Growing up social: how to help a 6-year old make friends
As our children get older, having and making friends becomes so important for their sense of self. Having and making friends, however, can be quite emotional and difficult. I myself can recall the difficulties of friendships, even from a very young age. An urbanMama and worried mom emails:
Our 6 year old son is having problems getting along with other kids. He is an only child and we know that plays into it, but is it more than that? He loves kids and the notion of having friends, but when it comes down to it he really does not play well with other kids. He is often self-centered, competitive and adversarial in his interactions. He has yet to develop a true pal either at school or in the neighborhood. We set up play dates outside of school as often as we can so that he has more opportunities to socialize with other kids one on one, but often they do not go that well.
Socialization is messy for almost all kids at his age, but we want to do as much as we can to help him get through his challenges so that he can experience more success socially when he enters first grade next year. I think this has also been challenging for us as parents because we feel a bit isolated socially from other parents. He does not get invited to many of the birthday parties or for play dates at other kids houses and that extended community is something that we are missing as well.
We would love to hear from other parents who have struggled with similar issues and find out what has worked for you. We would also like to consult with a child psychologist or counselor to obtain better tools as parents to help him develop these social skills. Maybe even some form counseling for him. If you have had experience with a child psychologist or counselor that you particularly liked, we would love to hear what you liked about them and to have their contact information.