Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:36 AM
Hi,My 9 year old is really struggling socially with his age group at school. He moved schools almost 2 years ago ( we moved countries) and has just never settled with a good group of friends, he's generally a smart, social kid so I never expected him to have trouble making friends, but the last month or two of school last year he was really getting down about it and he's not looking forward to starting back at school this year, so I want to sit with him and work out a plan for how to approach this year differently, but really I'm not sure what he/we should do.
One thing is that in his year there is a group of about 10 boys ( there's about 20 boys total in his year), there are all smart, sporty and popular and he wants really badly to be part of this group, but they just haven't accepted him, we've invited them all for playdates and they seemed to have gone well, but he has never been invited back to theirs in return and they never want him to play with them in school, so in my mind he should forget about them and find some other friends. The other thing with the popular kids is that their parents also all socialise together, like every friday and Saturday night, and like a lot of alcohol, they are all very close and go away for weekends together and things, so I guess it's a tough group to crack.
So that was the plan all of last year that we would work on friendships with other kids instead, we have been seeing them socially, also socialising with the parents and they all seem to play together well, but then in school they all have their groups and he never seems to be included in them. There is one boy who is a sweet boy, not really popular or socially aware, and my son has been hanging out with him quite a bit, I'm encouraging that friendship and they've had some playdates over the holidays. But DS is just so aware, and tells me things like 'My only friend is XX and he will be friend with anyone, so while I think that it's good to have a reliable friend he can count on, it seems that the friendship is not helping his self esteem at all. There has been some bullying as well, but to me seems that it's the friendship situation which is getting to him. And the bullying is a symptom rather than the cause of the issues (he gets bullied by some of the other kids, not he's bullying).
We discussed it with his teacher last year and I was quite annoyed that she seemed unable to offer any advise, she couldn't tell us why he didn't have friends or suggest any kids who would make good friends for him. I feel that she's the one who sees him interacting with his peers in the school environment, so she should be able to help identify the issue. She did indicate that he is more socailly aware than most kids his age and this may mean that he's more sensitive to any issues.
I feel that he is a bit bossy with his peers and will not accept others telling him what to do, so that's one thing that I'm trying to get him to work on. It's interesting that he often plays at lunch with older kids (2 years older) also with his younger brother and his friends (who are two years younger) and seems to get on very well with both, but I don't really encourage those friendships as I think it's most important to get along with his classmates.
I'm not sure that anyone will have any real advise, probably the answer is 'it's just part of being a kid' but it's so hard having him come home in tears because he feels so left out and alone, and as his Mum you want to fix every problem for him,
If anyone has any ideas or tips would be great,