D.P. asks from Saint Louis, MO on July 12, 2008
Seeking Advice on Helping My Daugher Make New Friends
Ladies, please tell me that I'm not the only one out there who has ever fretted about their childs social life, or in my daughter's case, lack of social life. Summer has become so depressing for me watching her do nothing everyday because there are no children in our neighborhood. She attends a very small private school with only 8 girls in the class, so school isn't exactly the opportunity to socialize either. She is 9 1/2 years old and I'll admit, sometimes difficult to get along with. She is very strong willed and independent, but that can come off as being bossy. I have tried to get her into a few summer camps, but cost is an issue. Does anyone know of any organizations or playgroups, etc. that can help. I'm at my wits end. The problem is that she doesn't seem really drawn to any one interest. I tried to take her to a karate class this week, at her request, and she hated it. She's not a very athletic minded girl either. She'll play, but she could really care less about it and she's not good at it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
C.A. answers from St. Louis on July 13, 2008
I have talked to my daughter and we have asked kids over from her class group. Even with 8 girls maybe there is one or two that she might want to get to know better. For an ice breaker go do something like bowling or miniature golf. As far as activities, I am a great believer in Girl Scouts. It is $10 per year per girl and then whatever the troop decides is a fee for supplies or other things. They also offer summer camps (overnight and day)during the summer and compared to other camps or activities it is cheaper most of the time.
Each summer we picked a new activity to try. Piano, tennis and horseback riding...........Unfortunately or fortunately year 4 we could not continue the tradition as our daughter had liked each activity so much that we pursued them throughout the year and just could not afford anymore year round activities without dropping something.
If your daughter is not athletic try arts/crafts, music, reading clubs or church activities. These may be places she could meet other kids.
M.I. answers from St. Louis on July 13, 2008
I really only had 2 really close friends throughout school. Yes, I had tons of other friends that came and went throughout school but 2 friends who I stuck with through thick and thin. One passed away shortly after high school in a car accident (40 days after getting married-we had been friends since kindergarten). The other, I'm still friends with. Known her for almost 30 years! We know each other as sisters now. It doesn't matter how many friends you have, it's the quality of friendships that you make.
I know the book stores around here have 'story hour' 2 days a week (they are free, there is always a snack). I've noticed some of the mom's get together after story hour to go to the park or mall with their children. If you want to do something like this, you need to be the forward one and speak up to the mom of the daughter your daughter is playing with at story hour. Give her your phone number and ask her if she'd like to get together after story hour. When you model this type of behavior in front of your daughter she learns how to make friends and socialize.
J.J. answers from St. Louis on July 13, 2008
R.K. answers from St. Louis on July 13, 2008
I'm going through the very same thing with my 12-year-old. She says everyone hates her at school and she has only two friends she really likes. One is away for the whole summer and the other is traveling and is in and out. My daughter is counting the days until she returns. All she does is watch tv, read now and then, and moan about being bored. Even though she has two sisters and a cousin living here, she's the youngest and doesn't get along with them that well - she's very independent and strong willed too. She also hates church which is very disappointing. I'm hoping you get some good responses!
A.S. answers from St. Louis on July 13, 2008
You should do something that involves both of you. Scouting isn't that expensive (or it wasn't, I'm not young anymore), or 4-H, or a mother-daughter aerobics class or art class or something. I used to hate it when my mom dropped me off at something and expected me to meet everyone and have a blast doing whatever it was she obviously didn't want to do. I felt like she just wanted me out of the way, not that she was worried about me (and yes, I was bossy and independent, too). As far as summer camps, many cities (including St. Louis) offer free or low-cost, and I know the YMCA summer camps usually offer scholarships.
Good luck, and remember-- YOU are also a friend your daughter would like to spend time with. And doing something together right now will impact the way she moves into her teenage years.
L.L. answers from St. Louis on July 14, 2008
Hi D., I do feel your pain! I have a 12 year old son and I worry too about his social life. We don't live in a neighborhood with many kids either. The few that there are, MY SON isn't allowed to play with (very bad influance). I wish I had more ideas to offer you but I'm in the same boat you are. I just wanted you to know that yes there are other moms out there who worry like you do too! LOL! Big hugs and good luck! I'll be checking back too to see what some of the other ladies may suggest for you.
Also, I saw what one mom said about private schools vs public school, and I have to say she is very right one this one. I went to private school most of my life (I choose to leave mid way through 10th grade for a new experience)and boy was it a change. I always expected that my children would go to to a private school. Well when my son was younger we found out he had a speech delay. To make a long story short, Private school are not set to to handle ANY type of special needs for children. I called EVERY private school in St. Louis looking for help and they could not offer anything to me. I would have to get a tutor on TOP of his regular schooling. So a friend talked me into looking into public school. That is where I found the most help for my son. I can honestly say he IS in the best hands that I could place him in. He is now 12 and going into 7th grade. No has not has his speech delay in many years but does have ADHD,OCD, and Motor tick disorder (a form of tourettes) but does VERY well. Plus I could not ask for better teachers than he has! We are truly BLESSED to have the teachers that he does. I don't know how teachers do it. They have to love their jobs because I only have 1 child and they have like 150 or something. They give me and our son such great care and attention. I have no idea how they do it but they do. Anyway all of my rambling is just trying to say give it a try and have your daughter tested through special school district. They really are great. I could try to answer any question for you if you need help. I'm not an expert by any means, but I've been there and I will do my best to help. Best of luck!!
C.C. answers from St. Louis on July 13, 2008
Have you thought about church? Our church (First Christian Church of Florissant, on Patterson Road) has a wonderful children's program and also the middle school/ teen programs. That is the reason we first came to this church. My daughters had friends who went there, and they started attending youth functions with friends. We love it! This week, for example, my teenage daughter is leaving to work with a week of camp in High Hill, MO. The week is for 4th and 5th graders. And, if cost is an issue, we have 'scholarship' programs where they can earn 1/2 their tuition. There will be at total of 150 there, and I would estimate that probably 60 of them are from our church. It's too late to register for camp now, but my point is.. there are LOTS of kids to make friends with. If you would decide to bring her to try it, email me and I could set her up to meet with someone her age who could 'take her under her wing' so she wouldn't feel so alone. My other daughter has worked for 3 years with this age and just married and has a ministry of her own in Shiloh, IL. So, I know from living with her that they have overnighters, skating parties, choirs (in fact I work with the 4th and 5th grade choir) and all sorts of fun things. This fall, Bible Clubs are starting up on Wednesday evenings. Anyway, if I were in your position, I'd try taking her to church. It's so sad to see your little one be lonely. There are also activities for every age, so your son could have a lot of fun too.
K.C. answers from St. Louis on July 13, 2008
Not sure where you are located, but 4-H is a great organization for both of the kids and it is something that may bring your children to realize that they do not hate each other as much as they think!! It is also something that you can be involved in with them.
I learned and experienced a lot through it as I grew up. I also made a lot of friends and have many GREAT memories! It has some similarities to girl/boy scouts except you do not have to have the uniform. The cost is minimal. And it is mostly for supplies as 4-H is not for profit.
When children sign up for 4-H, they chose project/s or subject matter/s that they are interested in learning more about. 4-H has SO many to offer. For example; Baking, horticulture, sewing, fashion design, interior decorating, photography, to name a few that I participated in over the years. There are also some related to pets, I used to show a dog and my sister showed cats. There are some that are related to school subject like literature, and science and there are hobby ones like model building, rocketry and collections. The children receive literature to learn more about these projects and there are various levels as the knowledge and skills develop.
There are club and project meetings held each month, field trips, club and county activities. There are also activities at the state and national level. The culmination of the year is the county fair. Each year you can either re-sign up for the same projects or try new ones. There is opportunities for leadership, volunteering and community involvement, as well.
Most people think of 4-H in rural areas, which is where I believe that it tends to be more popular because some projects are related Dairy, Horses, Swine, Field Crops, etc. but many cities also have clubs, as well.
Even though the typical year starts in September, most clubs accept new members at anytime of the year. However usually you do have to be a member for a specific amount of time before you participate in the county fair. I would be happy to talk to you or anyone else that is interested in learning more about 4-H, if you want to send me a personal message.
To learn more about 4-H, contact your County Extension Office or County Youth Agent or go to www.mo4h.missouri.edu and it can direct you to how to contact your county office.