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11 year old son and friend issues

Posted by on Jun. 9, 2012 at 8:10 PM
  • 24 Replies

Hi there. I am new to this site. I have an 11 year old son who hasn"t many friends. He has a small class size in school with only a handful of boys (private school) and he doesn't connect well with any of the boys.He sits with them at lunch and plays basketball with him but they don't hang out with him afterschool and don't include him in things unless he pushes his way in. He is shy and also has a kid bullying him ( we are working with the school to take care of it). Next year his grade will be down to one classroom of 32 kids. We had that in 4th grade and it was a bad situation.  He has 1 close friend from public school and a few friends he sees maybe once a month or so from that same public school. There is also a girl in his grade that doesn't connect well with the girls so he has had her over once in a while. My dilema is should I send him to the public school (much much larger class size and maybe more bullies) or keep him in private school (small class and not much chance of hanging out with these boys afterschool) and just make him deal with the few friends he sees once in awhile. My husband also wants him to stay at private school but if my son wants to go to the public school my husband will deal with it he says. My son doesn't know what to do...he's scared to make a change. I'm scared things will backfire if I send  him to public school as he can be a little immature. Any suggestions?

by on Jun. 9, 2012 at 8:10 PM
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Replies (1-10):
steelcrazy
by Silver Member on Jun. 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

First off, 32 is not a small class at all.  The largest class in our public elementary school has 27 kids.  So there is no guarantee that the public school would have larger class sizes just because it has more students per grade level.  There is also no guarantee that there will be less bullies at the private school than at public school, bullies are everywhere.  Same with friends, no guarantees what so ever.  Why haven't you invited some of the boys from his class over to hang out?  I honestly don't think that I would switch my child's school over friends, the education he is receiving is much more important.

kam4ngc
by on Jun. 9, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Thanks for the reply. I have had boys from his class over a few times. There were 12 boys this year counting him. There are 4 boys that sat together at lunch and my son sat with his basketball team, the other 7 boys. The 4 boys includes the boy bullying him so that's out. The 7 other kids are all into sports...and my son is mostly a nerd. They have been over and have gone to his birthday parties but they never call him to do anything with them. We have tried to get a good friendship going at school, but no luck. Next year one or two boys are transferring out which leaves him with the 7 boys, plus 1 other and the bully. I just would like for him to get called at least once a week to hang out so he isn't sitting in the house all day. As for the bullying, the mom will no longer talk to me because I had enough of her boy and I tell her so. Now it's up to the school to intervene when it's on school time, which they do try. It's been tough to figure out what to do. I'm glad you gave me your outlook on it. Thanks. Sometimes hearing from others helps.

kam4ngc
by on Jun. 9, 2012 at 11:44 PM

I realized I said 32 in his class...I meant 32 in his entire grade.

Pooobaihr
by on Jun. 9, 2012 at 11:48 PM
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His education is more important than switching schools for friends. My oldest son is almost 10 and he has very little to no friends. Matter of fact he has only 1 true friend that he's had since kindergarten and even then they don't really "hang out" much for other reasons.  I always tell my son that having friends isn't really a big thing.  If you have them, then you do and its great.. If you don't, thats still good and you're fine without them.

Life seems more fun when you have friends, at the same time you don't NEED them.

connietrrll
by on Jun. 9, 2012 at 11:56 PM

What if you tried some after school activities. Like baseball, football, or if he is not into that kind of thig there are different groups like my nephew goes to a thing called magic cards. There are so many different programs. He is probably still at the the right age for boy scouts.

Also like the pp said the classes are not that large in public school. My sons school (and I know you already corrected it to grade not class) only has about 20 kids per class.

It would be easier for him to make friends though if they had something in common! So, finding an afterschool, and it does not have to be school sponsored, would be great!!!!

kam4ngc
by on Jun. 10, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Thanks. I got advice from a few people who said get him involved and try to keep him  busy. He takes drum lessons once a week, is a Boy Scout, does basketball with some of his classmates in winter and summer, and he is starting golf lessons this coming Tuesday. He used to always have kids over but at this age, they form cliques and he isn't like that. He will play with anyone, except the boy bullying him (which he did for years). I was always told by people that he needs more than one friend. He has a really good friend who transferred out in first grade but they  reconnected in 5th grade. That boy has no friends from his public school grade. I'm nervous when that boy gets into middle school he will meet kids and forget about my son, leaving him with no close friends. My older son has always had kids over and that is why I feel my younger son should too, but I forget kids are all different. Maybe he will meet kids at golf lessons. If not, 3 more years then high school, right?

midwestmom966
by on Jun. 10, 2012 at 3:49 AM
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I would try public school. As a kid I did both and I believe socializing is just as important of a life skill as education.

I know most will disagree but with a larger more diverse group of kids I think his chances of making friends may be greater.

I know that at his age not having friends can be a very big deal and also take a toll on his self esteem.

Lastly I suggest that if you have not done so to possibly seek counseling for your son to help with his social awkwardness as there may be an underlying issue that you are unaware of that could possibly be causing a disconnect with your son and his peers. Best of luck to you both.
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girlsclubmom
by Member on Jun. 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Our small private school closed and I had to send my dd (going into 7th grade) into public. She went from a grade with 14 kids to a program (magnet) with 75 kids. She was terrified and knew nobody. It was a very hard adjustment but she ended up so much happier and with a much bigger and more diverse and nicer group of friends. Can he shadow at your public schools? That is usually a nice way to see things(my dd did not do this but I know others that did). Do you have any charter schools or magnet programs by you?I would look into these as they are usually a bit more like private schools and less overwhelming for a new kid.


psych_mom
by Stacy on Jun. 10, 2012 at 8:56 AM
As long as he is going to get a good education and since he already has friends at the public school I agree with this. And although others don't think friends are important, learning to socialize and make friends is a very important part of growing up.


Quoting midwestmom966:

I would try public school. As a kid I did both and I believe socializing is just as important of a life skill as education.



I know most will disagree but with a larger more diverse group of kids I think his chances of making friends may be greater.



I know that at his age not having friends can be a very big deal and also take a toll on his self esteem.



Lastly I suggest that if you have not done so to possibly seek counseling for your son to help with his social awkwardness as there may be an underlying issue that you are unaware of that could possibly be causing a disconnect with your son and his peers. Best of luck to you both.

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blaquechinadoll
by on Jun. 10, 2012 at 10:18 AM
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My son had similar problems to the point that he wouldn't eat breakfast at school and would go to the library. The only way I found out is that I can track his meals online. We had similar issues at private school as well, but worse since the parents of the "problem children" we're well-connected and huge financial contributors, where we were there on a scholarship. What I did was to encourage my son to do the opposite. Take part in activities where you are a part of a group,but can stand out alone. He became a safety patrol on the pre-k & k hallways, taking very good care of the smaller children. He taught a few how to tie their shoes and compassionate towards the ones who had anxiety. They grew to love and respect him. Word of mouth caused him to blossom socially. Likewise, he is a gymnast and out performed everyone in his level. He received positive recognition then, and gained some friends. I worried a bit at first, but I wanted him to get some positive friends. Now that it is summer he is interacting at the summer programs with children he met at school, daycare, and gymnastics.
As far as the bullying goes, I confronted the school, the parent and child all at once. I gave them written documentation for each event. When we met, I advised them that my next course of action was criminal charges bc at that point everyone was informed about the situation. I told the school that bc they know or should have known and have been formally advised that I would no longer involve them, but I would involve the authorities, if they continued to fail to act. I did it that way bc bullied children that retaliate seem to get in worse trouble than the bullies. My son had stated to me how fed up he was, so I had to protect him, bc I knew it would only be a matter of time before he knocked the crap out of the bully.
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