How can I help academically clever, socially immature ds2?

(32 Posts)

Ds2 is 5, in reception. He is academically very clever. Stage 8 reading band, maths has moved on to fractions, percentages, factors, devision, multiplication etc, his vocabulary is large and his general knowledge is great.

However, he really struggles to control his emotions. He's very competitive and gets angry when he loses a game/ race. He is stubborn and also prone to tantrums if things don't go his way. He had a 20 minute tantrum in the classroom the other day because he didn't want to do his writing.

What can I do to help him? Does anyone have any experience that will help?

TIA thanks

Bumping because it's sports day on Monday and I'm dreading it when he doesn't win anything.

Piratejones Thu 10-Jul-14 10:58:14

My 6 year old is also very behind emotional and socially so I know how you feel, unfortunately I don't think you can do anything about it, It something that has to build on it's own.

Give him lots of chance to lose games at home though.
Have you spoken to his teachers, you could maybe arrange an appointment with the school nurse too?

starlight1234 Thu 10-Jul-14 10:58:32

Some of it is developmental but also do things at home where he loses, games races. He may tantrum but better at home. Talk to him how he could of handle it differently.

Also model good losing. for example we do a shake hand well done I however started begrudging Well done but now he can do it with a smile

Seeline Thu 10-Jul-14 10:58:55

First of all - constant re-assurance that as long he has done his best, winning is not everything!
Perhaps lots of games over the summer where he doesn't win all the time, and let him know it really doesn't matter. Show that when you win, it's nice but other things are just as important.
I would also say try some out-of school activities where the competition element is less - drama club, beavers etc. He will have a chance of mixing with other in a non-competitive environment, which he will learn can be just as much fun.
Another activity I have heard helps with self-control, but have no experience of myself, is martial arts.
By the way, I think the desire to win is perfectly normal in kids that age, and many do not have the emotional maturity to be able to deal with loosing. I think a lot of it is down to the fact the many schools have no competitive side at all and the children therefore never learn to cope with not being first.

Sorry, I had to go out.

He does lose sometimes at home. He has two older siblings who won't let him win just because he's the youngest. Usually, if he gets upset, I end the game or we play again and see how that works out. He doesn't mind if he loses to me and I praise him loads for that. I also model good sportsmanship and the older dcs help with that. Sometimes he's brilliant but at other times he just has a complete meltdown.

His teacher has been wonderful this year. I can't fault her and I wish she was staying with him. We talked this morning about sports day, as I can tell she's been thinking about it too.

I wish he didn't feel so deeply. Then perhaps he could be more laid back about things. I know he isn't happy when he's like this. He told me he's sick of it but I don't really know how to help him. I wish this bit was over. sad

I meant to thank you for your replies but my brain is buzzing and I forgot to add that bit.

Thank you.

starlight1234 Thu 10-Jul-14 19:48:18

Can I just suggest reading your last reply. "If he gets upset I end the game or we play again"

You aren't letting him lose here. In reception if playing a game the game would continue, why should the game stop because one child is upset. Equally by playing again you are trying to make him feel better rather than learn to lose.

Some of this he will simply grow out of my DS could not cope with football for years he would simply cry if someone tackled the ball off him or didn't pass. he is 7 now and has got it.

It is one of those things you can't make it ok. Like another poster said boys in particular can be competitive. He may because he is top at most things at school struggling with not winning or top of everything.

That's a good point starlight. We just don't play any more games. My reasoning was to try and teach him that no one wants to play with a sore loser.

I talked to him about sports day last night. I told him that I didn't care what place he finished in. I'd be proud of him anyway, especially if he didn't get upset.

His response was that he wouldn't get upset because he was going to win everything!

I used the examples of Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome in this years TDF to explain that no everything goes to plan and he needs to be prepared but it fell on deaf ears.

It's going to be awful isn't it? sad

marshmum Fri 11-Jul-14 17:34:34

OP I could have written your post about my 5yr old ds. Sports day was this week and it was awful - meltdown when he didn't win his only race.
I had talked to him about the concepts of being a good sport and not being able to win everything. We agreed that he would just try his best and it's ok to want to win but you won't be able to win all the time.
His behaviour is like this at parties too if he doesn't win a game, but at home he is calmer.
I've been thinking about getting him signed up for some out of school activities in September, especially beavers (although there's probably a long waiting list) and martial arts - I'd love to hear anyone's experience with martial arts as it's not something I'm familiar with.
I've always tried to explain things to him and reason with him but I feel like this is back-firing now.
I'm talking to his lovely teacher next week, hope she may have some other suggestions.
Sports day consolation - for you - this is their first one, they're still so young really, and it must be quite overwhelming with all the cheering and adults watching. Plus it's all a learning process for them, we've talked about the meltdown and I hope ds has learned from it for another sports thing next week. At least I won't be at that one if he hasn't!
Hope this helps - even just as moral support.

Thanks for your post marshmum, it's nice to know I'm not alone.

Ds is signed up for beavers so I'm hoping he will start in September. He has been going to a drama class this year and he loves it. It's non competitive and he has no concept of people being good or not because it's just fun to him.

He did football and rugby in the winter but obviously they encourage his competitive side.

iseenodust Fri 11-Jul-14 18:17:12

DS started tennis towards the end of reception and that was fab for helping. I don't think avoiding losing aids learning. Being competitive is fine but even the youngest tennis player must shake hands at the end of every mini-match. As parents you are encouraged to ask first 'did you both have fun?' before any mention of scores. Football doesn't seem to have quite that spirit to it.

DS also did judo for a couple of years and it is very disciplined but I'm not sure it helped in the same way. He didn't get to competition level before giving up.

Parietal Fri 11-Jul-14 18:26:54

Stories can help - library books where people don't always win or talking about it in the 3rd person. If you walk to school together, can you talk on the way about what X would do if he lost (X can be fictional - Harry potter?) & ways X might cope. Not sure why, but social stories are a great way for kids to learn appropriate behaviour. Sometimes they sink in more than direct instructions.

iseen I tried to find a tennis club but they only take them from six near me.

Books are a great idea as he loves them. Also I like the idea of asking ds what his favourite characters would do. It would certainly get him thinking.

Thank you for all these ideas.

Piratejones Fri 11-Jul-14 18:54:05

You could make up What's called "social stories" about someone not winning using his favorite character.

Definitely. His dad would be great at that too.

I'm feeling more positive now. As though I can do something pro-active to help.

It will still be a waiting game and I'm still dreading Monday but I feel a lot calmer about the whole thing.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Fri 11-Jul-14 19:14:17

Is he too old for Cars (as in the Disney Pixar film)?

That has a really good message about winning not being the most important thing, but rather being a good person (car).

iseenodust Sat 12-Jul-14 10:07:17

There's a crappy American film called something like football dad or maybe soccer dad which could be a good to watch together. The kids are OK and the joke is watching the dads become overly competitive.

iseenodust Sat 12-Jul-14 10:16:53

It's called Kicking & Screaming.

I like

*stupid phone!

I like both those ideas.

It's the PTA fun day today with tombolas and games etc, so that should give us a chance to practice shrugging it off when we don't win. I hope he loses something.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Sat 12-Jul-14 19:28:28

How did it go at the fun day?

It was great actually.

He'd had a blow out just before because his football team lost but he didn't win on a lot of the games at funday and was fine. I remembered to point it out and praise him each time.

IWillOnlyEatBeans Sat 12-Jul-14 21:23:38

Well done your DS!

Fingers crossed for next week.

Well, it was a day of mixed results.

Ds did really well for almost all the sports day. He even managed a small smile when he didn't win all his activities. I was so encouraging.

Then.......he didn't win the running final and all he'll broke loose. He wailed and shouted and threw himself on the floor. It carried on for 1/2hr. He's like a two year old but five and huge. sad

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