Therapy 101-Friends Don’t Come Easy
Recently, I was hit with a sudden thought about Nadine and her friends.
She’s a compliant girl who is easy going. But she will not aggressively make friends. She’s more the “let others make friends with me” type. And as part of the natural protective instincts we have, she’s been very sheltered with regards to her friends. Other than her classmates, she has no friends of her age. All her other friends are either Nicole’s or Nathan’s. That means she doesn’t really have her own friends.
I realised this when I saw the kids playing one day. She’s a happy to follow along, being the little Mei Mei, be looked after, sometime be first to have a go at stuff, and sometimes be neglected.
It pains me. And it’s not the kids’ fault. They do their best to include her. Her siblings always think of her (although there are times they forget cos things are so fun). But she just not able to play with all these older kids at the same level. And I’m not even considering her cognitive development! When I do, the difference is more stark.
I need to make friends with kids who are same age as Nadine. Gosh, but does that make me a control freak? That I have to help my kid make friends? I am so reluctant to do this. Yet if I don’t, she would not break out of her shell and have fun with kids of her age.
Some mummies will say, let it go. She will make friends naturally. She’s only five… And I would say, She’s already five and she still has no friends of her own.
Is this one of the many worries of parenthood? Or is this one of the issues I have to bring up to the therapist? I just want my girl to be developed socially too. That’s ok right?
This is part of a series I’ve started – Therapy 101, to document Nadine’s developmental struggles and victories, and to journal my own learning experiences as she goes through hers.
That's a really hard decision to make. I think eventually kids will figure it out on their own, but they also need the gentle support of their parents. It's good that you've noticed this. Find some new friends or take her to a play area where you can see her interact with a greater variety of children. Good luck, mama.
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I am an introvert, so having a lot of friends is not important to me. My daughter and husband, on the other hand, are extroverted and make friends easily.
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I think just let her be. My kids didn't have friends until they were older and they are fine. And really being able to interact with a wide range of ages is more important than only being able to interact with those your own age. She'll be great!! Everyone's personality is different and by forcing the friends her own age thing it may make things more difficult for her.
My son is, what I call, a "natural observer." Often, he prefers to watch the other kids play. When he was younger, I just let it play out… but as he got older, I decided it was more important to plan play dates and give him more opportunities to make friends. I don't "make friends" for him… I just set up more opportunities for him to interact with kids his own age. If the kids don't want to play together, that is OK… they can each do their own thing – but, more often than not, they usually do find an activity they both want to do. He is 4 now, and it has already made a big difference.
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I think this is something that all parents worry about. Maybe you can ask at one of her sessions if they have suggestions for you?
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All parents want their children to be liked, but if you're concerned you should definitely speak to someone about this.
I tried to arrange playdates when I was worried about the kids making friends. It helped, and I made some friends too.
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Some kids just don't make friends well. It's not really a bad thing. It's just how it is. Nick is an introvert like me, so he's happy just having me around. It's not a bad thing to help her some. If she's comfortable with a play date then set one up with some of her classmates.
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I think if you give her time she will blossom into a little social butterfly. My niece was such an introvert only a few years ago but now everyone is her best friend AND wants to be her best friend.
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Being the youngest, she kind of has always just had to go with the flow with the others..that's the price for being the youngest. She seems happy and will make friends when she's ready…it will only take one. You're a great mom for being concerned about it!
I wouldn't worry about it unless you can see she's unhappy. If she seems content this way, then she's probably content. Some kids are more observers anyhow, which is totally fine!
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I think it's a very valid concern, but if she seems happy then she probably is!
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I was a lot like that as a child and still am to a certain extent. There's nothing wrong with being a loner. 🙂
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((((Mamma))) I think it's natural to worry about our babies on this. She will make friends in time though.
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