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How do we teach social skills to our only children when they have no siblings at home to practise with?

(10 Posts)
Earlybird Sun 04-Jan-09 16:02:13

DD is an absolutely lovely child, but as an only has not had many opportunites to learn about/practise sharing, taking turns, negotiation, compromise, letting someone else direct the games, conflict resolution, etc.

Obviously, some of these skills are learned/practised at school and in her dealings with me at home, but how can I help her learn to do these things with her peers?

DD (almost 8) had a friend stay for a sleepover last night. Of course, I could hear most of their conversation. I found myself regularly calling 'let X have a go', or 'isn't it X's turn now'? DD sounded (to me) quite bossy and dominant. It's good to know what you want and not be a pushover, but I also want her to learn that letting someone else have an idea needs to figure in to the friendship equation also.

At times last night it sounded as if dd simply wanted companionship and an audience rather than a playmate (busy demonstrating her new Christmas toys, rather than letting the other girl play with them too).

What can be done to help dd/any only children learn about these things?

ScummyMummy Sun 04-Jan-09 16:05:47

I think this has a lot to do with personality rather than only childness per se, tbh. My two sometimes still need reminding to share @9.5.shock. i just say oi! share please.Not very erudite but seems to work!

CrushWithEyeliner Sun 04-Jan-09 16:07:56

Agree with SM - this is just due to her nature rather than being an OC.

RubyRioja Sun 04-Jan-09 16:16:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Earlybird Sun 04-Jan-09 16:22:07

Interesting to think that the behaviour is her basic strong-willed 'nature' vs the 'nurture' aspect of not having to function daily in a sibling 'unit'.

She's definitely got a strong personality, and is usually fizzing with ideas. Just want to ensure she is able to step back sometimes and let a peer have a turn being in charge.

Doodle2U Sun 04-Jan-09 16:24:08

I have two children.

Both can be like your OP description.

Personally, I don't think it matters if they have siblings or not. They all get it in the end and siblings, if anything, can hinder the process!

JollyPirate Sun 04-Jan-09 16:27:08

There were four of us and we shouted, screamed and argued - oh and did not share. We are now all very close and good friends.

DS is an only child and sounds exactly like your DD but also reminds me greatly of myself as a child. Life is about learning and she will adjust in the end.

Earlybird Sun 04-Jan-09 16:37:13

DD will sometimes come home from school saying 'X didn't play with me' or 'Y said she'd play a game at recess but ran off with someone else'. I take all of this with a grain of salt because I realise that it is not the whole story, and that many children say the same things at this age.

Just want to ensure that dd is interacting 'normally' with her peers and that this running off and not playing is simply due to typical fickle friend behaviour instead of as a reaction to dd being an overbearing child.

I'm glad also to have the perspective that this behaviour is not necessarily down to being an only child. Thought perhaps being an only and a PFB was a socially lethal combination for dd! wink

BoccaDellaVerita Sun 04-Jan-09 21:55:44

Earlybird - My daughter sounds very like yours, too! I agree with others here that it is important to remember that not everything an only child is or does is because they are an only child. I'm relying on my daughter being astute enough to realise that if she always tries to dominate her friends, they may not actually want to be her friends for much longer. She's actually made a lot of progress with this recently. Joining Brownies has helped her, too. Does your daughter do any social but non-school based activity like that?

Do drop into the tea room - at the moment we're serving champagne or gin and tonic!

Gunnerbean Sun 04-Jan-09 22:05:11

Please don't worry, your DD sounds like a perfectly normal almost 8 year old child.

Are there any children that "share nicely" unless under pain of death? Contrary to popular belief, left to their own devices it just doesn't come naturally for most children of that age to share, and paricularly not with children of around their own age.

My DS is 8 and an only and he is happy to share - if he is told to and he certainly wouldn't throw a strop about it but just like most other children of his age it wouldn't be his choice, or natural inclination, to give up something he is happily playing with to another child just because they asked him if they could have a go on it! That's kids for you - all kids in my experience if they've got no brothers and sister of 10 of them!

A lot of children will jealously guard their toys and fight quite viciously with their siblings over them too! I've seen it with my own neice and nephew and friends children on many an occasion.

What I find nice about my DS (and what does make me proud of him) is how nice he is to much younger children and how caring he is towards them. I've seen may examples of this with friends' toddlers and babies and with my cousins two little children who we see quite a lot of. He is really sweet and kind and caring to them and would most definitely go out of his way to show them things that he thinks they might like to play with and take the time to show them and be gentle with them etc. So, I think that some social skills come instinctually to children.

I don't mean anything nasty by this but please try not to fall into the trap of putting what you perceive to be the more negative aspects of your DD's behaviour down to her being an only. What she's displaying is totally normal and age-appropriate behaviour in my book.

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