11-22-2016 03:33 PM
Hi everyone. I am a new Mum here. I have a 15 yr old son who I feel has always been very shy, quite confident and athletic when hes with family but barely engages witn any friends at school. His teachers tell me hes always a bit on the outer edge of the group...my husband and I went to yhe school swimming carnival the other day. All my sons classmates hung out together and Noah sat near us and didnt even acknowledge the other kids and they didnt say anything to him. I feel sad for him..like he might have social anxiety? He doesnt tell me anything is wrong. He spends most of his spare time on video games. Has online friends but no real friends. Should he see a psychologist? How do I persuade him to see someone without mzking it seem that something is wrong with him? Am I over reacting?
11-22-2016 04:07 PM
Hello @hippychick and welcome to ReachOut Parents. You've definitely come to the right place and you're not overreacting, you just sound like a concerned mum.
11-22-2016 04:47 PM
Hi there, when first reading your message you could have been describing my son. He is also 15, very much into his sports but very quite and shy. If your son is not complaining or seems to be upset I personally wouldn't worry too much. I have had the same thoughts but in the end I think they play sports which is interacting with other kids which is a positive. My son is very much a homebody also and would rather hang out with us on the weekends and school holidays instead of his friends. Lately I have asked him to invite a friend over explaining that its important for him to bond with some of the kids outside of school as this is what helps create those positive friendships at school. Remember it could be worse, kids their age are out drinking and dating and taking drugs already. On the positive it shows more maturity that he is not worried about impressing his friends and what a great relationship/home life he has, that he is happy to spend time with you! Sounds like your doing a great job to me!!!!
Maybe we should get our boys together haha!!
11-22-2016 04:53 PM
11-23-2016 09:10 AM
Have you spoken to his teachers about it? Sometimes they give us a different perspective to what we are imaging their doing at school. Maybe the teachers could even initiate some interaction including your son. I'm sure the school would be happy to help out. In regard to the online friends thats a tricky one. On one hand yes he is getting some interaction with other people with similar interests, but its not the same as face to face. Our kids are becomming so dependant on socializing through their phones and social media that they don't have the skills to deal with daily situations. I definitely would still try to initiate some other friendships outside of his online world. If he enjoys sport I think that joining some kind of club is an excellent start. That way he is making friends with boys his own age who enjoy the same sport and they are all starting on a common ground. Hope this helps!!
11-23-2016 10:41 AM
@hippychick do you know the game he plays? Find out if they have an online community for the same game? you may then find channels to boys near you in real life playing the same game, when you can casually suggest how your boy might find friends of the same interests.
I remember when my daughter started to be a Harry Porter fan, she had all sorts of online communities for the same interests and friends all over the world. They wrote fan fictions, produced fan videos, etc which really expanded her knowledge and skills. And I would think that also helped her social skills. I would say she is shy by nature as well, but she is now doing fine socially, even though she enjoys time alone very much.
11-23-2016 11:56 PM
Hi, our son (14, but very tall and looks much older) also seems to spend a lot of time on his own. However, we found out that he has good mates at school (when we aren't around - parents are 'uncool', but then again, have they ever been cool?!) and even a girlfriend. Our son seems to spend all his time at home by himself but he's actually always talking to his friends on the phone, or via on-line games. It seems to be the modern way. There was a time when parents were proud of thier kids for staying in their rooms reading books, so maybe online games are the modern equivelant! The way I figure it these days, if he's at home, and not roaming he streets, the battle is halfway won. We, as modern parents, just have to adjust our thinking as to what is 'normal'.
11-24-2016 02:50 PM
@readthemanual Great tips! Thanks for sharing. A friend of mine has a 9yo in the same situation with online communities and fan creations, and the skills she has already are mind-blowing. I'm thinking there is something in @goingcrazy's 'new normal'.
@hippychick You said in your first post that your son won't open up and that he doesn't tell you anything is wrong. Is he happy to have conversations about things other than friends and socialising?
11-26-2016 11:25 AM
@Mumofthree yes I have spoken with a few teachers. His maths teacher said hes a bit of a follower....doesnt lead in the group but is sort of on the outer. When he talks about school, he sounds happy and tells me things that the other kids did today but I guess it sounds like hes watching a movie..its all stuff that he has observed rather than what he did or who he had conversations with. His PE teacher got him into the Rugby 7s team which he enjoys..loves actually. I wonder if its a way for him to interact and communicate with the others without having to talk. I have tried to encourage joining sports clubs but he isnt interested....I think it scares the heck ojt of him having to meet new people and be judged...starting high school was bad enough....he was so worried that everyone he didnt know was talking abojt him or laughing at him.. but you are right he does need to interact more in the real world with other kids...we live in a town that is twenty minutes from the school so no kids from school live near us... Ive asked him a few times to ask the two obys in his class whether they also play WOW and he hasnt asked...I thought that might strike up a friendship between them at school