Why does my 7 year old dd have no friends?

(44 Posts)
Orangeanddemons Thu 19-Sep-13 21:46:18

She has had issues since Year 1. More tears tonight, no one to play with at dinner time....as usual.

I just can't understand it, she's kind, caring, lively and friendly, but no one wants to play with her. She doesn't seem to have any social issues, in fact she seems to have very high emotional intelligence for her age. She is now starting to lose her self esteem, and I just do not know what to do..

IShouldNotBeHere Mon 23-Sep-13 20:27:24

She's found some friends?

Orangeanddemons Mon 23-Sep-13 20:13:28

She hasn't been in yet, she seems to have found people to pass the time on with.hmm

IShouldNotBeHere Mon 23-Sep-13 19:40:52

How's she getting on in the friendship room?

OnaPromise Fri 20-Sep-13 21:48:02

That's interesting AbiRoad.

OP - I hope the friendship room works out.

AbiRoad Fri 20-Sep-13 21:16:46

Will ask DD2 for her tips tomorrow. The one I heard is that she said that next time the class is told to get into pairs she should just go up to B (the new friend) and ask her rather than waiting to be asked ( I suspect DD1 normally hangs back waiting to be asked by someone out of fear of rejection)

alpinemeadow Fri 20-Sep-13 18:40:21

Abiroad, what are her sister's tips for maintaining a friendship? - she may be the closest thing we have to an expert!

AbiRoad Fri 20-Sep-13 16:51:18

My DD (9) is a bit like this. She is very sweet and no one dislikes her, but she has always been a bit on the edge of things. She joins in at lunch times (even if she is hanging around the edges a bit) so it is not too bad, but when they have to get partners for things or into small groups, no one seems to choose her. She has a twin sister who is very popular, and when I see them play together or play with non-school friends (eg children of my friends), I find it very hard to see what it is that makes one popular and one less so.

She has never appeared too bothered by it (although hard to say), but this year one of the girls who she has always really liked has become more friendly with her and even described her as her best friend the other day. I have never seen DD so happy as when she came home and told me that, so I suspect it bothered her more than she let on.

But the basic point is to give you hope that it might just fix itself (touch wood that DD maintains the friendship - her twin has been giving her tips!)

nicknamegame Fri 20-Sep-13 16:46:55

Agree with the poster who said girls can be nightmares at playing nicely. I also have the problem of dreadful playdates that end in tears. This is always always caused by telling tales, jealousy, siding with one and leaving the other out, one refusing to play the games the other wants....it's exhausting. What I can say though is that I've witnessed my own daughter participate in this nonsense- she is not immune from it nor is she an angel, despite my attempts to teach her otherwise.

I just think girls are incredibly complex in their friendships and it can make for a miserable time at school confused

girlbythesea Fri 20-Sep-13 16:35:55

So sorry to hear about your daughter. Maybe it's just me but often it seems to me that young kids, girls especially, are just awful at playing with each other. I invite girls around a lot for my daughters sake, but I absolutely dread it. Almost without exception the guests are rude, won't play, tell tales, and generally leave my daughter bewildered. They seem really spoiled and badly brought up. My daughter persists and 'manages' them, but it isn't very rewarding. Boys on the other hand seem much better. They PLAY and don't have mind games. I find it very depressing! I also have the problem of lack of reciprocation - but I've come to the conclusion that it is the parents who have no manners and are happy to get the hours off with free childcare but unwilling to reciprocate. I am pissed off with the amount of effort it takes to make friends for my daughter, and how basically unrewarding it can be. Your daughter sounds very sweet and perfectly normal. Maybe you're just in with a boring bunch of kids and parents!

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 13:51:39

Sorry, Myers Briggs INFj is a personality type who like their own space. Yes, she did have a friend who was a boy in another class, but she did admit that she only played with him,as no one else would play with her. However she was very very good friends with him, but I feel she needs female friends too.

I think there is something to be said about parents who are friends, there seem to be an awful lot who hang out together and have done for years, it is particularly noticeable and always has been. However there are 16 girls in her class and not all the parents know each other, although about 7 or 8 do

IShouldNotBeHere Fri 20-Sep-13 12:41:16

They have a friendship room at lunchtimes, and a friendship lunch time supervisor. She will be referred to both.

That does sound like it could be really good for her. Somewhere she can go where there will be other children in the same situation. You will let us know how she gets on won't you?

IShouldNotBeHere Fri 20-Sep-13 12:20:48

So last year she had a friend, the boy?

There is one class at my school where a lot of the mums are friends, but of course not every single one of them. They appear to hang out a lot and go to each others houses. I think they've all known each other since their children were babies. I would imagine that there are some children that are left out in that class (probably not intentionally) just because the children and parents have such a good bond. I wonder if there is something like that going on?

Actually I know there is one (I'd forgotten) as I talked to her mum about it. The mum was worried as her daughter gets left out of stuff sad although more recently has started being invited to more parties. Think she is 8/9.

Have you ever talked to any of the other parents about it? Not in a whingey way but just saying you are worried about her and her loneliness. If a parent said that to me I would encourage my children to include the child and invite them over as well.

Are there any children living near you? It doesn't matter if they are not at her school or if they are older etc.

What does "(Myers brigs on INFJ)" mean?

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 11:54:10

Sorry for typos, ipad behaving like an arse

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 11:49:56

I'm on quite good terms with a lot of the mums. Not super friendly, but I'd stop and chat to them if I say them, or at least say hello. I have very very good social skills, but am not particularly sociable. (Myers brigs on INFJ), but am always interested in people and what makes them tick. We don't have lots of people round our house, because I prefer my own company.

When she has friends round, they always seem to play together well, and I always invite any she asks for. So I'm stumped. She had one boys last year who was her best friend whonsheplayed with all the time, but he seems to want to play more with boys this year. I've told her that that children go through a phase of wanting to play with their own ses, and this is probably what happens.

She says she just wanders round thenplaygroundon her own sad it's quite hard to get any information out of her. She tends to clam up

IShouldNotBeHere Fri 20-Sep-13 11:25:39

So what does you daughter like doing at lunch time? If she could chose what would she play or do with the other children?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 20-Sep-13 11:22:38

I should expand...the friend had the permission and support of the Head Teacher and her own...and she would set up as the school run Mums arrived and then sell the goods...plus she did a raffle for a hamper of treats and it was beautifully wrapped so all the DC wanted to buy a ticket...it sometimes can help to give confidence..things like this.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 20-Sep-13 11:18:56

OP Brownies can help massively....stick with it for a bit....also try role playing with DD to see how she's approaching games etc...some kids just have a way about them which turns others off...I don't mean to be cruel saying that....it's just the more grown up children may appear to be hoity toity or bossy to less mature ones....can DD do something like start a charity drive.

A friend of my DDs ran a little stall after school selling cakes and handmade things for charity...at lunchtimes she made the posters and other kids wanted to be involved too.

IShouldNotBeHere Fri 20-Sep-13 10:42:55

I read your post last night and it made me so sad!

Firstly I think the fact that after school playdates aren't being reciprocated could be for a number of reasons. How does it go when they are at your house? Do they play nicely? Are you on friendly terms with the other mum? It doesn't mean you need to join any cliques, but being approachable is really important I think. There are a couple of mums at my children's school who seem to have an invisible bubble around them saying "don't approach me!" and even I (quite friendly and sociable) find it hard to start a conversation with them because they don't seem to want me to. I did approach one recently and she actually seemed really pleased. It was tricky as there was also a language barrier to deal with but I was surprised by how pleased she was, you would never have guessed.

It shouldn't matter when arranging playmates how friendly you are with the mum, but unfortunately it does. I think particularly when they are small and you would probably go with them and stay for coffee. The other mums aren't going to want to hang out at the house of someone they don't know at all, and so I think it is important to chat and be friendly. My daughter is the same age as yours and we have always had playdates with my friends and their children. It is only the last few months that we have invited one over whose stayed here on their own (without mum) that was a school friend and not a child of one of my friends, IYSWIM? I think as they get older it will be less of an issue.

It doesn't explain why your daughter hasn't been invited to theirs though. Do you have any gut feelings about that? I would invite them again, because when they have been to your house more than one it will be harder for the other parent not to return the invite. Still rude not to though! Perhaps they are just being lazy.

My daughter is quite upfront with other children and asks them to go to their houses. I have brought it up in conversation with the other mum before and said with a smile "oh xxxx keeps going on and on at me about coming to play with xxxx at your house next!" whilst laughing about how forward kids are. Pushy but works!

It could even be something silly such as you having a bigger/nicer house than the others and on seeing yours are too embarrassed to invite you to theirs.

From one persons perspective being friendly with other mums at the school is being in a clique, but to others it's just being friendly. It depends on your perspective.

My cousin has children at the same school as mine and has had similar problems to you and your daughter. Once my children started there I realised why. My cousin is very standoffish and doesn't approach other mums or dads. If they approach her she is chatty enough but they often don't because she has that invisible bubble I was talking about (complete with unintentional "I will punch you if you come near me" face which is only visible when not smiling). This has effected her daughter because her daughter has learnt her social skills and how to deal with situations like this from her mum primarily, and so the daughter doesn't know how to approach people either. For her the problem sorted itself gradually as new children started and she now has a couple of children she likes.

A friend of mine has the same problem with her youngest child and it's become apparent that the child doesn't want to play with others in her year because they are all imbeciles!

Another also has this problem and it appears that her child may have some mild SN. Possibly ASD/AS/PDA. She is being assessed. It means that she appears very advanced in her social skills but actually can't relate to other children. When she is talking to adults she is mimicking what she sees other adults do but can't do the same with children. This is probably not relevant but thought I'd mention it.

The other thing I thought of reading your post last night is that my own child went through this is reception and year one and it turned out to be not quite as it sounded. She said that no one would play with her, but on much further probing I found out that her idea of other children playing with her was if they all did exactly what she said and let her control the game. So when they didn't let her control the game she would wander off and sit by herself and then tell me no one would play with her. After a chat about the difference and explaining that she needed to let other take control sometimes too it sorted itself out.

My daughter is drawn to the slightly crazy kids with good imaginations. I don't agree with the previous poster who mentioned clothes and music etc. I find that the only ones of that age (mines the same age as yours) who are into those things are the ones whose parents encourage them to be into those things, which I don't. It's never been an issue for my daughter as she has no interest whatsoever and neither do any of the children she plays with. Personally I think all that stuff is a bit old for them, too teenagery, although my daughter is probably quite young for her age and still more playful. She also likes playing with boys quite a bit. I wouldn't limit it to just girls if there is a boy she gets on with.

I wouldn't give up on Brownies. If I were you I would go back and tell them exactly what the problem is with her finding it hard to make friends to the point where she is sad and losing confidence. Don't be passive. Tell them and ask them directly to help her. I can't see them not wanting to.

My children's school have a area where those who are quieter can go and read or play puzzles, there is also an area called the friendship zone or something where children who are lonely or want to make new friends can go and older children play with them all and get them playing together. I was going to ask if your school has similar but it sounds as though it does which is great.

Do you have friends who come round with their children or who you meet at the park? Are you sociable yourself?

Also, where do you live? I'd more than happily engineer a meeting between our children (at a park?) and then invite your daughter over (with you of course as I am a weirdo stranger off the interweb). She sounds lovely and my two love new children to play with!

Sorry for the mammoth post!

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 10:23:35

My dd never really plays with toys. Well she does bit not for long. She will do craft stuff though. She loves computers. I've read up about HFA, but I just don't think she's got that

devilinside Fri 20-Sep-13 09:41:37

I think emotional intelligence is hard to see in children. Just because she's kind and caring among adults, doesn't mean she's the same with other children. My DD is borderline asperger's and has always been a joy with adults, but over controlling and bossy with her peers. (something we are working on) Asperger's is so subtle in girls, so I think it's worth investigating, how is her imaginative play? (my dd never plays with toys, for example, it's all climbing, running, mixing up potions and computers)

Ratatouille1977 Fri 20-Sep-13 09:32:40

I'm in the same boat with my dd2, she is 6. I have left her in tears this morning sad. She can be bossy, inflexible, in your face, needy but I think she also has a good heart. She is lacking of the essential social skills. We trying to help her as much as we can but it's like she doesn't want to know. She wants to be friend with a couple of girls who don't especially want to be friends with her, yet she doesn't let go.

I'm sorry for the hijack Orange, I'm sorry for your daughter.

neenienana Fri 20-Sep-13 09:19:17

I was about to suggest a lunchtime club or playground buddies. I had similar issues with my son in yr 2, we had moved school in yr 1. I used to worry so much about him being on his own at playtime. Now going into yr 4, he is so confidant and has some good friends. I really tried to make friends with other mums and engineer playdates and that did seem to help. We are still not part of the gang so to speak but things are so much better. J think yr 2 is a tricky one for some kids. Good luck and keep talking to the teacher.

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 09:08:30

Thanks so much for all your help. Saw teacher this am who is really lovely guy although looks about 10! They have a friendship room at lunchtimes, and a friendship lunch time supervisor. She will be referred to both.

Changing classes is something I will consider, but her teacher is so so nice

alpinemeadow Fri 20-Sep-13 08:06:10

Yes oranges and lemons, it is very difficult to tell why one person has a group of friends and another doesn't - as you say it's quite possible for someone with bossy/needy traits to have lots of friends! (obviously they have nice characteristics as well, but so does your dd!)
I think even at 7 one particular aspect that may lead a girl to be left out is if she isn't interested in 'girl' type things like clothes, pop music, (yes, even at 7) - some girls are very attuned to that lack of interest and it does put them off. But that may not apply to your dd anyway! There are usually a few others who aren't interested as well, though, if you can find them.
Have the classes stayed the same with the move from infants to key stage 2? If so i would be asking them about a change of class, as this one isn't working for your dd. or failing that a really concerted effort to get her together with some girls in the other 3 classes - organising pair 'tasks', group games at lunch time, maybe some work set 'across' the form so that she can work with others in the library. Good luck! Schools have so many demands on their time that a girl who causes no trouble but has no one to play with may not be the top of their to do list - so your dd is really lucky to have you to advocate for her!

Orangeanddemons Fri 20-Sep-13 07:25:19

She can be needy, and can be bossy, but tbh they all seem bossy!

I avoid cliques too, I'm just not into that sort of thing, so maybe that's a problem, but it was never a problem with ds.

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