My son is sad and it breaks my heart

My son is sad and it breaks my heart. We’ve moved to a new country and he can’t seem to find his place here. He is six years old and spends most mornings crying… the guilt for dragging him around so much all his life is overwhelming and I feel powerless to help.

My darling boy is the square peg in our family of round holes.   Whilst my husband and myself and our five-year-old twins are relatively happy go lucky, nomadic people who find it easy to make friends and easy to adapt to new places, Rupert is the opposite. A quiet, sensitive and intelligent boy he likes things just so.   His toys have a certain place, he like things calm and tidy, his ideal afternoon is to sit playing Lego alone, when friends come over he often disappears to his room, when he grows up he will doubtless find a home he loves and live there for many years. He’s shy and sweet and things easily make him feel out of his depth… and he lives with a family of absolute nutters. (Ok hubby is a bit more sensible than that). His mother never plans, never organises, and never stays still. I’m the biggest fan of spontaneity often with disastrous consequences. I would move every two months if I could, I change the furniture around in rooms constantly, I never want to be at home and always want to be out exploring… and I am the antithesis of everything Rupert (and possibly my husband come to think of it) needs.

And now we have moved again and he is sad and it’s my fault.   Back in Cape Town, in his last school, was the first time I’ve ever seem him really happy and settled, with good friends. He blossomed; he rarely tantrumed, he was sweet and polite, he was confident and happy and it was wonderful. Then the Kenya opportunity came up and I leapt at the chance for another adventure and off we headed.   The last week we were in Cape Town he sobbed the whole way to school every day. He came out in a huge rash, which the doctors said was down to stress. He didn’t sleep and stopped eating. But we left for Kenya anyway, by that time it was too late not to.

We have been here 5 months now and those immediate symptoms have calmed down, but he is still so sad. He is still to make his special friend. He is still to find a place where he feels he belongs; to find the stillness that he requires, and the support from peers that he had in Cape Town.   I don’t know how to help my sweet little 6-year-old find those things.   I have promised him we wont move again, I give him lots of 1:1 time and I organise play dates, but every day he begs me to return to Cape Town. I know if he could just find a close friend here he would be happy, but I don’t know how to make that happen… and every day, he grows sadder, and I grow sadder and the guilt gets bigger and bigger.

Any magical solutions… answers on a postcard..



  1. Oh my, this blogpost has broken my heart! I feel your pain, momma!! He will be OK, though. Kenya is SUCH an amazing place to raise children. How about you send him to a kindergarten instead of a playgroup? Kindergartens tend to allow deeper friendships and support than playgroups. Just my thought…:) Have you tried exploring some of Kenya’s beautiful places together? What about going on day outings with somebody else who has a child his age? The Ostrich Farm is great, as are the Giraffe Sanctuary, the Bomas of Kenya, the Elephant Orphanage, Karura Forest, etc. He’ll find his happiness again, don’t worry 🙂 Sending both of you hugs in the mean time though!


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