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5 YEAR OLD WITH DIFFICULTY MAKING FRIENDS
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5 YEAR OLD WITH DIFFICULTY MAKING FRIENDS

My 5 year old son started kindergarten in Sept. at a new school. He is in a small private school with small classes and good teachers/ratios.  He has always been a bit shy/reserved/sensitive but did have a few friends in pre-school, one best friend in particular. He is doing well in school, brings home good work, is a bright child overall who was already reading before he started in the school which has impressed the teachers. The teachers say he is doing well, is lovable, listens well and pays attention better than most for his age, etc.. I should also say that he is an only child who has the captive attention of his two fortysomething year old parents.  We have been concerned as he does not seem to be making friends in his new school, although we notice most of the other kids seem to be doing so.  He finds some of the recesses hard (says he is "lonely, misses me" and has no one to play with). At other times he does play with others and when this happens he really enjoys it. I have observed him playing with other kids and though I am happy to see he seems "less shy" all the time (we have worked with him on confidence, etc...) he now seems somewhat bossy, a bit clingy, and insecure around other kids. They seem to pick up on this and I think this leads to his being left out at times. We of course talk with him about this but at the same time do not want to put pressure on him making it harder. Overall he is happy at home, without any sleep or other problems. There are anxiety issues in both my hisband and my families and we worry that he is anxious in social situations and doing things to push kids away.  He definitely likes to play/do what HE wants to do (at home) and can want to play the same games/fantasies over and over until he tires of it. (which he eventually does) I also worry that his need for control and routine is a problem. He loves playing with other kids and it is heartbreaking to see him struggling when it appears very few of the other kids are. (even the shier/reserved ones)    Any thoughts or suggestions.  Thanks
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Avatar_f_tn
Two suggestions - one would be to have play dates.  Invite a child from your son's class to your home for a short play date.  If the two of them do not mesh, then try inviting another child.  In other words, help your son find and be a friend (and this part is difficult - try not to hover when they play).  Sometimes we do need to "teach" our children how to share and how to lose gracefully.    Empathy is one of the most valuable lessons we can teach our children.

The second suggestion would be to enlist the help of the teacher.  Ask him/her to encourage your son to interact with "certain" children in the class - the teacher should be capable at this time of the year to "match" personalities easier than the parent.  And try not to worry - our son was quite "shy" when he started school; by graduation he was a "social butterfly"; but it did take years.
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Avatar_n_tn
i am to struggling with this issue and it hurts....i can really use some advice. my son is a very social child just doesnt know how to play with other kids....he would rather play with another adult then kids his age.  he is 5 but his speech is not very clear i also do  think he has a hard  time understanding very thing people say to him! help please
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Avatar_f_tn
Bring him for a speech, language and hearing evaluation. You can contact a local teaching hospital or your school district may be able to help depending on where you're located. Also, seek out structured peer group socialization experiences. A speech and language pathologist may be able to offer some initial help and direction in both areas. Find older children who might be able to play with him and engage him to help build skills for age mates. Some kids also do better playing with slightly younger children until they can be readied to move up to peers.
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Avatar_n_tn
Reading about your son it was as if you were talking about my 5 year old son. He told me tonight that he wants to meet his 2 year old brothers friends so that he can make friends with them because he doesn't have any friends of his own. It broke my heart. I just wondered a year and a half later how things worked out?
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Avatar_f_tn
He is doing very well. We had him tested and found out he is very bright, sensitive. We also were told that many kids are a bit slower socially, esp. quieter more socially sensitive and reflective types like him. We did keep him active with play dates etc... (but not overwhelmed) and he has done well. His teachers this year say he seems to enjoy the social aspect of school very much. I still think he is more reticent and awkward than most of his peers but at this point i may be over-noticing. All kids are different and I was told by the psychologist who tested him as well as our pediatrician not to over-pathologize. Just keep him in the mix, enough but not too much. He is more of an intellectual (like his father) and not a social butterfly. It is so painful as a parent to see them suffer socially though. I still worry but if i had any advice it would be to let your child be who they are, encourage the social stuff by exposure in natural settings, and not to jump to conclusions about serious issues when they are so young unless there are real problems. Get good professional opinion if needed to help you see how to help them.                                                      
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Kindermom,

I Googled this topic looking for help and am glad I saw your story because it is very similar to mine.  I requested a meeting w/ my son's teacher today (happening in a few hours), because my son who is 5 and in pre-school who also goes to a private school tells me that kids are mean to him and no one wants to play with him at recess.  This is very heartbreaking because we all know how important it is to have friends.  I myself was a pretty shy child and do have some anxiety issues that I never thought were visible enough to affect my son.  He just started tee ball and I'm hoping that this will help although he tells me that it's not really that fun for him.  His dad is the coach and I am the team mom, so we're always there, but there is little time for social interaction while practicing.  That is a small part of my story, but I am in almost the exact same situation as you with a bright, wonderful child, whom his teachers tell me is a great kid in class, etc.  He is also an only child and I guess the only difference is is that his father and I are not together but are very cordial towards eachother, never letting my son know or see if we have problems with each other when they arise.  I see that you have had your child tested and am glad to see that things are starting to look up.  I will talk with his teacher today (I am very nervous!!!!!) and hope that she will shine some light on this heartbreaking subject.  Any comments from you would be very much appreciated.  
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Avatar_m_tn
First off it is common for much brighter children to have a harder time until about 3rd grade when alot evens out.  Ive also found that the more time kids spend at home the better behaved they are but theyre also more confused about negotiating the kid world. Another big problem with this age group is cliques. Kids will clique and exclude. Frankly it persists but its a little hard for young kids because there isnt much you can do if a kid says Go Away.  I would talk to the teacher though be advised many dont care about this sort of thing. I would tell him youre there to play with him when he gets home and that he can still play even if its alone. Id ask him if he likes anyone in particular and then try to do a playdate once a month. Sometimes that can be hard because everyones busy but its much easier in warmer months when people are going to the park.  Neither of our boys really did the friend thing till about 9 and me personally, I think its all shallow at this young of an age anyway.  another option is some type of enrichment class. Thats a different group of kids.  Dont worry. In the end, you cant control these things and some kids are more social, some less. Sometimes good kids are put into awful situations. Everyone has phases. Remember your own childhood, good grades, bad grades, good friends, bad friends, etc.
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Avatar_m_tn
   Very nice advice, but unfortunately to a post that is about 4 years old.  But, there are plenty of new posters that you could help.  Thanks for contributing.
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