Social Isolation

“Third grade. Everyone’s food in their lunches is disappearing. I am their target. I run out of the room crying when they tell the teacher I am the culprit. I hide in the athletic closet. I cry and wait until my 3rd grade teacher finds me, wraps me in her arms, and tells me everything will be okay.”

“Eight grade. I walk up to the front of the room and drop my math paper in the appropriate basket. I come back to sit down in my desk. The boy behind me pulls my seat out from under me, and I fall back on my derriere. I run to the bathroom and cry in the stall. I come back and sit in the principle’s office (attached to my classroom). I hear my teacher giving a commanding speech. I am not a doormat. I’m not to be treated like one. We do not walk all over her. Embarrassing moment # 936.”

These are my grade school/middle school experiences. Not B’s, mine. As you can tell, grade school wasn’t the most positive social experience for me. I never quite fit in (Not exactly sure why either. Probably because I moved to the school in third grade vs. kindergarten). I was the target of many cruel jokes. I had very few true friends. School was very socially isolating for me until high school.

Why am I telling you all this? I’m sharing my stories to identify another one of my greatest fears. Fears that I don’t want to project onto B. Fears that I need to work on and learn how to control. My 2nd greatest fear for B besides eating is feeling socially isolated from her peers.

I never knew how to handle the social situations. Instead of standing up to my bullies, I ran. I hid. I kept journals of my inadequacies. I don’t want B to go through the same isolating experiences I did, and with that I need to step back and ask my friends and family for help.

Tonight I told B a made-up story. She loves made up stories. She likes you to think you’re making them up, but she’s really telling you the details and you’re just retelling her the little tidbits out loud. This story she actually let me make up myself. It was about a turtle who lived on the beach. Marvin had lots of beach acquaintances, but very few close friends. Marvin felt lonely. It was after I made that comment that B came back with, “Sometimes I feel lonely too at recess when no one wants to play with me.”

I seriously go into “flashback” mode. My heart beats a little bit faster, my tongue gets tied, I rarely know how to respond to comments like this. I know I’m over-thinking it, but I remember how I felt in her shoes and don’t want to say/do the wrong thing.

Be went on to tell me that she asks the other kids to play, and they usually say, “No.” and she walks around the playground by herself. Is she embellishing? Maybe. Is she seeing things from a different perspective. That could be too.

I do plan on calling her teacher tomorrow and getting her take on things. B is extremely sensitive and tends to over-analyze things or see things differently. I remember when she was in preschool. She went on and on about how no one wanted to play with her, and she didn’t have any friends (This was the first week of school). I talked to her teacher who informed me that she was playing fine with kids in her class. Sometimes the kids were busy doing their own thing and didn’t want to stop what they were doing to go play with her. B perceived this as them not liking her. Ahhhh…my sensitive, old soul.

I know teasing/getting picked on is a fact of life for all kids. I just need to learn how to handle it appropriately without projecting my fears onto her and without going overboard. If any parents have any advice for me, please feel free to share. This goes for all parents. I appreciate any and all feedback more than you know  🙂

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About Jessica

I am currently a stay at home mom to my two beautiful girls. B is 7, thoughtful, and has sensory challenges. C is 5, spirited, and keeps me on my toes. Before B, I was a special education teacher. She's taught me more in her 7 years than I learned in my 5.5 years in college and my seven years teaching combined :)
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5 Responses to Social Isolation

  1. Mindy says:

    Jessica: Hang in there! Once my son told me he was lonely at school and had no one to play with, and I asked our school counselor and she said he consistently had at least 3-5 friends he plays with everyday. We later figured out that lonely was what he was using for “tired” or a low arousal day….. we had been using “feeling blue” as a way to describe a low engine day as our OT had helped use to find worked for him and I think he connected feeling blue to lonely from what he is picking up from our slang/books/class, etc.! You are brave to share your story (about B and about you!)… thank you so much! God led me to your blog one day this past summer and it has helped me to relate a bit more… BTW, I am a pediatric OT with a nearly 8yo son with SPD and food aversions, also “B”… and I have taken the SOS 5 day course and STILL do not have the energy to do Food School for him at home. I can totally relate to how you feel about that. You are big leaps further ahead than I think you realize…. or maybe give yourself credit for? Baby steps *can* be big leaps– it’s like a dance really…

  2. Oh that little sweetheart! I hope it’s the case that she’s perceiving these things. I’m so sorry that you had a difficult time in grade school. I have no advice, just sending love your way. *hugs*

  3. Kelley says:

    I’m sorry that I don’t have advice for you, but I can absolutely relate! Sounds like you are on the right track. Bless you!!

  4. Jode says:

    What a powerful post…i am enjoying dicovering your blog….thanks so much for stopping by Mummy Musings and Mayhem recently…off to follow you now x

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