Wrapping up with The Mother Co. & Parenting Expert, Dr. Robyn Silverman

[Source: Pediatricsafety.com]

[Source: Pediatricsafety.com]

Hi Totsy fans! In case you missed our live Facebook chat with parenting expert Dr. Robyn Silverman, partnered with The Mother Company, here’s a quick summary of some interesting questions and answers!

Question: My 6 year old son has a hard time expanding beyond 1 friend and has difficulty taking social cues and knowing personal space. His school has developed a “playground plan” for him that has just started where he plays with his one friend 2 days a week and others the rest of the week but we have learned that on the alternate days he has played by himself. He does not seem to be bothered by it at all, but we don’t want him to become an outcast or not liked as he gets older. We’ve tried talking to him about it but he still struggles with it. He is very affectionate and seems to be liked by other kids, except when they tell him they don’t want to play anymore he does not take the hint. What else can we do? –Bob Celosky

Dr. Silverman

  1. Diversify and multiply friendship circles.
  2. Encourage him to be a part of something in someway.
  3. Meet up outside of school: Perhaps crowds intimidate him.
  4. Make sure you don’t put your fears on him: If he is happy to be alone some of the time, perhaps that’s something that just works for him.
  5. Challenge him: Challenge him to choose one person who he will talk to or play something with during recess
  6. Ensure that he is spending time with people he likes
  7. Ask for their definition of a good friend

Question: I have a couple of friends who tell me their children (3-6) are drawn to kids that are aggressive and rebellious. How should parents instruct their children? What kind of action, if any, should parents take to guide their children?  -Laurel Moglen

Dr. Silverman: Children like to have fun– so if they see kids looking like they are having fun, they will be drawn to it. Rebellious sometimes seems like fun! But, we need to guide our children to understanding what fun & good choices are and what fun but bad choices are. The biggest question: will it hurt you or someone else?

Question: What would you say are the benefits and drawbacks of the label “bully”?  –Scott Baumgartner

Dr. Silverman: My feeling is that labels can be dangerous. Self fulfilling, if you will. However, someone can be acting like a bully without always being one– just like someone can behave in a shy way without the label “shy”– another label I don’t like. When we say “he IS a bully”, the child wears it like a coat. If you are behaving like a bully, it feels more changeable. Our main thought is to first ask, How do you think that made them feel? Instead, start with, what happened right before you started that vicious rumor? How were you feeling right before you took that action? Ground the action to a feeling.

Question: My daughter is 5 and just started going to pre-k this year. She has always been very independent and loved to go anywhere where she can play with kids, even preschool. Well, she has began to get anxiety and really nervous about going to school. I have even had to beg her to get out of the car when we got there. Her teacher has expressed concern to me about Kendyl acting nervous when they had to do group activities. I want school to be a fun experience for her. – Kristin Hovde

Dr. Silverman: Find out what’s scaring her: Is he scared that he won’t make friends? Getting lost? Being left out? Loud noises? Once we find out the true fear, we can handle it together. Talk about your childhood back to school fears and how you coped: When your child can hear that you had fears and that you dealt with them successfully, it can help her to feel better. Share something that made you feel more confident so she can call up this story or nugget of wisdom when she needs it.  Use a structure: A structure is something tangible that your child can touch when she is feeling nervous. It can be a smooth rock or marble in her pocket or a little something hanging from her belt. Put an association along with that structure. “Every time you touch this, remember to take 3 deep breaths and think of me sitting beside you,” for example.


[Image: mindware.com]

Great tips from Dr. Silverman:

  • Asking kids AS A COACH can be wonderful instead of lecturing.
  • It’s important for kids to understand their definition of “friend.” What is it that they are really looking for?
  • We need to ask our children to reflect on choices they’ve made as a practice. “That was fun…and it was a good choice!” or “that might have been fun…but what was the consequence?”
  • I think it’s important for parents to step back and get their children to think. It’s a way of teaching accountability and empathy. Instead of providing the answer, ask questons. Takes patience. What did you do? What happened when you did that? What did you learn from that? What will you do next time?
  • Who do you want to be thought of as a person? What words do you hope come to mind when people think of you? Then they must act accordingly. Have them write it down. It is what they must aspire to.

More Resources:


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