My oldest son came home in tears last night after attending a friend’s youth group he was invited to. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“I don’t fit in anywhere.”
It didn’t appear that anything bad happened, instead he had trouble connecting with the other kids and was anxious in a new environment. The boy that invited him to the group left him to follow along, so he didn’t feel included or embraced by the group. In response, he sat alone listening to an audio book with his iPod.
Middle school is getting tough socially. He’s being called a nerd, a loser and is being pushed around by the older kids. I know some of the problem is the cruelty of kids and the other challenge is his inability to feel comfortable in social settings. When he feels uncomfortable, he withdraws, which then continues the cycle of not fitting in.
I tried to encourage him and remind him that things will get better, but he quickly reminded me that he’s been trying for 12 years now and it isn’t getting better.
Earlier this week, his teacher read an essay about the negative impact of bullying. It gave an example of a girl hanging herself and a boy shooting himself in the head in front of his class after being bullied. This really freaked my son out. He came home crying saying that he was afraid that this would happen to him because he’s been bullied in the past. (I did confirm that at this time he’s not having any suicidal thoughts).
A part of me wants to homeschool him and remove him completely from his social environment, but he’s so resistant to me teaching him that it would be impossible. I’ve also offered to switch him to a smaller school setting, but he rejects the idea since he’s already use to this school and doesn’t want to start over.
Our therapist taught my son to “fake it” in social settings until it feels natural, but he tells me that this isn’t working.
It’s killing me to see him hurting like this. I just don’t know how to help him.
I need your help.
What can I do?