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Son is hating high school

Son is hating high school

Old Oct 19th 2017, 3:22 pm
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Default Son is hating high school

Our middle child is 14 and started in 9th grade after we moved here in July. He absolutely hates it as he can't seem to make friends.
He had lots of friends in the uk, is a little shy but certainly not scared of talking to people. He's tried several lunchtime clubs but the kids were either much older, or made him feel awful (ping pong - each point he scored he was jeered and each point his opponent got was cheered 😩). He sits alone at break and lunchtime and is desperately unhappy.
We've spoken with his counsellor who is fantastic but obviously can't make friends for him.
It's got to the point where he's feeling physically ill at the thought of being there. He's otherwise happy and loving living where we do, but school is a nightmare for him.
Has anyone else had a child go through this and come through happily?
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Old Oct 19th 2017, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Son is hating high school

Yes, it happened in our family, more than 10 yrs ago. I feel for you, and for him. It can be pure hell! The teen-age years are problematic anyway, but add in a big move, culture shock, & things can get serious.

Our child quickly went beyond feeling ill & sometimes becoming ill at the thought of school to refusing it completely. There was full-blown depression, so we took him out of school and did home schooling while looking desperately for a school that was a better fit...which we did eventually find. But it was a long, very difficult year. We got some counselling in the meantime & things gradually improved.

He's fine now, has done very well academically.
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Old Oct 19th 2017, 4:10 pm
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Default Re: Son is hating high school

Originally Posted by sue1973 View Post
Our middle child is 14 and started in 9th grade after we moved here in July. He absolutely hates it as he can't seem to make friends.
He had lots of friends in the uk, is a little shy but certainly not scared of talking to people. He's tried several lunchtime clubs but the kids were either much older, or made him feel awful (ping pong - each point he scored he was jeered and each point his opponent got was cheered 😩). He sits alone at break and lunchtime and is desperately unhappy.
We've spoken with his counsellor who is fantastic but obviously can't make friends for him.
It's got to the point where he's feeling physically ill at the thought of being there. He's otherwise happy and loving living where we do, but school is a nightmare for him.
Has anyone else had a child go through this and come through happily?
That's really awful, it's so hard when you can't fix things for them isn't it.

While me daughter didn't have problems in this regard, she had a situation a couple of years ago that made school very difficult for her. She was already part of a sports team outside of school, nothing at all to do with the school. In that time period the people who were more acquaintances turned into her closest friends, and have remained so. This outlet was so valuable to her at the time, I'm very grateful for it.

Is there something your son loves to do, that you could find him a club outside of school? Maybe with a different outlet, he would be happier, and it would make school more bearable. He'd also get to meet kids from different schools, and that could provide a different school option too.
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Old Oct 19th 2017, 4:25 pm
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Default Re: Son is hating high school

Originally Posted by sue1973 View Post
Our middle child is 14 and started in 9th grade after we moved here in July. He absolutely hates it as he can't seem to make friends.
He had lots of friends in the uk, is a little shy but certainly not scared of talking to people. He's tried several lunchtime clubs but the kids were either much older, or made him feel awful (ping pong - each point he scored he was jeered and each point his opponent got was cheered � ����). He sits alone at break and lunchtime and is desperately unhappy.
We've spoken with his counsellor who is fantastic but obviously can't make friends for him.
It's got to the point where he's feeling physically ill at the thought of being there. He's otherwise happy and loving living where we do, but school is a nightmare for him.
Has anyone else had a child go through this and come through happily?

My son was born here, but has grown up with me, his British mother, and goes to the UK every year. He is now a senior in high school and wants to do uni in the UK because he feels he fits in better.

Don't underestimate how different the cultures are just because we kinda sorta speak the same language. He may be expecting the other students to behave in ways they don't and won't, or he thinks something means one thing when in fact it means another, and the senses of humour are quite, quite different. This can lead to two-way misunderstandings that cause trouble, and can be very alienating at any age but particularly at school where "fitting in" in such a huge issue.

While he never had a bad a situation as your son, mine has suffered from being on the receiving end of some very unkind and bullying behaviour and he hasn't made many close friends. The schools can be very aggressive places, while he really is not, especially among the boys.

I would check and make sure that there is no systematic bullying going on - and if there is your son may need a fresh start in another school.

Also - and this worked for my son - he started to look at girls for friendships more than boys, because they mature younger (read "become less obnoxious") and were less competitive and aggressive towards boys. This wasn't a boyfriend/girlfriend thing, just for casual friends.

Not sure where you are living, or how big the school is, but it can also be a problem when everyone knows everyone because they went to the same middle and grade schools, so your son is the stranger in town.

If he really feels that bad about this school though, the fresh start at another school may be the best option.
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Old Oct 19th 2017, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Son is hating high school

I'm with Nicky on this one.

If they're struggling with making friends at the school then get them another outlet. If you find a club near where you live then there might well be other kids from school
that will be more willing to befriend him in a different setting.

My neighbour's son did "parcours" which basically turned him into a treeclimbing, roof jumping ninja. Gave us all heart attacks but gave him lots of confidence and some new friends.
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Old Oct 19th 2017, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: Son is hating high school

Our daughter joined 11th Grade 2 months into the school year, spent months working with the school to convert her GCSE's to credits and an entire Semester attending Health Studies with 9th Graders. It has taken her until probably a month ago to really settle in and begin making real friendships of any description, partly because of that cultural adjustment, some of it educational and the rest because she was seen as a bit of a gimmick for a while. She still gets people asking her if she is the British girl they have heard about - so people who do speak to her have done so out of curiosity.

We did find the need to battle her case on courses a fair bit and she is now ahead of most of the classes, which has helped her (she was 2nd in her class for American History which caused some fun).

The one thing I have learned here is the need to be much more engaged with the school than we needed to be in the UK.
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Old Oct 19th 2017, 10:24 pm
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Default Re: Son is hating high school

My husband moved over 3 years ago with our 2 teenaged sons (I ping-ponged tying up loose ends in the UK before joining them 12 months later). The boys were 14 and 16, so started in 9th & 11th grade, arriving about 2 weeks before the start of the school year. Our elder son had found out about a program that ran parallel to the main high school and they both started with the Delta Program for the first year which gave them more flexibility and support. Elder son stayed in it but younger son moved to the main high school during 10th grade and is now a senior. The transition from UK to US was not seamless and elder son headed back to the UK for uni, younger will stay in the US. It is worth looking to see if there are any other school programs in your district that may be more suitable, I know we were so lucky in the local provisions. Are there any charter schools that might be a better fit for your son?
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Old Oct 19th 2017, 11:58 pm
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Default Re: Son is hating high school

I agree with those who said to find him another outlet. Does he like sports? Might be a good idea to find a team sport like football (soccer)? Or a swim team. Something where everyone is on the same "side" and have a common opponent.

School kids can be cruel so I also agree that it's important that you find out exactly what is going on at school. Go to the school principal if necessary. You can even escalate to the local school board.
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