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How can I help my 14 year old son be more liked and social with his peers?

My 14 year old son is a great kid. He has some close friends but not to many. He is not very popular with his peers. He is not the sports jock but is a great swimmer. Kids but him down for that. He is very bright ant does well at school. I guess the best way I can describe him is always a bridesmaid never a bride. I don't want him to always be the one to get all the attention but alittle would be great. His self confidence and self esteem have taken a beatin. He doesn't choose to do things anymore because he says why bother anymore I never get picked or no one likes me. I don't know what to do for him.

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macp

Asked by macp at 8:29 AM on Jun. 19, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (11)
  • Is he in swimming as a sport? I'd get him into lessons, where he'd meet other kids with similar interests. To a large extent, at his age, he needs to put himself out there--you can't do it for him, and if you tried he'd get razzed even more. He may need counselling--there are teen groups so he realizes he is not alone. There is nothing wrong with being a strong academic--they can compete too. If his issues are related to bullying you must be involved, but it could be his age and a phase too. This is a very sensitive time for him. Talk, observe, but don't hoover over him. All very hard to do and not do, at the same time. Let him tell you what he wants, how he would like to change. Go from there.

    Teachermom01

    Answer by Teachermom01 at 9:02 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • He is better off with two close friends that he can always depend on, than a large circle of friends that he can't. He sounds like a great kid; be proud of who he is and don't try to turn him into someone else.
    rkoloms

    Answer by rkoloms at 10:02 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • I would see if there is a swim team around, great sport for any kid. Is he into anything else, build on his interests. If he is happy though I would just let him have his own social life, eveybody does not have to be "out there" his star will shine when he is ready for it.
    higherboundmom

    Answer by higherboundmom at 10:40 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • I agree with rkoloms. But I would also get him involved in a swim team, he'll make friends there. And I'm sure he has other interests, find out what they are and get him involved with other kids interested in the same thing.
    feesharose

    Answer by feesharose at 11:56 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • Do you consider him to be an introvert? A couple years back I read a great book that really helped me see the positive side to being an introvert and how to live happily with the fact that I'm not the most outgoing, social person--it's called The Introvert Advantage. Perhaps you or he could read it and find some support in it.
    asyoulikeit

    Answer by asyoulikeit at 12:24 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • Sign him up for some swimming stuff. And at 14 boys are akward anyway. He will most likely grow out of it. When he gets a little older, as a swimmer, girls will love him. Tell him that he has a talent not many people have and they are just jealous.
    MammaBella

    Answer by MammaBella at 1:06 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • OH please, please, please get him into some kind of sport! If he is a swimmer and likes it go with that! Put him on a swim team! I wish i could talk to you, i really do. My 10 year old goes through the exact same thing at school, she gets excluded. BUT she plays softball and made other friends doing that and is not lonely anymore, not to mention she has the same schedule as her friends there in her sport, she is the teams pitcher, she is valued, she is included, accepted, part of the team ya know? I implore you to please get him into something that he is part of the team, i swear it makes a difference. he sounds like a wonderful kid. GEt him involved in other things outside of school that he will excel in and it will give him confidence and he will feel better about himself. Feel free to pm me.
    4puddintaters

    Answer by 4puddintaters at 1:20 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • You have to pick up on what he shines at and get him involved in activities, groups, teams that support that. It's okay for him to not be in "the in" crowd. It's important to surround himself with people who are a good influence, who support him, who he feels like he can be himself around, and who can gain experience with socializing from. Sticking him in extremely awkward positions is only going to freak him out.
    BaisMom

    Answer by BaisMom at 1:57 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • I'd like to know if you figure it out. My 14 year old son is similar. His thing is playing drums though. He's been playing for 6 years and he's very good. But he doesn't have ANY friends. Not even friends from band or jazz band (where he's been the -only- drummer for 2 years) And he says the same things your son does. I have no idea what to do.
    IbaeshaC

    Answer by IbaeshaC at 2:28 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • OP - I agree a swim team would be great. And also, keep in mind life guard training - that can be a great summer job for a kid, and particularly fun if he can work at a large club/pool with other kids. I'd also encourge him to invite friends over - sometimes, one on one they get to know each other, do things, laugh, and it creates a bond. And it's easier to meet people when you already know a few.

    That said, don't fixate on it. A few good friends can go a long way, and it's better that he stands off to the side then doing everything and anything to get in with a crowd. I'd just be as positive and encouraging as possible about any social or sports initiatives he might want to take.
    PhillyinFrance

    Answer by PhillyinFrance at 6:26 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

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