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Question
Posted by: me | 2012/06/04

confidence

Hi CS,

Can you give me some pointers as to how I can equip my little girl (4) to cope with general " friends"  issues. I''ve noticed that she is always the odd one out in her class, she plays with at least 3 different groups during a 5 day school week and according to her teachers it''s mainly due to her being the smallest more fragile of her friends, she''s never nasty to her friends and doesn''t really stand up to friends when they are nasty to her. The groups i refered to will be groups of 2 or 3 girls or boys and they would be happy to play with her until they decide they don''t want to play with her anymore...not guite sure what the reason for that might be. Her teachers has told me that they kids would also blame her for things they did and she would then take the fall for it and if she complains the teacher would basically tell her to be quite. (this happened before 1 of the teachers actually realised that the kids was doing this deliberately). Anyway, this is just one of the worse case examples of what happened about 4 months ago. Nowadays my little girl still complains that she doesn''t want to go to school and most she just says she wants to be with her dad or just stay home and other times she tells me that no-one wants to be her friend.

I really need to know what is the best way to equip her for now and the future. As was a bit of a loner at school, mostly primary school and I know how it feels to be rejected by piers. Its terrible and I don''t want that for my precious little girl.

Your professional opinion would be appreciated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This is probably best done in continuing discussion with her ( i.e not seing it as a one-off Major Talk ), and in relation to the issues as she herself sees them.
Remember the difference between being aggressive and assertive - so long as she's happy, and prefers to broadly defer to others, that's probably not a problem. But she may need guidance as to how, tactically, to deal with others being mean, aggressive or unpleasant with her, how to deal with disappointments when others don't select her to play with.
It doesn't sound as though the teachers have ben handling the situation particularly well.
What do other, experiences moms among our readers, have to suggest ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Carol | 2012/06/08

Does your daughter do an activity out of school? If she is not going to a ballet (or tap) class, send her. She will probably feel very shy at first, until she knows how to do the steps etc. If she enjoys doing some sort of dance class - it will give her the confidence to carry on and even at such a young age, they do have dance exams. If she does well in her dance exams, that will help ''boost'' her morale and confidence levels. She would probably cope much better at school. Not sure - give it a try. Good Luck.

Reply to Carol
Posted by: Ina | 2012/06/08

I feel for you. I absolutely hate when other children avoid or pick on a certain child. But unfortunately most of the time it''s your child herself who triggers this trend by being shy or keeping a distance. Children can be very mean and cruel and the moment they notice one who is out of place they act negatively to it.

Build your child''s confidence as much as you can. Lead her attention away from the fact that children are picking on her. In other words, you have to try to convince her (a kind of brain wash!) that this is not true because she is too smart and pretty etc. If she can believe in herself and deems herself as important and attractive she will radiate it and the other will pick it up too.

In the mean time, talk to the teachers, ask them to be more considerate, to boost her self image by giving a little more attention etc. That would make a big difference already and the other children will admire her if they see the teachers deem her so important. Also find out if there isn''t other children in the same boat as she is, so that they can play together.

Good luck.

Reply to Ina
Posted by: Paul | 2012/06/08

Try and lead by example- Make friends with the parents, invite them over at bithdays, in this way you get to know the children, and they form an affinity with your child.

Reply to Paul
Posted by: Maria | 2012/06/04

A very large percentage of kids come home and tell you that nobody wants to be their friend. I too have a socially awkward little character, who now at 10 only starts to more or less settle down with a small number of friends. I''ve been told over and over again that playdates will help to solve the problem. My experience has been that it isn''t a magic bullet but it helps a bit, so it''s worth going to the effort.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/06/04

This is probably best done in continuing discussion with her ( i.e not seing it as a one-off Major Talk ), and in relation to the issues as she herself sees them.
Remember the difference between being aggressive and assertive - so long as she's happy, and prefers to broadly defer to others, that's probably not a problem. But she may need guidance as to how, tactically, to deal with others being mean, aggressive or unpleasant with her, how to deal with disappointments when others don't select her to play with.
It doesn't sound as though the teachers have ben handling the situation particularly well.
What do other, experiences moms among our readers, have to suggest ?

Reply to cybershrink

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