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I don't know what to do about making friends

plain jane

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I have a boy in grade 1 who has no friends his age. He only has one friend that he plays with regularly and while the boys get along great, the other boy is older and sometimes finds himself not enjoying my ds' company. :) This is ok and totally understandable. Boy is nice and works out for the most part.


Thing is, I don't know how to go about making friends for my ds. For the most part he is happy. He is very close with his sibs and never complains about friends. He does great in group situations, plays well with other kids, but has not connected with anyone on any sort of level. He is quiet and introverted. The only time the friends thing becomes a bit of an issue is when it is his birthday. He would like to have a party with kids but he doesn't have anyone to invite. :sad: It's a fleeting thought and we always do something out of the ordinary and over the top to compensate.


My problem with helping him meet new kids are as follows:


1. We are no longer in co-op. It was not meeting my kids' educational needs at all and it was a waste of time for my older kids. I felt they were better off learning at home. There's other reasons, but suffice to say co-op is not an option.


2. The homeschool group we are a part with that gets together for field trips and sometimes park days no longer has any kids younger than 8. Three of the families moved away and they had the only 1st and 2nd grade children. Again, ds will play with the 8yo boys but since there is a 2 year difference the older boys are not really his "friends". I find ds is a bit intimidated by them- they are all quite a bit bigger. He often sticks to his younger brother instead. We get together with this group on a weekly basis although sometimes we miss a week or two. It really isn't that we stay at home all day every day. :) He just doesn't connect with the kids because they are either 6yo girls playing Barbies on the swings or 8-12 year old boys.


3. None of my friends have boys his age. At all. Some have girls (and he plays well with girls) but no boys.


4. I have older kids. One going into grade 7 and I am not at liberty to take days off school like we did when my older kids were young. We need to be home. I can have my oldest take her books but of course, if everyone is on the swings, she would like to be too. I get it. She's 11, not 15, and still lacking the maturity in that area. FWIW- she does try and I appreciate the effort.


5. My son doesn't seem to connect with kids on his own when he is at classes. What I mean by this is that he will talk to them, they will play, all will be good, but it never goes to the next step. He never asks to play with them after (or for longer) or asks to have them over some time like my older kids do/did. When class is over he's happy to say bye, and glad for the time they had. He would probably like it if I invite a mom with a 6yo boy over but he's never asked. He makes friends better when I set up the play dates with the mom. Problem with this is I'm usually always running around after my toddler that I don't get to talk to anybody. Who wants to talk to the crazy lady chasing the busy toddler?? It doesn't allow for much conversation, no matter how much school time I sacrifice to put him in classes. I really don't know the moms.


Now, I have met some families over the last two years that have 6yo boys. Typically these boys are their oldest kids so while they are free for many playdates, I am busy at home with my older two. I have sacrificed many an afternoon of school to get together with these other families but I always end up feeling like I am "chasing" them. For some reason, there are a lot of introverted moms who homeschool in my area and I find that they tend to keep to themselves and by homebodies. Nothing wrong with this, just difficult to make friends. Again, my son is quiet and takes forever to warm up to a child. It is at least 2 or 3 play dates before he is comfortable with them. Again, he does play well but he is shy. I do not believe my son has social issues. He is polite and can hold his own in a conversation. He's just not super outgoing and will not go up and befriend everybody he meets. He is not the lone kid at the playground who will talk to whoever else is there, if that makes sense.


I don't know how to go about meeting new families for this kid. I don't know how to balance his needs with my older kids' needs to be doing school work. Plus I have a toddler who still very much needs a daily nap so my afternoon visiting hours are a bit limited. Morning play dates are not possible. I will never give up my mornings of school!


FWIW, this child is in 3 outside classes per week. One class he has been in for 2 years. He is friendly with the other boys in the class and they talk and joke but he has never once expressed interest in any form of outside friendship with them. I also don't know any of the parents (I mean, we talk if we are there watching the class but we're not chummy or anything) so it is difficult to pick a random person and invite them and their son over for a playdate, especially since my son doesn't seem to have much connection with their child. These are not classes for homeschool kids so most of the kids have their own school friends already.


Anybody else in my situation? My son says he's happy and he never complains about it but I know he'd love to have a close friend or two. I feel like I'm failing him but it's not for lack of trying. WWYD? Do you think this is reason to put a child in school? I'm sad for him and I do (secretly) worry that when he is grown he will deeply resent me for his lack of friendships at his age.

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Jane, I know you're worried, but as someone who has BTDT, please believe me when I tell you that it's not a big deal if your ds doesn't have friends right now.


He says he's happy, so maybe you're the only one who's worried about this. My ds didn't particularly care about having friends at that age -- and frankly, I'm not sure most first graders have "close friends," as much as they have "playmates."


Please don't worry. In time, he'll find a buddy or two -- but it may not be any time soon, and that's not the end of the world. I think you're really over-reacting when you worry that he'll deeply resent you for not having friends in the first grade. :rolleyes: Chances are pretty good he won't even remember, or will have happy memories of the things he did with his family.


Seriously, give yourself a break and don't worry!!! :grouphug:

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I know it is difficult to do, but I would try not too worry about it too much, as others have said. First grade is young, and it sounds like you have a nice home situation with lots going on, and I think a child that age without outside friends can be very content. I think chances are, if YOU don't make it a big deal, he won't either.


When my kids were young, I went through stages when I felt I needed to give them opportunities to meet friends. Some would meet friends at different activities, but really, unless they were actively seeking friends and the right chemistry was there, they would enjoy the activity but not think twice about making friends outside of the activity. Several of my children were very content to just be home, and they were active and creative and had lots to do at home.


When the time is right, and as long as you keep giving them opportunities now and then, friendships will happen without you even trying.


Also, a couple of my children were rather shy at that age, and I think that's fine. It doesn't necessarily mean they have social problems. :)

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I don't remember playing with kids outside of school very much in 1st grade. I was in 2nd grade before I starting asking my mom if I could invite friends from school over to play.


Tigger is 7 and today is the first day he's ever mentioned (since pre-school age) a specific kid that he wants to be friends with. He had a lot of fun at art class talking to the boy next to him and asked if he could go again next week so he can sit next to this boy again. Tigger does all sorts of activities and has fun, but has never seemed interested in pursuing any friendships until today.


My guess is to give your child another year or two. Present opportunities, but don't be surprised if it takes until 2nd-3rd grade before he really seeks friends.

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He is still very young so you have plenty of time, IMO. I recently realized that my 10 year old really needed a friend. We chose to invite a boy from his basketball team over. They had a great time and reciprocated the invitation. This is a really nice family and a nice boy. My dh got to know him because he coached our ds's basketball team, which helped us choose a boy from among the others on the team. My dd (first grade) then wanted to invite a friend from her basketball team over, and I chose an only child whose mom I got to know during the season. The mom is very extroverted and had talked about the girls getting together so I thought she would be open. When I arranged my ds's friend to come over, it was a shot in the dark that this kid (and family) would be interested. However, it worked out great. So sports have been good to find friends for us here.

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