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<p>My son just started grade one this past September and was put in a class of mostly girls.  I was happy about this since a boy who had beat him up over the summer was in the other class, and my son can get silly around certain boys but will sit calmly and do his work around girls, so I think it is better academically for him.  He loves his teacher (as do I) and he loves his school.  However, it's a huge school (750+ kids, grades Kindergarten to grade 8).</p>
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<p>I asked him a few times who he played with at recess and he told me the names of a few boys, and told me they are in grades 6, 7 and 8 (so 12 to 14 year olds).  I have gone by the school a few times to peek on him at recess and noticed that many boys his age seem to be playing "knee hockey", so I bought him a knee hockey set, but he didn't want to take it to school or play with them.</p>
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<p>When I asked him what the other kids in grade one do, he told me they play "beyblades" and "bakugan" so I got him those, he took them one day, but came home very dissapointed and said there was nobody playing those games that day and didn't want to bring them back.  He said he really likes playing with the older boys (he names them by name, and seems to think they are his friends).</p>
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<p>I went by at recess to watch, and saw him with his coat undone (in the middle of winter), no hat, no mitts, no snowpants...trying to be "cool" like the bigger kids.  I could also tell that they were treating him like the little kid they picked on, kind of making fun of him (but he doesn't get that he's the brunt of the joke).  One boy seemed "annoyed" with him, another one kept trying to get him to do stuff, like get the ball for them, etc.  My son was oblivious to the fact that they weren't really being his "friends".</p>
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<p>He's also come home with new colourful language and asking about certain topics and words that are not appropriate for a 6 year old.  I am worried about what this could escalate to, he seems to be an easy bully target for them, (though nothing seems to have happened yet - knock on wood) and kids are trying drugs so early these days, and talking about sex etc. at such a young age, (my son doesn't even know what a "gun" is or where babies come from...he's been pretty sheltered).  He just seems like an easy target and I can picture these older boys saying, "Here, try this..." and thinking it's funny to give him some drugs or something.  And it breaks my heart that my son doesn't "get" it that they are not treating him like a real friend would, thye are kind of making fun of him but he thinks it's cool that they've "accepted" him.</p>
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<p>He's also managed to alienate some of the boys his own age since he's always hanging around the "big kids".  He says kids his own age don't want to play with him anymore.</p>
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<p>I wrote a note to his teacher telling of my concern, and asking if she could encourage him to play with kids his own age.  I also found out about the grade one soccer team that he was so excited about and encouraged him to join, but now he has stopped going so he can hang out with his "friends".</p>
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<p>He is not the kind of kid that i can talk to about this (if I make a big deal out of things, he just tries to hide it) and will disagree with me (he is going through a phase of doing the exact opposite of everything I suggest - thanks to his dad constantly contradicting me and telling me I'm wrong - now DS does this).  His dad does live with us but is a total doofus and spends zero time with him, and treats him like crap (emotionally) and DS seems to really be starved for attention and seems to latch on to older boys.</p>
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<p>I'm worried, but I'm not sure what to do.  I've actually debated moving to try to "start over" and see if I can help him make friends with kids his own age.  I work full time so I have a hard time having playdates or finding ways for him to get to know other kids his age.</p>
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<p>Help Mammas!  Any advice out there?</p>
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<p>Oh, Mama, that doesn't sound like a good situation!</p>
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<p>I have a son who is four, and I can tell that he's the one who will most likely get picked on in later years.  My only consolation is that, because of the way his birthday falls, he'll be one of the oldest kiddos in his grade; and he comes from a long line of really big, burly men.  No one dared make fun of my geeky husband in school - they were all scared of him, even though he's a pacifist!</p>
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<p>For your son, I'd say that if moving/switching schools is an option, then do it.  The sooner, the better.  Certainly go in and talk with his teacher though.  I find it a little strange that a school that big doesn't separate the grades at recess a little bit - where I grew up, K-2 had one recess time and 3-6 had another.  Are there teachers outside with the kids, watching what is going on?  In first grade, someone should make sure that a student is properly bundled to be outside at recess.  Just a few things you might want to ask when you talk with his teacher. </p>
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<p>Also try to involve him in things where he'll have good male role models and positive interaction with kids closer to his age: t-ball, cub scouts, etc.</p>
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<p>I'd also work on YOUR relationship with his father - if you're in the same household, and he's learning that behavior at this age, it's laying the foundation for rather dysfunctional relationships when he's older as well.</p>
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<p>I'd do something quickly, before the situation escalates.  I hope things work out for you!</p>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>greenbeanmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1290095/6-year-old-playing-with-kids-in-grade-6-7-and-8-at-school-wwyd#post_16169654"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><p>Certainly go in and talk with his teacher though.  I find it a little strange that a school that big doesn't separate the grades at recess a little bit - where I grew up, K-2 had one recess time and 3-6 had another.  Are there teachers outside with the kids, watching what is going on?  In first grade, someone should make sure that a student is properly bundled to be outside at recess.  Just a few things you might want to ask when you talk with his teacher. </p>
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<p> This.  I've never heard of all ages recess.  We didn't have it when I was a kid, I know that for sure.  My kids' school does K-2, and 3-5.  I would definitely be talking to the teacher and the principal about why there's no separation of the kids, it seems like a recipe for problems.  I don't have much more than that, other than good luck, what a lousy situation (at school and at home).  I could totally see my kiddo doing this kind of thing with older boys, too. </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
<p>Yeah, every other school I know of where friend's kids go have separate play areas.  It's our Board policy to have one recess time for all, but at least other schools have separate play areas, a few schools even have them separately fenced.  Our school seems to think having them all together is a good idea since it gives the big kids a chance to "help" the younger kids so I'm not having much luck there.</p>
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<p>He's always been drawn to older kids - he's the oldest in his grade as he's an early January baby, plust he's very tall, plus he's very bright and also did Montessori for two years before starting public school so he's miles ahead of many of the kids his age academically.  He's been playing chess since he was 5 and is always more interested in hanging out with his older cousins, family friends etc, even from when he was 3 or 4, he just seems to relate to them better, (but this is getting a big much).</p>
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<p>Good suggestions on getting him involved in more activities - I do find this hard as my job is long hours and my husband works until 11:00 every night and won't take him to do anything on the weekends so it's all on me (plus I have a 3 year old I have to drag along with us who does NOT like to sit still to watch his older brother's activities).  I also noticed that my son no longer wants to do stuff - he used to do gymnastics, a sports program, swimming, etc. over the years and lately he just does not want to go, he fights the whole time to get out the door and then doesn't want to participate when we get there so I end up wasting a lot of money, so I didn't sign him up for anything (gymnastics just ended in December, he participated in about 4 classes out of 10).  He refuses to go skating with me, or skiing.  He's a perfectionist so if he can't do something perfectly the first time he tries it, that's it, he's totally frustrated and doesn't want to do it (we're working on that).</p>
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<p>Just after I typed my original message, I see my son teaching my 3 year old what "the finger" is and how to do it, and telling him it's "an even worse word than dumb, stupid or idiot", (these are bad words at our house that we don't say).  Great.</p>
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<p>Without moving to a whole new house (we just moved here last year, mainly for the school if you can believe it!) and the move was really traumatic on both my kids, so I would prefer to avoid moving houses, so my only other option without moving is to switch to the Catholic board, but we are not really practicing Catholics (DH and I were both raised Catholic but haven't been to church in about 10 years and neither boys are baptised).  Our Catholic board also does this weird thing where all high school students are required to go on this mandatory "retreat" up north for a week in grade 9 and it's all very secretive and just gives me a bad vibe (esp with all the bad publicity around innapriopriate behaviour in the Catholic system) and DS seems like he might be an easy target since he's so needy for attention and latches on to older boys/men so much.</p>
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<p>DS is having a birthday party later this month and I'm going to invite the boys in his class and see if I can get to know some of the parents, and maybe try to set up some playdates.</p>
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<p>I would wonder why the school has the 6, 7 and 8th graders at the same recess as the 1st graders.  My kid goes to a Catholic school that is Pre-K through 8 and there are three recesses.  Pre-K and K, 1st-4th, 5th-8th.  Makes sense to me (at the very least, there are a LOT less kids on the playground to watch!)</p>
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<p>My 3-year-old is also drawn to older boys and his dad plays with him all the time.  He just enjoys playing the games that they play and every older male is his "buddy."  For now, I just keep him away from older kids cause they aren't always nice.  Once he's in school, they have the seperation of grades for pretty much all things (the only times the olders are with the youngers are at Mass and reading buddies.)</p>
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<p>Also, if you put him in the Catholic system now, would you have to keep in the system for the 9th grade?  I would be weary about the retreat unless they got over the secrecy.</p>
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<p>(Sorry just read through this and realized that you've already addressed the all ages recess.)</p>
 

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<p>DD1's school only has all ages recess, it is PK-8th grade all out together. The PKers tend to stay to the side with their teacher but for all the rest, it is a free for all. I have no issues with it and actually love it BUT the older children at this school are strongly encouraged to interact with the smaller ones and colorful language, behaviors are not tolerated. It is a much smaller school so the teachers on duty really are able to keep an eye on things. The one issue is that the school has far more boys then girls so things can get rough at times. DD1's class has very few girls, she is the only 2nd grade girl so I understand him trying to seek out other boys to play with. She often plays with students that are several grades older or ones that are younger. </p>
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<p>In your son's case, I think setting up playdates with children that are near his age would be a great thing. </p>
 

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<p>I think you should call the teacher and perhaps the principal and bring up your concern again since things aren't getting better.  My dd goes to a school where they also have one recess for grades K-8, but they are very responsive to problems and they have really good supervision.  It sounds like they need to improve the supervision and give students different areas to play in.  Instead of asking them to address it with your son you might want to ask if the teachers will consider addressing the issue of how to treat younger students and how to politely get them to go away through their words or by seeking a teacher to redirect the child.  If they won't do it for the whole class they may consider doing it with the kids your son has latched on to.</p>
 

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My son catholic school is pre k to 3rd .he also gets along better with older kids. I Do find it odd that recess is that broad range of age s. I would talk to principal about how the older kids are teaching him inappropriate things . That would really upset me as well . when you make playdates with other kids is he excited to go?<br><br>
As to the retreat, I went on one in Catholic high school that was<br>
Was the same way. It was a great experience and nothing bad happened on that trip.
 

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<p>I'm sorry for both you and your son.  DS had some similar  experiences in kindergarten, minus the mixed age recess.  I find the idea of junior high kids hanging out with 1st grades, except under very good supervision, a bit odd.  In an ideal situation, where younger kids are paired with responsible and kind older kids, it would be great.  But, I could see where it could a disaster. </p>
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<p>Can you talk to your son's teacher and explain your concerns?  Maybe, she has some suggestions for play dates or kids she could buddy him up with?  Does the school have a friendship club or a social skills class.  Social skills class was a big help for my son.  It's hard when you work full time, but maybe the teacher could give you some names to arrange play dates with after school.  I know even having one friend outside of school helped my son's confidence and helped him feel more confident about making friends at school.  You probably aren't the only parent with a kid expereincing this problem.  Would he be open to being friends with girls?  </p>
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<p> I use to tell my son stories about when I was a kid (often tailored to his situation) and how I felt/reacted/dealt with a friend treating me poorly or being mean to me.  Sometimes, I'd talk about work and mention how a coworker did something similar to what he was going through.  It gave him a chance to open up to me and give me suggestions.  without having to talk about it in relation to his life.  </p>
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>So the good news is that I wrote a note to the teacher and she replied that she agreed it was innapropiate and she would address it with the class as a whole (appopriateness of playing with kids your own age).  The next day DS said he no longer plays with the older kids.</p>
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<p>The bad news is that he says that every day all he does is walk around by himself at both recesses doing nothing.  I asked him what the other boys in his class do, he says they play "Harry Potter", and that it is (boy's name - we'll call him "boyA's") game (a specific boy in his class).  I asked if he asked if he could play with them, he said they all say "you have to ask boyA, it's his game".  He said that when he asks BoyA, BoyA says "It's none of your business, go away!".  He says he has asked a few times and gets the same reply, and that they don't want him around so he just walks around by himself.  He says none of the boys in his class like him, and is very sad, saying "in his heart he wants to be dead" because he doesn't have any friends. :(</p>
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<p>It's DS's birthday on the weekend and I sent invites to all the boys in his class.  None have RSVP'd and tomorrow is the RSVP deadline I asked for.  So now he has nobody coming to his birthday party and I've booked the sports arena etc.</p>
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<p>I wrote a note to the teacher today and said I was glad he was not playing with the older kids anymore, but asked if she could have a talk with the class about "inclusion".</p>
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<p>How can I help him make friends?!!  This is so heartbreaking!</p>
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<p:mad:</p>
 

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<p>I think you need to call her and tell her about your sons struggles and what your son said about wishing to be dead.  Ask her if there are any resources at the school to help kids struggling with friendship.  You should also ask if she is seeing specific behaviors that drive the kids his age away.  If he has been using a lot of bad language and acting like the bigger kids towards his classmates it may be a while before they want to play with him again and their parents may have heard about him and may not want their kids having anything to do with him.  I think a phone call would be the best way to address this at this point because letters are limiting and make the situation seem like it isn't that urgent.  If you can't find something at the school I suggest finding a way to get him involved with activities in the community so he can make friends that way.  It won't help at school but he will not feel as alone if he can make friends. </p>
 

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<p>How absolutely heartbreaking.  I totally agree with One_Girl.  This warrants a phone conversation IMO.  Everybody doesn't have to be best friends and play every day with everyone else, but exclusion of one kid is just not OK.  I'm so sorry for you and for your son.</p>
 
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