9 year old son sad and lonely

Shannon - posted on 10/20/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My son has ADD and has trouble making friends. He loves sports and is very good at them, so I thought this would help boost his confidence, but it hasn't. It started in 1st grade with a nasty teacher who yelled at him all the time. She singled him out to the point of other kids noticing. His confidence level went down to nothing. I see him with the other boys, and he's always very aware of himself. Meaning he seems very self conscious around them. There are only 9 other boys in his immediate class, also. His school has 3 4th grade classes with around 10 boys each, to 20 girls per class. He came home crying today because his one "friend" was having two other friends come over and didn't invite him. He's never invited to play dates or birthday parties. I try to invite kids over, but he doesn't even know who to ask. When I suggest kids, he always says " they're not my friend". He told me tonight, when they don't play football at recess they play monkey in the middle, and the kids make him always be the monkey. Even when he gets the ball, they say "you're all time monkey". I don't know what to do for him. My heart is breaking....

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Lyn - posted on 10/31/2012

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I would suggest to get names of other children and call parents yourself to invite the child for a playdate. You don't need to tell him if someone declines, just move on to another child. Also, invite children in other classes. It is exciting to have a friend in another class. Try having a child come home on the bus with your son. Make a treat for after school and let them play something that interests them both, usually a video game, the child will ask to come again. Make sure that the play dates are not too long. Keep inviting until you find that there are friendships being developed. It is a lot of work and effort but it will pay off as your son develops even a couple of children that he feels good about being around.

As far as the recess games, he has found a way to interact where he feels wanted. I don't think that this is so much of an issue to him, unless he is really upset by it. I would work on building connections before intervening in the games.

Again--it is a lot of work for you, the parent--but if you do not do something it will not get better. Also there is no guarantee that it will get dramatically better, there will still be the rejections and mean comments. It is just that you are building a sort of reservoir from which your boy can begin the process of learning to fill himself with the confidence that he can make friends.

Best of luck.

Michelle - posted on 10/20/2012

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Here are a couple of things you can try look for an activity where he can excel possibly not a team sport, my son has adhd and odd and he really excels at single person sports so he swims, skis and dances which is his favorite. The majority of his friends come from his dance class where they are all somewhat different as the boys are definitely the majority so they stick together no matter what. This has given him a core group of friends who he hangs out with. Also if at all possible try a new school sometimes it means a new start a chance to become the person you want to be as no one knows you or what is wrong with you that label can sometimes affect how others see you. My son did not fit into regular public school all the boys were into hockey and soccer and my son is not. We researched and found a performing arts school for him where the other boys would be like him interested in the theater, dance and music and it was the best decision we ever made. Hope you can figure out how to help your little guy.

Bobbie - posted on 10/20/2012

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I feel for you. My grandson will be 8 next month and has the same issues. Luckily his mother found a program for him this summer through the mental health department. The class was all boys his age and the went once a week to a center. They had group counseling, one on one counseling and a "life skill" lessons. His mother also received counseling to build his confidence at home. He was diagnosed as having defiant disorder.

She got him enrolled by first voicing her concerns with his doctor that he was not socially adapting. He really acts up at school even on medication and is always the one the other boys view as goofy, crazy acting and he tries all the wrong ways to please them.

You will be able to relate when I tell you that my daughter in law said through tears that he had came home from the social skills class and said, "mom, they really act like they like me, they are all just like me" I think the biggest thing he got out of the that class was to know he was not the only one that acted that way.

In school he is doing well and still with his birthday coming up he doesn't want to invite anyone because he immediately said "what if they say no". Their egos are so fragile when they feel different. I think it is an anxiety of being left out through their first years of school that will always stay with them.

In closing I would just like to add that boys are not like girls in the social regard. They will not be having friends over and doing things with them like girls do. My son, also ADHD had one friend in the neighborhood that he started to hang around with when he was 12. Until that age most boys don't get hang out as much as you may think.

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