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6 year old struggling socially in school, how can I help her?

(14 Posts)
fudgefeet Fri 02-May-14 11:56:42

My daughter is 6 years old and nearly finished with year one and It has been a bit of a rocky year for her.
She has always been quite loud and excitable and a bit bossy with her friends but she seemed to get off to a good start when she first started school. She made friends with lots of children and with one girl in particular who is louder, bossier and even quite intimidating at times. We used to arrange quite a few play dates with her but I noticed that my daughter was happy to follow her around and would do anything to please this girl. Sometimes she would run into class to say hello to her and the girl would just hold her hand up to my daughters face to block her if she was in a bad mood. If they fell out it could get quite vicious, Her friend would follow her around calling her names and even kicked her in the stomach at one time. I asked the teacher if they could be separated a bit more during class time and encouraged my daughter to make some other friends.
A year on and she still wants to follow this other girl around and even described her as being like smoking. Se said" She's like a cigarette! I try not to play with her but I cant stop myself". I don't want to interfere too much so all I can do is not make plans for them to meet up outside of school time. I didn't want to get caught up in play dates this year as last year it seemed like there was an endless amount of them and she was getting quite tired. I also remember when I was little a play date was a treat not something you did every week so wanted to keep it like that.
Anyway, this school year I've noticed that she doesn't get invited to many parties, no one has asked her to come round, we don't get invited to the park and its quite heartbreaking when I see her looking over hopefully at other children giving out invitations and she doesn't get one. Some its not really a big deal but others were a bit awkward as I thought the children were her friends and I get along well with the parents well.
I asked her this morning if she would like to have a friend over for tea as its been a long time and she mentioned a lovely little girl who I thought she was friends with. I noticed this morning that this girl was having a party and giving the cards out and once again my daughter has been left out. I was going to ask her mum about the play date at pick up but now feel it might look like Im trying to butter her up for an invite. I am not hugely fussed about the actual parties, last year I think I spent a silly amount on presents as there was one every month but it just seems sad that now she is excluded from most of them. She doesn't really open up about things like this and I cant help but wonder if she is doing something to upset other children. Her friend (the cigarette) seems to be getting on fine and has lots of playdates, invites etc so it seems being loud and bossy isn't the issue.
Does anyone else have this problem or am i just getting over involved and taking things to personally on her behalf?

rowna Fri 02-May-14 17:57:37

I think you have to make a bit of effort really if they're a bit lost. I know playdates can be awful and exhausting, but mine wouldn't have any friends if I didn't do them, with her being quite shy. I tend to do one every two weeks, rotating round about 5 people she seems to get on with. Then she at least gets invited to their parties. You can sort of build up a network then of people you can invite to the park with you. You can also see how she's interacting with others and steer her if she's going wrong.

I'd ask the party girl's mum anyway. Quite often the mum doesn't know who they play with to invite to the party, or the dc just forgot one or two people whilst doing the invitations. I wouldn't take it personally.

I'm wondering if she's playing with cigarette girl because she hasn't got any alternative. It's sometimes hard to break into the more established friendship groups.

tacal Fri 02-May-14 20:07:53

hi fudgefeet my ds had a similar relationship with a girl at school until recently. I noticed at parties and play dates he wanted to follow the girl around and do whatever she said. The school said to me at parents night that they thought it was important ds widened his social circle and did not always play with the girl. They said he did not cope well when the girl was not at school. He now plays with a group of boys and seems to be happy. I think getting him away from someone who was telling him what to do all the time has been a positive thing. He does seem happy.

Ds is in his first year of primary school. He has been invited to lots of parties and he has had play dates. I feel exactly the same way as you, play dates are very tiring for him and I have made it an occasional treat. Because we are not doing so many play dates I am expecting less party invites next year.

It is tricky finding the right balance. My ds attends a lot of clubs and enjoys them. I am hopeful he will make good friends who share common interests by attending these clubs. There are a few boys from school who go to his football club and he is becoming friendly with them at school.

I don't have any advice. I am kind of in the same situation as you except that the school is being very good at helping my ds with his friendships.

tricot39 Fri 02-May-14 21:25:44

This thread is a revelation to me! I had no idea that playdates = friends rather than vice versa! Thanks for the info. My son is keen but somehow doesn't get asked on many playdates - clearly my.fault! <goes off to.ingratiate self in the playground>

THEBESTPIGEVER Fri 02-May-14 21:40:01

Sorry... but I am just confused as to how/why your 6 year old DD can compare a friend to smoking... and like a cigarette. How did they arrive at that comparison exactly?

fudgefeet Sat 03-May-14 07:59:55

Thank you ladies for taking the time to respond. I guess a few play dates is a good place to start. We do quite a few after school activities so I think from September we will cut back a bit on those so she doesn't get burnt out and focus more on friends.

THEBESTPIGEVER, my daughter asked me once why people smoke if its bad for them and we got into a conversation about how its addictive. She is very anti smoking and brings the subject up a lot.

MotleyCroup Sat 03-May-14 11:28:04

I've tended not to do many playdates, I work and ds as three activities after school. On the flip side, we're quite lucky as we live in a cul de sac and there are children he can play with on his non activity nights. Some go to his old school, some not. It's safe for them to play outside together, although this can also become a bit of a pain with kids knocking on all the time but you can't have it all ways grin

I don't remember having many play dates when I was young. I seem to recall becoming more friendly with the children who shared the same interest as me eg. Gymnastics. From there it progressed to being able to play outside and going to 'call' for various friends. Again some attended my school, some didn't.

As you get older you make you're own mind up regarding friendships. I wouldn't stress about this too much.

Are there other children close to where you live? Also does your DD get involved with any of the schools extra curricular activities?

MotleyCroup Sat 03-May-14 11:35:00

Ds was occasionally 'left out' of parties and try as you might you can't help but feel slightly upset for them, especially when it will be the 'hot topic' of the morning when the invites are being handed out.

Personally at this age especially I would make it my mission not to exclude another child from a birthday party. Obviously it's hard when there are bigger classes. Is this the case in your school or do you think your DD is being purposefully excluded? Are other children also being excluded?

I also find it sad that a play date equals a fastrak party invite! What a load of twaddle. The politics of the school playground eh!

fudgefeet Sat 03-May-14 15:20:09

She does activities 3 times a week although these are not directly linked with the school. She seems fine with other children and makes friends easily but there has to be something she is doing that upsets people in her class.
I asked her teacher who said she seems to be getting on fine although you can definitely see it on her face when she is not happy. I'm just a bit miffed as to why she would be left out of so many of her so called friends parties lately. I don't expect her to be invited to everyones but these are children that she used to have play dates and trips to park with after school. She had a party herself at the beginning of the year and the whole class came, she never mentions any disputes, loves going to school, comes out happy and I enjoy chatting with the other parents at the school. I really thought all our children got along fine. she caught molloscum(?) a few months back and has it up her legs, maybe she's been shunned because of that?

tricot39 Sun 04-May-14 07:50:06

At our school only a handful of kids are invited to each party so it comes down to those that they play with most often - presumably via playdates.

My son gets on well one to one but really struggles in a group. I think that is quite common

tacal Mon 05-May-14 22:35:41

it does sound a bit strange especially as your dd invited the whole class to her party. Maybe if you start arranging play dates again you might become aware of what the problem is or it will put your mind at rest. It could be that there is no problem especially as school are saying everything is ok. Good luck.

fudgefeet Fri 23-May-14 12:51:48

Thank you for your replies.
Well, with this lovely weather we have been going to the park more after school and she has been able to play with lots of her school friends and seems to be getting on fine.
She doesn't seem that fussed about the parties which are all in the past now so no more awkward chats with parents who don't want to bring it up around me.

EustaciaVye Fri 23-May-14 12:59:32

It could be that there isnt really a problem. The recent lack of party invites may be down to limited numbers.

However, if you feel there is a child who is undermining your daughter's ability to make other friends you need to help her with alternatives. So, have some playdates of your own to widen her social circle. Half term could be fab with an invite to 2 or 3 children to the park?

Sometimes they need a little nudge in the right direction.

Hercule Sat 24-May-14 13:41:54

It's not always the case that a child is 'excluded' from parties surely? I have three kids and when it's birthday time we decide what they want to do and how many people we can invite ( limited by space/cost). They then decide who they want to invite. If there are 30 children in the class clearly it's not going to be possible to invite all of them.

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