OT: 13 year old son's friends dropping him, one by one

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  • dorasaint

    Hello all:

    My 13 year old boy doesn’t really have any friends. He has been liked well enough (I think) by the handful of boys he has known for years, but it is very rare for them to call him to ask him to come over. My son asks them. I’m happy for him to do that, and also happy to arrange transportation (or whatever, to make it work), but I know it would give him such a boost to be asked once in a while. Lately, when he asks someone over, he is receiving more refusals. I know school is gearing up, but most people have some time for leisure pursuits. I’m not sure what’s going on.

    I have observed my son and his friends when they are playing at our house, trying to ascertain whether he is not playing well with them, and I don’t see anything amiss. He is a polite young man, and very kind, and though he likes to play video games more than anything (grrr…), he and his friends swim in our pool, shoot baskets, eat (endlessly), skateboard at the park, etc.

    I don’t want to overreact, but I hate to think that this will be the pattern for the coming years. I don’t want to make him into a social butterfly, but I would love for him to have just one (or two?!) friends who value him. He will play basketball with our local home school team this fall, but he has played with those boys this summer and hasn’t really made friends with any of them, so I’m not sure that will be helpful. We have attended the same co-op for years, but there aren’t many boys his age there. I think he just tolerates co-op. He didn’t care for scouts, but he likes church. Most of the kids at church go to school, and though they are not unkind to him, they don’t really pay attention to him either. He is quiet.

    Should I take some kind of action? Is there anything I can do to help him?

    This hurts my heart…

    Thank you for any advice you’d care to offer.


    Hi there! This is such a hard thing for both child and parent. My son is turning 19 in 2 weeks and he struggled off and on with desperately wanting more friends from 13 or so up. We live in a small town so our homeschool group is very small. He did have friends within the group but their were only 2 anywhere near his age and both of them were younger than him. He finally joined another church’s youth group and got a part time job. Those two things kept him busy and he did end up making some friends in the youth group. He joined their band and became more outgoing so I think it was a blessing for him as a whole.

    My daughter is 12 and she is starting to struggle with the idea that her peers might think she is weird. The truth is, our kids’ personalities aren’t molded by all that peer pressure that kid in more traditional school settings face every day. Yes, they are different and the kids who hang together all day will probably draw closer together and have common bonds that our kids can’t share.

    I learned from my son’s struggles to provide plenty of oppertunites for my daughter to get together with others and do things outside the home. She still only has a small handful of friends that she only sees once a week or so but it seems to be enough for now. In addition to that, her and I do alot together. We keep her days full of learning, long walks, bike rides, chores, etc. so that she enjoys her free hours of reading and handicrafts and doesn’t  have much time to be bored.

    That’s my advice-make sure he has plenty of social activities (and it sound like you’re already doing that), and he’ll eventually make new friends. They are so self-conscience at this age that it takes a while to form new friendships and get to know new people. I also prayed with my son that God would provide the friends that He wanted my son to have. I think it comforted him to know that I shared his concern and I believe God answered those prayers. 🙂


    Good advice here. I would add that it helped my son to find a place to serve in an area he is interested in.

    He is volunteering in children’s church and learning and growing into a better friend to others.




    I don’t really have a solution for you but I wanted to say that your son is not alone. This happened to our son at this age, and my husband said it happened to him as well when he was a boy. Why? We feel it’s the rough road into the junior high years. Our son played with the neighborhood kids all through elementary, but as soon as junior high hit, he was just not “cool” enough to be part of the gang – the neighborhood kids, unchurched, began to make wrong decisions, and cool became more important than childhood friendships. It was a painful time for him. We prayed a lot about this! We also got him involved in opportunities for group activities that forged new friendships. In our case, this was a homeschool theater group. This led to a ministry based theater opportunity that actually became a blessing for our whole family.  Now it’s our daughters turn.  There is only one girl her age at church, and her family is not open to allowing friendship.  All of her homeschool friends have decided to go to public or Christian school for high school so suddenly she’s pretty much friendless.  Gratefully, she’s been invited to join a book club and we are praying that she will forge new friendships through this connection.  Praying for your son, and just know that he is not alone! So thankful that our Heavenly Father cares about these things!


    This happened with our son when he was about 12/13.  Brokenhearted is all I can say.  Things are much better now, but that was something I was not prepared for and agonized over for months.  No advice right now, but please know he is not alone.  We spent a lot of time in prayer and tried to get him involved in more outside activities which helped.  Reminding him, almost daily, of his value in Christ and praying for a friend who would like him just the way he is, definitely helped. He now has a few friends who are more worthy of him than the ones he was trying to force friendships on (not saying your son is doing that 🙂 at that awkward age. 

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