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13yr old son struggling with friendships

13yr old son struggling with friendships

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Prolific scribe
Moloko

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
Hopesprings123

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
Moloko

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.
Contributor
Hannah-RO

Re: 13yr old son struggling with friendships

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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

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presko

Re: 13yr old son struggling with friendships

Advice coming from teenager here. You son can’t drift away from the ones making him feel bad and insecure, because he likes the image this group creates of him. He’s got a friend group, he’s social and friendly. I should know cause i did the exact same thing once i started highschool- sticking with people that you don't really like and that make you feel bad, because you’re simply to scared to be left all alone. And although back then if i heard the advice, I’m about to give you, I probably wouldn’t believe it, it’s still good for him to know.
Changes are tough. But this is exactly what happens those years. Everyone kept on saying to me: “Those are your best years.”,”Enjoy them while you can”, “You’re young now and then you’ll never be able to get back here”. Let him know- thats not the case. Life can be beautiful in every age and not only that- life can be beautiful with any amount of people in it. The sooner you realise that you can bring your own happiness and nobody else is in charge of it- the happier you’re bout to be. I lost 2 years of 5 in my highschool just stressing out and being afraid to go. I used to vomit out of stress every single morning, i started getting unhealthy skinny and sick. It was until i got sick a little bit worse, that it came to me to just stop. And thats the moment i dropped the once that made me feel bad and stood alone. And it turned out great cause that led to me finding people in my class that i couldnt see and becoming a big, healthy and non-toxic friend group. Just two things he is supposed to know- 1. Its ok to be alone. No its even great, cuz it means you dont need anyones backup- you are your own stability. And 2. Compromise would make it work. Noone you’ll ever see and talk to is gonna be perfect- people have flaws and you do as well- you are just supposed to tell which make u feel happy and which dont. Thats how u find ur place.
So just to finish everything up- tell him people change. Even his toxic friends can. This is the time period we change the most. I had so many people I didn’t want to talk to, cause they were weird or they weren’t my vibe. This balances out. People grow and get more mature. And he should too.
Thank u and I really hope that can a do the least for him.
Prolific scribe
Moloko

Re: 13yr old son struggling with friendships

That is the most beautiful and helpful response. Thank you! And you are right in so many ways. I know these years are the tough eats years on kids, kids are trying to find themselves and that can come in all different ways. Some kids are really unhappy and insecure within themselves and take that out on other kids. There’s the pressures of alcohol, drugs etc and social media means you just can’t get away.
We have started this year better, he has some older friends looking out for him and friends with a few girls. I have encouraged him as you said to try and give new people a chance, they might surprise him and I know in the next couple of years as they all grow and mature it will get easier.

Thank you again for your insight
Community Manager
Iona-RO

Re: 13yr old son struggling with friendships

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Hi @presko 

Thanks so much for sharing your story, sounds like it was really helpful for the parent who was looking for advice. 

 

We do need to keep this space just for parents, so they feel safe to share their thoughts, feelings and situations without worrying that any young people may read or respond to their posts. However, we would really love for you to get involved in our youth forum. It's clear you are great at offering advice, and I'm sure our community of young people would love your support. We look forward to seeing you over there!