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My three year old has lost confidence


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#1 babyblo8

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:29 PM

Hi Everyone,

I could really use some advice and help with my 3 year old son.

My little man has been going to Childcare since he was 18 months old. He hated it at first and it took 6 months for him to be happy with me leaving him. For the past year he has been very happy and has enjoyed it. 2 months ago he moved up to the Preschool room, it was a surprisingly smooth move and he has been happy up until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago he came home very upset saying that one of the other boys was hitting him. I rang Childcare straight away and reported it. They were great and said that another little girl also has said the same thing and they were bringing the parents in to discuss it with them.

Since then my happy little boy has become very upset about going to Preschool. He now clings to me and cries when I leave. The carer has been wonderful looking after him and making sure he is happy but he never wants to go now and says to me 'Mummy I don't have any friends'. I am finding this absolutely heartbreaking to hear my little boy of 3 say this.

He usually attends Little Kickers on Saturday mornings with his Daddy but for the past two weeks he cries when he goes there and refuses to do the activities, something he used to love.

It is like he is scared of being around other kids and has completely lost his confidence.

My question to you is, how do I encourage him to be more confident around other children?

I'm worried my son is going to end up a loner with no friends or not being able to make friends (this is a touchy subject for me as I was bullied in school and I do not want the same thing to happen to him).

Have any of you been through anything like this? and what was the outcome?

Do you think this is a stage he is going through and will get over in time?

Thanks so much for listening everyone, I'm just so worried about my little man.

Mel

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#2 Mel B

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 02:47 PM

Both of my children have been through friendship issues in their first year of preschool - around age 3-3.5. It is very difficult to watch as a parent and my instinct was to panic and try to protect them.

But what I did was treat it as a learning experience for them. They will encounter difficult people in their lives and they need to learn how to respond and protect their emotions.

We reinforced that playing alone is really fun and we would ask them to draw us a picture or suggest they do a puzzle. I spoke to the teachers and they helped out with keeping them busy and engaged in group activities.

Now my daughter is 6 and at school and my son is 4.5 and in his 2nd year of preschool. Both of them have ended up being friends with the kids they once had issues with.

I know how upsetting it is. Take care.


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#3 Guest_Windsor_Guest

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:06 PM

Cait had similar issues when we moved down here and she started at a new daycare. She settled in pretty well but after a little while some little girly cliques had developed and there was lots of 'X says she's not my friend' or 'X won't play with me'. I was really really sad for her because we'd just moved here so were away from family and the little friends she'd grown up with.

We did lots of roleplaying, what can you say if others are being mean or won't play with you etc. to build her resilience. It is really important to mention it to the preschool staff so they can monitor the situation and redirect or encourage your DS to play with other kids but it really is at this stage that they learn how social situations work and learn resilience.

I would also try your hardest not to let him sense your worry and fear (and its completely natural to feel that way, esp if you had a negative experience yourself), perhaps your DH could do some of the 'coaching' on how to act and take the lead here?

#4 tastebud

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:32 PM

QUOTE(Melba108 @ Aug 6 2012, 02:29 PM) View Post

Have any of you been through anything like this? and what was the outcome?

Do you think this is a stage he is going through and will get over in time?

Thanks so much for listening everyone, I'm just so worried about my little man.

Mel


It's so heartbreaking isn't it?

We went through something similar with our eldest son at about 3.5yo. I echo what the others have said... practice the role playing, keep communicating with him, keep checking in with his teachers. I found communicating to my child with their teacher really helped.

Apart from one related q each day, I tried to let him initiate any discussion about it. I was very distressed when he shared the details of one incident with me. I had to to turn my wet eyes away. I felt it critical he experience me as optimistic that it would pass, and confident that he could cope. So my husband and I managed our own anxiety between us.

We considered transferring him, as it was an option available at the time. But at the end of the day, we treated it as an experience he could learn from. We had the support of the childcare centre and we believe he will come across similar situations in the future and want him to practice those skills.

It was rough. However he just turned 5, and time and time again, I find myself feeling quite proud when I witness how he handles the ol' playground politics.

Good luck.
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#5 stars87

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 11:15 PM

We have just been through the same thing with my 3.5 year old daughter. I think some of her problem was insecurity around being about to have another new sibling but a lot of it also was around a group of girls doing the whole 'you're not my best friend' 'I'm not playing with you today' stuff. It got pretty bad for a while and she became really insecure in other social situations she was really used to, like our regular playdates.

We worked really closely with childcare on it which helped a lot. They did a lot of programming around friendships as it was an issue across the group although it seemed to affect my DD significantly. I spoke to her at home about what to do if friends are being mean/don't want to play. We also set a small goal together each day which seemed to help eg play or talk with a new friend sometime before morning tea today. Her carers supported this by trying to get her to engage with activities she liked with children with similar interests.

I know it is so heartbreaking, I am a rather anxious person myself and I found it hard not to get emotional about her anxiety as I felt it was my fault sad.gif but in all honesty, at the time it seemed like a massive issue (and it was!) but she did work her way out of it step by step, and quite quickly in hindsight. I really do think some of it might just be an age thing, sea to be a lot of us in here who have experienced the same thing!

Good luck I know it's hard. Oh, the feeling books by Trace Moroney really helped us too, gave a bit of a voice to some of her concerns and she loved them.
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#6 tastebud

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 09:46 AM

QUOTE(stars87 @ Aug 6 2012, 11:15 PM) View Post

Oh, the feeling books by Trace Moroney really helped us too, gave a bit of a voice to some of her concerns and she loved them.


Those books are pretty good. I wish they had a book for the perpetrators though, something like "When I'm feeling.... unkind!". I have a sneaking suspicion my daughter is going to need something like that over the next year or so dry.gif
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#7 babyblo8

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:11 PM

Thank you all for your replys and advice smile.gif

Role playing is a great idea and I will start to work with him on that.

The centre has been great really encouraging him and looking out for him and on Monday he seemed to make friends with an older boy who apparently 'scared the mean boys away' smile.gif

And although I don't condone this he did hit one of the boys back who had been picking on him. Of course I told him that that is not the best way to react but inside I was a tiny bit pleased that he was standing up for himself!

We will keep working on His confidence and hopefully it will all calm down. Thank you again smile.gif
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