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Son Unable to Make Friends at New School

Question:

My 9-year-old son and I moved to a new town during the previous school year.  He has not made friends at his new school, and he now cries at the thought of going back to school this fall because he has to play by himself at recess.

He tried to make friends last year, but one boy influenced his classmates not to include my son. When he asked to join a game, the other boys told him that they already had too many players – maybe next time. There was never a next time. My son ended up walking around the playground by himself or talking to the teachers.

The town we live in is only 20 minutes away from our former home. My son’s not-so-great father still lives there. Should I register him at the school near his dad’s house? Should I move back? Should I stay here with the expectation that my son will be lonely?
 

Answer:

Prior to school starting, arrange some play dates with other kids from his school. If he can form some friendships outside of school, it will help him when he goes back to school. Also look for opportunities such as church groups, Little League or Cub Scouts. He might be interested in one of these, and it will give him a chance to connect with classmates in a non-academic environment. This may help him relate better with his peers at school. 

As far as moving goes, if he struggles to make friends he will likely take the same challenges with him to a new school. However, if you judge the situation to be unworkable at some point, moving would be worth looking into. Peer relationships are too important to his development. Continually feeling isolated would not be healthy for him.
 

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