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veggiemom
veggiemom asks:
Q:

10 year old son can't make friends. Can anyone help us?

My son is a nice kid. He has never been able to connect easily. Finally, in 3rd grade he made the best friend ever. Two years later he moved away. We see him every other weekend now because of the distance. However, my son is isolated and unhappy once again with no one to connect with at school. He is showing signs of stress, quick to anger, general sadness. Especially at this age he needs to feel accepted by his peers and connect on more than a superficial level. I am very worried about him and where this can lead. We have tried very hard to help him by talking about ways he can approach kids or join groups. Nothing is working. I hate to see him suffer like this and I am scared. Can anyone help us?
In Topics: My child's growth and development, Parenting / Our Family, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

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Expert

LouiseSattler
Jan 2, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

I am so sorry that your son and your family have now hit a very bumpy road.
 
 Changes in children can be expected, however, in my opinion what you describe is outside of the norm.  You are clearly depicting a scenario that is worth a discussion with your child's pediatrician, school counselor, or a mental health counselor.  Please, seek immediate attention.

  Your child's school should be equipped to refer you for help, as is a physician.  Document what changes you have noticed. Try and keep the home environment nurturing and not confrontational.

 And please, if you have any firearms in the home, consider removing them for  safety of all.  If you feel that your son or anyone else is in harms way call 9-1-1 for immediate assistance.  Don't be afraid to make the call due to feeling that you may betray your son.

I wish you much luck.  Please let us know how your family is doing in the future.

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist

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Additional Answers (10)

dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi, I'm very sorry to hear about your son's situation. Please do talk to his pediatrician or a family counselor about the emotional symptoms you're noticing with him, as well as about your own fears.

Here is a resource on Education.com that may also offer some insights for you:

Help Your Child Make Friends
http://www.education.com/topic/help-child-make-friends/

I hope this helps. I will also share your question with our JustAsk Expert community of pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, teachers and parenting specialists, to see if any of them have specific suggestions for you.

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Jackolynn
Jackolynn writes:
I would talk to his dr. about everything you are noticing with him that is negative. Maybe you should try throwing a party...? I did that for one of my sisters when she was having trouble making new friends. Pick somewhere that goes with his interests and invite a couple kids that he chooses. You will be amazed at how much fun kids have when they are the ones throwing the party.
> 60 days ago

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mom2glover
mom2glover writes:
how about enrolling him in sports.  My son is in basketball and has made many friends.
> 60 days ago

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kido
kido writes:
maybe your child dose not communicate with his other friends and maybe the kids at his school are bulling him witch you need to talk to a conslour about it
> 60 days ago

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pichazo
pichazo writes:
As a kid I had the same problem, but I resolved when I discovered that I was very smart and could show it in many ways helping other kids, making them feel like they can do it too.
Teach your kid how to use what he knows (drawing, speaking a differente language, singing, playing basketball, using the computer, building power point presentations, etc) and show others that they can do it too. Kids will start looking at him as a leader, eventually they will be looking for him, your kid will see this as a natural thing, this will resove the issue.
My main problem was that I had a lot of potential and did not know how to use it, be around kids was bored for me, my parents were always busy working to raise me with good things, but never took the chance to find out what was I able to do. I had to find out myself.
> 60 days ago

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Scarlet
Scarlet writes:
When I was reading your post it was reading what I am feeling about my 11 year old son.  He hasn't connected with anyone in his school since kindergarten.  He is very bright, kind and friendly but will not make friends.  Noone calls him from school and he has a few neighborhood friends but not best buddies.  It is hurtful as a parent to see this.  I tell him to try and approach kids at school who he feels comfortable with but he says there is noone.  I am also at a loss as what to do.  Have you received any good advice?  My son is very shy, is yours?  Will he grow out of this.  He is going to middle school next year and that scares me as kids could be very mean.
> 60 days ago

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3boysofmine
3boysofmine writes:
Hi. I have an 8 yo son in the same boat. He is a cute, funny, smart kid but never feels he fits in anywhere. He plays baseball in the summer and belongs to boyscouts, but still has yet to make a friend. We, unfortunately, have no kids in the neighborhood that are his age--a few boys who are older and into sports--which my son really isn't. There are a few girls that we see at the bus stop--but they are apparently good friends and don't seem to want  to play with my son. My son tells me that the boys at school--only 5 in his class--"don't want anything to do with me". It really kills me to hear this. He says things like "I'm lonely" and "I wish I had a friend". It is the hardest thing to bear. If anybody has an answer or found anything that has worked for them, I'm all ears! Thanks.
> 60 days ago

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3pixiesmom
3pixiesmom writes:
I have an 11 y/o son who has been dealing with this since about 3rd grade. He is at a small private school which he has been attending since kindergarten. He is very smart, funny, and creative but not athletic, so he has trouble fitting in with most of the boys in his class. The kids labelled him as weird or nerdy by second or third grade, and they aren't willing to see him as anything else. It is extremely painful. Last year it got so bad that he talked about wanting to hurt himself. I feel that I waited too long in getting professional help, but I'm glad that I did. We started with a psychiatrist who also recommended a psychologist. The difference is that one treats the physical symptoms like anxiety and depression with medication (psychiatrist), the other discusses the underlying reasons with your child (feeling isolated, bullied, etc). I believe it helped him tremendously to have an adult (that was not his parent) tell him that there is nothing wrong with him, and that kids can be stupid and mean (all things that I had been telling him but he couldn't hear from me). We got him into scouts, and he loves music, so we have pursued choirs and acting classes. It has made a tremendous difference for my son. He has made one good friend, and that is all that it took. Things at school haven't changed, but his attitude about it has. Definitely do not hesitate to get professional help!!
> 60 days ago

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smart-ellie
smart-ellie writes:
Is there a family around, who has a boy around his age and has the same values? If so, is there a way your family could get together with theirs for some fun activities if he is shy or not able to connect with others? He may need the support or presence of his family to help kick off a great friendship.
> 60 days ago

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Mumof3boys
Mumof3boys writes:
I have been in tears all morning because of the same thing. My 10 yr old son is a very quiet boy.He is not a leader,doesn't like sports,and he always feels left out.For the past week he doesn't want to go to school,all because of 1boy in his class.(he has had issues with this boy since last year) All the other boys in his class all play with this other boy but he won't let my son play. It's killing me. I have spoken to their teacher and she is looking into it and I'm just looking at getting my son into a social group, which I'm hoping will help teach him to make new friends,and for both of us to see a councillor. Why do kids have to be so mean? .... I know they don't realise how much pain they are causing they are just being kids. I'm worried that these issues will continue and it will become more of a problem getting my son to school.i just want my boy to have friends and be happy.
> 60 days ago

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