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Son and his mates

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Hi,


My son has had a bit of a hard time recently and as Dad I'm worrying about him.


Hes 11 and just gone up to senior school. He went up with a friend from juniors but the other lad doesn't seem to want to be with him anymore. He had a prior best friend to that in junior school for about 4 years but they phased out.


He talks to a few people but doesn't seem to have really made any friends properly ( I know whilst writing this its early days ) but I don't know how best to advise him. Also had a bit of bullying I the first few weeks from others which has also knocked his confidence.


Hes a nice but quiet ish lad ( poss borderline autism or aspergers ), good company when he wants to be but does tend to talk 'at' people sometimes.


Hes just given up judo after 2 years but didn't really make any friends there other than nodding aquintances. Just trying him with tae kwon do now but you can see he just doesn't know how to integrate.


He knows hes loved here and spends most of his time playing with his slightly younger sister. Adults all seem to like him and hes got good reports but just struggles with other kids.


Is anyone else in the same boat or any advice please?


Thanks,


CR
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  • bsod
    bsod Posts: 1,225 Forumite
    edited 1 December 2016 at 1:28AM
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    This was on the bbc a few days ago:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5gcQeMNSVc

    may be of no help, but gives an interesting insight into the condition, (if it is a condition, friends have a tendency to come and go throughout life anyway). Have you asked him how he feels or tried to observe and help him interact or join in?
    Don't you dare criticise what you cannot understand
  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,106 Forumite
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    edited 1 December 2016 at 1:13AM
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    It takes time to develop social skills, and sometimes these skills are not regularly exercised in schools. I suspect your son is finding the change harder than most, and will naturally be disappointed at his best friend's change of heart, but I think it is just a matter of time, and gentle encouragement and support.

    His best friend is just taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the change, to exercise his social skills and it is a good idea that he does so for his own development. It's regrettable, and unfair, but I expect that he hasn't realised how much his behaviour has affected your son. The best you could hope for is that you can find a way to tell him this, that leaves him able to reconnect without feeling awkward in doing so. Might one of the other boy's parents be able to help drop a hint to him?

    Taking your son to Tae Kwon Do is a great idea, but don't worry too much if he decides it's not for him. It might be too much change all at once.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • consumers_revenge
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    I've watched him try to interact but only outside school. It's sometimes painful.

    He can't be all hopeless as I said he had best friend for 4 years but sometimes that can work against you as you have all your eggs in one basket so to speak.

    He's started chatting to his mum about it, I get it second hand.
  • FBaby
    FBaby Posts: 18,367 Forumite
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    edited 1 December 2016 at 8:13AM
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    Year 7 is really a horrible year and I understand that many schools focus on kids adjusting rather than achievement.

    I have found with my two that it took all of Y7 to adjust and found their ground, and it wasn't until Y9 that they felt they could finally be totally their own self.

    My advice would be to encourage your son to just be his own self rather than to try to be like others, because ultimately, that's what will attract friends. Of course, that being making sure that he isn't self-focussed and considerate of others. Do tell him with confidence yourself that it will get better gradually and he just needs to hang on.

    I really hated Year 7 with both my kids, but learning to adapt to a new environment is such an essential part of growing up, and they have to go through it.
  • System
    System Posts: 178,106 Community Admin
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    My youngest got in heaps of trouble the first month he started High School. As a model pupil at junior school it came as a bit of a shock.

    Turned out that his best friend at junior school suddenly turned on him and he started to get hassles from the older kids at the bus stop coming home.

    I set up a meeting with the school. Teacher presence at the bus stop was a great help and problems with his friend disappeared when his friend found out his new 'mates' weren't as brilliant as he thought they were.

    Things resolved themselves in the end.

    I like to put it down to one of lifes lessons and finding his feet.
  • Knightsuntold
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    My heart goes out to you. It's a horrible position to be in. At least he's talking to his mum, and that will be a pretty massive step for him. I know my stepson found it easier to talk to me than his dad, but that because he didn't want to let his dad down. I was astounded when he said this, as his dad was brilliant with him in every way, and I'd only been around for a few months.

    I would suggest that you keep in touch with the school, allow your son to be himself and do plenty of things with him. Is he any good a group sports? Sometimes team players will really support each other. Some schools will also provide a support friend, where they encourage the friendship. I know it doesn't help now, but we went through some terrible times, some of which were downright cruel, and I remember thinking 'that's going to be with him for life.' Not so - now my stepson is an adult, he has little or no recollection of most of it. The most ironic thing is that the one who did most of the bullying, is now a good mate! I'm not so forgiving - I still feel my lip curling as soon as I see him, and I've developed a number of ingenious ways to ensure he's never had a decent cup of tea in this house. :D
  • consumers_revenge
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    No interest in sports which I think is what's killed a few chances.
  • tea_lover
    tea_lover Posts: 8,261 Forumite
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    Music, drama, conservation, animals, reading, volunteering? Am trying to think about the sort of groups/societies that are available in my niece's school. She's year 10 now (how did that happen??) but found life very tough in year 7 too. It's such a big change, and for the ones that aren't the most confident to start with it can hit them hard. She was never interested in sports or similar either, but did find joining the school choir helped as it gave her a smaller number of people to start interacting with.
  • tyllwyd
    tyllwyd Posts: 5,496 Forumite
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    Have you tried talking to the school about it at all - the school will probably have a pastoral manager for his year group, and there will be special needs provision. They might not be able to help, but at least they will be aware of a potential issue and its worth asking in case there is extra help they could offer.

    If sports isn't his thing there might be other clubs - drama, maths, science that could help? In my daughter's school, children who cant cope with larger crowds are allowed to eat their lunch in the learning support classrooms - it sounds as if your son is probably borderline for help like that, but maybe there is support that he could be offered.
  • Stoke
    Stoke Posts: 3,182 Forumite
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    Don't have kids myself (yet), but I think I can identify with your lad as I went through sort of a similar situation, well, twice in my life (although I don't think I'm autistic, which I imagine makes it harder for him). That said, I went through a middle school system, so when I left first/primary school, many of my better friends moved to another school. I went to a different school which meant I arrived alone, but I was able to make new friends.... however, when I went to high school, a lot of my friends from middle school totally disassociated me, my friends from primary school weren't really interested and enemies from primary school re-appeared (bigger more aggressive and wanting to fight more) and I was once again alone, but I did eventually find my way into a group of friends and actually found even more friends as I broadened my horizons. That said, I always had my ups and downs and I experienced a bit of bullying myself at times.

    It's difficult to advise how I overcome this, as well, I don't really remember too well. Don't be offended by this, but I actually did kung fu as a kid, and I found it made me a bit of a target at school (do his peers know?). It wasn't a great sport to make friends in, at least I found, and it also made me a target for lads who fancied a scrap with that "jackie chan kid" (yup, I was once called that..... and ralph macchio).

    Now, football...... like or dislike? I've always played football, right when from when I was a little boy, and for some reason, football always seems to bring people together. Heck, I started kicking the ball around with a bunch of lads I didn't know at school. I simply invited myself into their game, after a few mocking comments and taunts, I just kept playing... Then after two or three days the comments stopped, then a few more days they knew my name and I was picked onto teams. They're now some of my best friends from school and I still keep in contact with them. If he likes football, finding a couple of kids to kick a ball around with will quickly find him some friends. Despite what goes on at matches on a Saturday, there's literally no discrimination in kids football. Everyone who wants to play, just wants to play, regardless of who's playing.
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