To feel completely to blame for DDs social issues?(19 Posts)
I dont really have a support network, so I use mumsnet as a sounding board where most would probably discuss things with their mum, sisters, aunts, friends....anyone really!!
My daughter has over the past few years gained social issues, in reception she gained a best friend on the first day, and she seemed intent on this friendship, and other friendships drifted away.
By year 1 she had a few friends, but less... I was in the throes of quite severe mental health difficulties, so I didnt ensure she had friends over, and there were birthday parties she didnt make it to because of this...I genuinely think this had a lot to do with relationship breakdowns with some of the children.
By year 2 my daughter was more often than not left alone in the playground, and id generally said, you are a nice girl, lots of people want to be your friend, play with someone else, find someone else, find someone else, there must be someone- find them!
this was until I realised that it was affecting her quite badly and also that one child in particular was physically hurting her too, so I made an effort for friendships for her.
playdates, children are invited over, for dinner, lazy days in the garden etc...these friendship invites were never reciprocated which makes me wonder how the friendship, and my daughter are viewed by her peers.
This year weve had similar problems, she gets sent home each day by 1pm because she has tummy troubles, which seem linked to this issue, she is falling behind in literacy, and she absolutely doesnt want to move school.
parents evening was tonight. I was told by DDs teacher that she views DD as slightly immature, she doesnt know why, but also believes that she is struggling with friendships. She has realised that there is a lack of friendship, but doesnt believe DD to be disliked, she also apparently struggles with confidence....which has made me worry, i feel like ive failed as a parent for her to have these issues.
Does anyone know how to get children to make friendships?
She wants to do something this weekend, but she doesnt know who to invite really, and the people she does view as friends dont even speak to her when she says hello to them. ive seen it a few times.
I can't give advice as we are in a very similar place with DD8 and it's really quite painful. One thing I will say is... Please don't blame yourself - from what I read in your OP it's definitely 'not you'.
It's difficult. It's heartbreaking.
Are the school doing anything to support and help build her confidence. Ds school try to buddy them up with someone if they are struggling.
What about any out of school clubs, brownies, Cubs, any sports or dancing, may help to build her confidence.
You say you don't have much of a support network, I know it's difficult with your MH issues, but are you modelling much in the way of friendships? Do you meet up with other mums, maybe join the pta if you have time, or just invite mums and their children round sometimes? It might help you both to mesh into the school community.
Ask the school to help your dd with friendships, how is she in group tasks in class? If you are confident that the tummy troubles are psychosomatic maybe suggest that the school don't send her home every time she complains of a tummy ache as this is probably compounding the problem. If her teacher thinks that she is slightly socially immature, can she cultivate friendships with slightly younger children? Maybe encourage her to befriend a shy child in reception or year 1 at lunchtime?
My advice is: find out of school activities (ideally without people or at least many people from school). Next go back to the teacher and ask for an action plan to help your DD deal with her social difficulties, ideally get the SENCO involved - this is very much part of the school's role, so they need to take action not just blame her or you.
Don't blame yourself. Just make sure your DD knows that you love her and are there for her.
If she is having lots of "Tummy aches" that is a perfect excuse to take her to the GP, and ideally get referred on.
The school should have some kind of social skills or nurture group going on, often it runs over lunchtimes, or in the afternoons (so would give her an incentive to stay).
Feel for you - I don't have MH issues but severe social anxiety the pressure I feel to endure play dates is dreadful something a normal extrovert could not possibly understand
Don't blame yourself though -
one thing I have done is encourage EC activities where DC can mix and socialise but there is less pressure on me to provide the entertainment and as DC gets bigger could you drop and run at parties again reducing the pressure on yourself
And I agree the school should be able to suggest strategies perhaps a buddying scheme?
It is v hard truthfully some mothers (probably perfectly legitimately) see there role in life to network their children and are quite aggressive in doing so - its v hard when you don't have the social skills or network to facilitate this for your child
I'd really recommend things like brownies/guides (if you can get a place) or martial arts (e.g. judo). I've found both to give dd confidence because there's a sort of atmosphere of everybody being accepted and belonging. The camps enable them to spend lots of time getting to know one another as well. It's often that shared history that helps a friendship develop I think. Dd didn't want to go to either and I bribed her to go. She loved them after week 1. They're busy pretty much all the time so there's no hanging around on your own. What I like about it is that it involves no real effort on my part, other than getting her there.
Having said that I think certainly around year 3 dc love being invited out somewhere and I don't think are that bothered about who invited them a lot of the time. You also sometimes get what appear to be quite random invitations that lead to friendships. So I wouldn't worry too much that you don't feel it's close friends you're inviting. Just try it and see who replies yes. If it seems a nice experience, invite them again, regardless of whether they've invited your dd back.
I didnt mention that my daughter is 8 years of age, and currently in year 4, this may be something worth saying... i dont know!
They do have a buddy system that they are trying to use at the moment.
I have sent her to breakfast and after school club each night, which i hoped would have provided her the time to play with other children, this seemed to be great for socialising with other children, and I was thinking of cancelling it, but i may just keep her there and see how it goes.
We are going to plan a pizza night at home, so she can invite a few kids over, and watch a few films, ill head up to my room as to not "cramp their style" maybe this will help. I know when i was doing the bi weekly run to the cinema with 7-8 children, things were somewhat easier at school (not easier balancing the bank though!)
Im not sure that I am the best role model when it comes to friendships etc. I find most people to be quite tedious, but I do have a few people we tend to see every so often, maybe for coffee or something, I am also self employed, and she sees me have a good relationship with many of those who use my services.. I have had people over, but again, I find it very tiring, and people tend to get a bit offended that I then dont want to be an instant best friend. The teacher has said that she believes it is a vicious circle with the tummy aches, and that she will try not to send her home in future, because its having a knock on effect (shes worried about friendships, which creates the tummy ache, she goes home, friendships move on)
I never thought about SENCO!! fab idea! have been trying to get her to decide a club that she wants to join. We did (in year two!) got her everything so she could do football and dodgeball. both clubs she did each week, it turned out that she was also alone there, and the coach made 0 effort to involve her, because she wasnt one of the good ones, but she did enjoy it until then.
Ill have to ask about a nurture group, though i do believe that she may have done something similar a few years ago. I did insist that she took part in a protective behaviours course a few years ago, i felt that it would help her confidence surrounding friendships etc. not sure how well its worked.
Anxiety is one of the bigger issues i have! that, depression and a personality disorder. I can honestly say its the anxiety that has caused most of the issues... I wouldnt mind, but its just it doesnt seem to help in the long term. she does go to breakfast and after school club, we have had anyone and everyone back to our house who would come, but shes still quite friendless by the looks of it.
it is really hard, probably even more so that im looking, and i see shes a nice girl, really nice, quite sensitive, i just cant figure out whats making it hard for her to make lasting friendships.
Been there with dd2. Honestly, I would move her and have a fresh start.
Ive been umming and arring about moving her school, but she says no. I do think that a new start would probably be fabulous, especially with the new half term not long away!
What are the chances it can get worse?...
Back to front way of looking at things but DD really didn't want friends home.
We had quite a bit of disruption in our life for many years. Home was her safe space away from everything else. Im not great with people being in my home (there's a few people I can tolerate) and this didn't help matters either.
She always seemed to be with people at school, teachers didnt really tune into friendship issues. but the friendships were always very superficial, play dates weren't reciprocated no party invites at all for the best part of 3 years.
We mostly abandoned the idea of play dates. Had a lot of fun just us.
Suddenly life has settled down, which has given DD a bit of breathing space. She has grown into her "nerdy" self, with the help of a couple of decidedly nerdy clubs and found herself a really super group of friends who are as equally nerdy as she is.
For us we needed the heavy emotionally stUff to settle down, and for the pressure to socialise to be off when it wasn't. The Senco found her an opt out of the playground environment (she went and helped the smaller kids) which enabled her to deal with peer groups more at her own pace than in the full on playground environment.
The clubs it is worth being a bit creative with Brownies was okish (although I'm not sure she was that keen) but DD hated guides. Like me she finds socialising much easier over a board game and this bought her into low pressure contact with like minded kids.
Sometimes forcing the issue really doesn't work. These things can sometimes just be a matter of timing and finding the right thing
Can it get much worse? I wish we had moved dd waaaaay before we did.
You sound lovely & thoughtful OP.
Your DD is struggling but so are you.
I would go for pizza & film night with one friend - not the group cinema thing, maybe too overwhelming?
Ask your DD to think about who she considers to be kind/ nice to her and invite them. Maybe the girls who ignore her are not the best choice.
In the meantime, start to subtly build her confidence - just talk to her and ask her about different people at school. You probably do already! Do nice things together & remember that you don't always have to fill the house with friends. My DC have friends over once every other week (if that).
A good Brownie or Rainbow group can be a lifeline. Or Choir, or drama group etc.
My pair are the same age as yours. One of them is naturally sociable with a good friendship network and the other struggles with making friends. It is really hard as a parent watching your child struggling with this. I'm pretty introverted so have struggled with setting up play dates to help him out. Finally got my act together this term and started and have decided to ask kids for return visits even if we don't have reciprocal invites. I think I had avoided dealing with this as being twins they always had each other.
Depends whether you are carrying the problems with you or leaving them behind.
A new start isn't much help if you just are doing all the things that aren't working for you in a different place.
It really needs an honest and thoughtful look at whats going wrong or what it is that isn't working, with an openvironmental mind as to what "right" looks like
Yes I agree ..invite one friend at a time.. If she is quiet the others will take over..Also don't hide away..You need to keep an eye them..See how your DD is interacting, smooth over any issues..
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