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8 year old boy feeling excluded-doesn’t like football

25 replies

Foxinsocks1 · 07/07/2020 10:20

My son is in year 3 and as the title says he’s not really into football. All his friends will play so he does join in but says none of the children pass him the ball because he’s rubbish at football. It breaks my heart that he’s feeling excluded and says he walks off and tries to play with the girls but they don’t like playing with boys anymore.
He does have good friends but doesn’t get invited to many play dates and many of the boys in his class have their social lives revolving around the Saturday morning football tournaments (in normal times).
Has anybody else been in this situation and how did you help your child through it?

OP posts:
sleepismysuperpower1 · 07/07/2020 10:22

is he in any clubs outside of school? it might be worth looking at something like cubs, as he would meet a different group of boys and they would have different interests

UltimateWednesday · 07/07/2020 10:25

DS1's friends were all girls until yr3 when he ended up in the same situation.

He did have a group of lovely friends though. They didn't want him to play because really was rubbish but one gave him goalkeeping coaching to see if he'd be better at that and when he wasn't they asked him to be ref. He wasn't included in their extra curricular football club activities but he was happy at school and did other, separate activities out of school.

Actually, I think it's really helpful if children can have a group of friends away from school, if things aren't going so well with their peers at schools they have a social escape.

Foxinsocks1 · 07/07/2020 10:29

He’s really good at music so does a couple of after school music lessons. One is group with older children though so not sure how likely he is to make friends there. He goes to Cubs too and we try different sports out in summer just to keep active.
He’s gone back to school but came home upset again last night because he had no one to play with because the boys were all playing football and wouldn’t give him a chance.

OP posts:
thewalrus · 14/07/2020 11:20

This is a tricky one - and replicated up and down the country. My DS is one of the football crazy boys, and this divide generally works well for him, but it is still there to see even as a parent of one of the 'lucky ones'.

Couple of thoughts: does he want to play football, but he's just not very good/confident? If that's the case, could he do a bit of practising at home/with a few friends etc. In my experience of primary school boys, an awful lot of them see themselves as the glory man up front, and there's definitely more space for more defensively minded players.
If he doesn't want to play, to some extent he's going to have to wait it out. Again, in my experience, the gulf between the very enthusiastic and/or able footballers and the others will widen a lot over the next few years, and more boys who don't get a look in will start to drop out. (I'm not saying this is a good thing, just that it seems to happen!)
Also, might be worth a word with his teacher. Our school has different days of the week that different years are allowed to play ball games, and no ball Fridays. I think it's partly a space issue, but partly to give the non ball-loving kids a bit of respite from football dominating the play. My son doesn't like it much, but I still think it's a good thing!
Trying other sports is a really good idea too - to help with confidence and also possibility of bonding with like-minded people. Non-footballing boys I know do surfing, parcour, tennis, hockey etc.
One more thought: if he is interested in football (even if not playing particularly) that can be very useful for playground conversation. If he does have some interest, might be worth encouraging him to support a team, take an interest etc to be able to talk about it at school. (Obviously if he isn't interested, I'm not suggesting he has to pretend to be to fit in!)

fruitpastille · 14/07/2020 11:35

Music really helped my DS. But he switched from violin to bass guitar (as well as piano) - this means now he's in high school he can play in bands with other unsporty types. He likes scouts too and will probably do D of E when old enough. Also x box has been helpful especially in lockdown. I realise 8 is a bit young though.

Abdo · 20/08/2022 14:00

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Cas112 · 20/08/2022 14:07

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You can't make him love anything Confused

InsertPunHere · 20/08/2022 14:10

Sorry, OP, it’s such a tough time for them. Mine didn’t like football either and only really found their tribes in high school.

Abdo · 20/08/2022 14:15

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Abdo · 20/08/2022 14:17

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Abdo · 20/08/2022 18:34

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PritiPatelsMaker · 21/08/2022 08:44

@Abdo why are you posting the same thing over and over?

@Foxinsocks1 hope your DS is feeling a bit happier this year Flowers

TheVanguardSix · 21/08/2022 09:10

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LizzieBet14 · 21/08/2022 09:16

Have you spoken to his teacher to see if they can suggest something? They may have some lunchtime clubs he could go to for help out at - maybe better than him being on his own?

Holidaydreamingagain · 21/08/2022 09:27

I’ve got one uni aged one who has lived and breathed football since the age of 6 and I think it made his school days so much easier and gave him a ready made social life. My youngest is nearly 13 and also hates football and it’s really tough. I don’t have much to add other than look for things he does enjoy and encourage that.

Gaming has really helped him bond with other boys but I can’t say I love him spending that Much time on the pc. It does make it hard in many cases but they do find their tribe especially in secondary

jellybeanteaparty · 21/08/2022 09:35

A martial art may be worth a try if you haven't already - Perhaps talk to school to see if they could add a different activity into the playground or start some lunch clubs. Encourage the music side and consider an instrument or second instrument where he will have opportunities to join with others - does current school have a band, choir , orchestra , glee club?

Abdo · 21/08/2022 12:02

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ofwarren · 21/08/2022 12:05

@Abdo this is a 2 year old post
Why did you resurrect it and why are you heckling the poster for answers??

TheVanguardSix · 21/08/2022 12:51

ah fuckedy fuck. Abdo… 🙄

FelicityRelaxington · 06/09/2022 18:47

Hi. Been there.
Send him in with a book. Speak to school about lunch activities. Make sure there's somewhere decent to read or lego or play chess if that's what he does instead. My son found various things that he was happy enough to do either alone or with kids he wouldn't usually have hung out with once we talked about it with school, who were really sympatheric and said it's a recurring thing. He was pretty popular with girls as he was happy to sit and chat!

Also, and really importantly, he is not the only one. Not all boys love football. He means that the ones he wants to play with are playing football. There are multiple ways to be a boy and you can help by exploring that with him now, as it's definitely going to come up in other ways!

Developing out of school activities helps with pretty much all of these sorts of in school tensions, in my experience.

Sorry if long!

Simonjt · 06/09/2022 19:21

My son doesn’t like football either, he enjoys watching it, hates playing it. Most of his friends are girls which helps as his friends tend not to play football, but now he enters year 3 I know its likely friendships will likely start changing so the girls will probably move away from him.

His school have a lego club and he has joined that at lunch, it made him feel a bit more confident around the boys last year. Your sons primary school may have lunch clubs etc available.

stayathomer · 06/09/2022 19:31

Unfortunately have seen this in 2 of my children’s classes, and one of my son’s detested football and said they were always shouting at him when he played. In the other son’s class they were split into football lovers and other, it was horrendous to see and I was always telling my son to make sure he mixed well but the class never got it together and now they’re in secondary none keep in contact. Am no help op but hope things get better x

Howmanysleepsnow · 06/09/2022 19:32

Football is pretty much a common theme. Other things that unite DS’s class include Pokémon, roblox running races, knowing all the lyrics to popular songs which they spontaneously sing en masse and Fortnite. What else unites your DS’s school friends? Perhaps he can find some common ground?
Also, I’ve found than with my DC it’s their perception of how good they are at sport that matters rather than the reality. Other children seem to really buy in to self belief, regardless of evidence to the contrary! 😂

MarillaCuthbertIsSurprised · 06/09/2022 19:33

Life is harder for boys who don’t like football. Sad but true.

I worked with a guy who was one of the best networker/BD guys I have ever come across. He feigned an interest in football. Loathed it in private but you’d never have known.

madasawethen · 06/09/2022 19:38

If you think he'd like it if he were better at it, find him a coach to practice and teach him. Is his DF around to teach him?

My DC weren't all that good but wanted to play. Their DF did the football and baseball and I covered basketball. They became decent enough players and had a lot of fun.

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