. Actually, every mum is happy with this, as I guess most working parents have this same problem of children stay at home on his own. Then DS1 would do the invitation himself now.
I think you don't need to show that you have concerns about this. But I would help hime to start inviting friends home. Then he would eventually do it himself.
My 14 and nearly 13 will be on their own at home for a lot of the holidays. I work close by so will try and shorten my hours, work from home, meet them for lunch a few days.
Again private so don't have friends nearby. They don't want to 'do anything'. I will try and get my 14yr old to do some work for his GSCE mocks.
Thanks so much for all your responses - very helpful.
He has had a good week at school and feels more a part of things :-) I texted the mum of one of his friends to arrange a meet up and he has said he will text his friend to finalise plans - this a big step forward as previously he refused to make any plans (fear of rejection I think).
He is going to get a bus into town and meet my husband for lunch one day and I may get him to dog sit and walk the dog another day. I'll give him a few jobs to do and he can do some revision. That should fill up the 4 days enough but still give him unwinding time.
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