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4 year old with zero confidence

(11 Posts)
vix290878 Tue 13-May-14 21:48:59

This is the first time I've ever posted but have been recommended the site by a friend so I thought I'd give it a go!
My daughter is 4 (5 in July) and she has zero confidence with other children. I had hoped over the last two years this would improve especially with starting school in September, but this has made little difference.
She is fine on a one to one with another child but if you put other children in the group she shies away. She won't join in with groups of children playing even if they are children she knows. At parties she stands on her own or plays on her own and it breaks my heart. Its not that the other children leave her out, she just wont join in even if they ask her.
At parents evening at school they have said that she scores very low on the Early years scale (?? not sure if this is right!) for confidence and they may have to put measures in place which I welcome as I am at a loss as to what to do!
She has been going to ballet for the last two years but she doesn't have a single friend or appear to talk to anyone. I have her signed up for Rainbows when she turns 5 but I'm not confident this will change anything.
She wont go on any equipment in playcentres or parks if she's on her own, she has to have her brother there and he's only 20 months! She uses him for confidence.
I'm so worried about the long term effects of this behaviour. I'm scared she'll be the ideal target for bullies or people taking advantage of her.

I'm also struggling to know how to handle it, we've been to a party today where she didn't join in,yet again, and I got really angry and virtually forced her to join in. I feel like the worst mum in the world, even when im saying it I know its the wrong approach but its just sheer frustration as I don't know how to help.

Sorry its pretty rambling but if anybody out there is going through or been through the same it would be nice to hear from you


SomeSleepPlease Tue 13-May-14 22:55:45

Hi my son was exactly the same and only now is starting to gain confidence. At school they spoke with me as they had observed him playing snakes and ladders and when others joined in they completely took over ( to the extent of even taking the dice off him and taking his go) he just walked away and played somewhere else. I completely understand. You feel powerless, you have protected them for so long and now it seems this is something you cannot help them with. My ds teacher suggested role play and it worked well. You are the person they feel most secure with so it is a good place to start. We did the snakes and ladder game at home and I took his go just as they had observed in the class room ( I did feel a little silly) he said it was not fair and I replied ' why?' He then said ' it was my go' sheepishly I then gave it back to him and we practised this every day when we got home, he understood it was not me being mean and that we were just role playing and I became more defiant and he became more confident. We giggled and he understood it was his way of practising how to stand up for himself and be heard. I also did this with making friends, asking to join in game etc. it was so very hard so I completely understand your feeling of helplessness. This really helped him and helped me feel as though I was doing something without being in the playground with him.

vix290878 Wed 14-May-14 12:56:00

Thank you so much for the reply, its nice to know Im not the only one out there who's felt this way!!
I'm definitely going to try the role playing, I think that it will be really useful for her as she loves playing pretend! I think I need to feel that im doing something to help and that is a much better alternative than me being frustrated and angry!

Swanhildapirouetting Wed 14-May-14 18:12:33

I was a very shy child, and sometimes my mum took me to parties and I would refuse to even go in. I was frightened of heights and horses. I stuck like glue to my first cousin in school, and used to accompany my younger sister to all her friends' houses, rather than have my own friends. However, I loved music and craft and being outdoors. I was very academic too, and enjoyed reading. I listened to everyone else and tried to fit in, whilst keeping my own counsel.

At secondary I made friends of my own. I'm still shy, but happily married with three kids, one of whom is very sociable and two shy.

Encourage your daughter in her talents and she will slowly become more confident.

Brightoncheery Thu 15-May-14 12:57:18

Sounds like my 4 year old, DS, even down to getting confidence from his younger sibling! My DC has thrived at school though as he seems to be quite academic, so I think that gives him confidence. The structure of school also helps and he will now be with the same class/group of children more or less until he goes to high school so I think that familiarity will help socially. With parties, etc, I am accepting that my DS is naturally introverted and will never be the life and the soul but as long as he has a nice time, that's fine

Brightoncheery Thu 15-May-14 13:04:14

Reading my post back, it's a bit jumbled! What I was really trying to say that I think my DS is just a natural introvert (unlike his incredibly extroverted younger sibling) and his friendships will be more of the slow burning/developing type. As long as he's happy, I am trying not to worry at this stage and just to keep an eye on things.

vix290878 Fri 23-May-14 21:02:17

Thanks for again for the replies, I think your both right in that I need to accept that she is a more introverted child than other children and this is just part of her personality. I was a very shy child and had a difficult time at school because of this but like you Swan, Im happily married now and have a great life! I think im perhaps bringing back feelings that I had in school that I really don't want my daughter to experience but I suppose you can't shelter them from everything. I probably need the help to deal with this more than my daughter lol!!

IWillOnlyEatBeans Sun 25-May-14 12:24:49

My DS1 (4.3) was like this until very recently - I would say up until Christmas.

He does join in a bit now, but is very much a follower rather than a leader - he can't/wont initiate play, but seems able to join in a game, particularly if he is asked directly.

We bumped into some of his classmates (he is at pre school every morning) one afternoon a few weeks ago and he wandered over and started looking at insects with them. I cried with relief because it's the first time I have EVER seen it happen.

I think the one thing that has made a difference is me organising loads and loads of play dates (sorry if you hate that term!) with his class mates. Sometimes one-on-one, sometimes in little groups. He then feels like he 'knows' them so is happier to join in with them at school. It's like he needed a formal introduction to them before he twigged that they were his friends.

He can still get a bit lost in bigger groups and can be a bit of a wallflower at big whole class birthday parties, but in small groups he is starting to gain more confidence.

I know exactly how you are feeling though as this is something that has always worried me. Even from being a baby, DS would cry if other babies rolled to close to him at baby groups, or tried to play near him at toddler groups.

Please feel free to PM me if you would like to chat more. Where abouts in the country are you based?

IWillOnlyEatBeans Sun 25-May-14 13:11:19

Oh and just to add - I have also lost my temper and shouted and TOLD DS1 to join in on occasions, taking him abruptly home when he hasn't been able to. I felt awful afterwards, as of course it didn't help and just upset him sad

Brightoncheery Wed 28-May-14 21:02:00

You could try reading "Quiet" by Susan Cain. I normally hate any type of "self-help" book but found this book about being an introvert, with a chapter on introverted children, really interesting and it has been recommended by many others elsewhere on mumsnet.

BlueChampagne Thu 29-May-14 12:08:53

If SomeSleepPlease's suggestion of role playing bears fruit, you might want to consider drama classes when she's a bit older. They helped a friend of mine who now happily gives scientific presentations around the world. Brightoncheery's observation fits in this case.

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