How to help DS (5) assert himself

(4 Posts)
omama Tue 01-Mar-16 23:51:16

Not really sure if this is bullying as such but could do with some advice on how to help my son assert himself more with his peers before it gets to that point, so here goes.....

We've noticed since Christmas DS (in Y1) is only mentioning playing with one child (I'll call him A) but not others that he would usually play with.

DS has told us on a number of occasions now that A says to DS that if he doesn't play with him then DS will be off his best friend list. Same response if DS wants to play a game that A doesn't, he is off the best friend list. So DS has been going along with this & playing with A even though sometimes he wants to do something else.

We have explained to DS that its his own decision who he plays with & that even if A mentions best friend lists, DS can still choose what he wants to do & it doesn't mean he's a bad friend. We've also talked about taking turns to play games or suggesting A joins in with a game DS wants to play along with other classmates.

Following our chat, a few days later DS told us that he'd tried to go & play a game with some other children but that A wouldn't let him and had physically pulled him backwards & away from the other children.

We talked to DS again about asserting himself - reminded him that its fine to play with A if its his choice but that its also ok to choose to play with someone else.

Since then he's said a few times that 'A let me play with XXX today' or 'A said I couldn't play with XXX'.

For the last couple of weeks DS has been telling us he played with A 'but it was my choice' which is fine, but tonight he said again that A wouldn't let him play with someone else but said DS 'can play with them in 2 years'.

I have once again reminded DS that he does not need A's permission - it is his choice.

But now here I am left feeling a little sad that DS is leaving himself open to (albeit very simple 5 year old) emotional blackmail & that he feels his only option is to ask this kid's permission when he wants to do something else.

To add to the problem, we are good friends with A's parents, he & DS have been friends since babies. A is a good kid, and gentle natured although physically much bigger & stronger than DS. Outside of school they generally play together nicely so we have been quite surprised by what is happening in school & don't really know how best to deal with it.

Do we speak to A's parents or should we have a quiet word with the teacher? Or is this sort of thing something we just have to let DS work out for himself? If so, how else can we help DS to assert himself more? Any tactics or advice very much appreciated.

Tia (and sorry its so long!)

MattDillonsPants Wed 02-Mar-16 06:27:25

This is a common problem and one my own DD experienced at the same age. I did the same as you....talked it through and gave tips on how to manage it. That didn't work and again, my DD was pulled physically away from other children.

So I had to speak to the teacher. NEVER approach parents about playground issues....it almost always goes wrong.

In the meantime, start to support DS bonds with the other kids by inviting one a week home for tea. That's not to exclude A but rather to help DS forge more friendships and ensure he keeps his links with the others.

TheWoodenSpoonOfMischief Wed 02-Mar-16 06:32:34

Similar thing happened to ds2 as well. I also did the talking and then I approached the teacher.
She started separating them so they both got to play with other children.

omama Wed 02-Mar-16 21:18:48

Thankyou for your replies. We spoke to the teacher who is going to keep a watchful eye at playtime to see what is going on, & also do some circle time discussions around assertiveness, friendships & resolving conflict. Hopefully this will help.

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