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For hoping ds will find a friend who doesn't abuse him

(58 Posts)
MissesBloom Mon 21-Mar-16 14:45:32

Not sure if my expectations are too high here.

Ds is 3 and a half yrs old. He's always been a chilled out child, and I'm very lucky as he's very happy to listen to me or other grown ups and behaves really well. Even during the 'terrible twos' he was a breeze (not trying to be braggy but want to explain how he is). Never been a biter or one for hitting, and due to this doesn't really get how to stick up for himself.

My issue is that I struggle to find him friends of his own who aren't really really unpleasant to him. At present he goes to nursery and as he started later in the year than everyone else (and is also the youngest) we found that most mums already had a clique formed and we weren't invited to join it. The odd mums speak to me and I try to keep communication going with everyone as I want my ds to get to know the other kids too.

Anyway he has a couple of friends outside school...one of whom is awful to ds. I've tried giving her the benefit of the doubt and seeing if her behavior will change but it never does. She loves to see ds at first (talks about him all week) then about 20 mins into our play dates she starts to be mean. It will involve taking food/drinks off of him (despite him happily sharing them anyway) and if her mum intervenes she has a meltdown. The last time this happened the girls mum took my sons drink away from him to give to her dd shock and he was left drink less! I was obviously livid and asked for it back by which time she'd drunk the lot. I ended up taking him home in tears as everything he has she takes away and finishes. She pulls him off of anything he's playing with. Expects him to share all of his toys (and I encourage him to) but then won't give them back or share hers when he goes over to theirs. Unsure if this is normal behaviour for a 3 and a half yr old?

Have now started talking to another mum at school and her dd seems to have taken a liking to my ds. Seen her a couple of times and all was fine until today she decided she didn't like ds. Didn't want him to come and play near her and she refused to let him him play in certain parts of the little paved area we were talking in. Ds doesn't really understand all of it. He just stands there blankly not knowing what to do. The girl then decides to tell him she doesn't like him and he can't talk to her or look at her brother!

This seems to happen with a lot of kids he plays with. Mostly the girls. No idea why they seem lovely then out of nowhere just start being mean. All ds wants is to play with another child without it turning nasty. He's been dragged off of toys in soft play, bitten, smacked, pushed, screamed at and excluded in the most cruel ways at times. It doesn't help that ds is quite small too.

My question is whether or not this is normal for kids of this age and I've just been lucky? I would never allow my ds to hit/punch/kick/exclude or be mean and would expect him to apologise if he did.

Do they get better when they get older? Is it just a girl behaviour? All the mums say it's because "dd is a girl and this is what you get with girls" but I can't believe that all girls behave this way?

Would you intervene in any way if the mums aren't doing so? I normally try not to get involved too much unless he's being physically hit. If this happens I pull the other children away (or mine) and say "no we don't hit" quite firmly.

I really don't know what to expect with this and if it's just how kids learn to 'toughen up'. Dh doesn't obviously see most of this and just thinks I should tell ds to hit back hmm whilst I don't like this idea I don't really know how else he can take care of himself when I'm not there

NothingButAHoundDog Mon 21-Mar-16 14:49:43

I just want to double check...your DS is 3 and a half? Or is that a typo? You say he's at school...you sound like you are describing problems of older school children, not pre schoolers who are still very much learning boundaries.

MissesBloom Mon 21-Mar-16 14:55:03

Yep he's a pre schooler (at nursery) but he's one of the youngest. I find the older ones more of an issue than the younger ones tbh

Ds has already learned not to smack and did so from a very young age. (I understand all kids are different and some have different issues than others). When should they be able to understand that something is hurtful?

The girl at his school is older and seemed to know exactly what she was doing. Her mum also is quite used to her being spiteful and this is a behaviour that I assume has got her what she wants a lot of the time

ProjectPerfect Mon 21-Mar-16 14:56:17

They're three.

There's really nothing else to say.

PurpleDaisies Mon 21-Mar-16 15:00:10

I think "abuse" is a very strong word to use when you're essentially talking about fairly normal behaviour in that age group. Obviously it isn't desirable behaviour and absolutely needs to be corrected but they're little children.

ProjectPerfect Mon 21-Mar-16 15:00:32

Actually now you've described a three year old as "spiteful" there is.

These little little children you are talking about are barely more than babies. They can't think much beyond their immediate needs: they want a drink, they take the drink. They're not doing it because they're spiteful they're doing it because aged three putting their needs first is normal.

They still need to learn what boundaries are and then learn how to respect them. They have a long way to go.

You need to relax pulling other children away and chastising them is not going to win you, or by association your son, any friends I'm afraid.

NothingButAHoundDog Mon 21-Mar-16 15:00:53

Er crikey I think you maybe need to stop over analysing every situation. I know its difficult to take a step back but you're talking about pre schoolers and in my experience this is very much normal behaviour at this age. I agree you should step in if things get physical but to say he's being 'abused' in your title is somewhat over dramatic!
Over time and with guidance your Ds will find suitable friends and learn how to deal with/ignore unsuitable ones, but I have to say my boys have taken years to learn this, the eldest is 12 and now has it pretty much sorted...
At the end of the day he's still so little and needs time and space to work things out. Just my opinion of course.

IsItMeOr Mon 21-Mar-16 15:00:57

It's not about toughening up, it's about all of the children learning what is and isn't acceptable behaviour.

They all sound reasonably normal, however, I would be intervening a bit more than you to help your DS understand what is going on. The blankness you're describing makes it sound like he may need some positive support, so encouraging him to say "stop it" if somebody does something he doesn't like, explaining that X doesn't want to play with him right now, so let's find something else to do.

Some parents don't parent the same as us, so you pick and choose the ones that have an approach more similar to you for happy playdates at this age.

PerspicaciaTick Mon 21-Mar-16 15:06:39

This is what three year olds do. They have only recently begun to play with rather than alongside each other. They are learning about boundaries. At some stage your DS will also hit, bite or snatch something from another child and it will be as much a part of his learning as their's is.
This is why parents need to keep a close eye on pre-schoolers, they are all ego and very little empathy. But they get there in the end.

SnobblyBobbly Mon 21-Mar-16 15:09:46

Nope. They don't know exactly what they're doing, because they're only three.

Adults often dont realise what they're doing either, for instance you seem to have allocated your son in the role of a victim when he's simply a child learning to cope with a variety of personalities that he'll come into contact with, as are the girls in question.

MissesBloom Mon 21-Mar-16 15:12:01

Yep agree abuse was the wrong word for it.

I genuinely cannot see ds as barely more than a baby or other children his age they are so much more than that? Ds wonders why they are so mean to him. I step in because my ds is being hit and doesn't know how to get away. I am not aggresive in any way but I won't have ds be hit or thrown to the ground repeatedly and stand by and watch

I guess I am bu and maybe need to judge less harshly. I find it really hard when he is upset and don't really know what to say to him. He would just never behave that way and so doesn't really understand why other kids are mean to him.

It's such a shame as I would like to be able to have play dates that for once don't end up with him coming home hurt.

MadamDeathstare Mon 21-Mar-16 15:16:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Aeroflotgirl Mon 21-Mar-16 15:17:07

I echo this, they are only 3 and learning about boundaries and social rules. Ds just 4, gets very excited and rough, when he sees his friends, sometimes does not know when to stop. Both school nursery and I are doing time out, which works, I am constantly hammering home to him the need to be kind and gentle, and have bought age related books on it, to help.

bigTillyMint Mon 21-Mar-16 15:25:26

I am really surprised - I don't ever remember my DC getting hurt by another child on a playdate, or them hurting another. Well nothing beyond what is normal for the age-group, ie no marks!confused

OP, does he ever get a chance to play with younger children? How does he manage with them?

MissesBloom Mon 21-Mar-16 15:26:11

Completely agree about park and outdoor play. This is usually my plan so they are on neutral territory. It just always seems it's my child that is the one being hit and my child who comes home upset by it. I don't know how to tell him to deal with it and how I should? I can't just ignore it?

Perhaps the answer is shorter play dates. I certainly am expecting a little too much, ds is my first so it's new ground for me. I just find play dates miserable and dread it now

bigTillyMint Mon 21-Mar-16 15:27:57

I agree with Madame and Aero - playdates need to be "managed" at this age with short activities and supervised outside play. And they are also learning how to play with others, so need adult imput to ensure they manage it nicelywink

lostlalaloopsy Mon 21-Mar-16 15:38:13

He's only 3!! At that age none of them have much sense. You will notice a massive difference in all the kids in a years time. He will make plenty friends by then.

MissesBloom Mon 21-Mar-16 15:45:44

Its a learning curve I suppose. For me rather than him.

Yep he plays nicely with some children. Usually quieter kids or younger ones. Never really had a problem with him lashing out. He is fantastic with dd he's just a gentle old soul grin

All he wants is a little friend to meet up with occasionally. Probably just need to find the right fit. I'm hopeful that in a few years this stage will be over (although there's bound to be something else in its place to drive me potty)

GeorgeTheThird Mon 21-Mar-16 15:53:14

You're expecting too much from three year olds, you need to intervene and manage their play a lot at this age. When he is ten you will look back and laugh at yourself, honestly. He's still a baby really.

PerspicaciaTick Mon 21-Mar-16 15:58:44

Can I ask if you are sure that it is your DS who wants a little friend to meet up with, or is this something you want on his behalf (understandably).
If he is at nursery then he will be getting lots of social interaction there, so the lack of lots of friends outside nursery isn't necessarily a problem. Friendships are often very fluid at that age and children will make a new friend, play with them in the park for 15 minutes and never see them again.

MissesBloom Mon 21-Mar-16 16:07:47

I guess I take it all a bit too seriously. Dh has said the same to me before blush. The issue I have is the other parents don't seem reprimand the behavior even if they are embarrassed by it.

I know ds loves going to park with x y and z child it makes his week if he gets to go on a playdate. I also like him to have a handful of friends because I feel he should socialise with other children of his own age. It's a bit of both really. I just want him to be able to hold his own.

mumofthemonsters808 Mon 21-Mar-16 16:12:46

If you added a decade onto your son, I would see your concern, but at such a tender age, not having a friend is really not a problem. Id just be happy he was able to play alongside other children and is not scared of his own shadow, like my boy was at this young age. He sounds like he is doing absolutely fine, save your worry for the teenage years.

Nataleejah Mon 21-Mar-16 16:27:07

its obviously the parents who act arsey. Taking a drink or food from another child because yours threw a strop is shitty behaviour. Stay away. Have playdates with reasonable behaved adults.

bluebellsswaying Mon 21-Mar-16 16:37:13

I've got an almost 4 year old who sounds the same as your DS. He's a very easy going, good natured thing. Plays nicely and doesn't hit other kids (generally). He's pretty popular and has lots of buddies, we hang out with various nursery friends once or twice a week.

What I've found is he plays better with some children than others. I've two friends who never step in when their DC's play up. It's no fun at all when its your child that's being constantly hit, screamed at, pushed, excluded and generally coming off worse. I don't enjoy disciplining other people children so we see these children less.

There are plenty of children around, I think it just takes time to find people with similar parenting styles. Some children are obviously more spirited than others but as long as parents are stepping in I don't mind, they are only 3 after all.

Try asking at nursery who he plays well with and offer a play date. I do also think they need time to warm up with each other sometimes. DS will outright refuse to play with a friend but after an hour doesn't want to go home! Just keep meeting up with different people and try not to take it to heart.

TheMonkeyMummy Mon 21-Mar-16 16:37:26

hugs firstly. Its awful watching your little ones struggle with difficult situations.

They are all at an age where they are learning all about boundaries and social relationships. If I was in your shoes, I would 'supervise' whilst try not to be a helicopter parent (which isn't always easy).

Good luck. X

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