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#1 of 13 Old 03-05-2011, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My youngest daughter, age 8, is PG and has been having difficulties with her friendships lately...I guess I am just looking for a little support and advice. She likes her belongings very organized, likes to do projects that are intricate or involved, and does not like other kids coming in her room or trying out her projects because she thinks that they will mess them up or destroy her organization. This might be just fine, except that she openly tells them that she doesn't want them to play in her room because they will ruin everything. Long story short, her tact is not the best. She is an excellent artist and likes to use a special drawing kit that uses tracing paper to improve drawing skills. When one of her friends comes to play, who is her same age, she will tell her that she doesn't want her to use the kit because she draws like a baby. (The friend draws on level for her age BTW). I don't want DD to ruin her friendships, and I try to discuss these issues with her, but she thinks that I don't understand how annoying it is and she just tells me that her friends act like babies. I can tell that the other moms are less than pleased, and who wouldn't be. Any thoughts?


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#2 of 13 Old 03-05-2011, 08:01 PM
 
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I wouldn't push it. If she's that hostile towards kids her own age, don't subject her or them to it. I would reccomend finding a multi-age interest based activity for her to find connections. My eldest found theatre at 8 and it's been her most valued and substantial peer group ever since. There are kids she has continued relationships with who are 10 years older. She would come from rehearsal beaming because she'd had some great conversation with a high schooler who happened to be reading the same book as her. My DS has had similar success with theatre and in karate. These activities also give the added benefit of showing a child that they just aren't going to be the best at everything.

 

It just sounds like she'd do better in structured peer interaction for now. It takes a lot of maturity to put aside your own wants to make someone else comfortable and welcome. It's a lot easier to be mean about another child's drawing than it is to put yourself in their place and choose words that don't hurt as much. I'd take a rest from playdates and instead look for a quality multi-age art class or some other activity that will bring her to kids who have mutual interests.


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#3 of 13 Old 03-05-2011, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, this is great advice! We homeschool, so we are always having classes that are multi-aged, but the issues tends to only happen when it turns into a play-date setting after the classes. She gets along great with older kids and adults, and I should have known this since my oldest PG DD always hung out with older people, but I guess since my youngest has grown up with kids her age in the homeschool group I keep trying to encourage the connection. Ah well, I think you are completely right. It would take a lot to bring her to a mature state where she is supposed to know how to interact in the ways that I am expecting of her. She must feel as though the children in question are much younger kids, even though they are the same age, and I have to admit they do toss toys around and don't think about keeping things in order out of politeness. Most 8 year olds wouldn't. Thanks for the help!


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#4 of 13 Old 03-05-2011, 11:42 PM
 
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Yeah, I guess I'd probably back off on the playdates too, like whatsnextmom suggested. But I'd really want to work with her on her empathy and tact! I think that when people come to your house for a visit you have a responsibility to be a good host, and that includes not insulting your guests, no matter how annoying you feel they are. If she doesn't want them in her room and touching her stuff, you and she should be discussing ways to keep this from being a potential conflict with a guest. For instance, she should work beforehand to come up with activities, toys and resources in the common parts of the house to facilitate play that doesn't drift into her bedroom. She should put her drawing kit and any other precious things away and out of sight. You should discuss ways to redirect a friend gently, without hurting feelings. She could even be given permission to say "No, my mom says we shouldn't play in my bedroom." After you've talked through the issues, you could reinstate playdates if she thinks she has a better understanding of how to deal with this stuff.

 

My 8-year-old has a very persistent 6-year-old "fan," the younger sibling of an older girl who hangs out a fair bit with my 8- and 12-year-olds, and my dd is often tormented/followed/clung onto by this youngster for an hour or two during family visits. My kid has come a huge way over the past couple of years in dealing sensitively and graciously with this girl. She is firm about boundaries, but not rude or hurtful. I definitely think it's possible to teach an 8-year-old social skills that allow them to deal effectively and unhurtfully with annoying immature behaviour by friends or acquaintances. I would keep working at it a bit at a time.

 

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#5 of 13 Old 03-06-2011, 06:59 AM
 
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. It would take a lot to bring her to a mature state where she is supposed to know how to interact in the ways that I am expecting of her.


Actually I think it is a totally reasonable expectation for an eight year old to learn to be a kind to guests. The approach we took was very similar to what Miranda described. Plan ahead, allow the child to put away important items they don't want used by others, and practice phrases they can use in the moment.  We also put some effort into making sure we had some toys that worked well for mixed age groups of kids. Some stuff that worked well for the younger set - playfood kitchen type stuff, playdough, puppets. For the older set - legos, marble run, board games.  These were not necessarily the child's favorite toys or the ones he would play with the most on his own but they worked well for groups. For all ages - getting outside if possible helps too.

 

I really would not stop having playdates entirely. I think that sends her the message that she should be anxious about this and she can't get along with other kids. It denies her the opportunity to learn important skills that she needs to work on.

 

One final thought, you mentioned this often happens after homeschool group. This might be totally off, but based on our experience I will ask - how long are these playdates? Are they running way too long? That seems to happen sometimes around here.

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#6 of 13 Old 03-06-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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I totally agree that this child needs to work on empathy, compassion and being a gracious host. I just wouldn't want my own child to be her test subject KWIM? I'd rather the girl practice on older and/or more able kids before going one-on-one with another child her age. That's why I'd say going with structured activity for awhile might be better as an adult would be there to help guide her and be there to help counteract any negative comments she might make towards others. I remember we dropped a friend in the preschool years because he was mean and aggressive. The mom begged us to continue the relationship because her kid needed to "work on it" (and no one else was continuing the playdates) but then I was sending MY child the message that it was OK to be the sacrifice and that her feelings weren't as important as this kids learning opportunity.

 

Certainly work on it but maybe by discussing book relationships and dealing with kids who won't take to heart so much of what she says.

 

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 But I'd really want to work with her on her empathy and tact!

 

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 It denies her the opportunity to learn important skills that she needs to work on.



 


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#7 of 13 Old 03-06-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Yeah, I would expect my 6 year old to have more empathy and tact than that- it's a more than reasonable expectation of her.

 

I think I would discourage competition about technical drawing ability (aren't we just doing this to have fun? Actually if it's such a hot spot, maybe they should try other activities instead- she doesn't sound like she's really ready to do art with other people), and the organization of toys and objects sounds more like a family culture/control issue than a maturity issue. It's also true that if any of my kids came home from a playdate reporting the sort of stuff you are describing, I would probably keep them from playdates at your house for a while. Does she get invited to other people's houses? How is she there? Could it just be a location issue? What does she think should happen? Does she even want these playdates? It doesn't sound like she's having very much fun. Maybe she's just a kid who doesn't want many playdates, but in any case I definitely think you should expect more in the way of social skills from her at that age.

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#8 of 13 Old 03-06-2011, 12:04 PM
 
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Personality can be a greater indicator of success than smarts alone. This seems like something she REALLY, with your guidance, needs help with. On a good note, one would assume her self-esteem is in good shape! 

Maybe her playdates could focus on something that puts her on a level playing field with her peers - going to the pool (open-ended) or playing on a team that involves cooperation from all it's members. I would be worried that an elitist attitude might leave her very lonely. Now and in adulthood.


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#9 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hempmama View Post
Does she get invited to other people's houses? How is she there? Could it just be a location issue? What does she think should happen? Does she even want these playdates? It doesn't sound like she's having very much fun. Maybe she's just a kid who doesn't want many playdates, but in any case I definitely think you should expect more in the way of social skills from her at that age.

I think some of these questions, esp. regarding whether she's interested in playdates, are worth considering. The stats out there say that 75% of gifted people are introverts, and that number increases to closer to 90% of PG people. It may just be that she doesn't want people over. As an adult, I struggle tremendously with continuing to be polite when I'm.just.done being with other people. It's exhausting to me, not fun.
 

 



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Personality can be a greater indicator of success than smarts alone. This seems like something she REALLY, with your guidance, needs help with. On a good note, one would assume her self-esteem is in good shape! 

Maybe her playdates could focus on something that puts her on a level playing field with her peers - going to the pool (open-ended) or playing on a team that involves cooperation from all it's members. I would be worried that an elitist attitude might leave her very lonely. Now and in adulthood.


I'm not sure if I agree. Certainly personality matters, but being significantly smarter than the people around you is alienating in itself. I absolutely oppose just tossing an academically gifted kid on a sports team for the sake of humility, which often is what that turns out to be. (Been there...) My problem always has been that others cannot talk about things at the same level. It's difficult to know how to have a conversation when everything you say is mysteriously offensive. (That is how I've often felt.) As a small child, I lacked the impulse control not to correct things that were wrong. As a kid in junior high/high school, I simply did not share interests, like hair and makeup and teeny boppers, that other girls around me did. Even now, I don't chat about those topics. If you do, then I just don't hang out with you again because it's no fun for me. I've still never learned how to respond when someone says, "I can't ever do those Sudoku puzzles! They hurt my brain, know what I mean?" Uh, no, I don't. It makes sense to me that the OP's child, as an 8YO, would have trouble with those kinds of comparisons. 

 

I've heard 8YOs say all kinds of things that translate to me as "no filter" from their brain to mouth. That's all the OP's daughter is doing. She does need to work on her relationships with other people, but I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that she has a personality that tends toward turning people off.

 


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#10 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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I'm not sure if I agree. Certainly personality matters, but being significantly smarter than the people around you is alienating in itself. I absolutely oppose just tossing an academically gifted kid on a sports team for the sake of humility, which often is what that turns out to be. (Been there...) My problem always has been that others cannot talk about things at the same level. It's difficult to know how to have a conversation when everything you say is mysteriously offensive. (That is how I've often felt.) As a small child, I lacked the impulse control not to correct things that were wrong. As a kid in junior high/high school, I simply did not share interests, like hair and makeup and teeny boppers, that other girls around me did. Even now, I don't chat about those topics. If you do, then I just don't hang out with you again because it's no fun for me. I've still never learned how to respond when someone says, "I can't ever do those Sudoku puzzles! They hurt my brain, know what I mean?" Uh, no, I don't. It makes sense to me that the OP's child, as an 8YO, would have trouble with those kinds of comparisons. 

 

I've heard 8YOs say all kinds of things that translate to me as "no filter" from their brain to mouth. That's all the OP's daughter is doing. She does need to work on her relationships with other people, but I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that she has a personality that tends toward turning people off.

 


I didn't mean to imply, as she's so young, that there's something innately wrong with her personality or cause undue worry about her future relationships. Perhaps I'm coming to the table with very different circumstances as an Aspie's mom. I understand that social difficulties can be a result of intellectual superiority or because of a child's inability to "get it" or lack of interest in peer relationships. 

My early years were marked by all three, and our childhoods share many similarities. The difference would be that I wanted to make friends and relate to others and was inept and bullied. The blows to my self-esteem at not being invited to birthday parties or movies, always being the one picked last for P.E. teams, still haunt me. One always wants better for the next generation, and that leaves me on the zealous side of social intervention when it comes to my own child. I didn't mean to jump the gun, offend anyone or imply that there is something wrong with a more insular childhood. I'm sorry if I did. I think we agree however, that it's ideal to have an option.

 


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#11 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 12:11 PM
 
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My niece is most likely PG, and she went through a period where my sister had to teach her very directly:

"If you tell other mothers what to do, they won't invite you back." "If you pick up your friends and move them to where you want them to be, they won't want to play with you." lol.gif

 

She practiced with my niece, had more structured play dates and worked on how to be polite/tactful. Age took care of a lot of it, but she also learned a lot from working on it with her parents. My niece is now a delightful 20 year old who is kind, thoughtful and adventurous. (She's currently studying abroad in Kenya; she spent last summer rebuilding trails in the wilderness.)

 

I guess my point is: I think direct instruction on social skills for kids who find them hard is a good thing. My mom worked on social skills with all her kids (even those who were extroverts). It never hurts to have social graces, but it does take a lot of time, maturity and practice to develop them.


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#12 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think some of these questions, esp. regarding whether she's interested in playdates, are worth considering. The stats out there say that 75% of gifted people are introverts, and that number increases to closer to 90% of PG people. It may just be that she doesn't want people over. As an adult, I struggle tremendously with continuing to be polite when I'm.just.done being with other people. It's exhausting to me, not fun.
 

 




As a small child, I lacked the impulse control not to correct things that were wrong.

 

I've heard 8YOs say all kinds of things that translate to me as "no filter" from their brain to mouth. That's all the OP's daughter is doing. She does need to work on her relationships with other people, but I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that she has a personality that tends toward turning people off.

 

YES! That is exactly how it seems. It drives her so crazy that she must correct her friends, and adults for that matter, when she sees something wrong or thinks that something will be disrupted. I agree that she definitely needs work on her tact, and we do discuss these issues with her daily, she is just a very good debater. She will argue with us about why her points are valid and why it drives her nuts to be around certain friends.
 

Your insights are right on. Se also have very mild OCD symptoms, which I think make the situation worse. It has been really challenging to balance my DD's needs while keeping others from being offended.


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#13 of 13 Old 03-07-2011, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I would expect my 6 year old to have more empathy and tact than that- it's a more than reasonable expectation of her.

 

I think I would discourage competition about technical drawing ability (aren't we just doing this to have fun? Actually if it's such a hot spot, maybe they should try other activities instead- she doesn't sound like she's really ready to do art with other people), and the organization of toys and objects sounds more like a family culture/control issue than a maturity issue. It's also true that if any of my kids came home from a playdate reporting the sort of stuff you are describing, I would probably keep them from playdates at your house for a while. Does she get invited to other people's houses? How is she there? Could it just be a location issue? What does she think should happen? Does she even want these playdates? It doesn't sound like she's having very much fun. Maybe she's just a kid who doesn't want many playdates, but in any case I definitely think you should expect more in the way of social skills from her at that age.



I have resulted in simply telling her how to keep her opinions to herself when the friends are around, and I have actually talked to her at length about putting up the projects in question.She does get invited to the homeschool classes, but not often to playdates at the friend's houses. Go figure ;). The thing is, she is highly content to be at home and to "socialize" with people at the homeschool classes. She doesn't really like playdates, which may be part of the problem. I think the playdates stress her out more than feeling like fun with friends.


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