6 year old has a hard time making and keeping friends - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-17-2010, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I just feel so sad for my son. At the beginning of the school year he was having a hard time making friends. Then finally 2 months in he made a friend. Theyve had several playdates and Ive become friends with his mom. Then today I went into his school for the first time in a long time for his birthday (we get to bring cupcakes during lunch) First of all I noticed not only is ds incredibley quiet and shy, he is the smallest kid in his class (including the girls). At lunch the kids who has become his friend (M) was sitting next to another kid (E). E is a very outgoing, engergetic kid. E made a point to tell me that *he* is M's friend now and not my ds. He kept saying this in a very obnoxious way. M is very similar to ds. Quiet and impressionable and seemed to just go along with whatever E was saying. I told them that you can have more than 1 friend and there is no reason they can't all be friends and play together. E just kept saying no M and I are friends not ds and that's that. Poor ds was practically in tears and this is his birthday of all days! I was almost in tears myself. By this time they were lining up so I had to leave. I just don't know what to do for him. Ive tried lots of role playing with ds to try to build his social skills but he's just such a quiet kid. Is there anything at all I can do for him? I feel so sad about the whole thing.

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#2 of 6 Old 02-17-2010, 01:37 PM
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Did you talk to M's mom about it? What does she say? Is she still willing to have playdates with your son and M? What does she think of E?

I've known kids like E... they are friends but bullies, too.

Talk with the teacher. Maybe she can work the seating arrangement so that E is across the room from the boys. And she can have a talk with the whole class about excluding others and how its not nice.
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#3 of 6 Old 02-17-2010, 01:51 PM
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I agree, get the teacher involved. She should be pretty aware of the social dynamics, and hopefully help facilitate. I would also read the Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander book.
Good luck, how heartbreaking!

Momma to 8 y.o. DS and 5 y.o. DD. Married to a Maker!

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#4 of 6 Old 02-17-2010, 02:48 PM
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Another vote for getting the teacher involved, but I'd also get the school counselor involved. This child is bullying and they need to work on it with all the kids.

This is a really common problem in 1st grade. 1st graders are still learning that you can be friends with more than one person and that you don't need to be exclusive. Ds had a friend like that ('luckily' ds was the one she wanted to play with) and it was hard. They're 8 now and she's mostly outgrown it.

Two books suggestions (for you):
Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children
Playground Politics: Understanding the Emotional Life of Your School Aged Child

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#5 of 6 Old 02-17-2010, 11:09 PM
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#6 of 6 Old 02-18-2010, 05:52 AM
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I have a similar situation with my DS in first grade.

It's tough.

We're doing a training class for kids that either bully or tend to be bullied. We've only had one session and it seems to be helping. I don't know if something like that exists in your area (I live in Europe) but it helps kids (via a kind of drama therapy) to learn how to make eye contact, stand confidently, answer with confidence, etc. I don't think it will suddenly make my DS into the most popular boy in class, but I do hope it will help him project more confidence. And I do think the things like learning how to answer kids directly and make eye contact (things that my DS aren't good at) might help him "attract" friends.

I've gotten out of my comfort zone and just started taking the lead in inviting some kids over to play after school and on weekends. Luckily, DS has a good friend in the neighbor boy. But . .. anyway . .. you've gotten some good advice already. I would just add that there are probably some things that you could help your child with (via role-playing, etc.) that might make him more "attractive" to other kids and also more bully-proof.
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