Need help now?

13yr old son struggling with friendships

13yr old son struggling with friendships

Prolific scribe

13yr old son struggling with friendships

Hi there,
My son is 13 and just started high school this year. He has reconnected with some old friends which went well at the beginning but he feels like they are teasing him all the time at the moment. One in particular starts and the rest join in, they hone in on his insecurities, his height, he hasn’t had his teen growth spurt yet. And tell him he’s rubbish at everything he does. He’s tried to stand up for himself and dish it back but it escalates it. He’s tried to tell them to stop but they think it’s a joke and carry on. He is highly sensitive so he is internalising it rather than letting it go and is in tears most nights. He’s tried to talk to one of his friends about how it’s affecting him but then the boy tries to flip it back on him and said some really hurtful things out of anger I’m guessing. He is in the same class as them at school so can’t get away from it. I’ve suggested moving classes but he loves his teachers a lot and I’ve suggested trying to sit away from them but he said he doesn’t know anyone else in the class to sit with.
He is talking about it with me which I’m grateful for but I’m struggling with what tools I can give him to help with these situations. He plays sport and has hobbies , it’s mostly in class he needs the tools. He’s asked to move schools but I don’t think that is the solution as he will keep coming up against these situations.
Any advice greatly appreciated as this is breaking my heart seeing him so upset and his confidence being broken.
Active scribe

Re: 13yr old son struggling with friendships

I feel for your situation. My son (13) has Aspergers and we moved him from his school to a new one. We also made sure the school was aware of and on board with his diagnosis and his self-esteem issues. He now has a small core of friends, he is doing well in classes and he no longer cries at night because he feels 'different'. Please talk to the school and ask them to support him more including ensuring he is not picked on. And please think about moving schools. It is not always the answer but I gave my child all the advice you give your son and it doesn't work if the kids themselves are relentlessly picking on him. But you are so great to be so supportive and believe me that means so much to them. Does the school have a counsellor he can talk to or chaplain? Or is the principal or vice-principal open to discussion about this? You can advocate for him and if they won't or can be helpful, do look at alternatives.  Is he interested in something like Karate or Judo? theses are great activities for helping kids, especially young men, feel confident and my so did classes for about a year and really loved it. I hope you will keep posting as I understand your pain and I wish you all the best.

Prolific scribe

Re: 13yr old son struggling with friendships

Thanks so much for your reply. I have offered to organise counselling for him, he isn’t interested and I know from experience with my daughter you can’t force them or they won’t engage. But it’s there when or if he’s open to it.
The moving schools option is a last resort. Again I have been through similar issues with my daughter. I have offered first to move classes and then go from there.
He is highly emotionally sensitive so I’m just trying to give him all the love and support at home and also find tools to give him to shut the boys down when they start on him.
Community Manager

Re: 13yr old son struggling with friendships

Message contains a hyperlink

Hey @Moloko 


I'm so sorry your son is going through this, it must be really horrible that he is being so relentlessly bullied by these classmates he thought were his friends. And I am really feeling for you being in this situation, watching someone else being bullied is so stressful and can leave us feeling quite helpless - but you are clearly doing a wonderful job at supporting him however you can.

That is great that he gets along so well with his teachers that can be so helpful, @Hopesprings123 is right that getting the school involved in bullying is often a great step, could you two talk to some of his teachers together? Schools can be very helpful in these situations and they have a duty of care to look out for student wellbeing.

We've got a great piece of content which I will link here with some information about teenagers and bullying. It has a great video at the bottom from psychologist Clare Rowe who has some good tips oh helping teens who are being bullied.


You are certainly right that we can't force anyone to engage in support from a counsellor, but sometimes over time young people can warm up to the idea a bit more. Do you think he might be more keen to engage in online supports? Let us know if you want to chat about this more.

It is also so lovely to hear that you are focused on giving him so much love and support - that is truly the most important thing and he is lucky to have you in his corner Heart

Moderator Hours

This forum is moderated from

09:00AM to 11:00PM

We are not a counselling or crisis service and we can't guarantee you'll get a reply, so if you need to talk now

Click here for help

The current time is Mon, 4:18 AM
(Australian Eastern time)