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Feel a total failure at DS' lack of social skills (he's 4.9)

(14 Posts)
ilovethebeach Sun 25-Oct-09 17:42:55

I really just feel a complete failure as DS' social skills are virtually non-existent. He has just started school which he loves and although he plays with a few of the children he knew from pre-school, there is not a close bond there. His teacher said he is quite happy on his own and is reluctant to talk to the new children. But if he was just shy I think I could handle it. The trouble is that half the times he does speak to his peers he is snarly and unkind. For example, 'You're not coming on the swing, x'. We haven't had many friends round since starting school but used to do lots of playdates, all friendships were engineered by me mainly as I get on with their Mum's etc. I really feel like I've tried hard to give him opportunities to make friends but now that he's started school, I can't help him so much! I've started to see party invites handed out at school and of course DS hasn't been invited to any.

I'm just not sure how to help. His self-esteem is very low I think. I get cross at him for hsi rudeness. I know I shouldn't but it's hard to let it go sometimes. If I ask him who's P's friend, he'll list a couple of children but never sees himself as a friend to anyone. If he was just a bit shy I think he would make friends in time but if he's being grumpy with or ignoring children that speak to him, what chance has he got.

A non-school friend came round yesterday and within 2 mins, DS was playing separately to him. Then they went upstairs but played with different things. Only things they seemed to enjoy together were breaking up a lego model and trampolining outside. They were also calling each other silly names at lunch which did hearten me a bit but mostly DS ignored friend.

Any ideas what I should do- just relax?, any good books on raising confidence, if he's going to be shy so be it but I can't bear the rudeness.

slowreadingprogress Sun 25-Oct-09 18:09:38

My ds wasn't interested in other children as friends when he was at pre school - and certainly still played seperately rather than with. Since your ds has only just started school - he's only had a few weeks - i think give him some more time to 'get' the concept. In my ds reception year they spent an awful lot of time on listening skills and on friendship skills. Suddenly my ds started talking about his 'friends' at school where he'd not been fussed before.

I think your ds just needs time to get it....also I think it may be years yet before they're able to actually play together happily! all through reception, years 1 and 2, there were many playground problems - I don't think it's uncommon at all for 4 year olds to prefer to play alone. In fact, one big thing I have noticed is that putting children with their peer group and expecting them to get on, is actually a big ask!

so basically I think I'm saying relax and let school help with the social side

With his rudeness and negativity, personally I think that so long as at home you model politeness and positivity to him and to each other as parents, that's all you can do at home. You can't make him care about winning friends etc - he will care about it only when it matters to him!

Personally though I would still pick him up on it each time - for instance if he's saying to someone they can't come on something at the park, I'd tell him that if he's going to be rude then he won't be going on anything etc...

slowreadingprogress Sun 25-Oct-09 18:10:30

oh and I can heartily recommend 'Raising Boys' by Steve Biddulph - brilliant book and i have found it very helpful in understanding the 'boy psyche'!!!

TombliBOOOOOObs Sun 25-Oct-09 18:25:25

Lots of children start Reception preferring their own company and finding it hard to engage with another child in the appropriate way.

Hopefully, you will see a gradual change over the year, 4.9 is still very young and even the small things that he did today with his friend are promising.

ilovethebeach Sun 25-Oct-09 19:56:25

I appreciate what you're saying SRP but I do worry that DS just isn't going to 'get it'. I have watched his peers through pre-school and seen most of them blossom from egocentric little things or very quiet ones into much more social beings iykwim. I see his classmates look for their friends as they come into the classroom. DS doesn't- he's purely interested in the activites in the classroom and doing all the morning routines such as changing books.

Will get hold of that book, thanks for the recommendation. Have not bought it in the past as I thought is was aimed at parents of gun-playing boisterous boys which DS isn't.

neolara Sun 25-Oct-09 19:59:13

There's a great book, often recommended on here, called "The unwritten rules of friendship". Definitely worth a look.

slowreadingprogress Sun 25-Oct-09 20:24:08

I appreciate that you're worried. But he is only 4. It's so tiny!

It is hard when you see other kids moving on and yours apparently not; but it still doesn't mean your ds won't get there. They do things in their own time and not before - they can't do anything else really, can they?!

Have the teachers raised any concerns? If not, I would think it is because his behaviour is well within what they see as normal!

normanthehairdresser Sun 25-Oct-09 21:34:52

Would that I had the answer, but a lot of your description rings true about my DS (3.5), and I also feel I have given him opportunities for playdates, making friends etc and he just hasn't been bothered. So perhaps that helps you to beat yourself up about it less.

Obviously my DS is a good bit younger but I'm considering having a chat with his nursery teacher to gauge whether he's within the normal range or needs a bit more help with his social skills. Perhaps your DS' teacher would be willing to do the same?

School is a very artificial situation, he's very little and personalities vary widely. I hated school and have grown into a reasonably socially competent adult!

ilovethebeach Sun 25-Oct-09 21:48:39

No, his teachers (and previously his pre-school leaders) haven't raised any concerns. They agree that he's not socially confident and his teacher says he joins in when he wants to or is asked to but does tend to play alone quite often. At this stage though, she doesn't know him well yet and there's probably other shy ones so he doesn't stand out too much. I know in some schools they run social skills groups but think I would be thought of as the mad parent to be pushing this suggestion on them after half a term! The school would probably like that to be their idea though I do feel he needs some structured help for social behaviour?

slowreadingprogress Sun 25-Oct-09 21:54:46

I would venture to suggest then that if pre school and school haven't raised concerns then he is within normal....after all, they are the ones dealing with him in social situations every day......and he is only four.....

kcartyparty Sun 25-Oct-09 22:09:41

When my DS started school he suffered severe seperation anxiety and it took me 10 months to settle him in. Once settled he spent many days alone. In year 1 he built up a relationship with another by. But only ever one.

Children are small versions of ourselves. How many close friends do you have? It is not unusually for a child (or adult) to enjoy their own company until they find someone who they feel comfortable with.

You say he is rude and grump! Does he have a good sleep pattern?

ilovethebeach Sun 25-Oct-09 22:22:21

He is a very good sleeper, gets 12 hours a night. He is not always grumpy by any means but for an unconfident boy he can be quite aggressive which is a difficult mixture to parent. I am finding it hard at the mo. He doesn't need his confidence knocking but sometimes he is sooo rude or just inappropriate. My DS doesn't have any separation anxiety, is confident to go to school/ parties and be left.
I have 4 close friends and lots of good friends and am a chatty and friendly person though like 1-1 and small groups, I go quiet in big groups. At DS' age, I had a best friend and we stuck like glue to each other. When she left the school I struggled a bit with frendships but generally stuck with 2 or 3 close friends. It is interesting isn't it, I can see some of me in DS. These days I am very motivated to see friends a lot but maybe at school, I wasn't that bothered??

kcartyparty Mon 26-Oct-09 00:30:21

I think you just found your answer in your own words

'I go quiet in big groups'

DITTO. And my own DS takes after me.

Your DS will be ok.

I am impressed that your DS gets 12 hours sleep. It's taken me 9 years to get that from my DS.

jabberwocky Mon 26-Oct-09 01:35:04

Haven't read all the thread but perhaps you should take a look at "The Highly Sensitive Child". Great book, may have some pointers for you.

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