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8 Year Old DD - Friendships, school and other issues(9 Posts)
Just attended parents evening for my 8 year old DD, she is doing well in all her subjects, although lacks focus and has to be cajoled to complete work on occasion, however we have a few issues and I'm not sure how to help/fix/sort..
One problem that was brought up last night was she hates taking part in any team sports in PE, she will cry and sob until she is allowed to watch from the sidelines. Obviously we cannot allow this to go on forever, I've spoken to her and she can't say exactly why she doesn't like it, but she hates being in the middle of a group and them shouting at her (like pass the ball etc) and she feels stupid if she doesnt understand the rules.
Her teacher also mentioned her lack of friends, she said she doesn't take any crap from any of her classmates and is well liked but she doesn't/hasn't formed any close friendships at all. This has been the way since her schooling started (3rd school to date), i'm aware that moving her so many times probably hasn't helped but this cannot have been helped and I'm hoping this will be the end of moving for now. I can';t help but feel incredibly sad for her, she doesn't seem to mind a lack of friends but it;s difficult when her younger sister is the life and soul of the school party and has friends across the years...
Her other issue and this is getting better as she ages but she has a reaction to anything she feels is disgusting or gross and essentially she will be sick. This can happen at any moment, reading books, watching TV etc, she is now better at getting to the toilet but she still reacts badly. We limit the things we know make her sick but we cannot account for everything (she threw up the other night after reading a book about fairies).
I'm just stuck, she's a smart and funny kid, is there more to it or is she just a loner. She never seems bothered if people don't play with her, she never asks for playdates.
I was almost exactly the same at 8 years old. PE was a nightmare for me, I just didn't like it and used every excuse possible to get out of it. I still hate group activities unless it happens to be on my terms (naturally on my terms, I don't try to dictate things) and will only grudgingly do things if there's no other option. I'm fully aware that I'm not a 'joiner' and so happy for others to get on with it and leave me out, I don't take offence. I'm awful with being forced to do anything I don't want to. God help the person who tries to insist I dance at weddings! I'm perfectly happy people watching and if your good time depends on me doing something I don't want to then that's not my problem.
In regards to friends I'm hugely fussy. I'm a complete introvert so of course any interaction is, again, only when it's on my term. Think of school like work. If you were in an office all day with 30 other people and you just didn't 'click' with any of them would you force a friendship? Probably not. She just needs to find her 'tribe' and it will happen when she finds the right people. Maybe encourage her to try out some extra curricular activities (Probably not sport related) to increase the amount of kids she's around and maybe she'll find someone she can build a close friendship there. If not there's secondary school, uni, work etc. She'll build relationships with who she wants when she wants to. Look at it as a good thing that she's picky.
The being sick issue I would be inclined to ask the school or gp to refer for a very informal counselling session or something just in case there is an underlying reason. I wouldn't make a big deal out of it in case it makes it worse but it's worth investigating.
I have no formal qualifications (unless also being the parent of an 8 year old counts) but something about your post struck me so I couldn't read and run x
My DD is the same. She says no one will pass her balls in games and they say it’s because she’s not good at the games. My dd seemed popular when she was younger - now most of the girls she used to invite to parties my DD says don’t like her. I feel it’s partly my fault as I’m not v sociable so she’s only had a handful of play dates. When she eventually plays she becomes obsessed as it’s so special to her. Her party is coming up and i dread this time of year. Girls do come but I seem to get more no’s than yesses. My DD doesn’t seem too pick up on social cues and can be Uber expressive and repeat herself. I see girls roll their eyes and walk off. I’ve no clue what to do
I would certainly involve your GP at this stage as some of the things you mentioned can be linked to development disorders. For example, autism is a social communication disorder where children are unable to understand social cues and hence find it challenging to hold relationships, they can also be over sensitive to certain stimuli (like sounds, smells, visual, etc) that will make them react in unexpected ways; running away, hiding, gagging, vomiting, covering their ears, etc. Other difficulties can include motor planning so they are able to understand everything but unable to translate that understanding into actual actions (so can be seen as them finding it hard to follow direction or instruction) or have difficult in understanding certain sentence structure (for example the correct use of pronouns).
I am not saying that she has any disorder just that some of these behaviors can be linked and should be investigated or monitored further.
I agree with AladdinMum.
I have two DDs who have AS. Team sports involve lots of things they find challenging. They have both avoided PE wherever possible and stopped altogether by Y8 because it was just too big an issue to cope with.
Have a read around girls with Aspergers and see if there are other aspects to your DD's behaviour that are associated with it.
Thank you everyone, I'll certainly look into things in more detail, and book a GP appointment.
She's happy enough in her own world, doesn't seem bothered by lack of friends. She does get quite focused on her likes (could tell you any Pokemon ever made and which type and region they are from), and has to be removed from Minecraft regularly as she would spend 24/7 gaming if we let her.
My husband and I are not hugely social, although we both have a couple of close friends.
I shall read up on Autism in girls and see if anything else fits. I don't want to create an issue if there isn't one, but at the same time I don't want to let her down. Could anyone recommend any websites or books for reading?
"She's happy enough in her own world, doesn't seem bothered by lack of friends. She does get quite focused on her likes (could tell you any Pokemon ever made and which type and region they are from), and has to be removed from Minecraft regularly as she would spend 24/7 gaming if we let her."
This in itself would not be concerning but together with some of the other behaviors you mentioned it is concerning. Children and infants on the autistic spectrum are sometime described as "being in their own world" with a very a narrow and obsessive focus on certain topics. While they might struggle socially to hold a simple conversation they would very happily talk at length about one of these favorite subjects - Hans Asperger himself described his child patients as "little professors" because of this very behavior.
Tony Astwood has written a lot about girls with Aspergers, although it can sometimes feel as if even he is missing the subtler presentations.