He’s surrounded. There are plenty of other children with whom he could play. Instead, he’s slouched in a chair, frustration written on his face and disappointment filling his heart. Yes, he’s surrounded by children. But, they’re all girls!
When you’re born with three older sisters, a boy’s life can be a little trying at times. If he went to public school (or even private) fulfilling his desire for male friendship would be a little easier. But, when you homeschool, hanging with the guys takes a little more effort.
Do any of your children feel this way? Perhaps you have an only daughter, blessed with a household of brothers. Maybe you, too, have a son blessed with a houseful of sisters. How do we help our children build friendships with those of the same gender while remaining home for the bulk of their day?
Be Understanding – Don’t dismiss your child’s issue as unimportant or something they’ll ‘get over’. Take their concerns seriously and let them know you care.
Be Open to Conversation – Be willing to hear your child out. Ask them about activities they might be interested in, ways to help them seek out friendships, and concerns they might have. Let them speak, and do your best to listen.
Be Willing to Meet the Need – It might take a little work on your part, but it’s well worth the effort. Help your child find friendships and opportunities to be social. Be willing to taxi them around on occasion and play host(ess) to a houseful of little people.
Be Proactive – No sense in waiting for the kids to start looking for friends, start taking action yourself. Talk to other parents with children around the same age, and start setting up play dates and activities together.
Be Involved – Make a point of spending one-on-one time with your child. Encourage your husband to spend as much time with your son as possible. Plan tea dates with your little girl. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend with your child, just that you spend quality time involved in their lives.
Our son is blessed with having three older sisters. Half the time the kid rules the roost. He only needs to mention needing something and his sisters rush off to get it. He gets frustrated and three girls come to assist and advise. They’re great about playing with him, listening to him, comforting him, and humoring him.
However, this mama also understands her little man needs the companionship of other fellas. So, he spends quality time with Pop constantly. We make a point of setting up play dates with other little guys. We’re involved in our church PSP where we’re blessed to have several little boys for him to socialize with. As he gets older, he’ll get involved in other activities which will meet this need as well.
Having an ‘odd man out’ doesn’t have to mean crazy schedules to ensure our little guy is properly socialized. Nor does it mean we shell out tons of cash to have him involved in every activity under the sun. It does require two actively involved parents with a heart to meet their child’s needs.
And, three loving sisters who are willing to play Minecraft. 😉
Time to Chime In: Do you have an ‘odd man out’? How are you helping them build those much-needed friendships?