Tuesday, 18 November 2014

When your son's friends have left him

Teen (now fourteen) had friendship issues when he moved up to senior school. But, to be honest, I expected it. This was the boy who, aged three, had pushed his friend into an easel at nursery after a minor tiff, giving her a black eye.  As punishment, he was forced to sit in the Principal's office for hours.

I learnt two things that day:

1. This boy takes no prisoners, and
2. Never, EVER, send your pre-schooler to a nursery which is up its own arse enough to have a 'Principal', never mind a 'Principal's Office'.

Teen went on to form friendships at Primary school, but he was always regarded as a bit 'on the edge'. Always a bit sidelined. And so, when he moved to Secondary School, it was no surprise that he suffered unkindness.

He was lonely. But because he was used to it, he dealt with it (with some help from the lovely pastoral care people at the school). And now, aged fourteen, he's happy. He has friends - admittedly, I've never seen any of them, but I can hear them coming over the Xbox loud and clear - and my spies tell me that he is never alone in the playground.

But when Tween started at senior school, I thought it would be entirely a different kettle of fish. Tween has always been sociable, fairly sporty, with a wide group of friends. And initially, it was fine; he arrived with two good friends from Primary school, and they went round together, stuck to each other like glue.

These two other boys are super sporty, and it was inevitable that Tween - a bit bulky and slow - would be left behind. Literally. They are moving on to other friends and this, coupled with some mild bullying from a couple of other children, has left him struggling.

It is heartbreaking. Last week, he was retching on the way to school. He would smile at me and tell me everything was ok, with tears rolling down his face. He begged me not to tell the school, not wanting to be a 'grass'. Night times are spent talking, going round in circles, stroking his hair, cuddling him, telling him that these things take time to iron out.

This is the time when single parenting is hard. I bang on about how I happy I am now that I am single, but at times likes these, I would give anything to have another adult to lean on. My ex is being as useful as a paper bag in a storm and, to be fair, he would have been just the same had we still been married. But at the moment, I feel sorry for my son, and sorry for myself. It is a tough time.

Having reassured Tween that I wouldn't approach the school, I have told them, of course. They have been reassuring and have put a subtle plan in place, but ultimately, Tween has to put feelers out, be brave, and make a new set of friends. We all know how scary this can be, even as adults, so it will take time.

In the meantime, I will be there with the sick bucket, the tissues, the cuddles, the teddy. Hot chocolates.

Because that is what parenting means.


This post is linked up to....
And then the fun began...


  1. Aw poor little one. My heart breaks for him. Secondary school is the worst. The actual WORST. You couldn't pay enough money to be a tween again!
    I had a really hard time in school, and my (single) mum was my absolute rock, and it sounds like you're doing brilliantly!
    I guess if I had to give him one piece of advice it would be this: just find some friends, don't worry if your old friends think the new ones are geeks or losers. Don't worry about being popular or cool, just find someone to rub along with, and stick together! I wish I had done that instead of worrying what the cool kids thought!

    1. You're absolutely right! Even today he has come back from school with a full run down of the 'cool' hierarchy at school, and how pleased he is that he isn't at the bottom with 'the nerds'. I told him that it is those 'nerds' who will be earning five times what the cool kids will be earning in 10 years time. Nerds are the new cool. It's the day of the nerd (etc etc)... but at the moment, I'm talking to myself :-/ Thanks so much for commenting! xx

  2. Aww! Your poor boy! I hope he manages to make some new friends soon! Hugs x

    1. Thanks Kim - that means such a lot! xxx

  3. Oh poor thing! I would be so distressed if this ever happened to one of my two - I am so not looking forward to those years when they try and find their way through the battlefield of secondary school life. I was never one of the cool ones but I had friends - we kind of fell in the gaps but we ignored the others and rubbed along quite happily in our own way. I hope your tween can find a way to do this too. Thanks so much for linking to The Truth about today as well, Lotts I really appreciate it :-) (and the badge there too ;-) ) #thetruthabout

    1. Thanks Sam. I was trying to explain to him that you really don't have to be with the cool kids to be happy. He's so aware of the hierarchy - they're like chimps, battling it out for alpha male status - but he doesn't realise that actually, he might be much happier just mooching along in the background. I've a feeling (a hope) that this is just a sticky patch and he'll come through it - but it may take a while. Thanks for commenting and for giving me a chance to hook up with #thetruthabout

  4. Oh my goodness! This is so hard. I have no words of wisdom I'm afraid, only sympathy and hope that things will get better soon.

  5. It is hard when they are a bit bulky and slower than others, but he will find his own group somewhere. It may not be at school, it may be an out of school activity, if he does any. Mine were both Scouts, one was into his music and seemed to live in the music department and formed a band with similar minded souls.
    Perhaps he likes to cook? Perhaps he likes to swim? Perhaps he could volunteer somewhere within the school?
    Secondary school is horrible. My eldest didn't make good friends until Sixth form college.
    I hope it sorts itself out soon.

    1. Thanks - yes, you're right, he just needs to find his niche. And I've no doubt he will - just takes some adjustment and a bit of pain along the way! Hey ho. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. xx


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