16 answers

Trouble Making Friends

Hi Everyone,
I really need some advice because the situation with my nine year old son is breaking my heart. He recently told me that the other kids at school refuse to play with him or partner up with him, they tell him things like "that's why nobody likes you" and they completely reject him. I will admit that my son is different from other children and it's hard for him to find things in common with other kids since his interests are unusual for his age. He is fascinated with science and creating experiments rather than playing outside or showing interest in sports and other things that boys his age like to do. I know other kids are interested is science and space, but they also have other mainstream interests that my child doesn't seem to have. I don't know how to help him become more well rounded in his interests in order to make friends and not feel so rejected.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi Everyone,
I wanted to thank you all so much for your great advice. I would have responded sooner, but I was waiting to hear back from my son's teacher about what she observes of him at school, but I still haven't heard from her. I just wanted you all to know that he has made a friend that has actually come over to our house to play and I am praying that he maintains this friendship. I am also planning on putting him in karate after reading up on how beneficial it is for kids, especially those that don't do well in team activities. I have taken your advice and so far I have seen some improvement in his attitude about himself and I am so grateful to you all for that! We still have a long way to go, but I am much more hopeful now. Thank you all again.

Featured Answers

Would it be possible to ask his teacher, if there are any other kids with his same interests, and possibly you could talk to those parents, and have a play date and hopefully you can jump start a friendship. I know its hard and kids can be so cruel, the friendship will jump start itself, my daughter who is in high school now, went thru something similar, some years, 1 or 2 friends, one year no friends, other years 10-15 friends.

Good luck

More Answers

Hi L.,
Is he very good in school, or has really good grades. If that would be the case, maiby you can talk to the school about having him jump a class, so he can be with older kids.
Or put him in the gifted and talented program, where he might have more of a chance to meet someone with his interests.
Could you afford a montessori school? He must also be pretty bored, i suppose. I really love the fact, that you support him
so much, keep that up.

A.

Hi L.,
You know if you are in Lubbock ISD it is an open school district and you can send your children to any school you like. I think you should consider switching your child to a new school where he can make a fresh start with new kids. Good Luck!

Hi! As a teacher of 9 year olds, I have to tell you that kids can be cruel. Have you spoken to the child's teacher about these comments made? If this were going down in my classroom, I'd have the counselor come in for some "bullying" lessons and character education lessons to appeal to the kids humanity. Also, if kids are saying things like that to one another in class, it is reflective of the classroom community. The teacher should be working harder to "bond" the kids together, so that they take care of one another. Are there other kids in the classroom with other special needs (like SpEd, speech problems, glasses, gifted, new to the country)? If so, then these kids would also benefit from some classroom bonding. I would say - talk to the teacher!
Next, I would sit down with your child and discuss how these things make him feel. If they seem to you like they bother him (some kids will act like it doesn't, but you can tell it does), then role-play a couple of conversations he can have with the kids when they say stuff like that to him. Teach him some good come-backs that make the kids soften there approach (nothing rude or hateful, something like: "that's why no one likes you!" your child, "I can see a lot of people like you, what's your secret?" or something.)
Best of luck - this is a bumpy road - help your child gain the tools he needs to navigate through it!

I don't know what to do about the kids at school other than to make sure you son knows not to be bothered by him he is perfect the way he is maybe you can ask the teachers at his school if there is a local group around like a science club when I was in school we had groups like that for math science and drama I forgot the exact name but we would meet do project and even have competitions around the Houston area with other kids just like us and maybe he can make friends with kids like him. Also check the Museum and see the groups they have and get him involved in them.

Would it be possible to ask his teacher, if there are any other kids with his same interests, and possibly you could talk to those parents, and have a play date and hopefully you can jump start a friendship. I know its hard and kids can be so cruel, the friendship will jump start itself, my daughter who is in high school now, went thru something similar, some years, 1 or 2 friends, one year no friends, other years 10-15 friends.

Good luck

Hi L.. my son is the same way but not about science it all animals and other stuff. The teachers don't make it a point to include him? My son 8 y/o is speech delay and he prefers to play by himself but the teacher have always made sure that if he wanted to be include that the other children would include him. Talk to the teacher, counselor or other people at the school. Also teach your son how to introduce himself and how to ask questions. We assume when children go out into the world they will know these life skills but we have to teach them. Try getting him involved in a program that is science geared. At my school they were having a science club thing and I wished I would have put him into it. Ask him to try out for a sport, you never know, Or join a gym and let him try out some other form of excercse. My son hates to ride his bike and go out here at my house because there are a lot of dogs and other factors. But at my mothers big back yard he loves to play and run. And he rides my excersce bike in the house. My other advise would be to just tell him that you love him and he is special. My son don't really have any close friends at school but I know that he is happy because we make it a point to be interested in what he likes. I hope I have giving you some ideas, let us know how things are going.
L.

Hi L.,
I have a 5-yr old just like that. He is obsessed with the solar system and has little or no interest in anything else. He would come home from school every day and say, "Nobody will play with me." It broke my heart! Anyway, we did realize over time that he was very different from other children. We are having him tested for Asperger's Syndrome, it is a milder form of highly functioning autism. Not to scare you, these kids are brilliant, they just need to be taught social skills. Anyway, he is an August baby, so we are having him repeat pre-K. He seems to be taking a leadership role with the slightly younger children. He is much more happy and relaxed. In addition, it is a private Episcopal school and the classes are smaller. The people are extremely nice be/c they are educated in the area of special needs kids. The public school teachers are too overworked and stressed out to have to worry why my son has no friends!

Long story short, I called my insurance company who referred me to a pediatric psychological testing center. They were so nice and so helpful. They knew exactly what I was talking about and were able to request testing from my insurance co, which was approved. After we get a diagnosis, we will be able to work with therapists who know how to treat these brilliant but socially different kids.

Don't lose heart, there are resources for you and your son. He can be both brilliant and socially successful. Blessings and best of luck to you.

I feel for you! My oldest son age seven doesn't have much luck making friends with the other boys at school either. He is different than they are in many ways. First he has OCD (obsessive complusive disorder) which makes it where he hates to get dirty which most boys do, he is a gifted child so he would rather read or do experiments like your son and he also has allergies and asthma which keeps him at times from doing the sports and physical activies with the other boys. My husband and I have been trying to push him just a little bit into situations where he had to socialize with the other boys his age. We started out with Scouts. He loved it because they did do things like experiments and the boys started to realize that even though he is the "smart kid" he is pretty cool and they love having him on their team or in their group because their experiements always work. We have had to make a consious effort to have his friends over for play dates, or invite them to go with us on outtings. He doesn't have a lot of friends yet but he is getting there and the ones he has are great!

Try and get your son into something that interests him that will cause him to socialize with other boys and then encourage him to try new things with the boys he meets there. Good luck!

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