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So my ds goes to a small Catholic school. He actually homeschooled last year, but returned to the school because he missed his friends. There is only one class per grade. My ds is kind of a shy, quiet kid till you get to know him. But as I said he was in this same class a year ago. So he told me that for the first 2 months he would sit with this other boy he is close with. He said sometimes other kids would sit with them, but for the most part it was only the 2 of them. WELL, this other kid did not do well the first semester and so his parents and the principals decided to put the kid BACK in 5th grade. YES folks they let him start in 6th then put him back in 5th. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> For the record I don't agree with retention.<br><br>
Long story short for the past 2 weeks my son has been sitting by himself during lunch. He has not complained about it. I just in passing asked who he sat with and he would say by myself. When I asked why? He said that there was no room at the other tables and if he took someone's place they got mad. He is a very sensitive boy. He does not like to cause a scene. He says it is no big deal. I think it is. It is not like a spot at a table will open up. These are kids that have been together for years. They are close. My son really only has stuff in common with the kid that went back to 5th. I am worried and stressed about the situation. I spoke with the Principals about it and they had no solution. The 5th grade does not eat at the same time as the 6th, so he is on his own. It almost worries me more that my Ds is not acting like it is a big deal. I feel like this is not good for his self esteem.<br>
What would you do in this situation?
 

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I think I'd ask that they split the kids up and spread them out for lunch, that way they wouldn't all be at a table with no room for your son. I can't see how they wouldn't think that is a problem. Your poor guy all alone it would break my heart if my child told me this.
 

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I would ask him if he talks to kids on the other tables, and if not ask if he actually welcomes the quiet down time. I guess I don't actually understand why it is bothering you so much if it's not a concern to him.
 

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I'm so sorry...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"> My heart breaks for you and your son. Is he interested in any sort of extracurriculars? When I changed school districts (twice) I found this one of the best ways to make some friends. It really made a difference being with the same kids several days a week.<br><br>
Also, what about doing some role playing with him on how he might approach other kids if he is kind of shy? If you don't feel comfortable role playing this with him, there are therapists who work with kids one on one and in groups specifically on social skills. Even if his social skills are "good" it might help just to be able to "practice" in a group with other kids who are also struggling.<br><br>
I am guessing your son cares deeply about being left out but just is too embarrassed to let you know how much it bothers him. Maybe he is protecting your feelings too. I hope the situation improves.
 

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I also went to a small Catholic school, and yes, the kids that have all been together since Kindy, quite close and can be hard to break into. Plus, that is such a rough and awkward age. I have no advice for you, but want to give you hugs. I think it will probably get better, maybe he just needs some time. Does he participate in any activities at school like choir or sports? Maybe he'll get closer to the kids over time.
 

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I would ask if the lunch room moniter could say that the table is getting too crowded and that they need to spread out to the other tables. But maybe your son doesn't really mind and you are reading into it, but it would bother me if it was my DS and I think he may be embarassed to say anything. I was teased alot at a small Catholic school and I have never told ANYONE how mean girls really were to me. I hope the school can find someway to fix it and now make it look obvious.
 

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I forgot that actually I changed school districts three times (one of them being a Catholic school as well)... I just wanted to add too that maybe a new school altogether might be a good idea if your son is interested and if things don't improve. With both my husband and I, we both had points (7th grade for him 9th for me) in which we ended up in new school districts and had absolutely horrible times fitting in. I was a really really shy and sensitive kid as well. We were both absolutely miserable. The following year for me, and two years later for him, we both once again found ourselves in another new school district. For both of us, things just "clicked" for whatever reason in the new schools and we both went from being the kids who had one or no friends to having tons of friends. I even ended up on homecoming court. I point this out for two reasons...one just to say that maybe a new environment would help. I know for me, once I felt like "that kid" at my one school, I just felt like I was never going to be able to break out of that role. The second reason is just to give you a little hope...Friendships are fluid with middle school and high schoolers. The kid who is sitting alone one day may have a billion friends the next day and vice versa. It might help your son to have that perspective too.<br><br>
When I was having such a hard time fitting in at my one school, it really was hard on me when my mom kept asking me tons of questions and pressured me. She did role play with me when I was in elementary and middle school, and that actually was helpful. In first grade she would literally bribe me with candy to ask other kids to play. Not saying this is a good idea, but it actually helped as I was "that shy." What was helpful in the middle school years (I also had a school change in 6th grade) was just having lots of fun "family" options for the weekends and when I was at home. Kind of took my mind off of the daily school struggle until things evened out there and I formed some great friendships. Best of luck... I will be thinking of you both.
 

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{{{HUGS}}} I can understand why this concerns you. I spent pretty much all of 7th and 8th grade eating lunch by myself. I had a group of friends to hang out with, but for whatever reason I think they ended up joining another group and I did not really fit in. On top of that, I ended up having lunch periods that were different from my friends' lunch periods, so that didn't help either. I didn't like eating by myself, but got used to it. By high school, I found a group of friends to eat lunch with again (although the same thing happened one yr where I got stuck during a lunch period where none of my friends were there, so I kind of was alone a lot for lunch). It was not something enjoyed, but I got through it. If your son does not think it's a big deal, I would not make a big deal about it. I hope it gets better for him. I was very much like your son, from your description and was not someone who was wildly popular, I only had a few friends that I felt comfortable with. I think in general that those of us who are kind of quiet and slow to warm up to ppl are at a disadvantage, socially in environments like school, where it's set up that outgoing kids are the ones who benefit the most socially.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>robin4kids</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14732309"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He said that there was no room at the other tables and <b>if he took someone's place they got mad</b>. He is a very sensitive boy. He does not like to cause a scene. He says it is no big deal. I think it is. It is not like a spot at a table will open up.</div>
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I'd talk to the school. What is happening wouldn't be allowed at the public school my kids attend. There is NO saving seats in the caferia. If there is an open seat, any child may sit in it. This is the policy because the school feels that any thing else allows bullying.<br><br>
They also have days when, instead of being allowed to pick where to sit, all the kids draw a card out of hat. The card has a color on it and the kids have to sit at the table that is marked with that color. They are encouraged to get to know the kids they are sitting with. I think they do this once a month.<br><br>
The school could do something -- excactly what depends on the whole situation.<br><br>
I'd also try to nuture some friendships with the other kids -- invite one over to play or something.
 

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I agree with the pp. My kids attend a small Catholic school and there is no "seat saving" or anything like that allowed. Kids can sit wherever they choose to sit and as a lunchroom volunteer I have not seen any issues with that. I will say that last year there was a boy who consistently chose to sit by himself. The other children asked him to join them and he refused. We spoke with him and encouraged him to join a few of the other kids and he just didn't want to. He was at the same table as the rest of the kids, he just chose to sit at the end as far away from the rest of them as he could. He seemed otherwise happy and was a nice kid.<br><br>
I would definitely speak with the school and see what can be done about your son's situation. I would be very sad if my child came home and said that they were all alone at lunch... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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As someone who sat alone at lunch a lot herself, I'm sorry <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
When I was in 4th grade, my mom (who is no social butterfly herself) kind of struck up a relationship with another mom. So she took me over their house one day, and the moms hung out and we two girls hung out. It wouldn't work for everyone, but getting that one-on-one opportunity helped me form a friendship with a girl who I otherwise would not have been able to start a friendship with. We were friends for a long time, long after I moved away from the school system. We've drifted apart since I moved to another state, but even so, I saw her a year and a half ago to meet her new baby.<br><br>
My mom also helped with another friend who didn't go to the same school as I did but it still really helped to have friends. We went to camp together one year, and I don't think the girl and I were joined at the hip or anything, but she saw a possibility and arranged for us to get together. Another long-time friend. When I say we weren't joined at the hip at first, what I'm trying to say is that I'm grateful my mom didn't just wait for a really big friendship to develop and THEN arrange get-togethers, but rather saw possibilities and arranged to nurture them. I'm sure if a real friendship didn't develop it would have naturally been dropped, but my point is that the point of being friends was not at school or camp for either of these girls, but when we got together to play (arranged by my mom).<br><br>
Since these happened in 4th/5th grade, I'm thinking it's not totally out of line to try that for a 6th grader either. Just an idea. One-on-one just really made a difference for me.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Linda on the move</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14733078"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I<br>
I'd also try to nuture some friendships with the other kids -- invite one over to play or something.</div>
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I would definitely start setting up playdates and/or start a special interest after school club - book club, lego club, pokemon, robotics, chess, Wii, whatever your son likes. Helping him build connections outside of school will help lunch.<br><br>
Also, make sure he doesn't sense how worried the situation is making you. He was previously homeschooled and may very well not put much importance on the whole lunch scene. I could easily see my daughter thinking - I'm here to eat and I don't care if I'm sitting with anyone or not. If he can view it as a practicality and not a social slight then so much the better for him!<br><br>
My daughter also started school this year after homeschooling. She sat at lunch with a couple boys she knew before but she just sat there and listened to them. They weren't actively excluding her. They liked her, but they are boys and assumed if she wanted to participate in their conversation she would speak up. Lately she found a girl who invited her to sit with her gang. She is now enjoying sitting with them and actively conversing. However, I think it was important that before she didn't feel excluded. Even though she knew she wasn't taking any part in their group, she didn't feel bad about it. I think that helped her be open and ready to join in when a better situation presented itself.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>seashells</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14733217"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">what I'm trying to say is that I'm grateful my mom didn't just wait for a really big friendship to develop and THEN arrange get-togethers, but rather saw possibilities and arranged to nurture them.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> I think this is so important! One of my daughter's friend's mother really sought out their friendship when they first met at age 6. At first, I thought it was a little odd, but over time I saw the tremendous wisdom of trying to facilitate kids making friends. Our girls are still best friends at age 11. They've never attended the same school, but still maintain the connection thru (at first) our efforts to keep getting them together and now they initiate contact.<br><br>
I also think it is important to have friends outside of school. Having a couple of different social groups makes it much easier to weather difficulties in one.
 

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i dont think its a matter of "seat saving" so much as if you KNOW you are not anted/not a part of that group, you don't sit there. I agree though...WTH? Why is the number oif seating positions such that ONE boy has to eat by himself? You'd think they could even it up and break up one large table or something.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>bobandjess99</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14736347"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Why is the number oif seating positions such that ONE boy has to eat by himself? You'd think they could even it up and break up one large table or something.</div>
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This is why I would contact the school. It sounds like something is wrong with the set up. They could make some changes so that the situation just goes away without drawing any attention to the OP's son.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have not had time to read everyone's response, but i will later tonight. I just want to say that I really am not sure if i am reading into this too much. I must say that once my ds is included in a group he is so happy. I think that yes he is fine all alone, but I am not sure it is healthy.<br><br>
BTW he did not want to go to school today. he had problems with some of the hw and so refused to get out of bed. I did not make him. I think that if he had friends to look forward to seeing he would have wanted to go. I guess he is taking a mental health day today.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Linda on the move</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14736769"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is why I would contact the school. It sounds like something is wrong with the set up. They could make some changes so that the situation just goes away without drawing any attention to the OP's son.</div>
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I agree with this completely!<br><br>
For the record, I am another one who transferred into a very small Catholic school in 5th grade. Many of the kids were down-right mean, and I never felt totally accepted there. There was another boy who started the same year, and he was bullied to such a point where I was worried he'd try to kill himself. My one consolation was always that people weren't as mean to me as they were to him. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I joined a sports team and a club, which helped a bit, and had playdates. These helped to some extent, but really, I was just so relieved to move on to high school where it was easier to surround myself with nice people. Is there any possibility of moving to a different school if things don't improve?
 

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Does he want to sit with others at lunch? I often sat my myself for lunch during HS but it was because I wanted to so I could quickly eat (or not eat at all) and then study or do homework without being bothered.
 

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My son went through this as well. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> He had been homeschooled and then we put him in a small private school for a couple of years and the last year there his friends would totally leave him out at lunch. I went by a few times a week to volunteer and would see him sitting alone. DS acted like it didn't bother him to sit alone, but it bothered me. He said his friends brought their lunches and he had to go through the line so that made him later to sit down and he would miss out on their table. He is being homeschooled again (for the past 2 1/2 years) and prefers homeschooling. My son has also been very shy his whole life. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I feel like it's the teachers jobs to make sure all students socialize and if they notice one child being singled out day after day then they need to step up and do something about it, whether it means assigning tables or whatever.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>seashells</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/14733217"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">One-on-one just really made a difference for me.</div>
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It didn't work for my son. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> He had one best friend that he bonded with in the two years that he was at private school and that kid ignored him during lunch. For some reason that school year it seemed like things had changed between them or something. His friend was very outgoing so maybe he just didn't like my son anymore, not sure. And the friends mother didn't make it any easier in our situation. She was totally hard to get along with and annoying. I was kind of glad when I took my son out of the school. I didn't really care if he was friends with that kid anymore, however, my DS would never try to make friends with anyone else in his class so it was frustrating.
 
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