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Bad first day at secondary school - advice please!(30 Posts)
DS just came in crying, saying that nobody talked to him (he knows quite a few other kids but they seemed to have formed cliques), his friends from primary ignored him and that everyone seems much bigger and more mature than him (he is short for his age).
He is a very sweet and kind hearted boy and it breaks my heart to see him like this. He is normally quite resilient and was really looking forward to starting secondary and was so excited. How can I reassure him? I have told him that everyone is nervous on their first day and that people can be cliquey because they want to feel safe but he is so down.
Tell him other people will be alone too. Look out for them tomorrow and talk to them.
People are doing 'safety in numbers' or 'stick to the friends you know' but actually by being forced to meet new people he might make some great new friends.
If you have email address for his tutor drop them a quick line.
Hi, aw your poor lad, it sounds like a bit of a tough start for him. I'm sorry, I don't have much advice to offer really. I just wanted to say that you're obviously being supportive and listening to him, and it's great that he talks to you, so he won't feel like he's dealing with this alone.
It's early yet, but there will be clubs he can join, and his primary school mates will probably change their tune, and at least be civil to him. Did they fall out or anything over the summer?
I'd say give it a couple of weeks to see how things go, as it's only been one day! All the best x
Email his form tutor, they might be able to buddy him up. Is he in a year group for or vertical tutoring? That can make a difference.
Definitely look for someone else who's on their own and talk to them.
I seriously wouldn't email his tutor - it's week one!
Same here OP except that ds was crying all eve yesterday and over the weekend from nerves, and has come home saying he has had a good day but still really anxious and tearful. I have told him that he must just persevere and soon it will be second nature. He's not good with change and the unknown tbh. What a shame for your poor ds, I'm sure he'll make some friends very soon even if it doesn't feel like it ATM. Just reassurance is all you can do I think....
Hi, I'm a secondary school teacher. This is totally normal. Poor little lad just needs to make some new friends but it can be difficult in the first few months. I would call his form tutor and let them know how he is feeling. They don't need to get too involved but sometimes having a teacher looking out for them in the first few weeks can be really helpful and make him feel more secure. Also just remind him, all those big kids were little years 7's like him once. Perhaps get a copy of the extra curriculum timetable and persuade him to check out some clubs, he may make some like minded friends this way. By Xmas he will be settled and have a new circle of friends xx
He's convinced they are all a head taller than him and that they all know each other. He is a really nice kid and always tries to be kind and is the kind of kid who would normally speak to other kids on their own but he said nobody really talked back. I did explain to him that they are probably feeling incredibly shy and nervous too but he is so deflated. I wish I hadn't let him get so excited. His primary school was pretty small and they were all really close so I think it is a bit of a shock to him. He said "I can't believe I have another 7 years of each day being like this" which is obviously horrible to hear.
I had the same problem on my first day at secondary school. I did feel a bit upset but i did eventually make some new friends.
As a secondary school teacher I wouldn't mind a quick email about that, better to try and get it sorted quicker before he gets even more worried
I have my DS starting tomorrow and I've tried to manage expectations re the friends thing and told him to be friendly and nice but also to just hold back a tiny little bit to suss out who is who. I've also explained that others will be feeling shy and nervous and yes, there'll be one word answers and it may appear cliquey.
I'm quite worried though (not that I've shown this to him) and I feel for you and your son. I wouldn't hesitate to drop the tutor an email. I know it's week 1 and we are supposed to just let them crack on alone but I don't subscribe to that point of view - there is no harm in just giving the teacher a heads up as to how he's feeling and ask if there's anything they can do to help him.
When my DD started secondary - she had sane experience- said everyone had friends - she had no one and never would. A week in she was more positive although it probably took a term for her to feel totally at home and have what she called friends. I second the idea of joining a club or a team - a shared interest really helps.
This breaks my heart 😭 poor lad. It will get better for him. I remember my first day and had no one even my friends from primary school seemed to have forgot who I was and I ended up tagging along at the back of my cousin who was 2 years older after a few weeks, eventually I made lots of new friends and ended up being in the "popular"group. It's so hard for them this day and age. Just keep reassuring him that's it's day 1 and it will get better. I think if it doesn't maybe after a few weeks email his tutor and have a word.
If it helps, my DD was the only one from her primary who went to her secondary. She spotted a girl who was also an "only" in her form, teamed up and they are still best friends at age 20!
I wouldn't panic, but encourage him to talk to anyone and everyone, especially those who look like they too might be feeling alone. He really, really won't be the only one.
Second the idea of getting him to do lunchtime and after school clubs. He will make friends there, and will also mean he doesn't view the lunchtimes as one long period spent by himself.
It really is early days.
I hope he has a better day today Minky!
Cherry - Thanks for asking. Much better and he made some friends!
So pleased! Mine started today and I was nervous for him but he seemed happy enough when he came home. Glad he's had a better day - it's definitely something to build on for him
Good to read OP. Your boy sounds lovely.
You’ve just described my son. My DS is short and he feels like he doesn’t fit in. He is a lovely boy (though, I would say that) but extremely shy.
Day 2, and still not made any friends. He was the only boy from his primary school so he doesn’t know anyone either. I’ve tried giving him lots of encouragement and lots of tips on talking to people but he tells me that the kids are not allowed to chat during lessons and everyone just disappears quickly after lessons. I just don’t know what else I can say.
The thought of him having lunch and breaks on his own is heartbreaking.
You're not alone. Day 2 here and last night he cried all evening, saying he wanted to change forms. His friends from primary school have all been put in the same form and he's on his own, with the class bully from Y6 in his form. I told the Y7 co-ordinator and she is keeping an eye on him. He desperately wants to change forms but I don't want to ask for that as I think he needs to learn how to make new friends.
Last night was heartbreaking. Then this morning I dropped him at the bus stop and another Y7 boy was there- turns out he lives in our street and is also on his own so he may have a buddy for the bus journeys at least.
Glad your DS has made a friend. I had the same problem as a kid - got sent to a different secondary on my own, had no friends and wasn’t good at making them. For half a decade I went to that school every day and was alone. Eating lunch alone. Standing in the yard at break alone. And after a while, getting picked on because I was alone. It was literally hell and had lifelong negative effects. My parents did nothing. If anyone’s kid is in this situation I strongly suggest contacting the school and getting them to move your child into a different class and buddy them up with someone.
I know it is difficult not to feel defensive of your dc, but the other kids are sticking with familiar faces because they too are new and unsure - even if they hide it. It doesn’t mean they have formed ‘cliques’ to the exclusion of all others. It’s their first day too!
I hope it improves for your son
Can I just say I was very tall for my age at 11. Tall people feel just as difficult as shorter people. Also you worry about getting even taller! You are always noticed by teachers as you stick out in a crowd. I would much rather have been small than tall! Fortunately others caught up and it was less of a problem. Your DS will find his niche.
Really glad he's made some friends. It's such a big transition for them. Mine's going through it as well, although he seems to be OK so far - walks to school with two good friends from primary and that helps a lot.
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