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15 yo DS miserable at school and texting home

(47 Posts)
Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 10:39:38

My DS is not happy at school. He hasn't got any friends. I talked to school about this last term and they've done things like get 6th formers and teachers to look out for him. I'm not really sure what else they could do. People don't like him and they can't force them to like him.

He's very sporty. There's a group of very sporty boys in his year so you would think he would be part of their group but they don't want him. I'm not sure if it's because they've all known each other for longer and they're parents are all very friendly so they've always seen a lot of each other outside of school. However, my son's been at the school for 5 years now so you'd have thought he'd be a bit more integrated than he is.

Recently he's been selected for some additional training after school as have 4 other boys. I emailed the other parents offering to drive them all from school to the training and received no replies the first week. I emailed them again the next week with the same offer to be told that they've all arranged for one of the other parents to take their children. This is just a typical example of the sort of thing that happens. I don't want to be paranoid but I do feel he's being ostracised.

Apparently there are regular parties but DS is never invited to anything. One parent let slip to me that there was an end of term party for the class which I knew nothing about. I wondered whether DS hadn't told me because he hadn't wanted to go so asked him about it and it was a clear he knew nothing about it.

When it was DS's birthday (back in November) I got 4 tickets for him and 3 friends to see a comedian that they all like. He could only get 1 person to come with him, no one else would come.

Yesterday I took him to the open day for a 6th form at another school (his idea) which he liked very much but it's a really expensive private school that we just can't afford unless he gets a huge scholarship. It would be lovely but I don't want him pinning his hopes on this.

He's very tired today having been out of the house yesterday from 7:30am - 9:15pm at school, the open day and then rugby training. This morning he was nearly in tears, saying he couldn't bear the thought of school. I think he's overtired but also it's really depressing having to go to school to be ignored all day.

He's now texting me from school saying, "I can't fucking do this". I replied saying, "Go the school nurse then. Explain how you're feeling. xx". He's replied, "No".

I don't know what to do about all of this. I never know what to reply. I don't know whether to contact school or is that overreacting? I feel I'm failing him.

He is a quirky character. He finds people hard to read. He doesn't notice when people aren't interested in what he's saying and keeps on talking. He tries to make jokes but can inadvertently offend people in the process. I can see why the other kids don't warm to him but I don't think he's that different. He's very loyal, loves everyone else's jokes and is thoughtful about others so there's plenty to like too.

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 10:43:16

And now another text, "I can't be arsed with school tomorrow"

I hate this texting. I don't know whether he's just letting off steam and feeling better for it or whether I should be leaping into action.

ImperialBlether Thu 15-Sep-16 10:52:40

Don't leap into action on the basis of those texts. It's very sad. I would have thought there'd be more chance of friends if you all play the same sport. Is it a boys' school?

Don't let him pin his hopes on the expensive sixth form - scholarships are really rare and obviously he'd be depressed if he thought he was going and found out he couldn't.

It certainly sounds like a change of school for sixth form would be a good idea - what are your other options?

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 10:52:46

Just found this thread that I started a while ago:

I know I started one when he was 10 as well. It's sad to think how long this has been going on.

Sorry, waffling on now!

AlbusPercival Thu 15-Sep-16 10:53:56

Poor boy, that sounds awful

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 10:57:00

Thanks ImperialBlether. It's a mixed school. Yes, you would have thought being sporty would almost guarantee friends.

I keep telling him not to get excited about the expensive 6th form but he then says, "You don't think I can do it, do you". I've said it's not that but that it's highly unlikely he'll be offered enough to make it feasible. He just says he wants to give it his best shot.

There are other options for 6th form. I think we'll go to all the different schools open evenings. I think he may be happier in a state school so will try encouraging that too.

I'm scared that he's going to feel the same in another school.

bobsleighteam Thu 15-Sep-16 10:57:07

This sounds awful for you and your son. I'm sorry, school years can be horrendous. I don't really have much advice, I'm not sure there is anything else you can do other than be a supportive ear. Does he go to any groups/activities outside of school like cadets for example. To give him an opportunity to make a different set of friends?
Does the school have some kind of buddy system where the older children shadow the new year seven's? Perhaps he could do something like this. Obviously it's not the same as having friends but could stave of the loneliness of lunchtimes if he had a job to do.
I don't have any more advice I'm sorry but flowers it sounds really tough.

NoonarAgain Thu 15-Sep-16 11:11:21

Lindt, this is just a thought, and i am writing as a parent of 2 ddd with very different friendship experiences, one of whom has just moved school as a result (and is now very much happier).

you say that your son is sporty and that you are surprised on some level, that he isn't accepted amore by the sporty kids. is my point , and I'm not going to try to dress it up in a PC way as i haven't the energy and anyway, kids are cruel, so i may as well talk plainly.

in my dd2's old school (massive comp) you had the 'popular' crowd which was seen as cool, intimidating and powerful rather than actually being well liked. then you have the geeky/ nerdy type group and probably other groups as well.

dd was kind of rejected by the popular crowd, but they also gave her a hard time if she hung out with the nerdier (nicer) kids. this led to her feeling that she was in a no mans land, with no 'go to' friendship group.

i think she would've been better off not aspiring to fit in with the cool crowd, and to taken time to get to know the nerdier crowd, who are actually much nicer.

so...what I'm asking is, is there a nerdier crowd that your ds could gravitate towards? they might be more accepting of him. has he really explored all possibilities or is he hankering after being accepted by a certain crowd?

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 11:14:15

bobsleighteam, he's not new to the school. He's in year 11 having joined the school half way through year 5. He does lots of out of school activities - football, hockey, cricket and rugby that includes the boys from school but lots of boys from other schools too.

He's friendly with one of the boys from rugby who goes to another school. This boy is a boarder at another school so not much chance to see him at other times outside of school. They met up twice over the school holidays. I don't think they really have that much in common, it's more that DS likes him because he's nice to him.

At cricket he's the 'posh boy' because everyone else there goes to the local schools. One of the kids is actively nasty to him, threatens him and arranged a day of golf for everyone except DS. One of the other boys added DS's name to the list for the golf day and this boy crossed his name off. This boy is loud and domineering and when he's there everyone joins in with him, when's he's not there they get on ok with DS.

At football and hockey he just goes there, plays and then leaves again. Not much socialising goes on with those for some reason.

School have got 6th formers looking out for him. This works when he's playing for the first team but doesn't work day to day.

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 11:20:13

NoonarAgain I totally understand what you're saying. He is a geek too and would definitely be better off with the nerdier crowd than chasing this 'popular' group. I think trying to join the nerdier crowd would be the best option and have suggested this but he feels he doesn't fit there either.

I've asked if there's anyone else who's out on a limb too and he named 2 or 3 people but said that he wouldn't want to be with them either.

You'd think in a year group of 110 that it wouldn't be this difficult.

treggle Thu 15-Sep-16 11:22:20

Dear lindt - I could have written your post almost word for word about my dd. She sounds exactly the same! I moved her to a big state 6th form this year and she is so much happier. I still don't think she has made any really close friends, although she always says she has made good friends she doesn't really 'get it' so we shall see if she actually gets invited to anything!!

You have my complete sympathy.

Helmetbymidnight Thu 15-Sep-16 11:24:02

This sounds gutting for him - it sounds like he is being ostracized, poor kid.

I would take it very seriously. Definitely look into an alternative sixth form, and I would try and get in there today. He needs a plan, he needs to feel heard, and he needs some support.

flowers for you both.

NoonarAgain Thu 15-Sep-16 11:25:40

Lindt, might it be worth pressing him on why he doesn't want to be with those other 2 or 3? does he have legitimate reasons to dislike them, or are they just not cool enough??

i can see that being a sporty geek might be challenging, in terms of the way horrid school cliques work.

your poor Ds sad

BertrandRussell Thu 15-Sep-16 11:26:52

Do you know the parents of any of the kids going to the after school coaching thing?

treggle Thu 15-Sep-16 11:28:55

Dd only ever wants to hang out with the cool popular kids. It's infuriating especially as some of the less cool girls have been so friendly to her and would be nice friends. The cool popular kids don't really want to know her but she keeps trying, probably at the expense of the nicer girls.

NoonarAgain Thu 15-Sep-16 11:30:45

oh gosh, 100% get him out of there for 6th form! i assumed that was a done deal! agree with helmet, you MUST make plans and find alternative state 6 th forms too that are not based on the scholarship.

my dd has been at new school less than 2 weeks and says its 'spectacular'! Finally feel that she can be herself.

do you want to say where you are in the country so MNers can advise re schools for 6th form?

Tweennightmare Thu 15-Sep-16 11:38:22

I absolutely agree with Helmet to be honest this late in the day year 11 . I would be totally focused on getting my DS to just concentrate on his exams and also to get him to start planning his next step, Realising there is light at the end of the tunnel will get him through this . Let him strive for this scholarship there is nothing wrong with aiming high just make sure you have a good back up plan . I think looking around the sixth forms and seeing other options will help him . I had a DD like your DS who just failed to make friendships at a particular school she was younger than your DD year 8 and we moved her but what got her through was realising there was an end date to her misery . For the record she loves her new school

toffeenose Thu 15-Sep-16 11:47:37

I can really sympathise. On the positive side, your DS feels close enough to you to share these feelings which is great.

I would emphasise how many people don't really find 'their people' until a later stage in life, maybe at university or beyond.

I read your previous thread about this same issue and you say that he is negative about others and perhaps even scathing. When I have experienced this with teens I find it is usually a form of projection. The lower their esteem, the more scathing they are of other 'losers'. Same with the negativity. I imagine this is damage from earlier bullying.

Can you broach this with him? I had to, in the end, with our teenager. Or perhaps he would be open to therapy (he has to want to though). Remind him that even small changes he makes within himself will bring about change. For example, he can go a whole day listening to his output and filtering out any negativity. Try not to blame others but emphasise that logically, if you say negative things to one person they will assume you do the same about them. Banter between boys is often extreme, but it depends on the level of trust in the friendship.

You could perhaps explain, as I did, that these boys are not getting to know the real, lovable, loyal, clever sincere person he is, because these behavioural 'tics' are constituting a wall. You have to give of yourself to build the foundations of a friendship.

I have no psychology training whatsoever, but I have brought up a teen who was vulnerable and lonely and took a long, long time to make friends.

The other mothers sounds horrible. Incredibly rude to ignore your email and make their own arrangements excluding you so bluntly.

These things get better the further you get along the education path as maturity increases.

Good luck

Waitingfordolly Thu 15-Sep-16 11:47:51

I've had similar issues with my DD although she's a bit younger, year 8. Including the texts from school. It's horrible. I've gone through the same thing around surely there are some people she could be friends with but there's always a reason why not. Her original group ostracised her and then was horrible to her if she joined others.

I took her out to home educate her in the end as there were no other school options, but I will need to find somewhere else for sixth form eventually. It's difficult to know whether the problem will move with him but if things are so bad where he is, could it be worse anywhere else and at least there is the chance of it getting better.

Sometimes I think it's just a matter of surviving these years as I think my DD will be a good adult! But that seems such a waste. I also tell her so many of us had crap secondary school years but have turned into adults with friends!

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 11:50:38

AlbusPercival - yes, it's horrible.

treggle - that's really encouraging to hear. I hope your DD makes some really good friends.

Helmetbymidnight - thanks. He's got to see out this school year as can't move mid-GCSEs but yes, I think a different school for 6th form is a must. Such a shame as everything else about the school is spot on for him.

BertrandRussell - yes, I know all the other parents and have done for years. They are very close knit. They're also very competitive and pushy about their kids. One of the parents is an ex England rugby player and so they all want to be friends with them (both parents and kids). Funnily enough, he and his wife are probably the nicest parents but their son is not so nice - DS very wary of him and doesn't want to get closer to him. Also, those parents would never drive other people's kids around, everyone drives their kid around!

treggle - it's infuriating isn't it. DS doesn't really like these boys but can't understand what it is about him that they don't like. He doesn't really fit with the nerdier ones either but at least they would be nice to him and he'd have more to talk about with them.

NoonarAgain - yes, I'll have to move him. I moved him in year 5 for similar reasons but he was being actively bullied then. He's been ok at this school but never found a friendship group. I'm so worried about moving him for 6th form and it all happening again.

I'm not sure I want to say where I am. I know one of the mums at school is on MN. She may have already recognised me!

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 12:03:25

Tweennightmare - glad your DD's happier now and that you acted quickly. Wish I'd admitted defeat earlier.

toffeenose - he's a bit more positive now but the negativity's still there and is a problem. I think he's always trying to test the water to find out whether other people felt the same way.

I've offered to book some counselling as 2 friends' children have gone to the same counsellor who's been great. He was surprised that other people have been for help but found it encouraging. However, he won't go because I took him to see someone when he was in year 5 - only one session but he hated it.

He's put up a quite a wall around him and can appear quite scowly towards others. However, he can also be quite smiley and enthusiastic. I watch him trying to high five the others and them reluctantly joining in.

It's actually the fathers ignoring my messages. They're very invested in their sons' rugby so they're usually the ones doing all the driving.

Waitingfordolly - sorry you've gone through / going through it too. I kept DS at home for 6 weeks in year 5 before moving him to this school. It was nice but he really wanted to be at a school.

I think my DS will be much happier as an adult! I don't think he'd enjoy parties even if he was invited to them but it would be nice to have the choice! I was similar really but I had a nice group of geek-ish friends who I could count on. I remember the girls who went to lots of parties and clubs etc. One time I went with them and it was awful! My mum knew if she let me go once I wouldn't want to go again.

NoonarAgain Thu 15-Sep-16 12:11:09

lindt, i mean this gently...have you ever suggested to your ds that he is judging those 2-3 potential friends unkindly, in much the same way that others are judging him? do you know the children in question? are they that bad?? could ds be encouraged to meet them out of school to try to get to know them a bit better without an audience of cool kids?

have you spoken to him about having the mindset of seeing light at the end of the tunnel? its just that if you told him not to get his hopes up re 6th form., does he think he might have to stay on at the same school?

NoonarAgain Thu 15-Sep-16 12:11:50

i meant MAY be judging them unkindly, sorry.

Lindt70Percent Thu 15-Sep-16 12:23:25

NoonarAgain - Yes, I have suggested he may be judging them unkindly. However, I don't want to be unkind about them too, but I do know what he means. These 2 or 3 are very different. For example, one of them only talks about buses as he has an obsession with them - photographs them and collects their numbers etc. It really is his only topic of conversation. I also think these kids seem happy on their own but even if they weren't he hasn't got anything in common with them.

Yes, we've talked about the light at the end of the tunnel. He can see that really he's only got a few months to go now. He knows we'd rather he stayed for 6th form (really because logistically it's easier as DD is at the same school) but that we will look at as many schools as we can and will support him if he wants to move.

NoonarAgain Thu 15-Sep-16 12:26:49

ok lindt, i see what you mean smile re the friends.

i have to say, i don't know why you would make him feel that you would prefer him to stay put, when he is so unhappy. surely logistics come way after happiness! not trying to be harsh, as you clearly care deeply smile i just wouldn't be giving him that message at all, personally, when he's endured this for so long already.

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