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Son’s Friendships - need advice!(7 Posts)
Hi I need advice as not sure if I’m being over protective / over sensitive. As a single parent with no one to bounce this off of, I’m wondering what I should do, if anything.
My DS started secondary school just over a year or so ago ( so he’s now one term into Year 8 and coming up to 13yo) Since starting he seems to have completely lost all his confidence and has struggled to make bonds with new friends. In primary school he was a popular boy but he was in a very small cohort of just 7 boys and 6 girls. He joined his secondary school with just 3 other boys but they seem to have branched out and are now settled in other friendship groups. He is “in” with a large group of boys that all know each other through their primary schools or local clubs (we don’t live close to the school in town but in a village some 20 min drive away) DS seems to have become a bit isolated and says he feels on the outside/ edge of this group of boys, many of whom he tells me are strong characters and who all mostly socialise out of school at various times. To try and help him we have regularly invited a couple of boys at a time (not always the same ones) over to our house to hang out or to go out somewhere (trampolining, swimming, go karting) or to sleepover but this has been with little success. He recently wanted to invite a couple of boys over for a sleepover but on texting them an invite, not one of them responded to him so I eventually messaged the parents to invite them. Both parents said their DS could come but the day before one boy cancelled, texting my son to say he’d not been feeling well so didn’t fancy coming over - we have since discovered he went to another boys house instead which my son felt really upset about (and I felt really upset for him 🥺)
Then this week I messaged 2 mums inviting their sons for my DS’s birthday (go karting & sleepover) in early Jan (DS didn’t feel confident enough to message the boys directly as he said that they would just not reply like last time) I had the parents contact details as my son has recently joined a new football team for whom some of these boys play ..... but neither parent has replied to my message inviting their DS but I can see both read the message a few days ago.
What do I do ? Should I message the parents again explaining my son would like to invite someone else if their son can’t make it .... or should I be more direct ask if there is a problem as there seems to be a reluctance on their DS’s part to spend time with my DS (in which case I need to try and steer my son on a different path) or should I try and encourage my DS to speak to these two boys at school, asking if they want to come or not. I just don’t know what to do but I can see my lovely, kind, caring, generous, intelligent DS becoming more upset and just fearing rejection from these friends. My heart is breaking for him but I also realise I can’t be there for him to fix everything for him - this is part of growing up I guess and the teenage struggles a lot of children have. I might be being impatient (it’s been 3 days) but I also feel it’s possible if we do nothing, no reply will be forthcoming (perhaps they are hoping by not replying we will get the message 🤷♀️) and my son will lose the opportunity to perhaps ask a couple of other boys if he can pluck up the courage !
Any advice would be gratefully received as I’m worrying about this but not sure what to do - if anything !
I think at that age now you need to let your son sort it out. It's sad for him though.I would assume those boys can't make it and ask someone else. Annoying though that they can't be bothered to let you know either way.
So sorry to hear about your son's friendship woes
Unfortunately many many kids go through this.
You are doing the right things providing opportunities for him to socialise by inviting them over
Keep doing it and talking to your son but at the same time don't make a big deal of it when the boys or parents don't respond.
Unfortunately friendships cannot be forced and evolve gradually.
Speak to your son's tutor and get him to join clubs at school and outside
It is slow and painfully hard and you never solve it completely for them
All you can do is stand back and offer support like you do and be brave for him.
I have the same issues and there are good days and bad days.
It's hard but the kids will get there eventually.
Sadly I think these friendships are not going to work. He needs to try and identify some other children that he could become friends with. So the school have some fun clubs he could join? Am e-gaming one, or something around a hobby rather than a sport? That is probably the best place to make friends.
Also, it's probably better for him to focus on a small group of friends, up to about 5. If they are an odd number, 3 or 5 that can sometimes make it easier as he is more able to pair up.
Thanks all - he does go to some after school clubs but mainly with the same group. I have thought of speaking to his tutor but I’m not sure there is much they can do to help - as Angrymouse has said, we can’t force them to be friends.
We have agreed a plan in that my DS is going to message the two boys individually over the weekend to ask if they’d like to come go karting etc ... explaining that I have sent the details to their parents. If they don’t respond or come up with an excuse then he has to move on and I will help him / support him to seek out other friends that are not at the core of this group. It’s really upsetting but there’s not much else I can do and we’ll have to put it down to experience !
Thanks again for your replies.
I'd suggest backing off and letting him sort out his own friendships. They don't need to be organised via parents or be quite so "formal" in Year 8, and this won't be helping him settle in.
My DS was also still finding his friends into Year 8, but they very much grew organically. There was a lot of "hanging round" after school each day (is this something he can do, or is he constrained to getting a school bus at a certain time?) Doing "stuff" together was spontaneous and more likely to be wandering round the shops, hanging out in the park or all going back to Joe's for gaming than going go-karting. Plans often changed! - this is normal. Also remember some of the DC will be paying for socialising themselves, and will be fussy about how/when they spend their money . It's harder as you don't live near the other boys, and I suspect they might rather him come to them, than them come out to you. Is there public transport which allows him to travel in/out of town on his own, or is he totally dependent on lifts (and if so, how flexible are you prepared to be)?
Thanks RedskyTonight - good advice. Yes I definitely do need to let him sort this out himself. I am trying not to get involved and regret messaging the parents myself and should have encouraged him to message his friends directly albeit he was reluctant to - confidence having been dented previously. Unfortunately he is constrained to getting a bus home after school and there isn’t any public transport at all where we are but I have always said if DS wants to go into town, I’m happy to drop him off, but he’s never really wanted to go - he doesn’t want to “invite” himself 😕 The good news is one of the boys messaged him this morning before school and said he’d like to come for his birthday so that has really lifted his spirits. I agree though, just hanging out and meeting up last minute, spontaneously helps friendships grow organically. Sadly we have to “plan” which isn’t helping things I guess but we are considering moving house (for many other reasons - downsizing from large former marital home etc ... ) and if that were to happen it would help. At least one boy has accepted so we have some progress ! Thanks again for posting - much appreciated.