My 8 y/o seems to be having great difficulties with making friends or at least staying friends.
My wife and I separated about 3 years ago. My ex was always very (over to my thingking) protective of her. Baby gates till she was in school, did not take her out much during the week, ... I took her to a child psychologist who agreed she needed more social interaction with other children. I put her in daycare and that seemed to work (in at least that environment). She was just starting kindergarten when my ex decided to separate. There were many other factors that lead to this. My ex was in a deep depression for two years following the death of our son, and also apparently had some sexual orientation issues. This lead to a lot of openly aggressive behavior from her just before the separation and for shortly after. Even my daughter commented on it.
Anyway we sold our house and I moved into an apartment, her mother followed to the same apartment complex. Now it is hard to trust neighbors that come and go a lot. There was a lot of turn over in the complex. My daughter has few (actually only one) stable friend that I knew her parents well enough to let her play at there house. Most of the time the kids came over to mine. Residential time has always been very inconsistent as her mother has had difficulty keeping jobs and she works as a barmaid, with a constantly changing schedule.
My daughter is extremely sensitive. Just about anything upsets her, There was always some issue going on between her and her friends not treating her nice. She also has not quite grasped the idea of playing by herself. She always needs someone to play with. I have to admit this is sort of foreign to me as I have always been a bit of a loner even growing up.
Well, her mother moved a short distance away due to rent getting too high and even thought mine went up faster I stuck around for my daughter's convenience. Well 3 months ago I moved. I bought a house (mobile) that needs a lot of work. I have been encouraging her to find friends in the neighborhood to play with. Have taken the time to talk to the parents and/or adults with children in the community. But lately not a day goes by that she does not get into a fight or she gets snubbed and she cries almost inconsolably. She does not seem to be able to get along with anyone outside of a school environment.
Sometimes she seems to be even defiant towards me, in that she will do the complete opposite I say even when it is something she wants. She still uses a lot of baby talk, still insists on crawling in bed with me in the morning, she will recall a sad event and actually start crying about it again (pet loss, relative that she has never met that have died...) she just does not seem to be maturing adequately in the social areas. She also has some nervous ticks, one is that she will touch something over and over again with the back of her hand or her wrist. Simple things like he dinner plate, the table, her chair. Almost like she is trying to make sure it is really there. It is kind of hard to describe.
Maybe I am being over reactive, but I have raised one other child, who is now in her twenties and did not see behavior like this in her.
Am I, do I have something to worry about?
Anyway I don't know if what I have said makes any sense or even why it bothers me so.
My first impression is what a good and caring Dad,something in your Post touched on the fact you really care about how your Daughter feels.She is finding it hard to socialise, when you are talking to her find out what triggers the fights she gets into what did she feel and do just before,The Baby talk and crying is trying to get your full attention,maybe back off a bit dont worry if she crys about the fights or being snubbed. If she gets a good enough reaction from you thats what she wants.The repetitive movements of her hands are some anxiety, at this stage just ignore it, the more you notice the more she will do it.,if it stays or gets worse get her checked out by your Doc.How about you invite a new friend to come to play and you can observe her interaction with her. Good Luck,she'll be fine
Thank you for the kind words.
I have been asking how the fights start, but what is concerning me is that it is always the other kids. Now normally I would side with her but it is becoming suspect that she has so many fights with so many kids. I need to actually go over today and find out what the last fight was about.
I know she does not have equal footing with the other kids, because of her past living environment. She can ride a bike yet, does not know how to deal with disagreements. I've tried but she is very fearful of any thing she is unsure of. I was always of a mind to let her bump her nose once in awhile, but her mother was all for baby gates and fencing in everything. The did not have run of the house until she was in kindergarten let alone be able to go play in the yard by herself.
You may be right I may be over compensating, but I myself am fear myself that I can provide her with a stable environment with the way things are with her mother. I never know myself when she is with me, how can she be secure? It all just seems so out of synch. I want her to be a happy child, not all filled with angst.
Does she say what the disagreements are all about? I dont see that her past living enviroment would affect her footing with other kids.Girls of 8 sometimes have separate friends I wonder if she is trying too hard to befriend a bunch of them perhaps one or two would be better,ask her if there is a particular girl she likes and is nice to her she could make more of a friend. I know you care sometimes you have to chill out and let her deal with it.Especially if she has lived the over protected life when she was little.I think your caring attitusde shows you can provide a stable enviroment with you. Would you say she is Happy living with you? if she wasnt you would have to consider the options.
This story really touched me. I have an eight year old son that has some social problems and he has a stable childhood. I do know that the top three stressors in a child's life are: Death, Divorce, and Moving. Your daughter has been through all three. I know by reading your words that these events are of no fault of your own, but it is a tough, tough thing for a child to deal with. It sounds like to me that her mother was so afraid of losing another child that she coddled her too much. I may be wrong, but that is what it sound like. The coddling alone can cause a child to act clingly, younger than their age and socially behind. Also, watching her mother unable to cope might have affected deeper than you realize. You can check out your nearest children's hospital and sometimes they have sibling groups that help kids cope with the loss of a sibling or family member. Even if she is too young to remeber this event, she still knows about it. I hope this has helped, but I would definetly talk to her doctor and there should be a school counselor she can talk to.
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