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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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Hi there. My 8 yo son is a very competitive child.

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Hi there. My 8 yo son is a very competitive child. He is also sensitive when it comes to any form of advice and has trouble keeping and making long term friendships. He often prefers to occupy himself in the classroom given free time and sometimes at lunch times is seen on his own. he is a very talented soccer player and is in an elite development squad. He plays with the soccer crowd at lunch and morning tea time but does it under sufferance saying there are kids that annoy him. He dominates the game (I have watched from a distance when I was in the school for my daughter's reading groups). He tells the other children what to do. At soccer training he will sometimes point out to the other kids when they do something wrong. The class teacher is highly ambitious on behalf of her students' learning. Tom, being sensitive to criticism often needs more positives to overcome the constructive criticism offered at school. He really hates school this year in particular. His self talk regarding his school work has taken a dive this year also with his belief that he isn't any good at writing. This is the first year they ranked the kids for maths and he is in the second bottom group of 5 groups. He always thought and we did that he was really good at maths, always scoring in the above average sections in the report. His teacher wants to put him in a once weekly workshop with two other boys from the class (one of which has huge social problems - undiagnosed, but highly disruptive with other children). They will attend this social skills workshop at lunch time. I am worried that we will further bring down Tom's self-esteem/image/perception as he sees this other chcild as having major problems and has often worried about what is wrong with him. Also, there will be no anonymity due to this child's inability to keep a verbal filter. I am wondering if it would be more beneficial for my son if we pursue counselling with my husband and myself first to see what we can do to support him in order to help improve his friendship making and keeping. Then, under a psychologists supervision involve Tom is sessions if advice leads us this way? Am I being too protective in not wanting to follow the classroom teachers well intentioned plan for my son? She is Chinese and grew up in China until late teens, and has a slightly impersonal style with kids and parents. I find it hard to warm to her, but she is highly professional and a driven teacher. I just worry she doesn't have the emotional finessing to handle this one with care, she just wants to fix the problem in the most direct path possible. I feel that this doesn't always lead to the best results. That a more measured timely approach holds more long term power. Jody XXXXX

Hello and thank you for consulting our service,
It is apparent that you have given this a great deal of thought and have good insight into your son's behavior. Since you have many years more experience with him, I am inclined to trust your judgment and want to give you permission to trust your instincts. Your idea of getting individual therapy for him first is a good one. The therapist can work on the behaviors which are off-putting to his peers (bossiness, intrusiveness). Then, a social skills group to intervene in real life can be introduced. Maybe you can find an individual therapist who also conducts social skills groups. It may be better if this social skills group was outside of the school environment so as to reduce any reaction from school-mates. Tell the teacher that you may be willing to try the school lunch group after the outside interventions and be open about this option in the future (especially if Tom is interested in it).

The comment he made about being a bad friend may indicate that he is aware of his struggles with friendships and will be relieved that the adults in his life are trying to help him with this.

I hope this helps...and warm regards,

Bonnie and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for the accept and the bonus. I noticed that you were wondering how to share this informtion with your husband.....and Dr. L's info. At the bottom of your post you should be able to find a SHARE button. That offers several options for sharing.

Regards, Bonnie