Monday, March 09, 2009

Being A Parent (And A Kid) Isn't Easy

I'm not sure what it's like to have a kid with academic problems. So far, my three kids don't seem to have a lot of struggles with school. My first two learned to read fine and seem to be meeting all the marks they need to when it comes to their school subjects. My youngest, who is in preschool and has a speech problem, seems to be meeting her benchmarks as well and may even be done with speech before kindergarten starts next year. And while my kids are fairly young, 4th grade, 1st grade, and of course the preschooler, they seem to all be doing fine academically.

But my oldest child, my son, is having tremendous social difficulties. I feel like I know what to do when there is a math issue, or a science problem, but social issues are a whole different ballgame. When my youngest had speech problems, we had her tested and sent her to speech class. Through her speech class, her speech problem has shrunk while her confidence is soaring. But I don't know who to go to for social unease. I have talked to his teacher, which has helped. I have talked on the phone to the school social worker, and that helped, too.

But he still has problems. It breaks my heart. I don't know how to help him. How do you help a kid who feels awkward and doesn't feel like he has any friends? He isn't being bullied or made fun of, and he is included in the recess football game. And yet he still feels lonely.

I have listened to him and tried to reassure him that he is a great kid. I have tried to coach him with some strategies in being friends with others (following the old adage "Sometimes you have to be a friend to have a friend). I have offered to have kids from school over for the afternoon. I have let him know that I love him completely and always will. But I don't know how to make this part of his life better. I know kids have to go through some hard times in their lives. I know it can help them to grow. I know life isn't always a bowl of cherries. But it sure sucks while it is going on.


Unknown said...

I really don't have any experience in this department, so I don't know how well my advice would work. Maybe you could encourage him to get involved in a lot of sports like soccer, or other after school activities? It will help himi gain confidence and friends.

Living Life said...

I am sure that your son will eventually come around and feel comfortable with his peers. Maybe he just has not found that one person that he really connects with. He sounds like the shy, introvert type and there is nothing wrong with that. It sounds like you are doing all you can do as a loving, caring mom. Keep up the good work!

Alison said...

Oh Heather..I could have written this post, regarding my daughter. When she was in 3rd/4th grade it started, it got worse every year and then peaked in 7th grade. This year, 8th grade, it is a bit better, but it is still far from ideal. I firmly believe that it is because she is going to a small private school. The choices for friends are limited and she doesn't fit into the "cookie cutter" mold of her peers. This sets her apart and labels her as "different". I believe that if she was going to a larger/public school, her choices would be more varied and she would find her niche. She is going the public high school next year and is looking forward to it. Her words - "I can't wait to make a new start, make new friends where people don't know me". Unfortunately she has been "labeled" by her classmates and it is very difficult to "unlabel" them. It is very difficult, as a parent, to watch this happen. I will say that she has learned some incredible life skills, and she has learned alot about herself. She has learned the meaning of friedship and I have tried to make it all a life lesson for her. On the flip side, sometimes she just wants me to listen to her and give her a hug, no lecture, no lesson. The trick is being able to recognize those times.

On the other hand, my son is in 3rd grade and is not showing any of these signs. I think if he was, we would pull him out of the Catholic school and put him in public.

I hope this has helped you, sorry it is so long. email if you want to chat!!