DS unhappy at school...dont't know what to do for the best :((13 Posts)
DS has never really loved school and we moved him once after long term unpleasantness at old primary. He is now at secondary and has thrived in one way as he is enthusiastic and a grafter but he is never very happy and has had more issues with not coping with nasty comments etc. Have been into school a few times but nothing really changes (and I accept some of it is him). He has a few friends but of the quieter group. He has been quiet all holidays and we have had a few chats about the problems that flared up at the end of term. The thought of returning has started violent nightmares and yesterday a complete wobbly. I overhead him talking to a friend who told him he was just too enthusiastic and should just keep his head down . He loves learning, sings and is interested in lots of things. He likes his teachers and in conversation says he wants to stay but I am at my wits end, I want him to enjoy school (he is just a kid) and I definitely don't want him to 'survive' by hiding through his school years
Moving again feels like we keep jumping and he needs to find a survival strategy (snr school is a bit twatty I guess) but I can't bare him being so unhappy and planning to be silent and uninterested to escape further taunts
Do you think there's anything else going on which makes school particularly hard for him?
Is he quirky? Gifted? Does he have SEN?
I think snr school is a 'bit twatty' - but normally it isn't so bad that it causes this kind of a reaction, without there being something else going on as well.
What kind of nasty comments?
I wouldn't consider moving school unless it was impossible to work through. He has a small group of friends who he would lose if you moved him. I would rather a small group of loyal, honest friends than a class full of crappy two faced ones.
What year is he in?
That sounds really sad, but please don't move him. I was moved in primary and secondary and I think that is what started me on always running away when things got tricky. I'm only now in my mid-30s facing up to things rather than running away!
What year is he in? And what exactly is he unhappy about?
Also, if he is quirky or different:
As a teacher I've watched a couple of students go from quirky quiet year 7/8s to quirky confident and interesting year 10/11s. I think there's a lot of pressure to conform at first, but as they get older they realise quirky is cool too and gain confidence.
He is a sensitive flower with a high moral code (a throwback as we are far more 'normal' ) and will speak out when he sees people being mean to others. He is going into yr9 but is youngest in year. He is enthusiastic and passionate about things- apparently putting your hand up in class is not good 🙄
He is bright but not Mensa - he has a curiosity for things (mostly the inner workings of my electrical appliances). I worked with SEN children and do sometimes wonder but just a bit quirky I think. I chose the school for being smaller and helping him with his confidence (doesn't believe he is good at things), this has worked in someways but also he is picked on for winning singing comps, entering competitions etc ... We talked about silly comments and a bit of jealousy but one child is still going on about it 12 months later! Another has started gay rumours which I said to ignore but in the holidays it appears that this has been really nasty and intimidating for 6 months. School isn't great imo at disapline - lots of rude children messing ao in class, swearing at teachers etc 😱
He was bullied at old school and had help for anxiety and now I think he assumes people will be mean. He does have a few nice friends and that is a reason to stay.
Nasty comments seem endless, some are him taking things to heart that others probably wouldn't but many seem quite vindictive and persistent. I found him shaving his eyebrows off and apparently it was because people teased him about them. He stopped eating in yr5 after a group kept calling him fat (he was a stick) - so he obviously does over think things/ not seem able to write off rediculous comments. A smashed phone at the end of term opened Pandora's box of all the unhappiness and he just hasn't been able to shake things off; I have tried to talk things through and give closure for a proper break but he seems to be stuck in a mire
That sounds serious. I think you need to go in and speak to someone at the school.
Bless him, he sounds just like my son, a sweet sensitive soul who suffers with anxiety. But no bullying in primary and has only just started in secondary. He is aware that he doesn't fit the stereotype of being a 'typical' boy.
I think you should keep on at the school and there should be a member of staff who deals with the pastoral care of his year group.
What happened with the phone?
His small group of friends, do they hang out with the rest or do they keep themselves to themselves?
Have you asked him if he thinks these other kids are nice or kind? Assuming his answer is no then I would point out that in that case does he really care what they think? Also point out how immature they are, and how proud you are of him that he is not like them.
I would also go talk to school to make sure they appreciate the extent of what is going on. Ask them for specific actions they intend to implement. Then send them a written summary of the conversation so a dated paper trail is started.
He may not like it but I would be looking at his phone & taking screenshots of bullying messages/images.
If he can overcome the nerves to sing in competitions then he has some resilience which will help if you can get some advice on how to help him channel that in other areas of his life.
Thanks for the replies. He is a funny mix, he will stand up and give talks, sing etc but really cares what people think (even if admitting he doesn't care for them) - it seems to really matter to him :/
Have been into school a few times but they almost give the impression that he is just to sensitive and at senior school he needs to brush it off. Part of my sadness is he has decided it is easier to not sing, volunteer etc etc rather than face the continuous flak
I have always agreed with him that I will look through his social media; this flagged the latest issue and I took a screen shot. The other child deleted the message (Instagram) and claimed my son had photoshopped it to get him into trouble! School seem to be unwilling to deal with this without "evidence". Phone was hit out of sons hand by same child and it smashed.
Small group were starting to hang out but mostly hide in lunch clubs etc to stay away from the playground.
I don't want him to run as I agree he needs to face things and find ways to thrive but after 6 weeks of a mostly sad child I just want him to be happy.
We had many a chat and I think a big breakthrough was he didn't think people lie or say things for effect (he doesn't so found this a very confusing concept) - hopefully he can deal better with comments now he understands this better?! He is very mature in some ways but occasionally surprises me!!
I hope he finds his feet this year...we shall see what today brings! Thanks for the advice
As adults we don't mix with people we don't get on with so I don't think there is anything wrong with choosing to not mix with them, however, hiding or avoiding is not great.
Glad you had a breakthrough, next time something comes up express your surprise at how immature that group appear to be an hope they mature soon. Also reiterate how it don't matter what unkind people think of us and only be concerned about the kind ones.
Next parent evening speak to the individual teachers, especially the ones who are involved in the activities he is now avoiding.
I hope it improves soon. Keep telling him how proud of him you are.
What you say about the class disruption and active bullying would make me move him tbh. The school ethos is allowing him to be treated like that - there should be zero tolerance and clearly isn't. I'm saying that as a parent of a child at a big inner city comp - what you describe just wouldn't be tolerated there. Kids are kids of course and there's always the few who will try it on, but the school should be on it.
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