10 year old son is sad and very unhappy, looking for help.

[deleted account] ( 14 moms have responded )

Looking for advice regarding my 10 year old son. We moved about 10 months ago in the summer of 2009. My son was just about to enter the 4th grade. He was very popular at his old school, always happy, had a best friend in our old neighborhood, active in sports, etc...

He started a new school in September of 09', and he has not adjusted very well. He has not made any attachments to other boys, he is always complaining about kids making fun of him, and is just "sad."

We have met with school administrators and his teachers who have been very supportive, and encouraging. They have tried to engage him, and he is also doing very well academically. He is not being bullied.

He continues to play sports, and is happy when doing so. He does get to see his old friends from the previous neighborhood, and looks forward to this.

But, he comes home everyday, I mean everyday from school very upset, almost crying, saying that he wants to go back to his old school. He is miserable, he hates it, and is very sad, almost all of the time.

He can go back to his old school, this is an option for us through schools of choice, I would just have to drive him, no problem.

Should I give in? Should I let him finish out the school year here at the new school, but go back to his old school next September? I feel like I would not be setting a good example by, "giving up."

But obviously I want him to be happy, I would do anything for my child. I just want him to be happy and to be the boy I used to know, I am very frustrated......Anybody have any suggestions?


Melissa - posted on 03/11/2010




When I was 13 we moved from ohio to Florida. I hated it and I was miserable, I would not go outside for 2 months I did not like the kid on my street. I hated my school. I hated my mom, everything. My mom told me that this was my decision to be miserable or start making friends that this is where we live now. Life changes all the time and we have to make the best of what we have and it was up to me to be happy. Unless he is being mistreated by the other kids unjustly , talk to his teachers, If you know any of the other kids ask with out him there(get all up in his business) find out if it is rebellion or are the other kids rotten. do the foot work find out whats going on in his world.

Jhoni - posted on 03/12/2010




Lots of families change schools many times. Arrange to have sleep overs and day parties. Tell him to invite whomever he wants, it'll be fun for him and you'll get to know the other kids too. Kids just want to play, so arrange time for them to do so and he'll make new friends quickly. Lots of food, noise and things to do will change all of his sadness, unless there is something else going on. You, yourself will just have to find the patience for all the boy noise and dirt...have fun...

Nathalie - posted on 03/12/2010




It is so hard when it is your child that is unhappy or just plain sad. We moved when my son was about 9, sister was 6. He cried every day on the way to school, had the upset stomach every day. We did all of the things you did, but his teacher was brand new out of college. "Ms. Duke" said not to worry she would take care of it, and she did. We did find out a year later that she paid Mike and Jeremy $2.50 each to be our son's friends. He is now 24 and they are all still friends. ( I was appalled that she paid the boys to be a friend, but it did work he was so happy)

Karen - posted on 03/13/2010




Switch him back! Since this is an opportunity for you I would do it in a heartbeat. Since he is 10 he will be going to middle school soon, let him attend the old school with his friends and when the time to change to middle school comes you can explain that everyone changes at that time. This will also give you a little more time to prepare for this adjustment of another school. Good Luck!

April - posted on 03/12/2010




Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!

I'm no therapist, but I am a mom with a great deal of experience in deciding which battles are important. My 15-year-old is very headstrong and I've had to navigate our way through her life by learning when it's a power struggle and when it's really important to let her "have her way."

If he is this unhappy for this long, it's not a case of "giving in". This isn't a power struggle anymore. This is a mental health issue now. "Sticking it out" and being a good example by not giving up would have changed things within a couple of months as he adjusted. However, you're coming up on a year since the move and he is still reticent about the school.

If you are able and willing, which it sounds like you are, switch schools and drive him to where he is happy. You might also try out some counseling to see if you can pinpoint the reason(s) why this school and neighborhood are so much different to him. There may be a solution that can be fixed before making the School of Choice choice.

Be careful with a depression diagnosis because there isn't any medication that is approved for someone so young. Treatment for his age would have to revolve around counseling and perhaps a dietary change. (For example, my daughter is clinically depressed (runs in our family). The adults who have it are able to take meds, but we have to watch the amount of refined sugar she eats and make sure she gets plenty of protein. It helps her keep balanced for now.)

Also, as scary as it sounds, please consider delving deeper into a possibility of abuse at the hands of someone at the school. "Bully" connotes a kid doing the abuse. However, verbal taunts to outright physical intimidation by an adult is enough to close the mouth of any vibrant child and could be the reason for his aversion to the school but not the actual geographic neighborhood.

Your heart must ache to see this drastic change in your son. I wish you great success. Go with your gut -- it's a mom's greatest tool next to the eyes in the back of our heads! ;-)


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Tipsy64 - posted on 09/07/2013




I have a major problem my daughter started hating school and really has no friends and has refused to go to school, so for right now I am home schooling her. but she says she misses being in a school and wants me to move out of state by my mom and her dad. He is also telling her to come live with him, by the way I have two other daughters that are 21 and 28 that I would have to leave behind and it would be like 13 hours away from them,ugh.....dont know what to do

Carla - posted on 03/12/2010




I would transfer him back. I just transfered my twelve year old today. I know it is at the end of the year, however, he is also miserable and I do not want to see him suffer either. Mine is being bullied. I got a letter from the state of Texas saying that the school he was at, was academically unacceptable and I could transfer him without having to get approval for thirty days, after that, deal is off. So, my husband and I did it today. My younger brother was small, like my son, and bullied. He ended up in the wrong crowd and dropping out of school. Your child should never endure being laughed at. That breaks my heart. I am in school working on my degree in education, and currently run my child care, I do not now, nor will I ever allow this to occur and look the other way. Children can be so mean. They are looking for acceptance and are insecure, causing them to act out meanly to put themselves in a place of power. You have already talked to the teachers, etc., if this has not stopped it, then I would just move him. If he was happy and popular at his old school, and it IS an option, I would want that. It will eventually take a toll on him. If you opted to leave him, I would go to a church where those familys at your new school went, then acquaint yourself with their parents, then arrange play dates with them so your son has the opportunity to get better acquainted with them. We moved and my fourteen year old was miserable until he went to work at a local groc. store and got to know some guys there that he went to school with. He basically refused to become good friends with anyone at his new school up until this point, and we moved almost an hour away, so it was not an option to keep him at his old school. He continued to see his old friends on weekends, etc., and still does to this day, but he finally made friends here as well. So, I would work on opportunities to help your son socialize with the new kids, but if they are mean, why would you want him to socialize with them anyway? If this new school does not work out, I plan to homeschool my son. He is an awesome kid who the church leaders feel God may call to preach one day, I do not want him to spend his childhood being miserable or really honestly socializing with children that may alter who he becomes as my brother did, falling in the wrong crowd trying to fit in. I wish my parents had made some choices and "saved" my brother back then, as he is a mess today, and this is where it all started. So, you should take this very seriously, and really think about who your son is, and who he can become if forced to be mistreated. It really breaks my heart that children can be so cruel. God bless you and your family, I feel for you as we are going thru the exact same thing at this very moment. Just be proactive, and look after your son best interest. God gave him to you, he expects you to protect him and help him become a great man one day. Good luck!

Barbara - posted on 03/12/2010




I would say if it is not a problem with him going back to his old school and you are willing to drive him to his old school, I say let him go back. Its time for him to be happy, but you have to let him know also that life is full of changes and not always the change is going to make you happy, but as you get older, you learn how to adapt to changes and make yourself happy. But for now while he is a kid, let him be happy where he feels his most comfort.

Sharon - posted on 03/12/2010




Does he know you could take him back to his old school?
Might want to think about it, could be a teeniboper tantrum.

User - posted on 03/12/2010




You have given it plenty of time to try and get him adjusted...if he continues to be be this unhappy and you are able to get him back in his old school, you should do that. For his emotional and academic welfare.

Amy - posted on 03/12/2010




It has been 6 months and you have given him a good amount of time to get adjusted. It must break your heart to see him come home feeling like that. My advice is...if you can get him back to his old school that he loves, I would do it. It sounds like it would not be a big deal to do it. For his happiness, and he would see how much you care about this tough time he is going through. I don't see it as you giving up. Sometimes little changes like this are important in the life of a child. What great memories he will have too. If you decide to switch him but you are hesitant to do it right now, you can tell him he must finish the year where he is at, and next year he can go back to his old school.

We have 4 boys under the age of 7. In the summer we plan to move from Tallahassee, FL to Knoxville, TN. This will be our big family move away from what we are comfortable with and familiar with. We are sad to leave what we have here, but we know it will be awesome in Knoxville. We will have family there and the people we have experienced there are so nice. Beautiful area.

Pray about it.

[deleted account]

He just started this past September, so this is his first year at the new school. I have thought / discussed counseling, I am concerned about depression, etc... We had a party for him in October, all the boys from his class were invited, vidoe game party, doritoes, mountain dew, everybody showed up, but he didn't make any attachements. Amy, I agree that it might only get worse w/ age, and I am glad you said that he is old enough to make his own decisions, I needed a reminder that he is not a baby anymore. 2 the both of you, thank you.

[deleted account]

Amy had some good ideas, as do you. Also, maybe try promoting some new friendships among his current school friends, by helping him to join some school clubs (track n field?) if they have any. If he still doesn't bond with them, then yes, I would start to consider the old school for Sept. Making new friends can be really hard, especially if the setting is at all cliquee (sp?), and you want him to enjoy school.

Iridescent - posted on 03/10/2010




How long has this been going on? If it's since the beginning of the school year, perhaps it really is time to change him back. He's old enough to know what he wants. And he should have some choice. Just let him know his choice is final. You may also want to consider having him see a counselor at school, or minister/priest at church if you're affiliated with one, so he can learn to cope with his feelings better. It's school now making him sad, but he is right at that age where it's going to be other issues soon and he needs to learn how to cope with changes.

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