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What should I do if my 12 year old son says 'I don't fit in'?

My child is 12. He has had a steady group of friends up until last couple of years. Over the last couple of years he has gradually not been invited to other kids parties and rarely gets invited to plays at others kids houses. When I watch him at school in the yard he tries to talk to his friends but generally they ignore him or turn their back. He does play soccer with his peers at school breaks but doesn't seem to have close friendships. I have spoken to the teacher but she doesn't seem to be too concerned. How can I handle this situation? I can't stand to see him in pain.

Seeking Opinion Child Development 3 years ago
Anonymous
Anonymous

5 experts and 1 parent have answered

expert answer
Chris Puttick expert
Chris Puttick CEO, chief assistant to the duck GB
E-safety expert

Welcome him to the club?

Or to look at it another way, there's 4 types of children in the tween/early teen age group:

those who don't fit in, and know it;

those who don't fit in but don't know it;

those that think they don't fit in but do a passable imitation of fitting in so nobody notices;

and those that do fit in, but that turns out to be a minority position and therefore they don't fit in really.

It's best to be in the first group and be comfortable with it, or in other words encourage him to celebrate his individuality without being too intrusive/full-on/making a thing of it. He'll make new friends, and better ones, later in life. Vanishingly few people meet their best friend (or life partner) at the age of 12, and from both observation (from working in schools) and my own memory of the time, I can't recall there being that many steady groups of friends that survived from primary into secondary, and certainly not all the way through it.

If he seeks your help/advice, get him to join some interesting clubs e.g. martial arts, young coders, the sort of thing where individuality is the norm.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Lee Probert expert
Lee Probert Senior iOS Software Developer GB
Software/app development expert

When I was a kid being a geek meant I didn't fit in; now if you're a geek you're considered cool! But nowadays there's always a group for you if you look in the right places. And if there isn't a group for you, start one!

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Janet Dudley expert
Janet Dudley Social Cognitive Specialist/SLP San Diego, US
Learning difficulties and disabilities expert

I agree that as he grows up he'll likely find his "tribe" of peers that like the same things he does and have the same interests. However I also know that at age 12 kids typically want to have friends and feel like part of the group. He's at the age where kids social sophistication increases dramatically and social starts to become more nuanced. Without a description of your son it's hard to say but does he prefer to do things that younger kids do? Is he aware of the hidden social rules of what kids his age talk about/are interested in? Have him sit with you and think of kids at school that maybe he doesn't usually talk to...can he approach them? Are there other kids that are on the edges of groups with whom he could connect? Perhaps joining sports or activities outside of school where he'd have the opportunity to meet a variety of kids will be helpful. It's such a hard age for our kids that don't quite fit in.

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Ellie Hirsch expert
Ellie Hirsch Parenting Coach Tampa, US
Parenting skills expert

That must be very difficult to watch your son suffer. I believe the teacher needs to take a bigger role and provide you with further information. She should be aware if there was an incident or some click happening where your son is left out. Sometimes it takes one child who has an issue and the rest follow. It could be an opportunity to make new friends which I know isn't easy. I would let your child know his feelings are valid and this is something many kids go through so he knows he is not alone. Perhaps think back to your own childhood to give him an example of something similar that happened to you. Are you friends with his friend's mothers? Perhaps you could ask if something is going on. Do a little research on your end and see what you can find out. Perhaps he can single one child out in this group of "friends" and find out what is really going on. Usually, it's something so ridiculous and can be worked out. Be there to support your son and it will pass.

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Lambrini Stamati expert
Lambrini Stamati Parents Communication Consultant Αθήνα, GR
Parenting skills expert

What a blessing that your son does not fit in and he knows it! Yes he is in pain but what he feels is the pain of growing up that will eventually lead him (with your help and understanding) to find purpose and meaning in his friends and his endeavors. “The world needs uncommon children”, wrote Steve Nelson in a recent article in Huffington Post and I couldn’t agree with him more… I would suggest trying to put his “painful struggle of differentiation” into words through narratives, within time you spend the two of you together and with the scope of finding activities, groups and interests that make sense to him. Nature usually provides the open space for ideas to be discussed, to come across and to act on.

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Jessica Alley
Jessica Alley

Now a days children are too unlikely to be free and friendly. I don't say its your son's mistake but sometimes it happens like that. I would suggest you to consult the thesis writing companies and they will solve your problem as soon as they can. I hope your son would definitely get the best group of friends.

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 months ago

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