01-14-2019 03:50 PM
My 13 year old son (only child) has trouble connecting with friends. He does have a group he hangs around with at school but he can be quiet and on the peripheral. Some of these boys are happy to come over or go to a movie, but my son never gets invited back. He is very anxious and has had some social issues in the past and is learning to overcome these with a positive mindset. At the same time the boys see him as witty and fun and he is quite good at sport. Other parents are lovely to us but exclude my son. I really feel we have missed the chance to connect with a group through school and am keen to get him into a social activity. We both also struggle with how teens now communicate and he does not want to be on social media. Any advise or shared experiences would be appreciated.
01-14-2019 06:56 PM
Hi @Sazzy welcome to ReachOut, thank you for sharing with us. I'm sorry to hear that your son is having trouble connecting with friends, that must be isolating for him. I'm wondering if he has received any support from a Counsellor regarding his anxiety and social issues? If he is interested, a good option is eHeadspace who provide free telephone counselling or webchat support both for the young person and parent. It's great that he is learning to overcome these with a positive mindset. What are some of his interests? Getting him involved in a social activity sounds like a great idea. I'm going to tag some of our members for further support and advice @taokat @Schooner @compassion @sunflowermom
01-14-2019 10:36 PM
My son meets with the school counsellor once a term and is doing well at school considering his anxiety - he has been really well supported by teachers and his head of house. He plays basketball outside of school and various sports through school. He loves building lego, playing games of strategy, war history, aviation, gaming, water activities, rock climbing, skiing etc. I would love him to join scouts (if we can find the time!) or something similar but he says he will only go if his mates are going. We have asked mates in the past and the answer has been 'no'. So an activity he can do with his dad to improve their connection, socialise with others and build confidence would be perfect if there is such an activity out there! The real issue is his group of friends at school don't invite him to join in outside of school/sport and its hard to know why or explain this to him without shattering his confidence or giving him further reason to be anxious. He seems to radiate to these boys and they seem to like him at school from all feedback from the school. There is one parent who we know has excluded my son and influenced other parents and I have discussed this with her (although we believe it still goes on). Not wanting to focus in this person, I'd love some advice on how to encourage my son to broaden his friendships. He has been invited to a new mates place tomorrow which is awesome and a huge boost to his confidence!
01-15-2019 11:15 PM
This age can be kinda awkward in my experience. It also seems like the girls tend to have more friends around this time then the boys. I remember my son only had one or two good buddies when he was younger but when high school came along he did more centered around sports and socializing. Also I notice the girls tend to do more hanging out after school and sleep overs than the boys. Its a great idea if he would try scouts like you mentioned. Maybe give it some time, does he express loneliness and isolation to you or is this something you are just observing? I can tell you are a very loving parent and just want your son to be accepted. It sounds like he has these friends in school- its just not so outside of school at this point. Be patient, things definitely shift as our kids get older.
01-17-2019 12:10 PM
Oh dear Sazzy, boys can really struggle at this stage with friendship and anxiety. Our son is very similar and never mixed with friends outside of school but loved catching up at school. He was fine with that. He also avoided social media for a long time until he went to the World Scout Jamboree and the Venture in NZ. He wanted to keep in touch and now finds that social media helps with his social anxiety. He doesn't use his real name so only connects with close friends and family. It also allows him to consider his words and those of others in his own time, which relieves a great deal of stress. We also found non sporting activities were good for building relationships. That is why he is in Scouts and volunteers when he can. Is this an option? We have found these activities tend to build on individual strengths and the people are similar.
Boys Expert, Dr Ian Lillico, has a great resource: http://www.boysforward.com.au/ but I find it hard to navigate. He does suggest that boys don't form life long friendships until they're 12-15 yo which is much later than girls, however, none of that is set in stone.
Good luck with this, I know how your heart can ache for your son's troubles.
01-23-2019 03:29 PM
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