14 YEAR SON OLD LACK OF CONFIDENCE -ADVISE PLEASE?(4 Posts)
My DS in year 9 at a all boys Grammar school, doing well academically, all school reports say a popular sociable pupil amongst his teachers and peers. He has a best friend, both good looking, ok i am biased but he is .He is 6 ft now , slim and dresses trendily, keeps fit and is developing a great physique.The problem this lack of self belief, he says he is not good looking, he has spots, not too bad already using a skin regime. All his friends and girls from another all girls GS are invited to a party next weekend, he says he is the only one not invited because he is not popular. His BF is going, Says there are parties all the time he is never invited.He only invites this one friend round to the house, have asked what other friends he has at school and he says none. I have tried to get him to join the local windsurfing club, but he won't. He likes water sports on holiday, says i don't understand.He is more mature for his age and wants to hang around with his older cousins. All freinds and family comment on what a lovely young man he is turning into, polite and a lovely personality. Spent an hour on his face book last night, has 300 friends on it!He went to bed ranting why am i not popular? Gone to school miserable today. yes our school is not on strike!! Any advice on how to bolster his ego would be welcome.
Your poor, poor DS. I'm so sorry, it must make you miserable to know that he is suffering like this.
A few points spring to mind:
1. His skin - no amount of adherence to a skin care regime/ over the counter products touched my DD's teenage acne. It wasn't too severe - you see much worse - but I'd really recommend that you get him to see your GP. He/she will probably start by prescribing topical treatments containing an antibiotic and/or benzyl peroxide. If these don't clear it, take him back and the GP will offer him a low-level oral antibiotic. If these don't work, take him back and get a different one... And so on - worst case scenario, he could have Roaccutane. Bad skin makes people really miserable and can leave awful, awful scars. In your son's case it could very possibly be contributing to his current situation by causing a lack of confidence which in turn could be impacting on his popularity/ lack of social life. I'd get on to it straight away.
2. If I were on your position, I'd be tempted to try to help him a bit... I wonder if, when the best friend is at your house, you could be chatting and make some off-the-cuff suggestions for something that the pair of them could do this summer (day trip to a theme park/ day trip to the beach/ day trip to London/ BBQ and camping in your garden/ whatever's appropriate for wherever you live and whatever resources you have near you) and then casually suggest it might be fun to make it a four. Fish gently around and ask the pair of them who else they could include in their plans if they wished. If you look mostly at the best friend, maybe he'll suggest someone. Make it seem like it's their idea though, not yours, if you know what I mean. If they do plan a day trip, perhaps it involves an early train, in which case, could they have a sleep-over at your's the night before? Or perhaps they'd be late back, so sleepover at your the night afterwards? Although don't bother with this if it would make your son miserable or embarrassed. You'll have to tread very carefully and judge the subtle clues in the conversation as to whether to encourage something or let it drop immediately.
3. It's a real shame that he won't be persuaded to join the windsurf club. Is there ANY room for manouevre here? Can you not do some homework and find someone/ anyone - a friend of a friend's son - who's a member or wants to join and push them to go together/ make out to your son that he'd be doing the other guy a favour because he doesn't want to go on his own?
4. Six feet! Excellent! In a minute, all those willowy post-puberty-growth-spurt fourteen year olds from the girls' school will realise that they want a lovely tall boyfriend, not some little pipsqueak that comes up to their navel - and he should be in demand! Girls are tall these days - my DD15 is 5'8 and the majority of her friends are around the same height. In the next year or two the whole boyfriend/ girlfriend thing will kick off for his year and his height will be a great asset to him.
5. Take heart that he has a best friend. Some kids can be truly friendless. The teenage years and school in general can be the most hideous of times for some people. He may not really find his true friends until he gets to university, where everyone is, hopefully, starting to become a bit more mature and there is a much bigger number and cross-section of people to choose from.
6. Whatever happens and however things pan out for him, stay close and find nice things to do together. When my DD17 went through a difficult time with her friendship group and found herself friendless for a little time, I pulled out all the stops and kept her company and found nice things for us to do together (see a film/ shopping and lunch/ bake a cake/ paint our nails/ day trip to London to go and see a gallery etc) to keep her from feeling to lonely and unoccupied. Before long she was settled with a new crowd of girls but that time but that time when I made myself her buddy provided a bit of a fill-in between those two situations.
I wish you and him well.
Thanks so much for the ideas, great help. I will tell him when he gets home i will take him to the GP, I promised him a facial tonight to help his spots and he said ok. i have just thought i will try to get his friend and him on a 2 day course at the sailing club just down the road for windsurfing and hopefully he will go, just got him to get the bug for it.Its so hard being a teen i remember it well, but handling a boy seems harder. Thanks again
A young person having space to open up and explore confidence is sometimes quite difficult to find for a young person. There may be issues that need airing and exploring for your son in a confidential space... perhaps a learning mentor, someone he has a trusting relationship with in school or the school or community based counsellor.
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