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johnM
johnM asks:
Q:

Our daughter does not want to have play dates - any ideas?

My daughter is four years old and we have started noticing for the past few months that she does not want any kids to come to our home. She does go to their house and plays well. whenever we plan to invite anybody and if they have kids she starts screaming that do not invite.
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Jan 11, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Hi John,

It is very difficult to know exactly what may be going on for your daughter, but I have a few thoughts. First, when you say that you have started noticing that she doesn't want to have friends over, is this different from how it used to be in the past? Did she used to tolerate friends coming over? If there has been a change in her behavior, when do you believe that she first started rebelling against the idea of having friends over? Can you identify anything that has changed in her life during this time period?

Second, you described your daughter as having a "fear". What is it in her words or actions that leads you to believe that she is actually scared of having friends over? Does she demonstrate any other fears?

When your daughter is calm, ask your daughter if she has any ideas as to why she doesn't want to have friends over to the house. What does she like about going over to friend's houses? I have noticed that bedtime is typically a calm and peaceful time and children seem especially open to discussing these kinds of issues.

With answers to the above questions, I believe that we will have a better sense of whether your daughter is experiencing a normal part of development or whether she is harboring some concerns or fears that require some attention from you or a professional. Let us know.

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Additional Answers (2)

johnM
johnM writes:
In past she used to initiate to invite friends at house. So far we think she does not like any toy that makes noise. As soon we start talking to invite somebody to our home she starts crying and her face becomes blue.
In nutshell she is very friendly with all of her friends at their house or in the pre-school. Also she does not have any problem when we invite only adults.
> 60 days ago

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lkauffman
lkauffman writes:
Hi John,

Well the plot thickens! It is still somewhat unclear whether your daughter is suffering from a fear or some sort of concern about sharing her things with peers. Given that she doesn't mind having adults over (not much threat that they will take her toys!), my guess is that she is somewhat protective of her toys. Perhaps she fears that one of her friends will break her toys? Take her toys?

Regardless, I think that you should do your best to slowly expose her to situations in which friends are over in "small doses". Perhaps you and your wife could schedule a playdate in which a friend comes over for about a half an hour and then you take them to the park or a children's museum. Schedule a couple of playdates like that, slowly extending the amount of time that friends are actually at the house. Once she becomes more comfortable with having friends over and sees that it can be fun and enjoyable, I anticipate that she will be more open to having friends over for long periods in the future.

Let us know how it goes!
> 60 days ago

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