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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
feeling like i run out of gentle options with my son.

his behavior is just over the top when his friends come over to play. he grabs, pushes, will not share, is just plain mean.

we have tried so hard to allow him the space to be who he is, never punish him, avoid being negative and yet we have tried to have firm boundaries about hitting, being gentle, and keeping his hands to himself. we take turns, prompt the kids to use their words, distact them when needed and NOTHING is working.
but he loves to have his friends over and begs meto have them over all the time. we have a conversation ebfore each visit. "you need to be nice to T. no grabbing. ask her to share when she is done. ask for help instead of a tantrum." he agrees to all these thinsg and even tell me back what i have said. it last sometimes 30 min. some times 3 minutes. lately it hasn't worked at all.


i have had to resort to taking him upstairs (kicking and screaming) and telling him he needs to stay upstairs until he can act right. i feel like i am punishing and threatening him. but i have no idea what else to do. today he actually hit one of his friends because he was bossing her around and she was ignoring him. (where do kids get this? i have never ever hit him and neither has his father or anyone else)

i shutter to think that my little leo with the taurus moon is going to be a bully. and playdates are making me wacko. i am really struggling.
 

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hm...i'm nak so i can't type too much LOL but my first thought is - what about neutral territory? a park instead of his play room with all of HIS toys? kwim? maybe he'll feel less ownership of his friends if he's not in his space? then you might have some opportunities for directed praise that he can carry over to his own space...like if he lets his friend take a turn on the slide you can snatch that opportunity to praise him and link it to his toys later? i know you didn't say that his toys were the issue, but rather the bossiness...and i'm sure that's just one piece of it, etc...but it might be worth a shot...at the very least he'll have some fun days in the park and you're no worse off? *HUG* hang in there...it's gonna get better.
 

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Honeybee, I found that the number and ages of the children were relevant to a successful playdate for our son. Toddlers have been tough on him for over a year because they have no negotiating skills and our son has only some. Older children seemed to work more smoothly because they have somewhat different toy interests and really are more abled to delay gratification and wait a turn instead of two 3 year olds both wanting "IT" (whatever It is) NOW! I can imagine how frustrating it is because at 3-5 their play increases to more complexity than just manipulation, it is more purposeful and prolonged.

I liken it to me wanting to bake a cake and someone has the flour and I have the measuring cups but as soon as they put down the flour some one picks up my measuring cups. And on and on, this would be soooooo frustrating. I have seen it with our Thomas trains. As soon as ds has the engine, someone else has the cars or is on the bridge and he wanted to take the engine WITH the cars OVER the bridge. How many minutes of this before you blow a gasket???!!!! I really empathize with the little people being *expected* to share. Especially, when they don't play that way all day, it is sort of a catch 22. The more experience with the frustration of sharing the more frustrating sharing is. And the less experience with the frustration of sharing the more frustrating sharing is.

In reality, we adults do not share unless we want to! So, wanting to see and play with other children and wanting to *share* with other children are really different events. I love our friends but don't want them to be coming and just using all my stuff either. The friends learn and respect my limits. Little people don't do that as well as a three year old would like in the heat of the moment. Wow! This is tough for them imo.

So, we try to do the neutral territory most often. And short visits, less than 90 minutes at our home. We have friends stay longer, but that just escalates it. And having many alternative activities so that children can play without feeling threatened by someone wanting what they want at the same time requires engaged watching. So, I don't get much socializing done when the friends come but the flow goes easier. Taking breaks for food and avoiding our food intolerances: dairy, corn syrup and artificial colors helps to dampen the craziness. And a protein snack helps too.

I do recommend the book "How to Talk so Kids will Listen, How to Listen so Kids will Talk" because it provided me with skills of reflective listening and validation to help our son experience his emotions in a more verbal way than physical. Also, "The Explosive Child" or "The Highly Sensitive Child" were both eye opening about picking your battles so that the child's frustration bucket was not overflowing *before* the company arrived. And the 'Sensitive' book helped me to recognize that our son really is an introvert and wants to watch other children more than engage with them. But too much chaos of to many children was overwhelming for him.

HTH, Pat
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
my son is very much like his dad, and dad is a very sensitive introvert. my son is really social and loves other kids and wants to be around them, and sadly, this behavior is happening at his nursery school too.

i think i maybe will pick on behavior to work on with him... the grabbing. that is the one that seem to be the most disprutive.

and i will pick up the sensitive book too.

thanks again,
 
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