Worried my only child doesn't know how to deal with kids at home...(13 Posts)
I have a five year old daughter who is lovely. most of the time.
Because she is an only child, I try to make sure that we invite a friend round regularly, so she has someone to play with after school, and isn't always by herself after school. However recently I've noticed that when friends do come round, my daughter can often struggle to contain her emotions and gets angry. This often means that the play date can end really badly, which makes me feel awkward, upset, embarrassed, and worried about her, and her ability to make and keep friends.
For example, last month a girl her age came round to play. My daughter shouted at her because the game wasn't going well and made her cry. I was embarrassed because the little girl's mum is a friend of mine. I had to try to make things better but my daughter hasn't been invited back.
Yesterday, two little girls from our road came over to meet our new puppy and play. While I was in the kitchen, the girls were playing. Today I found out that my daughter bit each girl in turn because they weren't playing her game properly.
Of course, I am very worried and distraught. I can't help feeling terrible and responsible for the fact that my daughter is an only child, and therefore lacks the usual rough and tumble that siblings experience. She also doesn't get the chance to learn to share and compromise with other children. This is out of her control, so she perhaps is just not as experienced as other kids are. I'm really worried that she isn't going to be invited to other friend's houses as a result. The school she goes to is quite cliquey and playdates are thin on the ground as it is. I try to fill her week with activities eg swimming and things so she doesn't feel lonely after school - but perhaps I need to change my approach?
Her behaviour at school is absolutely fine, no reports of her being aggressive or biting - in fact if anything the teacher doesn't have anything bad to report at all, which is why I was so shocked about the biting yesterday.
I must admit that I have a short fuse myself - I don't have any family nearby so have been parenting mostly by myself for five long years .... sometimes I can be exhausted and get snappy with her, which I hate about myself. Could I possibly be influencing her with my behaviour - and if so, what can I do ?
Has anyone got any advice? Me and her dad have both had a long chat with her about how biting and shouting isn't acceptable behaviour - but what else can I do? or should I just take it easy with her - she's only five???? PLEASE HELP!!!! I don't want to blow this out of proportion but when you're tired and emotional and want your child to be happy, when days end like this it can feel like the end of the world.
Maybe totally supervised the play date so you can coach her as it goes? At 5 her school day is long and to have a play date after that may be too much for her. Maybe fresh and not over tired on a week end day may be better for her?
Good point Ilovecaindingle - thank you. Perhaps I need to let her just chill. Somebody on another forum asked how I had 'punished' my daughter after the biting - I hadn't thought I should - what do you think?
I would also speak to her teacher at to see how she plays at school. A friend of mine had similar issues with her only child and the school gave her separate sessions with a play therapist which have really helped.
Punishment really needs to be immediate and carried out at the time of the 'crime'. It's most effective this way.
You could discuss the biting with your daughter and talk about it being wrong but I don't think I woild 'punish' her now.
I would certainly punish for biting! She needs to know it's unacceptable!
I don't think being an only child is the issue, I know a few only children who are even better socialised than kids with siblings, possibly from lots of interaction with adults and one on one time etc. Many kids with siblings act exactly as your daughter has. I know mine panic and lash out when someone touches their toys as they are so used to grab-and-run by their siblings. Although mine are all under 4 I would still expect to see a bit of that at 5.
The important thing for all children is to learn that it's unacceptable to be rude or violent to others. This comes from parents teaching and disciplining. And all kids will make mistakes at times but just make sure you properly discipline and explain any time there are incidences.
please don't beat yourself up too much. I have 3 children, the eldest loves play dates. The second is really hard work when we have friends over, despite being fine at school and all the extracurricular stuff and practically begging for his friends to come. He has never bitten anyone but he has lost his temper and got really over-emotional about things.
He has massively improved with age - 7 now, 4/5 was very hard work.
Things that helped us were -
friends at the start of the week/weekend morning rather than a Friday when he is shattered.
Sometimes going to park or soft play/cinema rather than home where he has to share all his stuff and get stressed about it.
A discussion with him before every play date about our expectations of his behaviour and how he could help his friend to enjoy themselves.
A couple of activities planned that involved sitting in the kitchen with me so if I could see him starting to get upset/frustrated I could change tack and get them downstairs out of his room. Eg v easy baking/painting/decorate biscuits etc.
Keep it short and feed them a snack then an early dinner.
Not too many play dates so they were a treat to be looked forward to not a drag for anyone.
I know to most people this will sound way OTT and I would have thought so too after ds1, but it was needed for ds2 and it did work.
Firstly don't beat yourself up
Truthfully I have a 6 year old - I have had play dates where my DC has behaved badly been to friends houses where the friend has behaved badly and one case of biting with a child who was the youngest of 3
Am not sure what strategies there are to encourage better sharing but I have noticed there is a huge difference as children get older in their ability to manage emotions say between ages 5 to 7
Also much as being an only child may be in your mind as an issue the children we have had most pirobmen plsydates with - specifically when my DC has gone to their house and it's gone horribly wrong is where my DC has genuinely gone along and played with the other child's sibling causing the host child furious /jealous etc so having siblings is no guarantee of a peaceful play date
We have an only child, DS(12). Maybe I am unusual as a parent of an only, but I have not tried to fill his time up with play dates etc to ensure he isn't lonely.
He has friends round sometimes and does do clubs but he also has plenty of time to have his own space.
We didn't do too many play dates or activities on school days in early years of primary school. Some children just need to chill after school.
Can she keep herself entertained?
At 5 I would still be supervising play dates, not hovering all the time but maybe just popping into the room they are in every so often. As she seems to be struggling a bit at the moment, you may need to supervise more.
I also used to put away DS's favourite toys, so he didn't have to share them.
I'm new to mumsnet but I can't tell you how comforting it is to read your messages - it's been such a help. I'm going to scale back her after school activities and supervise her playdates - also going to keep things out of the house as well and stick to morning or weekend meet ups with friends. It's not like she ever begs to have other children round here so I have to learn to take my cue from her. Thank you all xxxx
I have an only child, DD(5). Sometimes I'll play games with her and I deliberately don't always let her win or dictate how the game(s) plays out. I felt it was important to do this, otherwise she'd always want her own way. When she was younger this would sometimes annoy her and she'd get upset but now she's used to it and it doesn't bother her anymore. I don't feel that I need to keep her busy all the time either, she only does one activity a week and seems happy with that.
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