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Has Anyone Else Been Through This? Worried About My 10yo

10 replies

Angstriddenmum · 03/09/2011 15:12

I have a 10-year old boy, the oldest of two boys. He is a lovely son; healthy, tall, intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive and so on. He is fantastically articulate, does brilliantly at school, is highly academic, has many interests and achieves at most things he tries. I love him dearly and I am incredibly proud of him. Incidentally, he is also far from being an angel - at times, he does all those naughty boy things like running around, shouting, pushing boundaries, being cheeky etc.

I hope I don't come across as paranoid but in spite of all the above (and I feel incredibly lucky) I am also very worried about him.

He gets on well with family and our friends and can talk well (confidently and (relatively) interestingly to older people. He is also incredibly good with younger children; he often plays with his brother and his friends (2 years younger) - although he tends to dominate somewhat - and he is lovely with babies.

The problem is that he seems to find it very difficult to socialise with boys of his own age. He is not interested at all in football, which seems to be the big playground ice-breaker. He seems awkward in the presence of his peers and he also seems to realise this; when he is with a group of peers (for example, at parties) he often gets over-excited and, I feel, tries too hard. He does not have an especial best friend or even any close ones (unlike his brother who has 4 or 5 - I think he also realises this and finds it frustrating).

He reads a lot and has a very active imagination. He obviously spends a lot of his time playing in his own head - for example, if we are on car journeys he will usually just be making noises to himself, clearly acting out some story to himself.

I feel guilty; I think my husband and I have brought him up differently. They do not have DSs or computer games. They do not watch much TV. We have always spoken to them as adults. We have probably concentrated more on family than friends.

So. Is anyone out there in a similar position? Have others been through this? I don't mind him being different - he is lovely as he is. But I do want him to have some proper friends of his age and be happier mixing with people his own age as he goes through school.


OP posts:
F1lthym1ndedvixen · 03/09/2011 15:27

my boy is the same. Exactly! Except for I do allow tv, that's not it.
He has had friends, but they have not 'stuck'.
He has not seen one friend of his own over the summer hols, just his brother's friends (who he adores. he loves older boys but of course, they merely tolerate him really.)
I worry all the time, especially with secondary school looming next year.
|I have tried to engineer friendships, I provide lots of encouragement etc. I know he does get lonely, but it doesn't seem to 'spur' him into action. He is quite intolerant when other kids are 'wrong' about stuff, which doesn't exactly endear him to others.

F1lthym1ndedvixen · 03/09/2011 15:28

shoul add in our case, his brother and his friends are 3 or 4 years older.

Angstriddenmum · 04/09/2011 11:00

Yes, mine can be a 'smart-alec' too. He likes knowing things, being right and pointing out when others are wrong. We have repeatedly told him that this is not a good trait but it seems deep-set. He does not seem to know when he is being annoying to others which, I guess, is one of the major prerequisites to good socialising.

OP posts:
F1lthym1ndedvixen · 04/09/2011 11:42

sigh, mine too. We should get them together :)
I bought a book called The Uwritten Rules of friendship, which was recommended on here and was helful up to a point. The problem is, aqlthough he is very intelligent and generally a qucik learner, he just doesn't seem to 'learn' these social skills easily.
It might be worth a look for you though?

applechutney · 04/09/2011 23:47

I could have written this post myself, about my 12 yo ds. I bought that book, 'The Unwritten Rules of Friendship' this summer, and yes it has been helpful (check out the 'mini-adult' chapter!) to a degree.

We are in Ireland, and my ds was due to start secondary this sept. luckily, we have been able to have him repeat sixth class, in a different school. I do realise the UK system is very different. So far, so good (though we were 'the most evil parents on the planet' for the entire summer). Ds is very bright, and in so many ways is the most wonderful boy, but like you we have gone through endless worrying times because of his lack of social skills. Adults find him charming because of his many interests and ability to talk. Unfortunately his peers haven't always shared this view!

A hugely helpful area for us was when he discovered that he loved golf (neither dh nor I play). He has spent the entire summer playing golf at our local club, which has been massively beneficial. It involved spending his time with children his own age, so he had no choice but to learn the appropriate social skills to survive. Is there any activity your son could take part in with boys of his own age? The book I mentioned emphasises the importance of a 'shared activity'.

Like you, we always nurtured our son's unique talents and abilities. However, after a very long and painful journey, I now recognise the value of fostering a sense of belonging, even if this means 'dampening down' certain opinions etc when in a group situation.

Best of luck, your son sounds lovely Smile.

Angstriddenmum · 09/09/2011 21:02

applechutney, thanks for this. Funnily enough he is (like his father!) interested in cricket. He loves rules, figures, statistics, signals and so on and cricket seems perfect for this. It's also a good sport in that you don't have to be that coordinated to do it, to some extent! He's been out with his dad in the summer and they've had fun. However, he didn't get into the team last term and the problem with cricket is that it's so seasonal - we now have to wait until next June!

He has chosen some activities at school this term but none of them are especially of the 'socialise with your peer group' type. (ie he has gone for string group, choir and german).

vixen, I'll try the book. Many thanks. How's the start of term been?

OP posts:
Animol · 24/10/2011 12:56

Sounds just like my DS1! We don't live in the Uk and he's now at a kind of grammar school and in his class there are two other boys who are just like him - bookish, awkward etc etc and they get on like a house on fire - it's brilliant. I must say we've also intervened quite a lot - lots of inviting the others round - organising trips out and inviting others along - good luck!

Champchip · 23/11/2011 03:55

I have 2 boys, 10 and 12, and they hardly ever have friends over - it doesn't worry me at all! Neither are sporty or have any amazing skills - very average kids. They love to read and are obsessed with Dr Who!

They are not socially excluded - both seem to be in a mob of boys at school but my youngest in particular plays with other kids in the class some days, and other days sits alone and reads a book or just wanders the playground. His teacher mentioned to me that he didn't seem to have any special friends, but that he seemed happy enough, and he has never come home crying that he has no friends, so I'm not even thinking about it. My boys play together and with cousins.

I wonder if there is too much emphasis placed on having a best friend and fitting in? Eventually we all find our places - maybe at high school, maybe later at work. Is it possible that he feels your worry for him and THAT is what he is worried about?

snailoon · 23/11/2011 04:37

This sounds exactly like my son, who is now 16, and finally has friends.
He had all kinds of social problems as a young teen, all to do with being too clever and rejecting popular culture (no screens, vegetarian, hated popular music). He ended up taking a term off school and starting fresh at a new school in year 10. He decided to fix the problem himself, and made an effort to be accepting of other kids and interested in them. Now he has grown into himself, and the other children have grown up enough to enjoy talking to him. It seems hard being academic and having your own interests aged 12-14, but by the time you are 15 it is wonderful to be this way. Now my son is so happy, really enjoying alevels, a thoughtful, friendly, considerate, funny person.

Finka1 · 11/12/2011 20:21

Hi there. I am new to Mumsnet, but found reading your discussion really helpful as I am going through this right now with my soon to be 11yo. I am so worried about it that I can't see it very clearly at all. He's a lovely boy but has some mild special needs - poor social skills being one of them and a mild speech and language disorder. He has no close friends at school and the most recent ones have turned against him and often bully and tease him. He has said that no one at school likes him. And though I'm sure that's not entirely true, this situation has progressed through all his primary education. He has a mentor he can talk to, but I think he forgets. I have tried encouraging friendship outside school, but tends to live in his head, sometimes happily. He's not very coordinated so sport doesn't really work for him.
It's coming to a head really, as it's his birthday in January and he has just seen his little brother's party and I'm desperately trying to f think of fun things to do in the sleet! Any thoughts or suggestions would really be appreciated.

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