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When you can never be part of the 'elect'

(62 Posts)
abraid Mon 22-Jun-09 17:05:40

I used to think that the queen bee syndrome was, as the name suggests, a girl 'thing'. But my son, just finishing year 7, has been struggling on the fringes of a group of very sporty boys who are all very talented. My son is OK but not as good as the others. They seem to tolerate him at breaks, and one of them is a good mate. One seems to have nothing but disdain for him and another blows hot and cold.

He's just handed out some party invitations and the latter of these boys (the most talented and worshipped of them all) said 'Oh God!' when he thought my son wasn't listening. I have gently suggested that it might be better to concentrate more on the other boys in his year (it's an all-boys' school), many of whom he gets on well with and who would, I think, have more in common with my son.

But he's adamant that this group is where he wants to be. I'm praying they all get split up again next year when they move class. It just seems he's setting himself up for disappointment.

Has anyone any advice on how to deal with this? It may be there's nothing I can do: he's probably old enough to make his own choices. I do encourage him to invite the non-sports gods round in the holidays and they invite him back, but he still seems to gravitate towards this group.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 17:07:07

Do you mean élite?

abraid Mon 22-Jun-09 17:08:57

No I meant The Elect, like Calvinists who believe that they are preordained and chosen for good things while the rest of us are not so blessed. But elite would probably cover it, too.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 17:12:05

Let your DS be ambitious and want to be part of the in-crowd. There really is no harm in it - in fact, it is to be encouraged, really. If he is attracted by people who (to your eyes) are more talented than he, that is because he wants to get on in life and finds those people interesting. Let him try in peace. He may make it - he may not. But let him succeed or fail on his own - it will be a very useful life lesson for him.

TheProvincialLady Mon 22-Jun-09 17:15:18

I think he has to work this out for himself TBH.

abraid Mon 22-Jun-09 17:16:50

Thanks, Anna. Perhaps I should just sit back. He is probably old enough to make his own mistakes.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 17:23:37

Sit back, but keep an eye on things, and if you can lend your DS a discreet helping hand (and that can be something seemingly very basic, like the right clothing, a haircut, a trip to the cinema) encourage him. Always reward an ambitious child.

abraid Mon 22-Jun-09 17:30:18

Merci, A!

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 17:39:34

Bonne chance!

scaryteacher Mon 22-Jun-09 17:52:34

Be there to pick up the pieces if it all goes pear shaped, and help your son to find out where else his talents lie - the sporty ones can be foul arrogant horrors ime.

Have to disagree with Anna - some ambitious children tread on others and it is not nice and certainly nothing worthy of reward.

I would encourage your son to be an individual and make other friends. As to the 'right' clothes; what lesson does that send out? By year 8 they should be accepting people for who they are, rather than being part of the elect (many of whom fall flat on their faces at GCSE) or selecting friends by the 'right' clothing.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 17:53:36

Chip on your shoulder, scaryteacher wink

abraid Mon 22-Jun-09 18:14:43

They all have to wear uniform (which is a bit of a blessing). This crowd certainly isn't the more academic one: actually my son does better than them in the classroom. But they are the ones who are in every single First team for sport, etc. That seems to be what the boys value.

pointydog Mon 22-Jun-09 18:21:37

ONly talented in sport then, not in academic achievement.

Gently encourage your son to go in a different direction while allowing him to do as he wants.

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 18:22:48

Not necessarily. Sporting prowess can be a good indicator of success in later life... Academics aren't everything.

pointydog Mon 22-Jun-09 18:23:08

It is not just boys who value sport above academic achievement. Unfortunately most young people - and older people - are happy to celebrate sport but slightly embarrassed to celebrate brains. Teachers can also be guilty of this.

abraid Mon 22-Jun-09 18:24:28

No--the two sports supremos aren't particularly hot academically, pointydog. Nor do they do any music, which my son does. There are lots of other really lovely boys in the year and he is friends with them, too, but this little group seems to be where he wants to be.

juuule Mon 22-Jun-09 18:25:50

I agree with scaryteacher.
Just imagine if this was a gang. Would people be so quick to encourage him to ape their style to fit in?

Scaryteacher's advice "I would encourage your son to be an individual and make other friends." much more sensible.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Mon 22-Jun-09 18:25:53

I agree with everything Scaryteacher said. What is it with queen bees and sports gods? They're a pretty unappealing bunch quite frankly and best avoided.

However, at this age you cant really direct your childrens friendships and they do have to learn from mistakes.

It sounds as though he could do with some self-confidence - so that he can feel comfortable in himslef and not 'need' to be with this group. But I'm not quite sure how to do that. Does he have any other interests or talents especially outside school?

GrungeBlobPrimpants Mon 22-Jun-09 18:28:07

Oh music. Is he in a band? Or orchestra, something like that? That's an area to encourage

BonsoirAnna Mon 22-Jun-09 18:28:52

"Just imagine if this was a gang."

It is a gang of sorts. That is the nature of the teenage years - tribal behaviour. It is very wrong to want to push a teenager into adult-style individualism at this stage. Teenage years are for identifying with a peer group and being part of a crowd. Only if this stage of development is navigated successfully can a teenager emerge as a fully-rounded individual, autonomous adult later on.

I get very angry with posters who think their teenagers should behave like adults.

abraid Mon 22-Jun-09 18:29:21

He does most of his activities at school (they have long days) but was showing interesting in joining his sister's athletics club so he could do cross-country, which he does quite well at. In the past he has done scouts and football club outside school.

ahundredtimes Mon 22-Jun-09 18:33:50

it's quite painful isn't it? I'd do what Pointy suggests too. I think he has to work it out for himself, but not harm in some gentle nudging from you.

The sporting gods do appear v. attractive, they're the alphas, especially to those with a hope of a look-in. .

I tend to think that the alpha set don't always bear up to their promise, and the beta set are the ones that come through trumps. But I have a lot vested in this belief wink

juuule Mon 22-Jun-09 18:33:52

Well, yes, I suppose it is a 'gang'. I was thinking more of the knife-wielding kind.
I don't think there is anything wrong at all about encouraging someone, whatever age, to consider themselves an individual and that it's not the end of the world if the 'in-crowd' don't embrace you.

While I wouldn't expect teens to always act in an adult manner, I don't think it does any harm to encourage a more mature outlook. Feeding a teens obsessions or misguided views isn't helping them to mature imo.

gagarin Mon 22-Jun-09 18:47:39

AFAIK "party invitations" in Yr 7 are not the done thing ...more like nonchalantly drop paint balling/trip to a film into conversation or arrange it via MySpace or Facebook. So maybe these boys socialise in a different way to your son.

Not all the dcs can be "cool" or (thank goodness!) want to be cool. The summer is nearly here and the long holiday is always a good time to drop some friends and work on cultivating others.

These boys are probably not destined to be his friends but there will be others there for him.

Just hang on to the end of term and use the summer to good effect.

Hope the party/"gathering" goes well!

pointydog Mon 22-Jun-09 18:48:53

It is farily common for the sporty alpha set to fail to excel once out of school.

No one is trying to push anyone into anything. A teenager must make his own choices. However, this sound slike a fairly unpleasant group. I would never encourage my child to ingratiate himself with a group who show him nothing but disdain.

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