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sensitive child - problems with joining in and friends

sensitive child - problems with joining in and friends           reply
06/08/2010 16:13 - Ask Mother Hen
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Hi

My five year daughter recently had to come home from Summer Camp as she was missing me and crying a lot after the second day.( A bit like starting school again) She didnt want to go back saying she didnt like it. Whilst I respected her wishes in that situation, I realised that she isnt one to make friends and join in easily and doesnt like new situations without me being there with her. I want to respect the fact she is quite sensitive and shy and not force her to do things , however, I also realise I cant cloud her in cotton wool and want her to mix in with children in new settings. How do I do this?

She was unsettled at school at first ( started a year ago), took up to Halloween break before she would skip in on her own! attends a small village school but according to the teacher has settled in and found her friends, namely two or three girls and boys. She tends to get upset if they wander off with different people and has sometimes said she plays on her own during break, if the friends wont play with her.

my problem would be during summer holidays she doesnt want to go to Summer camps, noisy parties,swimming etc, she tends to stand on the side as if she doesnt know what to do. Shes an only child and I´m afraid shes missing out.

Any advice on how to get the balance, and respect her personality, but try to expand her horizon? or should I just accept things and leave them as they are, and accept she doesnt like big groups?

Sorry for long post, I just felt a bit overwhelmed and want to pour out feelings.

thanks



re : sensitive child - problems with joining in and friends           reply
14/08/2010 22:48 - Ask Mother Hen
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Hi, I haven´t been online in a while, hence the late response to your problem. When I read what you had to say, it really brought back memories for me. My son was exactly the same, and still is to a certain degree. Now, I really don´t want to scare you but when my son was in junior infants etc. and found it really difficult to mix with other kids, everyone kept telling me he was just shy, or he needed time to settle in, but deep down I knew there was more to it. It wasn´t until he was in Snr. Infants that I requested that the Dept. of Ed. School Psychologist was called for. She assessed my son in the school and because of concerns she had she referred him onto the HSE Psychology Dept. After a long waiting time, over 4 yrs, he was assessed last year, and was diagnosed as having Aspergers Syndrome. I´m obviously not sure whether you´ve heard of this, but very basically its an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, however the child social and communication skills are the ones most affected. My son is highly intelligent, eloquent etc. and yet he lacks the social skills that most of us just take for granted. As I said my intention is not to frighten you in any way, but just to say to you that you should trust your instincts. Nobody knows your daughter like you do, and you should give her all the support you think she needs to help her. I think its impossible to give a child too much help. Sorry for the long response. Hope things work out for you.



re : sensitive child - problems with joining in and friends           reply
17/08/2010 21:54 - Ask Mother Hen
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Hi there
I had a little girl just like that. It used to break my heart because her big sister would come home frm school and tell me that my little one had just walked around the yard by herself at big break.
She would never join in at parties either and other mums would comment.
It got to the stage where I would tell the host that she wouldn´t join in but not to worry because she still seemed to enjoy going!

I joined her up in a dancing class. I thought it might help her to join in with others.
Drama, swimming, etc didn´t have the same appeal to me because there wasn´t enough inter-action. It worked. She gained more confidence and learned to join in in groups.
I´ve since sent her to drama class because teacher said she never put her hand up in class - now he says she talks too much!

There was a big gap between her and her older sister, my theory is that like an only child (which I was) we just don´t really know how a group works and have to learn.

Have a look around for some short group activities when school starts back. I noticed a difference in weeks.



re... : sensitive child - problems with joining in and friends           reply
17/08/2010 12:14 - Ask Mother Hen
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Many children at this age are shy - they can often be unsettled and even frightened in new situations or with new people. This is often part of their development and finding out where they can feel comfortable, who they can trust and so on. If their shyness is preventing them from going to school or mixing socially, then it is a problem. Otherwise, I would advise you to take it easy and accept that this may be just part of your daughter´s make up or a phase she is gong through.
If your daughter is more comfortable in a quiet environment, then use this time to chat with her and play with her. You could also use the opportunity to introduce new friends by inviting them for playdates and so on. Give her the support of being comfortable and secure in the environment so that she can communicate and mix with friends knowing that you are around. She will gradually gain more confidence.
Don´t comment on her shyness or make a big deal of her showing confidence. For example, don´t put her under pressure to speak/communicate "you´re very quiet today, why don´t you go over and play with that little girl". This will only make her feel under pressure and highlight her feeling of shyness. In the same way, don´t over praise or comment on times when she is more confident "good girl, you are talking/playing with Mary. Well done...", again, this places focus on the shyness and on her and if she is shy, it is the last thing she wants!
The key thing is not to make a big deal of it - she may grow out of this in a year of so. If it continues or becomes an issue - then talk to your GP for advice but in the meantime, try to relax.



re... : sensitive child - problems with joining in and friends           reply
19/08/2010 23:05 - Ask Mother Hen
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At least, when she did settle/improve after she started school, even if it took until Halloween, it seems that´s a good sign. She is still only five, so while you will do as much as you can, the likelihood is that she will improve in these situations too. The summer camp was another new situation for her so it was understandable. My only word of caution is that you would need to be careful not to let her think she can pull out of everything. As with school, with perseverence, she´ll settle in most new situations. Good luck. i´m sure in the future you´ll be looking back in amusement, even though it´s very hard on you while you are going through this.




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