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Ds's note, how do I help?(42 Posts)
Ds wrote a note
"My brother is annoying. I feel like smashing something, like a glass or the TV. I'm worried about homework, although mum says I don't have to. I'm really not looking forward to my birthday cos I have no friends to invite. The people who I want to invite can go jump off a bridge for all I care. They are complete idiots and I'm going to ask mum if I can have a party by myself'
It seems to me that Ds really wants to have friends, but just cannot manage it and this makes him very angry with himself (his brother also bears the brunt of it)
We have tried clubs, play dates etc but Ds really cannot tolerate being around others for longer than about 5 minutes.
Ds does attend an after school club once a week. But others tend to not like being around Ds either and he is often 'picked on'. Yesterday for example in after school club he was bitten.
General others seem to take a dislike to Ds in and out of school. Even at the park other children tell him to go away etc.
Where do I start on helping Ds socially?
I don't have advice as such but feel I'd like to offer
Firstly, I'd be proud of your ds for being able to communicate his feelings. I'm not sure how to tackle it but someone will be over soon with handfuls of good advice for you.
My ds is similar, he wants friends, occasionally invites them round, has the odd sleepover - but then spends the whole time they're here in tears! He'd just rather be by himself during school work and playtimes etc. Doesn't really play out much and definitely not with other children at parks etc. It's awful, I'd love to help ds and his 2 sisters socially but I'm just not sure how to. I don't have 'friends' over now as it's just too stressful for them.
Thank you frazzled.
Even during supervised play dates, he will stay for 5 minutes, then go upstairs and want to be alone. In school he refuses to sit with others at lunch time etc. so just increasing social interaction isn't the answer for Ds. I'm not sure what is the answer either!
I think it would be easier if Ds didn't want to have friends. Social interaction is always so unsuccessful for him and often results in others being mean or even hitting him.
I'm not even sure why others find him so annoying (apart from him not being able to manage being around them for long periods) He is extremely passive, polite, well mannered and actually quite caring and kind to others when he does interact.
For my ds what's helped has been to step back from the actual social stuff and work on background skills like addressing his negativity and pessimism, encouraging interests that are 'cool', developing his sense of humour and also helping him be happy in himself.
And whilst it's lovely your ds is such a kind gentle boy, sadly that's not necessarily appealing to a lot of other kids. Do you think he needs help choosing who would be a good friend for him? You might remember but my ds has been very aggressive and challenging in different ways, but now when he's with a child like your ds he does really well, his now closest friend is a very anxious fragile boy but somehow it works, I don't think the friend (or his parents) would have foreseen this but they are really good for each other.
People assumed ds2 did not want friends because he had some pretty ant-social behaviour or withdrew. In actual fact he was desperate for friends but simply did not know how to deal with problems & took the slightest rejection completely to heart. He is slowly, slowly, slowly building up relationships at his new school (well not so new now as he has been there a year) helped by staff and the small class sizes.
I saw a cartoon once that explained well how social complexities exponentially increase as group size increases. ds1's EBD primary also recognised that the first step to building up relationships is to succeed in a 1:1 interaction. Until a child can do that they are never going to be able to cope in a group. Start, therefore, with one other child & adult support to intervene rapidly when things start to go wrong. We eventually learnt that the smaller the birthday party the more enjoyable the ds's found them.
Thanks polter, I think you are right that is exactly what I need to do.
I think You are exactly right about ds's passive, kind demeanour not being appealing to other children and probably actually the cause of why he is 'picked on'. It is probably the cause of his contempt for others too.
I have been working on eye contact, body language and assertiveness with Ds.
I have tried helping him choose friends and worked on what makes a good/bad friend. Either Ds finds them 'annoying' or they jump on the being friends with Ds is 'uncool' bandwagon. I think I need to step back even further and work on skills.
Yes I remember (still smiling at your ds's math video!) I think you are right, work on ds's skills, before we attempt friends again
Thanks oneineight, I have tried 1:1 supervised, adult led play dates. Ds can literally last about 5 minutes before he will just get up and leave.
Nothing actually goes 'wrong' iyswim. Ds has just had enough and wants to go to his room.
I forgot you'd seen ds's maths video
You would not believe the progress he's made, secondary has been amazing for him, still lots to work on but there always will be, but such a difference, he's come a long way.
I'm also realising more and more that for some stuff, particularly around social and emotional stuff, no matter how much we try to help develop those skills they won't really happen until our kids are ready and at the right developmental stage for them to emerge.
It's unforgettable! Made me laugh so much! It was like he verbalised what every other kid who had a difficulty with a math problem was thinking!
I think you are probably right again! Bit like ds's eating, it all suddenly clicked for him.
I just want results fast. It's horrible to watch him being called 'gay', 'retard' other names and hit, excluded etc. it's been going on since he started school.
School are very good at dealing with incidents. But as quick as they deal with one incident, another happens.
It's like a vicious circle.
I think you should shift the focus totally away from "acquiring friends" and more towards being happy.
It is fine to have no friends AT ALL. It really is.
Out of interest what does your ds really find appealing in friendship?
I think what I like is the stimulation of sharing ideas with other people. I like the feeling of being liked.
I don't particularly care how many friends I have and this worries me about how we talk and think about our children's social lives. As though that Facebook style friendship of "I've got 50000 friends on my list" and "look at me with my wacky group having a time" has seeped into normal life.
I think it can be particularly hard for primary school children who are bright and out of step with their age group. I certainly found friendship easier and more real as I got older. I also became more picky and was choosing from a larger pool of people. I had a group of possibly 7 friends at University. There were literally thousands, and yet I found many f the others quite tedious.
Anyway I am waffling. I would forget finding friends and concentrate on building self esteem, happiness, and confidence. When he has those he will naturally become kinder, more considerate and more compassionate....then people will come.
It's horrible to watch him being called 'gay', 'retard' other names and hit, excluded etc. it's been going on since he started school
Just read this!
School ARE NOT dealing with this if it is happening repeatedly. It is "hate speak" and should be logged and eradicated from school. Poor boy.
sorry weird correction there speak = speech obviously.
I wonder if talking to someone outwith the school might help? Police? LA? Disability charity?
I agree Z, although having no friends seems to be one of main causes of ds's unhappiness or more maybe Ds wanting to be like others is the main cause and having no confidence in himself.
Ds has very low exceptions, 'someone who isn't mean or hits him' is what Ds finds appealing.
School have permanently excluded one boy, parents have been told, detentions etc, etc for others.
It just seems every child in the school makes a beeline for ds
None of my children would be mean or hit him.
School sounds rough. Are their options to move him?
What about adult friends?
It has happened in ds's two previous schools, this is his 3rd and by far the best school to date.
It also happens out of school too, at the park for example. There seems to be something about Ds that brings out the worst in other children.
Ds gets on with adults extremely well
Well what about just finding lots of adult friends? He wants friendships, so it might fill that void till
the rest of the children grow up enough to accept difference as non threatening he can cope with peer level friendships.
I agree with you about being singled out. Its the weakest member of the herd effect. It happens to mine too, but he has an army of siblings to support him
and he is always supervised by me/TA
That said there ARE lots of nice children. I think it helps to know that. You've had a rough ride but be hopeful that you/he will find people who appreciate you as you are.
Bit like ds's eating, it all suddenly clicked for him.
Sorry I can't help with the other stuff - DS1 doesn't really like a lot of people and is happy not to share in the company of anyone he doesn't 100% approve of. This is excellent, though!
I'm not sure how to go about getting adult friends for Ds?
I think all he really wants is to be accepted by his peers.
Ouryve i would be happy for Ds not to interact, if that's what he wanted. It seems he does want to interact and his failed attempts are what make him unhappy.
Thank you for your replies, I think some good points have been made and I will worry less about 'friends' and work on developing ds's skills
Z with regard to the bullying, Ds came home today, telling me a boy had tried to throw a stone in his face. Ds put his arm up and it hit his arm instead. The boy was also swearing at everyone and very angry. Ds reported this to a teacher.
Yesterday he came home with teeth marks on his hand, after being bitten. A teacher saw this and stopped the boy from biting.
Last week it was a girl pinching, arm bending and saying 'I don't like you' on 3 separate occasions. Ds reported this to a teacher.
Each time Ds reports to me, I email school, so I have a record. I looked back over my emails today. In the last 6 months there have been about 30 incidents reported by me. Ranging from being called a dickhead, gay, retard and told to go away, threats and swearing. To being pinched, grabbed, thrown on the floor, kicked, strangled with his tie, made to hit himself with his own hand, bag thrown on the floor, scissors thrown at his face, being sat on and having his face rubbed in mud.
When I report to school, the incident is dealt with, that child stops and another one starts. As I said one boy was permanently excluded and other sanctions are used too.
School seem to regard bullying as unresolved incidents.
School are in agreement that Ds is involved in above average incidents and they are working with Ds on being more assertive etc as I am at home.
Not sure what else I can do.
Ds doesn't need to be more assertive to avoid bullying !!!! . HE shouldn't need to do anything not to be bitten, pinched, thrown on the floor, strangled or verbally abused.
I have 5 children, my eldest is nearly 15, they all started nursery at 3 soooooo roughly 35 school years between them. In that time we have had a VERY few bits of bother, there was a child who pushed my nt Ds in a stream, a child who stepped on dd3s foot on purpose, and there has been one boy who kept pushing Ds in the playground......THAT'S IT. Two of my children have additional needs, one couldn't speak in school till a few years ago, and one is severely language disordered and autistic (constant care).
I'm at a loss as what to say. How is it possible that this is allowed to go on?
I agree zzz .... all that abusive behaviour towards your ds claw is absolutely horrendous and incomprehensible that school are allowing it to continue! Can you go to the board of governors? Local Authority? Police if none of those help.
That really is very worrying targeted and persistent bullying. It suggests a serious problem at the school
Z it's been going on literally since Ds started school at 5. The assertiveness bit I meant as Ds will let everyone do and say whatever they like to him, without telling a teacher or even moving away from them.
If he was to speak up, or even run away they might think twice about bullying him.
His last 2 schools were far worse. They denied any bullying took place and didn't do a thing about it.
This school is trying and at least deal with incidents are willing to communicate with me etc.
I wrote again yesterday and asked for more support, as this seems the only solution. Not necessarily for Ds, as he isn't the one hitting others.
School have just replied stating
There are a number of unstructured times during the day and staff cannot be everywhere, staff deal with incidents as they occur.
Unfortunately many boys and girls are sometimes subjected to these situations and if it's any consolation Ds is coping well with these situations and reports to staff.
They don't think that Ds is subjected to a higher level of incidents than anyone else!
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