Jump to content

Homesickness


Billyelliott
 Share

Recommended Posts

Having never suffered with this myself , I'm not sure what helps !

DS - year 7 at vocational school says he can't phone me because he needs to be chatting to his friends so he doesn't feel homesick !

He sobs down the phone at me when I insist he have a short conversation with me !!

 

I get comments like - "I was so homesick last night " when he doesn't pick up the phone calls I make and only one word answers when I text !

Am I wrong to insist that he call me at least one a week ?

Does it not help them to stay connected and report on what is happening at school ?

Any insight or advice ?

He says he is happy there and he will be comming home again Friday , but last leave out he did not tell me anything much to me and just wanted to go out and see his friends and was keen to get back to school again !

Does this sound normal ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 201
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

We always left it for DS to call us when it suited him. We didn't want him to be disturbed by us if he was busy. He usually called every few days. For us it worked. He suffered with homesickness but was generally to busy for it to effect him.

 

I nearly posted a week or so ago as DS was on the phone in tears and he is now so far away there is little I can do to help. I had to give the phone to another family member who just chatted a load of rubbish to him which calmed us all down. He is used to having lots of people around him which now he doesn't. What a difference a week makes last night I had a very smiley happy DS on the phone saying how good it is going. He is slowly making new friends though language is a barrier.

 

I can't say it gets easier while at school we saw him regularly now it will have been nearly 2 months when we see him.

 

Wishing you all the best and at least we have phones and the Internet.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest I think you have to be led by your DS as he is the one settling in at school and it is early days.  If he says he is happy there and that he is keeping busy with friends then take comfort in that.  My guess would be that he is actually missing home less than you are missing him, if that makes sense.  Afterall he is doing something he loves, making new friends and having very busy days whilst for you it is still very early days and there is the constant nagging feeling of something being missing, even when you are not thinking about him  . If he was unhappy I am sure he would be on the phone/texting you constantly.  My DD was older than your son when she went but I know if she has a bad day or something exciting happens I soon hear about it.  I do feel for you but it does sound normal to me.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Billyelliott, posting some "virtual" support!  Hopefully, it's just the transition period and things will settle into a happy routine.  

 

I know it's not the same but a friend of mine had a rotten time when her daughter went to University (older I know).  My friend missed her daughter so much and was really hurt that her daughter never seemed to want to talk to her on the phone but would happily talk to her Dad.  Months later, the daughter confided to her Mum that talking to her Mum was just too difficult because she missed her so much to begin with but she didn't feel the same homesickness for her Dad because she was used to him working away occasionally so it didn't trigger the homesickness. After those first few months, everything went back to normal and Mum and Daughter were thick as thieves again! :)

 

Hope this helps a little.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Billyelliott

My response is a little rushed but I just wanted you to know that yes it is completely normal, and also depends on the individual child .

I have one who hardly ever rang when at school, and still after only one week of college seems to be following the same routine, and I have another who is never off the phone that I sometimes cannot get my jobs done  ;)

I will say that in the early days younger dd couldn't speak to her Dad as she said it made her feel worse.

We as DP's are  used to being so involved with our children and spend lots of time taxing them around overnight stays etc, it can be hard when they first go away  and will take for the whole family to adjust.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think I've got any particular words of wisdom that can help, but just wanted to share our own experience.  (Those of you who have been on the forum for a long time will know our story - bear with me!)

 

My son went to WL in year 7 and was so homesick that they still (9 years on) refer to him as an example of extreme homesickness, but being someone who stuck at it despite how difficult he found it!  He was able to come home every weekend, but with hindsight that prolonged the agony, as it were, as going back each time was like starting again.  He was worse when speaking to us on the phone, and actually, once he was over the worst of it, he was better to keep busy with things at school - it was quiet moments (when he woke up was the worst, and late evening) when he was most upset. 

 

Once things settled down (into year 8 in our case - although don't panic - he did get slightly better through year 7!) he then became one of those boys who rarely rang home - too busy, nothing he particularly wanted to tell us, etc.  Now he's working abroad we still only hear from him when he's having a rough day - perhaps worried about an injury, or not feeling well.

 

As Hairbelles said, all children are different and cope with things differently.  Try not to worry about him not telling you things about school - I've always had to rely on my friends with girls to let me know what's going on ;) .  It may be worth a chat with him about how you would like to hear from him once a week, just to hear his voice, but try not to grill him with lots of questions - our phone conversations have always been pretty short - that's just how it is for us.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BillyElliot, really feel for you, it is such a hard adjustment to make.

 

I would let him deal with things his own way for the moment. There are two huge positives here in that he is enjoying school and wants to go back and has made friends that he chats with. Phone calls can be difficult because they are reminded of what they are missing. Although DD has phoned every night on the dot since she went away in year 7 (we live quite a long way from the school and so she doesn't come home as often as some) our phone calls are mainly trivia/ramblings and the occasional bit of information. I don't hear much about ballet or school progress although I do find that a good way to chat is to go for a long walk together when she is home.

 

Hang on in there, things will begin to fall into a routine and it will start to feel more normal (although you don't stop missing them however old they are!)   :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a slightly different tangent I would like to add my experience as as member of staff at a residential programme - I worked for several summers at an intensive in the USA where kids would either stay for 4 weeks or 8 weeks. They were NOT allowed to phone home unless in extreme cases. Nor were they allowed internet access or mobile phones. This was to enable the kids to fully immerse themselves in the experience and to forget about home. Now this may seem callous however they were allowed to write and parents sent 'care packages' (that we had to search for junk food! - you'd be amazed how much parents tried to smuggle in through the mail, and in very creative ways!). The most extreme cases of homesickness were allowed to call home but most contact went through directors in the office who passed very minimal messages on. After 2 weeks there was a visiting day, where most parents drove up, collected their kids and then they all ended up at the local mall and the kids met up with their camp friends immediately!

 

The kids coped with this system much better than the parents. The staff at boarding schools and residential courses have dealt with this year upon year upon year and know the best ways to combat it. Keeping kids busy and distracted is usually the tried and tested method. Those parents who insist on calling every day etc end up disturbing the efforts of the staff and like JulieW mentioned, it reminds them of what they are missing and prolongs the agony. 

 

Be guided by your son, and be guided by the school staff. And while you're missing him horribly, try to distract yourself too! I hope things improve for you both.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

I think there would be more of a problem if he was phoning home all the time on his own accord and sobbing. The fact that he wanted to go back, an seems to be having a good time says it all really.

 

It is those occasions when we get lots of phone calls and long chats that we think something might be up.

 

But have a chat to the house parents as well. They will probably be able to put your mind at rest.

 

With regards to phone calls, another parent we know put this on Facebook after a 'long period of silence' - "ring me in the next hour and I shall buy you an iPad" - as far as I know, the money has stayed in their pocket!

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi!

 

Sorry to hear this, but most children do get homesick at some point of their vocational journey and not always in the first year. Not a lot to add other than it's good he wanted to play with his 'home' friends, its important to keep in touch with them, the school holidays are so long and it keeps life in perspective. Hoping he gets over it soon.

 

NL

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

my DS didn't obviously suffer very much from homesickness though he did go to vocational school at an older age (14)- however I have noticed that he has tended to stay in touch MORE rather than less as time has gone on. I suspect this is (as has been mentioned above) because at the beginning it was quite disruptive for HIM to call home and be reminded of how separated and distant he was. As he felt more secure and 'at home' in his school environment he is more able to chat to us without it throwing out his equanimity....I have always been of the opinion that 'no news is good news' in this (esp since in the first year DS tended only to call when he had a ghastly homework deadline he needed help with!!!)

I know people have debated the merits of facebook for this age but in my case it was a complete lifesaver for this issue. The fact that I could see him posting pictures of messing around in the studios doing pas de deux with mates or hanging out in downtown Washington trying on daft outfits in shops etc made me feel far less anxious about him, without having to keep nagging him for a call....no matter how much he said he missed us I didn't think he could be all that sad if he could bring himself to prance around in a faux fur coat and feather boa.....

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I couldn't bear it, if I only spoke to my ds (who's 12) once a week! It feels like he's far away,as it is and I've never been a fan of boarding schools either! I like to have dialogue with all my children, it makes me feel part of their lives, even if they live away and 3 of them do. My eldest child is 37 and lives close by, we may not see each other for a week or 2, but speak on the phone every other day. Even when one of my daughters was working in Mexico, we spoke every other day. But I guess this is more about my needs than theirs!!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I too was going to say that, from my time at university, I remember this problem.  It probably *is* easier for your son to chat to/message his friends because presumably that is what he used to do when he was at home too, so it's like a continuation of a routine for him, and will help him as he settles in.  You, on the other hand are a different kettle of fish: he's been living at home with you, and suddenly *he's* not at home any more and *you* aren't physically with him any more either, and that's a much tougher situation for him to deal with because it's a big change.  Having to talk to you on the phone rather than chatting in the kitchen or whatever probably just rubs that in and reminds him of what he's missing, so he's probably just trying to avoid circumstances that he knows will upset him and make him worse (and you too, possibly).

 

I'm sure things will get better as time goes on.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looks like you've had loads of support but just another personal experience...

 

When I was away from home - even as late as 17 - as soon as I heard my mum's voice on the phone I would start crying and couldn't even speak I was so choked up. It was really embarrassing if anyone was around and also just not very pleasant. It wasn't comforting for me to be reminded of home, I just needed to throw myself into my new surroundings and experience. I went through a phase of not contacting my parents, doing it out of guilt and it eventually settled down into a "healthy" (if it can be called such in my dysfunctional family) communication.

 

Hopefully this is just a phase and he is dealing with homesickness in his own way. I used to hate hearing the background noises of my little sisters and home life. I'm sure he'll come round :)

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear you are struggling BillyElliot, i am sure he will be very happy but missing you!

I agree with what Miss.Pointe says- when i was away at summer school, i texted but never rang my parents, knowing the sound of my mums voice wouldve made me really emotional and i didnt want her to think i was upset!!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi BillyElliott, my dd at same school as your ds. She hardly rang at all her first term she said it made her feel more homesick ringing home, as the school year went on I got more phone calls especially leading up to leave out or half term when she knew she was going to see us. This year she's rung every night and I'm finding it harder to cope as I notice every little change in her voice so if she's tired and she sounds a bit down or less enthusiastic I worry more.

 

It was also like drilling for teeth as she wasn't forthcoming with what she'd be doing but happy to say she's better at filling me in now - I think that's because she wants to tell me things before I find them out on here or facebook. I know it's hard but follow his lead and I'm sure he'll settle into a routine.

 

Also dd wanted a new phone and I told her there was no point as she had a phone so she could home and as she didn't phone she'd no use for a new one. Hey presto phone call every night and 2 or three times over the weekend.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dd has telephoned every night she has been away ! I have learned the trick is little and often ! If we keep it brief none gets upset ! I love the fact that her time with her phone is restricted ! I can relax knowing she can't call ! Got a bit worried the other morning when she called from the payphone in the house !!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi.

I just wanted to add my experience for you.

I went to vocational school when I was 11. In the first year we weren't allowed to ring home at all, only to have letters and parcels. These were obviously much anticipated. My Mum was a single parent so I asked if I would be allowed to ring her for her birthday during my first summer term. Speaking to her on the phone really upset me and definitely made me so much more homesick.

My Mum remembers receiving letters from me saying I wanted to go home as I really missed her and then a day or so later a letter telling her how much I loved it and it was the best place in the world!

This was all 20+ years ago so way before mobiles.

He must really be loving it to say he is happy there so I would try and relax and use "no news is good news!"

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One word texts? No news for days? Too busy to see parents never mind talk? Next to no worthwhile information about the day/month/week/year?

 

Parent at home with glass of something staring at phone sending texts like "remember us? we are your parents!" or "have you lost your phone?" All the time feeling that a bit of you missing...

 

Yep, entirely normal!

 

Thankfully ds very happy most of time. Its awful having a very upset child on end of phone but thankfully it didnt happen often for us (but very dramatic when it did.)

 

Fortunately ds had amazing house staff who went out their way to help when necessary and didnt mind the old phonecall from us to check if ds ok. Eventually came to arrangement that if ds called on given day we wouldnt pester him the rest of the time. Years later ds also said that he found it easier not to have constant reminders of home,it helped him settle.

  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I went away to join a ballet company in Germany when I was 19.  It was the first time that I had been away from home and it was a nightmare!  I lived in awful digs, had no friends to speak of and in order to phone home I had to go to the post office and book a call which was restricted to 3 minutes in a little booth.  Post took ages and I lived for the letters from home with chat about the humdrum ordinary things they did.  One day I was so homesick and miserable, that I collected all the coins I could find and phoned my dad from a call box.  I spent precious minutes crying and I can only imagine how helpless he felt.  He was clever enough to send me to the AD, who opened his apartment door to find me crying on his doorstep :( .  He took me in, bless him, gave me a shot of alcohol (!!!) to calm me, gave me some of the steak that he and his girlfriend were eating and was so sweet, that I remember it until today.  Somehow I got through the rest of the season after that and the next season new people joined the company, with whom I had instant rapport and suddenly the world was a better place.  I have to say though that nowadays with instant messaging, and smart phones we are so used to being in constant contact, that when you are not, in a way it's worse........  And by the way my son has left home for the first time to do an MA in London and boy do I miss his presence in the house.  However old he is, it will still take us all time to get used to it...... so I really do sympathise with all you parents with young teenagers away at vocational schools. 

  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

BillyElliot my heart goes out to you.  I see that you have had some very good advice on here.  JulieW I was almost in tears reading your post.  My son sobbed on the phone to me every night when he was at summer school and that was only 5 nights!  He seems quite put off the idea of boarding at all and in light of this short experience I am not at all sure what to do.  Apply anyway and secretly hope he doesn't get in?!  Apply anyway and turn it down if he is offered a place and doesn't want to go?  It's so hard to know what to do for the best for him...

Billy - I did read an article once written by a teacher of year 7 boys at WL (some years ago).  She said boys tend to get homesickness the worst, and that she basically taught her year 7s maths (or whatever) in tears for the first term, but it sorted itself out after that......I wish you strength until it gets better for him and you...

Did your son do summer schools at all Billy?  Did he get homesick then?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have replied to your Pm - sorry it took a while as I was busy at work.....

Never been homesick before .... Came out if the blue !

Also I have to stress that he is very happy there , when not being reminded of what he is missing at home , and was very glad to be going back at the end of his leave out - he RAN up the drive ????

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All these stories of homesick children on this and other threads just reinforces to me what an unnatural thing it is to send a child away at a very young age. Although most children 'get through it' and even appear to love being away at school, I have seen first hand that it can have lifelong effects which can sometimes surface years later. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband went to visit ds when he was feeling at his worst and they sat down and did a pros and cons list (I've still got it somewhere) and basically it just boiled down to him missing us which he just gradually learned to live with.

Although I understand Ribbons point, I think that being at a vocational boarding school (whether dance or sports - I know some of those too) is a bit different from going to "normal" boarding school - the children are there for a very particular reason and have very much chosen to be there. Doesn't stop it being hard to be away from home but it's where they really want to be. (I'm not saying all boarding school children are unhappy about going away to school but I'm sure there are quite a few who feel like they've been "sent" away to "normal" non-vocational boarding schools. I certainly know some adult friends who say that now looking back.)

My ds talks quite openly now about how hard it was at the time to feel that way but had thanked me for sticking with it and supporting him through it.

 

Edited for clarity

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...