05-15-2018 10:49 PM
I am new to this group, and I am here to see if anyone has any suggestions.I have a 13 year old son who vehemently resists going to school at least once a week because of the way his "friends" treat him. He is essentially ignored at school all day long and hears them make plans, watches them walk off together in a big group (often walking around him), and sees them post photos of their time together. The kids he has been friends with since kindergarten no longer want to have anything to to with him. We have also witnessed it from home. He will reach out to multiple kids to socialize, but they all come up with excuses or cancel at the last minute. The effects of this are awful on our son. He is a social person who truly needs interaction to feel good (I know, that's an issue on its own).
To make matters worse, we are friends with all of the parents of these kids, and much of our social time has been spent in family groups, but that has stopped because it causes so much stress for my son (and me!) when it's obvious the kids don't want to be here. I have broached this topic gently with a couple of the parents, but it hasn't helped. They don't know what has happened to change the relationship.
We have encouraged him to seek new groups of friends, or even just one kid alone, but his attempts have failed, partially because many kids already have established groups, and also because his confidence is so low that any resistance from someone else shuts him down.
He is in a constant depressed funk. It's absorbing me too - I can feel the weight of it on him all the time and I am very concerned about him. We've been on a waitlist for six months to see a therapist, but I am not optimistic as he has made it clear that he will not talk to anyone about this.
How can I boost his confidence and help him to understand that these kids do not determine his worth? He has many other great things going for him, but he feels like he is nothing.
05-15-2018 11:03 PM
Hey there @Jupiter - wow six months is a very long time for a wait! Must be a very popular therapist. Have you heard much about kids helpline? They work with 5-25 year olds and could be really good in the interim for him in terms of gaining some support from a qualified counsellor. They have web chat as well as a phone line (1800 55 1800).
In terms of your encouragements as well as gently speaking to other parents, you really are on the ball and very proactive in wanting him to reconnect with some good friends and feel inclusive. It's a very awkward shift for many teens as the groups chop and change. No doubt with time he will find his place in it all, but it is painful in the process and must be heart breaking for you. The low confidence for him is understandable and he is certainly not alone, many kids feel disjointed and displaced during the jump from year 6 - year 8/9. I am going to tag some of our parents to get their insight for you to see if they have any ideas on how to help your boy.
05-16-2018 12:27 AM
05-16-2018 05:51 AM
05-17-2018 06:15 AM
Orbit64, you're right about the extra-curriculars. We have signed him up for some sports, so hopefully he will engage in them and start to socialize with others. Unfortunately, he resists going because he just doesn't have the energy. I think he's quite depressed, which makes everything feel like a huge effort for him. Thanks for commenting.
05-18-2018 11:28 PM
We have some close family friends with a daughter that was really socially awkward for a long time. She struggled to bond with people that she did not know well. The toughest thing was for people to firstly get to know her.
They managed to find a counsellor / coach who worked with her to develop all those social skills in meeting new people that help someone starting out with a new group. Maybe this is an approach you could take with your son? Some coaching in how to approach a new group, say a team or a new group.
Just food for thought.
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