10 Year Old Says No One at School Likes Him, Plays with Him , Talks to Him

Updated on August 19, 2016
D.M. asks from Shawnee, KS
5 answers

My child is cute, makes good grades, isnt involved in sports and thinks that why he has no friends. He says he hates himself, his one friend doesnt want anyone to know they are firends or the popular kids will not be his friends. I tried to explain that sports and being popular is not real life but it is to him now, and these kids are so judgemental, who tells them they are popular and playing sports is necessary to be someone? I want him to have friends that have something in common with him and likes him for who he is, he shouldnt have to be someone hes not.

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answers from Austin on

Oh boy can I relate to you on this one D.. My daughter just turned 12 and is going through the same issues. She's dealing with girls who can be just so mean its ridiculous. My daughter did have a few friends but recently they started shunning her and being downright bullying. I was really distraught about this and my daughter was so depressed she wouldn't even go to school. I got her into counseling immediately even though my budget couldn't really handle it. I felt like it was important enough to sacrifice some other things in order to get her some support. The clique thing in school is just ridiculous and its only going to get worse. I felt like there was nothing I could do to change that but I could do things outside of school to make sure my daughter was being fulfilled in other areas. I got her involved in the Youth Volunteer Corps and she's really liking that. I've also beefed up classes in theater, art and dancing which are really her big interests. Of course they have extracurricular sports activities at schools but not theater and art...figures.

My advice is to really take this time to reinforce to your son that he is loved and valued beyond belief and that people just have different interests and that doesn't make them better or worse than anyone else. Everyone is unique and lovable in their own way. It would have been so much easier for my daughter to give in and go play sports so she could have friends but she didn't want "false friends" and to do things she didn't want to do just so she could fit in. I was really proud of her for that but realize it can be a harder road. Find out what your son is interested in and get him involved in that. Also, if there is a church youth group you could get him involved in, it may help him to meet other friends that aren't at his school. I am not much of a churchy person myself but have considered it for this reason and that the church teachings (my interest is Unity church) would also help her self esteem and to feel better.

I've also involved the school counselor. My daughter wasn't really very happy about that but she felt that she was really helpful after she went to see her a few times. I let the teacher know what was going on as well and she has been monumentally helpful in observing the "mean girl" bullying and placing my daughter in work groups with kids who may be more suited for her. Don't be afraid to talk to the teachers. You may be surprised how helpful they can be.

Good luck to you and your son! I know how painful it can be but if you're proactive, you can divert him into fun activities that take up his time and feed his self esteem that aren't sports related. Volunteering is also a really good way to make them feel good about themselves by helping others. http://www.yvckc.org/

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answers from Philadelphia on

My girls are involved in theatre. There are so many nice kids in theatre. Does he have an interest in that? My girls both have a really close friends (girls and boys) through this and it seemed not to take a long time to form new friendships. My 13 yo went to a new to her theatre camp this summer. She now has a new group of BFF's after only about 4 weeks. She was very nervous to join because these kids have been together for years but they accepted her almost immediately and by week 2 she was part of the tribe.

Best of luck. This is just so painful.


answers from Kansas City on

i had a couple thoughts as i read this, and the response that's already here. i totally agree that it will get worse before it gets better, and it's so sad that their little brains just can't comprehend how little school relationships will matter five, ten or twenty years down the road!

anyway, first my thought was, there has to be something he's interested in. has he tried lots of different things? do you guys go to church? boy scouts, an instrument, etc...there are tons of things he could get involved in. they may not all be "cool" activities but he would be able to make some friends if he found some kids that share his interests.

i would never ask my child (or yours!) to "be" someone they're not, but if it is bothering him so much, maybe have a talk with him about taking a S. look at some of those sports he didn't like. did he not like them because he wasn't very good at them? would it be worth it to be a "grownup" about it, realize that not everyone can be great, and try to just have fun anyway? that should be what it's about after all. it can be hard to remember if you're not good at sports (believe me, jock i was NOT!) but if the friends thing is really bothering him that much, maybe it would be worth it to him to give it another try.

i know it's easy for me to say these things, not being in your position, just some ideas i had. i hope something helps even if i didn't! kids can be so mean to each other. good luck!



answers from Kansas City on

It is so upsetting to see how mean kids can be, especially when your child is on the receiving end. Unfortunately, a mountain of encouraging words from a parent don't seem to be as a powerful as a few hurtful words from another child. I too recommend getting your school counselor and your child's teacher involved. Not only can they watch out for antagonizing behavior, but they have experience giving kids empowering messages.

And keep helping your son find something that he wants to get involved in. Not to try to be something he's not or because that's the only way to make friends, but because having a sense of connectedness outside of one's family and a sense of achievement can be a tremendous confidence booster. Scouts, Indian Guides, church group, drama, chess club, even less conventional sports like cross country, fencing, golf, badminton, etc. -- just some ideas.

Of course don't stop what you're already doing: standing up for him and giving him a safe, comforting place to turn when he's struggling.



answers from Kansas City on

I think it is just a matter of getting him into a program or group that he is interested in so that he can make friends with similar interests. I was in band growing up and had band friends. Also my church youth group was a good place for me to meet people. I think it is important to be a part of something. It is sad that kids can be so judgemental at such an early age.

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