Six year old girl gets snotty with other kids

livvysmomNovember 4, 2006

I try to have girls over to play with my six year old daughter. She seems all excited about it -- and then about half way through the playdate -- she becomes a real snot.

She will get bossy and upset if the other child isn't doing what she wants, she gets obsessed about making sure she gets her "fair share" or turn, and everything the other child does or says starts bugging her. Usually the other child is oblivious to this but I can hear the snottiness and irritation in her voice.

It is very frustrating because I think by now (age 6) she should be able to play nicely one on one with another child. I am also so concerned that she may be acting this way at another person's house (my DH seems to think probably not -- it's a territorial thing).

Maybe I should shorten her playdates some (I usually have kids over for 3 hours). Is this normal or is my child doomed to never have a best friend?

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swampwitch

Sounds exactly like a six year-old girl to me. Have you talked to some of the other parents of six year-old girls? I'll bet they tell you their daughters do the same thing. Continue to let her know it's not acceptable. After some other girls do it to her she'll see it's not so great to be bossy/bossed around. Our daughter grew out of it by age eight.

Cheers, from
SwampWitch

p.s. One thing that helped with our daughter was having playdates with only her two favorite friends. There was less frustration, less bossing, and their friendships really grew.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 8:07PM
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stephanie_in_ga

I have a 6 y/o DD. She has her snotty moods, too. The girl she plays with most often is a couple years older, though. That is convenience, the girl lives across the street. But DD can't get away with bossing the older girl. It wouldn't work with a submissive younger child, but I've seen play go better sometimes with a slightly older child. It takes a younger but bossy child out of a leadership role for a little while, puts the shoe on the other foot.

If I thought a younger guest was getting bad treatment from DD, I might pull out a craft to let them do their own creative thing. Or if I planned ahead and was in a good mood, I might bake something with them, requiring cooperation.

It's a very tough balance to teach our kids, to be assertive enough without becoming domineering.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 12:43AM
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livvysmom

Thank you so much for helping me understand this. The girl that came over was just so sweet and nice that I couldn't understand why my daughter was getting so annoyed by her.

I think having her play with a girl a year or two older is a fabulous idea. Almost everyone she plays with on our street is a year or two younger (including her sister) and this definately helps make her bossy.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 9:56AM
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popi_gw

Maybe its time for the visitor to go home, when your daughter is acting up. Just a thought...she may just want time on her own, and is fed-up with the other girl.

Great idea to play with older child, it will be interesting for you to see how she reacts in that situation.

They all learn how to get on with each other, don't worry too much about it, she will have friends.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 2:16AM
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lindakimy

Here are a couple of observations for what they are worth: The "problem" behavior you are describing all seems to come down to an attempt (however ineffective or primitive) by your daughter to control the situation. Children don't have a great deal of control - over themselves or their environment. It's something that they learn. It seems to me that your daughter's enthusiasm for these play dates suggests that she wants to socialize and is ready to begin learning the skills she will need to do so. Her "break down" into attempts to control after a while suggests that she may have reached the limit of her still growing ability. Remember that she is playing with other children whose own social skills are under construction. Imagine yourself in a similar position...you invite friends over and they expect to be able to "share" whatever you have. Even your newest clothes and your most expensive perfume are up for grabs. You might react in a fashion similar to your daughter's. In the case of adults, guests normally have internalized boundaries so that the hostess does not need to control their behavior. That isn't necessarily the case for children. Your daughter may be feeling very pushed - much more than is apparent to you.

It might help for you to talk with her before such dates and let her know that she'll be expected to share with her friends but allow her to choose a few things that she does NOT wish to share. Those things can be put away safely so that she knows she still has "control" over them. Assure her that sharing does not mean losing what she wishes to keep.

You mentioned that you think by age 6 she should be able to play nicely with another child. Why do you think that? Don't you think that is a little arbitrary? Children are very different and what one can do with ease at a given age another may have trouble with for a long time. It seems to me that your daughter IS playing nicely with other children...just not for as long as you'd like. I agree with the others who have suggested shortening the play dates.

And finally, because children's socializing has much more to do with learning and practicing new skills than adult interactions, I think you have to expect a bit more "childish" behavior from them. Their squabbles can be very hard to listen to but they are opportunities for them to learn how to resolve conflict and to determine how they can fit into their group. If an adult is constantly intervening to stop every argument and to enforce one view of fairness, the children miss out on a lot of what such play dates have to offer. Of course that doesn't mean you shouldn't supervise to avoid actual physical conflict or extreme meanness but I recall that you said the other children didn't seem to notice the problem that is upsetting you. Sometimes it is difficult for a parent to realize that their child is NOT yet able to behave as an adult would.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 10:03AM
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popi_gw

Lindakimy

I take my hat off.....you have summed it up so well. What wonderful insight you have into the mind of a 6 year old.

Thanks

Popi

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 2:39AM
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