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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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I have an 8 yo son who is very competitive and talks in a negative

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I have an 8 yo son who is very competitive and talks in a negative way to his friends when things don't go well. He is argumentative and generally "prickly" when it comes to interactions. he likes his own company just not as much as he has to spend because no-one wants to play with him. He never gets asked on playdates and I have them often. he has since had words with his best friend and lost his friendship also. Tom thinks they are friends again but this child deliberately avoided committing to a play date with Tom the other day, it was gorgeous to watch this child try to protect Tom's feelings whilst still avoiding a play date. At home things like, if my youngest girl is wanting to play table tennis Tom will say no way you cant hit the ball back. I will ask him how this makes Jess feel and sit him out for 5-10 minutes. I will talk to him about how much younger Jess is and that talking to her like that is not kind or making her feel good about herself. With his friends he will ignore them in the home and let them play something else if it is not what he wants to do. We have since taught him to follow his friends wishes when they are visiting if he'd like them to have fun and want to come back. This has improved. He is an awesome soccer player and unfortunately there are not many kids as good as him. He gets frustrated with their lack of skill in a game and tells them what to do in a frustrated voice. He actually has a high degree of empathy naturally when it comes to things outside a game or sporting arena. He is the one working up my husband on my birthday gift ideas (Sapphire and gold earrings was his latest suggestion to go with my wedding engagement rings). He also gets upset that not as many people support the special Olympics. He stands up for kids in the playground that are getting picked on. He's just a bit of a bad sport. Kids like him and respect him they just don't feel safe around him or want him as a close friend. The school teacher wants to do a weekly counselling workshp with the school guidance counsellor every Monday lunch time with him and two others. One of the kids is a major problem for the school. His problems are quite huge and I am worried about Tom's self image/perception if he does this. I would prefer a whole class setting where other children can participate with high level reasoning and problem solving modelling. Or, I am thinking of seeing a parenting/child counsellor with my husband to discuss ideas on how to go forward with Tom to help him strengthen his bonds with other children. I am very social and could organise a dinner for the three families that have boys that Tom plays soccer with (elite development training squad - so they train a lot together). Tom plays with these boys at school they just aren't in his class. He has no one he knew from previous years in his class and feels left out. But most kids would just make a new friend woudnt they? Tom is highly picky when it comes to who he likes and dislikes. Preferring to play on his own if the kids he likes are not available to play. His teacher is emotionally tough/cold. She is highly driven towards objectives and goals, and lacks a bit of emotional finesse. my instincts are to say no to the Monday workshops but deal with it privately ourselves. I am an at-home mum, with an undergrad in Psychology, and a Diploma of Education. I was a school teacher for 8 years before kids. I also played elite sport for 10 years in Netball, playing 5 years National, so have a lot experience coaching kids as part of my commitment to the sport. I feel like I can help Tom I just need some guidance. Part of me thinks this is who he is for now, he knows what if takes to be a good friend he just doesn't value friendships with others enough yet, but someday he will, and then he will strive to use the things he has been taught in his home all his life.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Customer:

Hi Dr L,

Customer:

Thank you. I would appreciate your help. Can we talk over phone? XXXXXXXXXX /p>

Dr. L :

You present a very interesting situation. On the one hand, Tom seems to be a normal 8 year old boy. He has a lot of positive attributes in his life....smart, talented, empathetic. And he has some challenges...gets frustrated easily, competition is sometimes difficult for him, and can be prickly.

Dr. L :

Sorry...this is not a phone service. We can chat back and forth via computer...but that is all we can do. If you are looking for a phone service, I am very sorry. Would you like to continue in this format?

Customer:

Yes. This is fine.

Dr. L :

Okay.

Dr. L :

As I was saying, your son is not displaying any abnormal behavior or flaws in thinking.

Customer:

I understand. he lacks friendships and does express his own concerns re how few playdates sleepovers he gets. His teacher is concerned.

Dr. L :

Still...his negative, argumentative actions right now are worrisome for you...and I understand that.

Customer:

Do you see any positive or negative benefits in counselling him in the group of three at school that I discussed?

Dr. L :

Keeping the focus on the positive...and having patience around his negative side...is your best strategy right now. He is a growing boy. Obviously, you do not want him to develop habits that will extend into his teen years and beyond. So...all you can do right now to promote positive thinking, shower him with love and praise, and model healthy choices will be beneficial.

Dr. L :

I agree with you....NO to the 3 some group. What the teacher is suggesting is only going to reinforce that he is a "problem". No good will come from that.

Dr. L :

Do you really think he needs counseling?

Dr. L :

This needs to be an entire class situation so that all the children learn about appropriate behavior and no one is identified as a problem.

Customer:

I think I am looking for a suggestion in a change of course. I believe I am doing the showering with love and praise and modelling is all around him, his two siblings are very popular. I am worried I am not doing enough if the teacher thinks the problem needs addressing and then I don't follow up in my own way and say no to the school's form of intervention. I am a proactive person when it comes to my parenting and do not want to take the easy way out...

Dr. L :

I like your idea of you and your husband seeing a counsellor to help the two of you get some guidance and support.

Customer:

Yes then I think I can put it to rest if I get that advice.

Dr. L :

I would ask the teacher to tell you exactly what she sees in Tom that needs changing. Yes...she may be seeing something that you don't. But she might also be very rigid.

Customer:

good idea

Dr. L :

At the same time, you KNOW Tom ... she has much less information about him...

Customer:

That's exactly how I feel, she's a tricky person to talk to and I am in need of being careful so ther relationship is a positive one for her and I and TOm. Tom doesn't think she likes him as it is now.

Dr. L :

You must trust your own gut here. And from what you have written...Tom has many, many positive attributes. Those things need to be nurtured so that they continue to grow. He will outgrow some of those negatives as they are more about immaturity then anything.

Dr. L :

That's sad that Tom doesn't think she likes him. Perhaps you can help him see that differently...

Dr. L :

That is, she's a teacher. She is being paid to teach. She is not being paid to "like" her students. And...to some degree...her liking her students could be a problem as she might then favor some kids...and that is not appropriate.

Dr. L :

Assure him that she must treat all students the same.

Customer:

Thank you that is the conclusion my gut is leading me towards. I feel like at some point in the future Tom will pull it together. He has the tools he's just not choosing to employ them its just that the intoxication of being good at soccer (he is new to the sport), and his competitive spirit is drowing out his common sense. There is a time delay between action and though I believe that widens as we get older Tom is definitely going to start benefitting from maturity in time.

Customer:

though = thought

Dr. L :

Exactly! He is 8...that means that there is a disconnect between his physical, emotional, cognitive maturity. They do not all occur at the same time.

Dr. L :

I am going to recommend some good books for you to read that will be very beneficial for you...and for Tom:

Customer:

Thank you Dr L. This has been most helpful.

Dr. L :

Parenting With Love and Logic by Dr. Foster Cline and Jim Fay

Dr. L :

This is a highly successful parenting strategy. It is easy to use and very popular.

Dr. L :

Please see their website: www.loveandlogic. com

Dr. L :

The website has great parenting tips.

Customer:

Great! I will order it on Amazon now. Thanks again. Jody

Dr. L :

The Whole Brain Child by David Siegel

Dr. L :

Dr. Siegel is a expert on the brain. This book is easy to use and understand. Tom might really enjoy the stories and pictures.

Customer:

Fantastic. I have written in all down. This has really put my mind at rest. Quite often as parents we want to get it right so much all of the time, but unfortunately the end game is so far off, we just have to trust our instincts and our parenting to get our kids to a happy place as adults.

Dr. L :

Yes Jody...trust your gut. Tell the teacher NO to the counseling. Tom does not need to be labelled!

Customer:

Thank you I will. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX great.

Dr. L :

You are welcome!

Dr. L :

Our chat is stored under your account so you can print a copy or come back and read it at your leisure.

Dr. L :

Good luck to you!!

Dr. L :

I will say goodbye now. If you should ever need to chat again in the future, just ask for me by name and I will be notified.

Customer:

Fantastic. I was just wondering how to share it with my husband.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience: Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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Dr. L
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Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist