Question: My 5 year old son has recently started having great difficulty handling things that don’t go his way with his peers that he feels really passionately about. For example, he’s really into soccer right now and if he is playing with others and they decide to stop playing, he immediately melts down, crying and looking to me to change the situation. I try to explain that sometimes this happens and I try to encourage him to play what they want for a while and maybe try again later, but he really struggles with this. What can I do to help him not feel so threatened and hurt when this happens? He is definitely an attention seeking kind of kid (and an only) and makes me feel as if the more attention I give him the more he seems to need.
Answer: It’s tough for little folks to be excited about a new sport or hobby or interest or vacation or toy and not have everyone on the planet just as excited, but that’s life. Maybe these will help in the future:
Show empathy and compassion without getting sucked into the drama.
Understand that this will happen a million times in his life and as much as you want your wisdom to float from your head to his, it isn’t going to happen. He is going to have to EXPERIENCE this in order to learn to deal with it in a healthy way.
Resist the urge to make things better. You can’t. Only the person who is feeling the frustration or discomfort can make things better. You can stay close at hand, but in the end, he will have to decide to move along.
- It can be hard for only children to connect with their classmates. They think their peers will treat them the same way their mom and dad do. So from time to time, try being too busy to listen and be less then completely enthusiastic about whatever it is he is passionate about. This will help him develop skills that will assist him with his friends.