My 8 year old son has no friends at school - FamilyEducation
My 8 year old son has no friends at school
05/18/2013 at 20:11 PM

I am very concerned about my son. We are non Asian family but have been living in Asia for years. Our family moved to a remote part of Asia (due to my husband's work- we tend to move around a lot) but have never has a problem with the kids adjusting since they are generally used to moving around. My children have always attended large international schools and have always made friends. This time is very different. We have moved to a new remote region where few speak English. They attend an International school which is on a much smaller scale, class rooms are smaller (on classroom for each grade) and most of the kids have known each other since preschool. The school is very limited, no after school sports activities for his grade and the majority of kids speak English as a 2nd language (most parents don't speak English either so it is hard to connect with any of them). My son is having a really hard time making friends. He was singled out in the beginning of the year by a boy in class and continuously teased. This boy seems to be the leader and has perpetuated this the whole year (telling the other kids not to talk to him, pick on him, getting all the other kids to gang up on him, et ). I have gone to parents who tell me their child says " we are friend, nothing going on here". I have gone to the principle and counselor to discuss this but either, they are unwilling to mesh out consequences and have pretty much told me we have known these other kids longer and are inclined to believe them or we will watch and see what happens but then it is forgotten (even inquiry emails to the teacher have been ignored). He has always had many friend at every school he has attended (usually the leader if the bunch) so this quite new to us. It has affected his self esteem and his happiness. He never plays with kids his age anymore and refuses to stay after school (with me there for support) which is when the other boys usually play because he says "something bad always happens and he doesn't want that". There are no other options for schools (teaching in English), the same kid will be in class at this school next year with little possibility for new students. There are no sports (or any other feasible) activities available either at the school or outside of school since we do not speak the local language. We are at our wits end and are considering cutting our losses and moving after 1 year. I can't stand to see him this unhappy anymore and I am not sure what I am looking for in this forum , maybe advice?

It is a difficult period for your son and I feel that the only solution for him would be to connect with the kids by learning the local language. Since he does not speak or understand the language that the others know so very well he is regarded as the odd one out and teased. Make him join some classes or crash courses where someone would teach him the language.

I'd be very unhappy with a school where my child's classroom teacher was allowed to ignore inquiry emails. No school is the right school for every child. It's almost September and if you haven't moved, you might see what the new school year brings. It's not always about meting out consequences - it can be about keeping an eye on things on the front end and not allowing bullying to begin. A small school should be able to build such a strong sense of community that bullying doesn't even raise its head. It sounds to me as if this school does not much care if an individual child is bullied particularly if that child is new and possibly temporary to the community.