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Reception Class Worries

16 replies

Lukilu · 08/10/2008 10:45

My son started reception last week. He was full of confidence and excited. He is only 4. He started with a best friend from his nursery which gave him extra confidence. However, his best friend has another friend who started at the same time and now he has totally rejected my son in favour of this other boy and announces every morning that he is not going to play with my child today. My son is visibly upset by this and is finding it hard to deal with. This boy elbows him out the way and excludes him. My son keeps trying to approach him but just gets rejected all the time. I've told him to stay away from him and play with someone else but he's feeling very insecure and yesterday he cried his eyes out and said he didn't want to go to school anymore without me because he's scared. I know it's sad but I feel resentment towards the boy's mum because she's allowing her child to alienate mine. My son has struck up a friendship with the boy's other friend and that seems to be adding to the jealousy and resentment. It's hard to believe in one and half weeks there is already social politics going on amongst 4 year olds and their mothers. It should be a happy time.

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snackattack · 08/10/2008 10:54

I'm a bit confused. Your son has struck up a friendship with the boy's other friend? So, why do you think he's so upset about his friend striking up a friendship with someone else? Hasn't he done the same thing?

At 4 years old their friendships are so transient - guarantee in a few weeks time they will all be "friends" with someone else. Things were never going to stay the same and whilst it's absolutely horrible to see your son upset, it could just as easily be him causing upset to someone else next week.

My feelings are that the best thing is to concentrate on encouraging his other friendships - perhaps invite this other boy that he's now friends with over to tea so you can encourage that bond (or with any other child that he seems friendly with). I believe play dates off school grounds to be the best way to encourage this.

Try not to feel resentful towards the other mum - it's not her fault if her son wants to play with someone else... they are still so young - things will change very quickly.

Marne · 08/10/2008 10:54

could you arange a play date with his best friend from nursery or one of the other children from his class?

Starting school is such a huge thing for them, my dd started last month, she does'nt have many friends and it seems most of the children dont have friends either. Maybe they need time to get used to the enviroment before making friends. Dd has one friend who lives up the road but they don't always play together at school as they like to do different things, dd likes to do arty things, her friend likes role-play.

I think you need to give it time, dd changes from one week to the next, one week she has no friends, the next she has 10 friends.

snackattack · 08/10/2008 10:57

snap Marne....

PeterCushi0n · 08/10/2008 10:59

I can't see where there is social politics amongst the mothers, tbh.

Children swap and change friends a lot at this age. IME lots of boys don't have a 'best friend' until they are quite a lot older.

You have given your son good advice about playing with other children, and he has done that.

Have a quiet word with the teacher, so he/she is aware that your son is upset. The teacher may be able to guide him into play situations with other children.

It is upsetting when your DC is upset at school, but I'm sure your DS will be settled in soon - it's still very early days.

GooseyLoosey · 08/10/2008 11:01

Something very similar happened to ds last year and he was upset about it for a while. You can't do much other than tell your son that its an exciting time for him to make new friends and offer to let him choose who to invite home for tea.

If it is causing real problems, I would mention it to the teacher and perhaps she can sit them on separate tables etc.

Reception can be heartbreaking at times - my dh used to tell me that I spent far too much time stressing about the doings of 5 year olds and he was absolutely right. Poor dd in reception this year does not get half of the amount of stressy attention levelled at her.

Chocolateteapot · 08/10/2008 11:12

I don't really get what the other mother can do apart from have a talk to her son about not hurting feelings.

My DS started reception recently with his very best friend from nursery, who when they went for their settling in sessions stuck to him like glue. However 4 weeks into reception it appears things have changed a little. DS is having a few problems with his friend branching out and making other friends. The teacher said she had had to "remind them how good friends they really are" on occasions. DS is now slowing making his own new friends.

In half term I'm planning to ask one of his new friends to play just to help things along the way a little. It is all very new to them. Hard when they are visibly upset but it will hang in there.

wannaBe · 08/10/2008 11:13

tbh I think that mothers not getting involved in their children's friendships can only ever be a good thing.

The reality is that at this age friendships can change almost like the weather, and even as parents we really can never predict how things are going to turn out.

I remember when my ds started school having a conversation with a friend along similar lines. She said that she just knew that her dd and her then best friends would be best friends for ever and ever and couldn't ever see that changing. I said that she shouldn't have expectations because friendships can change so quickly. Low and behold within six weeks the friendship was as good as over and they've never gone back to being friends.

This time is hard for kids, but it's an important time when they will work with children they didn't know last month, and friendships will form on their own. You just have to explain to your ds that sometimes friendships change, and that although x doesn't want to be his friend at the moment, he has other children to play with, so to concentrate on the friends he has rather than being sad for the friends he currently doesn't have iyswim.

But you can't expect a mother to get involved - they have to learn to make their own friends, and make their own judgements without parental involvement.

Lukilu · 08/10/2008 11:19

Thanks for your comments. You can tell I've only got one child can't you - stressing too much. I can understand it takes a while to build up friendships etc, but this child is being unkind and my child is on the defensive every morning - it's a hard enough time without having to deal with being excluded.

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GooseyLoosey · 08/10/2008 12:01

If the child is being unkind to your child then I would explain it to the teacher and just ask her to keep an eye on it. In ds's situation it ended up that ds was the one who was unkind to the other child and I was very grateful to the school for helping out as I had no wish to see ds being horrible to anyone (they are best friends again now but it took a while).

hippipotami · 08/10/2008 12:07

Lukilu - your ds's friend is trying to establish his own place at school and make new friends in the process. Yes he is being unkind to your ds, but 4 year olds are not aware of their actions being hurtful to others.
All I can say is encourage your ds to make other friends and tell the teacher this friend is hurting/upsetting your ds.
And don't talk to the mother about it - it never serves any purpose other than to breed upset and resentment.

MollieO · 08/10/2008 12:09

It is a huge change from nursery to reception. My ds has cried his eyes out at home telling me that no one wants to play with him. He actually plays with lots of children from his and the other reception class. This week - week 5 for him - he has finally confessed to having some friends. The previous 4 weeks have been really hard to get through. He also started with a boy he knew well but now they actually spend very little time together and the other boy made friends with others before my ds.

It will get better but in the meantime organising playdates is a really good idea. I don't think that you can hold the other mum accountable for whom her son chooses to play with.

Lukilu · 08/10/2008 12:45

No I don't hold her accountable but I would intervene if my son was being unkind to another child and point out that it is not an acceptable way to behave to another person.

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wannaBe · 08/10/2008 13:08

your ds also needs to learn to stand up for himself though. If the other child says he's not going to play with him then he needs to just learn to say "fine" or to ignore him.
"I'm not your friend" is one of the oldest phrases in the playground, and although it's not very nice it isn't nasty in a bullying sense.

Lukilu · 08/10/2008 13:25

Yes he does need to learn how to stand up for himself - being 4 he hasn't quite developed that sense of self preservation yet.

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snackattack · 08/10/2008 13:31

Lukilu - I really do sympathise - it's very very hard to ever see your child unhappy. However, as a mum with a 4 year old and a 10 year old, I can promise you that in the scheme of things, he's going to be just fine and getting through the next few weeks being as positive as you can to him and encouraging him to seek out new friends, is the best thing you can do. Your son really will be fine, he just needs to get used to standing on his own two feet and some children take longer than others to do this. My little one is super-confident but my eldest was the shyest girl in her class for years and I despaired worrying about her not being in the "in crowd" (horrid with girls in particular!)... but nowadays she's very confident and has a wide mix of friends so kids just develop at their own pace in this regard. Try not to worry too much - it's all perfectly natural and again, he will be fine!

Lukilu · 08/10/2008 13:36

Thanks snackattack, I appreciate yours (and everybody else's) comments.

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