Year 7 - DS still really struggling to settle in. Really need some advice on the issues he lists...normal? If so what should I be doing?(22 Posts)
DS is very outgoing, makes friends easily and never thought we'd have a problem. When we go on holiday he always goes up to kids, makes friends etc... An only child so doesn't have much of a choice but he is really unhappy at school. It's being going on and off now since Sept start and we've just left o although have said how normal it is for some kids to settle and it's all normal but he doesn't seem to believe it. It builds up and then he has melt downs, real crying fits usually at bedtimes, main issues he says are:
Hasn't got any friends
Everyone hangs round together but he doesn't fit in
He feels different
Everyone likes football he doesn't but has asked for Fifa 17 so he can "fit in"
He says if he goes up and joins in with certain groups they ignore him or he feels he's going to look or say something stupid
He's an only child so sometimes he likes being on his own but knows this doesn't help
Some boys in some of his classes call him stupid, weird, loud and pick on him he says
He says he didn't think 2ndary school would be like this...he hates school
These are some of the things he's said. It breaks my heart particularly when he cries and cries and gets so very upset.
Last week he broke down in class as a boy had pushed him and think it toppled him over the edge. He felt terrible as he cried in class and it was in his favourite teachers class. The teacher did pick up on it and asked him to stay back and had a chat I think he told him a few of the above, so teacher said he would email his head of year and see if they could help. The next day he had a full blown temperature and has since been off school only back today so not sure if there has been anything said. The teacher is not on an exchange trip so not in school.
There is a boy he sometimes walks to school with but because I work near school he oftens comes in with me as he can get a lift. Another boy he really likes came out on a play date in the hols with us then DS got invited to his birthday party. Ive said well invite this boy out again or over but as DS says yes but that's buying friendship I want it to happen naturally and not have to bride people to come out - which I do get his point.
He breaks up on Friday and Im not sure what to do.
Do I email the head of year tonight and see if she had received an email and to see if she can speak with him before Friday (only leaves, Wedn, Thurs then Fri) or do I leave it until after the hols to see how things go
Work wise he's ok and where he should be but he seems to have no enthusiasm for learning but not sure if this is a knock on affect
He sounds so unhappy, poor boy.
Can you speak with his form tutor, today after school? It would be form tutor before HoY usually.
Is it possible for you to go in before Friday?
This needs resolving pronto, before you end up with a school refuser.
Where did his friends from primary go? Same school and found other friends? Or off to other schools?
I would contact school. My DS was similar a couple of years ago. He was buddied up with someone after I spoke to school and encouraged to join some clubs and groups to get to know similar kids. He's really happy now.
I've had to contact my sons new school far more often than imagined I would have to-and they've been brilliant every time. We're directed to HoY every time. Ds is supposed to go form tutor then HoY but I've been told to go to HoY and seeing as that teacher said that's who they'd contact-I would definitely email them. They can always pass the email on if they're not the right person to contact.
I would say that my DH hasn't had any friends around or invites to parties yet. So it sounds like he's doing ok, maybe he just doesn't realise?
It's a hard time tbh, I wouldn't go back to being 11 for all the tea in china. I think you need to contact the school and start the ball rolling. And get that nice boy round again!
isn't it hard to watch them struggle?
I would speak to his form tutor if possible.
I found that a lot of the Year 7s were all trying to re-invent themselves at this stage or competing to be 'top dog'. After spending the primary school years being known as "the best football player" or "the most popular person", they are now competing for this against several other children who all had the same position at their own primary schools.
Sometimes this is at the expense of their old friends. They can get more peer approval for making fun of them than by staying friends. Your DS is probably on the receiving end of some of this behaviour.
It tends to settle down eventually but in the meantime his form tutor should be able to help. There may be lunchtime and after school clubs that fit his real interests. Ours also had clubs that were set up specifically for the Yr 7s who were struggling a little with friendships.
There may also be an option to speak to a student support officer or a scheme where some of the older students mentor the younger ones.
I hope your DS feels better about things soon.
Definitely speak to his form tutor. Teachers can make a huge difference to this sort of thing, even by doing small things like changing seating in the class so that he gets to know people who he might get on with better.
I would also encourage your son to invite people for playdates. It isn't buying friendship at all- it's completely normal. Doesn't have to be a big deal- just someone coming round to play Fifa with him and have a pizza or something.
I hope things get better soon.
Sorry should of said his tutor is off sick - I did go see her a while back as there was one boy who swore at DS and it upset him so that was sorted. She now is on sick leave after an op there is another stand in tutor but DS doesn't really know her. It was the Teacher who said he would email his head of year. OK think I will have a chat with him when he's home and email school there is an assistant Head of Year I could copy in and just play dumb that
He does a few clubs and is librarian and just been made a prefect for his year so lots going for him to keep him busy but not happy boy still
He sounds exactly like my DS - he was always popular and never had any trouble making friends at primary school, but for some reason secondary school came as a huge shock. He'd always had the role of "class clown" but in secondary school no one found his jokes funny!
Agree with others about talking to form tutor or pastoral team, but DS's experience is that he has now found his "niche" - it probably took until the final term of Y7 to feel confident there though. It helped him to spot that there were other children feeling the same way as him, so he palled up with the other boy in his class that also had no friends - and that subsequently gave him the confidence to get to know others. It's also helped him to realise it's ok not to like people - no one can get on with everybody!
Would he consider joining lunchtime or after school clubs? May stand a better chance of meeting people who are interested in the same sort of things.
Would also try and insist that he invites a friend over during the holidays. Your DS may think you are "buying" him friends, but it really is worth it as long as he goes along with it with a positive attitude.
Don't pay heed to what they say at bedtime.That seems to be the time for tears and bad thoughts and by next morning they are all forgotten (or at least improved)
I also have an only DS and he also is very easy going and funny. As an only I did engineer friendships (play dates) for him through parents of other kids, especially at Primary. By year 8 he was 'self-sufficient', but still won't invite anyone home because home is his sanctuary. He tried lots of ways to make friends and fit in, so I guess perseverance is key. By observation he worked out various groups - the popular gang (avoid), the emos (hover around) and others like him who just hadn't found themselves yet. He flitted around several and never really joined any, but he now can talk to just about anyone and 'fit in' wherever he wants or needs (very important on school trips).
One thing he found mattered was which bag you carried and what shoes you wear (not brands but style) and haircut. None of this had mattered at Primary, but suddenly at High School everyone developed an antenna for how you looked and would reject at fifty paces anyone not getting it right or even vaguely right. Kids being ruthless critics of such things.
Probably your DS knows all this and just needs to keep being the nice and decent person he is until the others settle down.
You do need to email someone at the school and explain how he feels. If his form tutor isn't available, HOY would be a good one. They may be able to help come up with suggestions or give you some idea why he doesn't seem to fit in - if that's the case. My friend's son never has any friends back and just hangs around with a gang of boys who he doesn't speak to. However, they just seem to accept him for who he is.
You'll probably find you need to encourage play dates. If it's not cool to have friends back, then you could drop them off at the cinema, in town or whatever. My DD was allowed to have friends back, but at a time that was convenient, so she always had to consult with me, or I'd have to give the other Mum a call. I know it's probably just easier to drop him off sometimes, but I'd stop in the hope he'll walk with this other boy all the time. If someone accepts them, you'll often find others will.
As the parent of a son who struggled for popularity (but not bullied as such) in year 7, my suggestions are
1. get him the fifa he asked for- gives him a shared conversation point even it is not his favourite game
2. do engineer a few opportunities for mixing- has he a birthday coming up?Do something desirable... bowling, lazarquest, etc
3. Get him doing a out of school club even if not connected to school. My son really appreciated having non school friends
4. If he is interested, fund a sport or activity which is perceived as cool like martial arts, electric guitar, dry slope skiing
5. If allowed in school, slip him a few small bags of sweets to share (not all the time, just enough to show generosity)
BTW it will get better as he will find his crowd
It's important to find a few friends. If he likes the boy he sometimes walks to school with, maybe you can encourage DS be friend with him? How long is the journey to the school, maybe just let DS walks with that boys rather than take him in the car. As I think friendship is crucial at the moment.
And invite a few boys he likes to your house during half term, insert days? We did this with DS1 in Y7, parents of other children are grateful, as at this age, it is hard to just leave them at home , but there is no suitable clubs anymore. And DS1 get a few invites back after that. This certainly helped his friendship group. DS1 quickly formed a friendship group with a few other boys. He has gradually made more friends through clubs, different class, but has always kept these friends from Y7.DS1 school change class each year, so there are plenty chance to make new friends.
As secondary school normally is much bigger, I think there are must be some children who don't like football, like my DS1 never likes football that much. I think it is good to have some general knowledge of football, but it is more important to find people with similar interests and mind.
I think emailing the Head of Year is a good idea. She should be pastorally minded particularly if shes Head of year 7 and this certainly seems like a big enough issue to raise with her.
School's often have pastoral teams and strategies to help children who are struggling to fit in but its difficult for them to refer children if they're not aware of the difficulties.
He'll be exhausted now which will make it all seem worse, it's no better for them that the first term in reception. But yes you need to speak to his form tutor at the start of the be term.
Definitely get in touch with school. They are used to this in year 7 and will have advice for you. It can be a difficult transition. Look on school website to see if it directs you to FT or HOY- this varies from school to school. It's horrible when DC are this upset over social stuff but it is totally normal at this point. Lunchtime clubs are excellent for people who feel ill at ease in form because it gives them something that's still in school but out of that same group. Good luck, I feel for you here.
DS's experience is that he has now found his "niche" - it probably took until the final term of Y7 to feel confident there though.
Yes, that was my experience. I think I've said before on threads of this type, that I think some children start secondary school with unreasonably high expectations of instant friendships. It took me most of my first year to get to grips with new subjects, new routines, new people. I was still meeting people in my year that I hadn't met before in the summer term, and that was only a three form intake. It was the people I met later in the year who became my closest friends through school and afterwards.
I gradually gathered friends on the way through the first year and started the second year with an established friendship group. It was in the second year (yr 8) that my social life really took off. So I'm sure there are others like your DS who just haven't yet met the people they click with.
What are his interests? Are there any local shops or events that he could arrange to go to and meet up with a couple of people? Thinking something like a comic shop, if that's something he's into. There's less need to make conversation if you're walking round looking at things, so he might feel less worried about saying something stupid.
My son was much like this when he started year 7. He thought everyone else was in friendship groups, that he didn't fit in, that no one wanted to hang around with him in break time. It was sad. I am not very proactive to be honest, and had a lot going on with a Dad with dementia who took up a lot of time, so really he was left to deal with it (and I am still not sure what i could have done, expect speak kindly to him and give reassurance, which I did). Well it sorted itself out in due time (he's now in yr 9), he now has a friendship group and usually has a friend over or goes to someone's house at the weekend, and it really is not an issue anymore. I think year 7 is often tough, and maybe a lot of the other boys are struggling and putting on a front.
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