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Can anyone help me help DS to make friends?

(13 Posts)
TitsalinaBumSquash Sat 14-Sep-19 11:20:12

My 15 ye old DS has spent most his life in hospital, he's missed out on a huge portion of social bits and pieces and is also quite immature for his age due to some developmental delay. He's a sociable boy though, keen to please and get involved but he really seems to be struggling, I think it's because he's not 'cool' he's quite excitable and boisterous at an age where his peers are calm, cooler and into girls and music and dating.

He's always denied any issues and always says he has locals of friends at school (mainstream secondary on a reduced timetable)
Other family meme gets children at the school have said this simply isn't true (not in an unkind way) and said DS is always found with his brother (my DS2) and his friends.

I have tried getting him involved in scouts but although he joined in and was keen he never really formed any friendships to take outside the group.

I'm not sure what to do, I can't make him make friends at school and I can't make the other kids spend time with him.

It's come to a head today as it's DS's Birthday, he had arranged for a friend who lives near by to have a sleepover and has spent an age planning it. This friend is a couple of years older, he is a fair weather friend and has form for dropping out of things last minute (citing parents ruling) and will often only be around if there's something in it for him.
DS is devastated as friend has text to say he's no longer coming. He only has 2 other boys from school on his phonebook and called both of them, they both said thanks for the offer but they're busy and wished him a happy birthday. (Understandable last minute)

DS is obviously really embarrassed as well as being gutted.
I have tried to gently speak to him before about trying to make some new and different friends and it's either fallen on deaf ears or he's tried and it's nots come to anything, he won't say which.
There's no youth clubs here and I did look at social groups for children and teens with extra needs but all the ones locally DS doesn't feel he fits in because his extra needs aren't apparent on first sight and he's NT, the groups locally are for children with severe SN.

Does anyone have any bright ideas that I could use to gently try and foster friendships and support him in creating a solid social circle..

I hope my post hasn't offended anyone, I never know how to accurately address these things.

OP’s posts: |
fatzak Sat 14-Sep-19 11:35:40

I have exactly the same with my DS. He's 16 and just like yours missed a lot of school due to ill health - in fact he repeated a year so has just started Year 11 - and struggles socially. He just doesn't have any friends who he sees out of school and it saddens me so much. He goes St Johns Ambulance cadets but the others there are much younger than him and he volunteers in a local charity shop, but apart from that he doesn't do anything unless it's with me or DH. Like you, I've looked at SEN groups but there's nothing suitably locally. He doesn't even game online which would at least be some interaction! Sounds like they are very similar - don't suppose you live in Yorkshire do you!!!

sleepismysuperpower1 Sat 14-Sep-19 11:35:51

could you see if you have a woodcraft folk group near you? they are like scouts but more informal, and they spend a lot of time outdoors. when my ds first joined they really made sure he was included and he has made great friends within the group. they also run camps away from home (residential). all the best x

TitsalinaBumSquash Sat 14-Sep-19 11:46:59

@fatzak - I'm no where near you sorry, it's so hard for kids like ours who fall into a middle group where there is no provision.
I have just emailed the St John's Ambulance to see if they have a local group.

I will have a look at woodcraft too thank you @sleepismysuperpower1 it's heartbreaking to watch and so difficult to talk about because the embarrassment for him.

OP’s posts: |
Fuzzyend Sat 14-Sep-19 11:48:30

I feel for you OP - it's heartbreaking when you think that your dc is lonely or missing out on friendship.

No answers, but I would say that in my own experience and from what I've read on MN, it's really common for teenage boys to have very little social life outside of organised activities. Lots of them seem to be able to do stuff (eg scouts) with or alongside others, but haven't cracked just hanging out (or have no interest in it).

bionicnemonic Sat 14-Sep-19 11:50:44

Drama group? Independent type (not stagecoach) tend to attract the gentle arty types

NorthEndGal Sat 14-Sep-19 12:02:55

First of all, make sure you make it clear this is nothing to be embarrassed about, or ashamed of. Tonnes of people have few or no friends, all for various reasons. He needs to understand he is actually super normal that way.

Second, go on Facebook groups, to Meetups, there are so many different groups and each is listed with a brief explanation of what they do, you can see where and when the next meet is planned and see how it goes.

There are groups for those who are just looking to make friends, those that have shared hobbies like cooking,sci fi, biking or camping for example. There are also ones based on common interests, or similar backgrounds.

Find out what he would want to be doing with a friend, and look for groups that align that way. It's great to meet new people without having the pressure of having to find them all your self, and if you aren't enjoying it, you can always try another one

It can be so painful to see them hurting, but the way forward is to show them how to meet new people, rather than brooding over the ones they dont hang with any more.

JustDanceAddict Sun 15-Sep-19 09:59:54

Sorry to hear this. I have a 15 yr old DS and friendship things are hard to navigate at the best of times.
DS has found friends at school who have the same interests as him which has massively widened his social circle. His interests are sociable ones which is good.
What about a sport? Doesn’t have to be football (DS never really been massively into football).
Hope he finds some friends soon - could he change setting for sixth form so he’s in a new group of people?

lifecouldbeadream Fri 20-Sep-19 13:22:10

What clubs do the school offer- if he has a particular interest, do the school have a club he could join- or start one?

mcmen05 Fri 20-Sep-19 13:28:27

Is he into any sport or swimming or a drama group can be great for confidence building.

Hope he had a nice birthday. Does he get invited to parties.

TitsalinaBumSquash Sat 21-Sep-19 14:57:01

He doesn't get invited to parties and never really has tbh sad

OP’s posts: |
TitsalinaBumSquash Sat 21-Sep-19 14:59:25

Sorry pressed post too early!

There's isn't a huge amount of clubs after school, he isn't a sporty boy anymore. He used to be but all age grouping means he's with huge, strong 15 he olds with facial hair and muscles, he's terrified of them.
He loves to swim and go to the cinema but does all of the above with his brother.
He's about to start a second course of hormone therapy to see if it will give him a boost along the journey as it were.

OP’s posts: |
AmaryllisNightAndDay Sat 21-Sep-19 16:58:49

Is there a Duke of Edinburgh group in the area? DofE gives a more structured way of socialising and doing some activities, like a bit of volunteering, physical activity, and creativity, without being too demanding and your DS should be able to choose activities that suit him. My DS who loves company but also has social issues due to an ASC and had difficulties with friendships during his mid teens benefitted a lot from a DofE group that his school ran.

Also is your DS going to some kind of after-school class or activity of his own, doing something active without his brother? Even if he doesn't exactly "make friends" outside the group it's all useful social experience.

Not all kids have casual friends. DS didn't go out with friends for his birthday during those years, DH and I took him out for a meal or a cinema trip. I guess it's harder for your DS to accept because he has a brother to compare to, but maybe reassure him it's OK not to have much of a "social circle". It got better for my DS as he got older and he's having a very happy sociable time at university.

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