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6 year old daughter with social emotional issues
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6 year old daughter with social emotional issues

My 6 year old daughter is in first grade, and I have always felt that she was on the socially immature side for her age in comparison to her peers. She does have a 3 year old brother who she is very jealous of regardless of how much attention we do give her. I feel we have a pretty balanced home situation - two working parents, loving home, structure and rules. For the most part, she is well behaved at home aside from sibling issues.  She is on the aggressive side, though -with her brother as well as with her peers in class. She isn't hyperactive, and she does well in school. She is always vying for her teachers attention (one on one) and when she doesn't get it, she pouts, and throws things. When she gets in an argument with a friend, it is usually about sharing. She has an extremely difficult time emoting her feelings or explaining with words, how she feels, or a particular situation or problem that she has encountered with a friend. Teachers get frustrated because she won't talk therefore they can't help her. I sometimes feel like she processes slower. I can quickly explain a situation and I see that she cannot. She tends to be fearless by nature - whether it is doing something, or of punishment.  She doesn't like team sports, but I feel it is necessary for her to participate in these as life is about working with others. She doesn't get the idea that she shouldn't be attacking her own teammates. She would rather do a solo sport like swimming, and she excels. She can be kind to others, (her friends and her brother) but it doesn't come often. She doesn't have too many friends, but she does have a few. I worry that as time goes on, her friends won 't want anything to do with her because she is bullyish and bossy.  She develops close bonds with people, but doesn't want to share them with anyone else. She constantly writes cards to me (her mother) about how much she loves me, doesn't want me to die, etc. Things I find a bit shocking.

I worry most about the social relationship aspect as she matures, and I worry about how to get her to speak and verbalize feelings.  When an issue takes place, she pouts or grunts and clams up.   She has had the same areas of issue since Kindergarten. Nothing has changed really from K to 1st grade.  She goes to a weekly lunch bunch with a school social counselor to work on these issues but I haven't really seen much improvement.

She knows the right thing to do if asked. She knows what it means to be kind. It seems to be a self-control issue that she has where she has said, she just can't help it.

Can anyone shed some guidance for me? I can't really relate to this as I was the polar opposite in school.  I was super sensitive and never was in trouble.

Thank you.
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Your daughter clearly has some major strengths. She will need to develop more cooperation skills with peers, whether or not she becomes better (which she likely will) at putting her problems into words. Be sure to set firm limits on any expression of aggression. The message (in words as well as in behavior) should be: You may not hurt people, even if you are angry with them. Now, the group she has in school is a good idea. Such social prob;em-solvinf or social skills groups are useful. They focus on the types of things your daughter needs to learn: cooperation, talking instead of acting out, finding words for feelings, etc. You might ry to augment the weekly school group with some small social skills group in the community. Check with your local child mental health agencies, with the school psychologist, with other patrents for ideas about where you might find such a group. If your daughter has health insurance, also check with the company that manages her mental health benefit - they can tell you who their providers are in your area.
6 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
My husband and I went through alot of the same social issues with our daughter.  Our daughter is also a very sweet person but rarely showed that side to others.  At six she had just one friend and was not willing to make friends with anyone else and also did not want this friend to play with anyone else.  She is very aggressive and stubborn.  But, as she got older, it got better.  She is now 9 and in third grade.  We started to see a change in the second half of second grade and a BIG improvement this year.  She now has multible friends that she calls and who call her to play.  She still is not willing to play group sports and tends to stick to things that can be done individually but I think this will also improve as she matures.  Good luck, things will get better!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow! That is really good news. I hope that things do get better. The optomist in me thinks so but I feel so unsure at this point.

You made me feel better!

Thanks.

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Avatar_n_tn
i just posted a similar answer to a similar question....

my daughter, 6 years old, young first grader hzving turned 6 just before school started.         has always been socially behind a bit.        acedemically she is advanced.           will often play on her own when friends welcome her to play with them, feels like she has no friends, is anxious about lunch in school cafeteria, recess, riding the bus---all things that take some social navigation.       i have noticed a vast improvement since preschool, however, she is still at a disadvantage since she cant function as the rest of the kids do especially in the cafeteria (cries and wont eat--says she misses me) and on the bus, and at recess.          would always prefer to 'play' with my husband or i instead of a friend.    we are always pushing her to be with kids.         WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP HER MORE??
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Avatar_n_tn
My road continues to be rough. Yesterday she was supposed to bring a handmade "surprise" gift to a secret pal at Brownies. What she made was beautiful and I helped her. I shouldn't have done what I did, but being so sensitive myself, I had a conversation with her about being happy with whatever she gets and that it is about giving more than taking. Well I was truly embarrassed to find out she made a huge scene in front of all the girls about how unhappy she was with the gift that was given to her and she cried about it.  I was mortified!

Today, her one friend on the playground told her (and me) that her father says she is not allowed to play with my daughter anymore because she is mean. My daughter was hysterical crying when I picked her up from school and this was going on.

I am at my wits end. She knows what is right but she says she cant' help it!

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Avatar_n_tn
I also have a huge concern with my 6 year old daughter.  She is doing very well in school other than her occasional talking (maybe on average once a month) when she's not suppose to and missing a recess for it (which I would assume is very normal for that age).  But she has this mean streak towards her friends and has no patience with them at all!  She does have a huge heart and in my opinion very smart for her age, but she just can't seem to get along with children.  She also has a problem with being over sensitive, we really have to watch what we say in case she blows up over it!!  I mean very minor things could put her over the top.
Another huge concern I have is, she seems to just get sad and cry for no reason.  This actually just started a couple weeks ago.  I will ask her what is wrong and she will say "I do not know".  She says, "I just get sad for no reason and can't help it".  I had asked her if she get's this way at school and she said no, so I am wondering if it is because her brain is not as stimulated after school as it is during the day?  I noticed on a lot of these posts that our children do academically well in school.  I am wondering if this has anything to do with the problems we are all having?  My daughter always has to have control in anything and everything she does with her friends, she is very bossy, and if things do not go her way, she throws a fit.  Is this normal behavior for a 6 year old?  She's an only child and I am so stressed because this is all new to me!
Any opinions would be helpful.
Thank you!
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A related discussion, son hates 1st grade was started.
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