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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Son Has No Friends

This is the story of D, the boy with no friends. It sounds like it'll be a sad story, but it isn't, so bear with me.

D is almost four and has never had a play date set up strictly on his behalf. Sure, he's been dragged from home to home, to dance lessons, gymnastics classes and homeschool coops. But, he has no single boy (or girl) that I can point to and say, "that's D's friend".

Do you feel sorry for him? Please don't.

Yesterday, while waiting for the girls' dance class to end, I watched D running around the dance teacher's back yard with two other girls his age. The three giggled, whispered, shouted and ran like old friends. And, yet, he will probably never play with them again.

In our coop, there are a few kids who he gravitates toward, but as all the kids play together regardless of age or gender, it's hard to say that D has a specific 'friend'. However, like in the teacher's back yard, he enjoys himself thoroughly with these children.

The interesting thing about D is that, while he is never alone, he can play on his own better than his two older siblings. He also is unafraid of older children; I think part of this is because he is in the company of older kids so much.

Socially, he seems just fine.

He also has a cousin, just eight months younger, who we see weekly. And while this is an 'arranged friendship', per se, I think it will be of the utmost importance as he grows older.

With my oldest child, I was very, very, very dedicated to making sure she had friends. We joined a play group when she was four months old. I called up acquaintances and set up play dates. I enrolled her in preschools, enrichment classes, story hours. I dragged her to children's events in town.

I can't even imagine doing this with my third. I'm too lazy and it seems too complicated. I rationalize that he has two older sisters----two 'built in' playmates. I'm not sure I have the patience to meet new moms with little boys, invite them into my home and make small talk about. . .whatever. I'm not doing the preschool circuit.

And while I may worry that I'm shortchanging him, that I should be more aggressive in 'finding' him friends, I doubt he shares any of my concerns. He's too busy trying to build a house of blocks or a road for his cars.

Labels:

14 Comments:

Blogger Whirlwind said...

Wow, you just described Moe to a T. Last night, when the girls were (again) discussing who to invite to their respective birthday parties, Moe suddenly stopped and burst into tears. She looked at me and said "but I don't have any friends" like it just dawned on her. She has one little girl who she's pretty good friends with (Einey's best friend's little sister) but apparently they're on the outs. Something about a broken shovel. She's 3.5, I'm sure she'll get over it!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

This actually makes me feel better about my girls' lack of consistent playmates. My feeling is eh, when they're ready to make real friends they will. Half the time they get excited about some kid coming over and half the time that kid just cries or has a tantrum anyway. I wonder if "friend" is a term we apply before they're ready.

1:16 PM  
Blogger SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Amazing how much you can stop worrying about by the time you are raising the third child...

2:29 PM  
Anonymous pinks & blues girls said...

I think it's great for kids to learn to be close to and play with their siblings. I think it's great to start forming solid relationships with siblings early. Being the 4th child, I think my parents banked on this formula with me, and it paid off! :) Also, when I met your son he seemed very social and outgoing!

Jane, Pinks & Blues

2:34 PM  
Blogger Alpha DogMa said...

I agree with mom101. Kids don't have real 'friendships' at that age -- not as we adults see them.

My boys are a very tight unit. When we have other kids around they'll show a passing interest in the others, but then resort back to their own team dynamic. If they do take a particular interest in other children it is always for the rude, ill behaved future criminal ones -- much to my annoyance.

3:01 PM  
Blogger Krystan said...

I really think preschool "friends" are really just playmates. I agree that kids aren't capable of really being friends until they're a bit older. He's got two awesome older sisters that are good to him and he's so good natured, I'm sure he'll be a great friend to somebody someday not too far away.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Rock the Cradle said...

You know, it's awfully young to even have a real understanding of what a friend actually IS. I think you both are right on target. He enjoys himself with other kids. That's GREAT.

Special friends will come later, when he knows himself, and others, a little more.

And breath easy, grrlfriend. You're doing a fantastic job.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

I think it's important that they have other kids around at that age, but they don't need FRIENDS - nor are they capable of that, really.
It's funny to think of how much effort I put into things with my first kid that I no longer find necessary. Sorry first kid! Sorry last kid!

7:48 PM  
Blogger anymommy said...

This made me feel better. I tried to go to a mother/baby group today. Siblings were welcome, but there weren't many and my toddlers wreaked havoc on the joint. Meanwhile, all the cute moms with one baby quietly nursing got to talk. I gave up after 30 minutes and bailed. Guess baby will have to make due with older brother and sister. And that's okay, right?

10:31 PM  
Blogger AnotherMomCreation said...

Well I sure know what you are talking about. And although #2 does go to preschool, she hasn't really formed a friendship with anyone, like D she just plays with everyone and no one. That's ok. She's happy. He's Happy. Don't sweat it. And I know your not!

1:44 PM  
Blogger nuttnbunny said...

Have I mentioned, lately, that you're totally a fantastic mom?

xoxo...

7:59 PM  
Blogger Cathy Burke said...

Great post!! I belonged to several playgroups for my oldest son. He was shy so I "helped" him make friends. I micromanaged his social life till this year (he is 8 1/2) when I figured out that our taste in friends differ a bit. Heaven forbid my kids play with each other without bloodshed! He is finally learning how to make his own friends and what a real friend is.

My younger son did not make any of his own friends till this year-he is almost 6. But now they are actually friends and he knows what that means.

The funny thing is now my big guy horns in on my little guy's playdates! He is jealous of all his little brother's friends!

11:02 PM  
Blogger SabrinaT said...

That is my kid. And you hit the nail on the head. By the third child I am just way to worn out!

7:25 AM  
Blogger Danette said...

My son is a loner, due to his autism, so he has little of any friends, and he will most likely be like that the rest of his life, just a part of his autism...oh well.

My daughter is on the shy side, and when I saw this happening a few years back I knew then I had to push her to stand on he rown and do things for herself. It was hard and there were times she did get something because she would not approach someone in a store, but she eventually learned to ask for help. As mad as she got, she has learned to approach people. I did not want to use the word socialize, for when she is with a crowd of semi-familiar people, she is AOK, but complete strangers, she still has issues, but I am no longer her crutch. she is learning.

They will be fine. Keep up the good work.

4:03 PM  

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