What social skills should I expect from my daughter?
My daughter is almost six and used to be very outgoing and adventurous, however since my divorce from her abusive father she is extremely whiny and afraid of everything, which isn't helped by her grandma on that side who constantly tells her things like "girls don't do that only boys" or "you're too little" to normal things like playing outside. How do I get my child back? Especially since her K5 teachers say she's socially under-developed?!?
I'm sorry to hear your daughter is having trouble socially at school, and her dad's mom (her grandma) is not helping with this.
You can't control what happens at her grandma's house, but that's OK. Children learn, very quickly, in situations where mom and dad live in different homes, that there are different expectations and guidelines for each house.
You can have a positive impact on your daughter by trying these things:
-Remind her that she is almost six and is growing older everyday. Because of this, she will be given increased responsibilities and increased privileges. Give her household chores she can do each day (ex: keeping her room picked up, putting her clothes in the dirty clothes bin, and helping with other small tasks around the house.) Praise her when she does these household chores and tell her how grown up she is getting. Remember- if she doesn't do the tasks, you need a course of action (lose TV for a day, or an activity)- there needs to be positive and negative reinforcement for her behavior.
-Provide opportunities for her to interact with others her age outside of the school setting (possibly a YMCA, a camp, or other activities in which she can learn some new skills and feel confident about these skills.)
You may also want to consult a child therapist for some play therapy to help with these issues, and also make sure that there are no abusive situations when she visits her dad.
Your daughter is young, and at this age, children are very adaptable. Try the ideas above, and also encourage her to try new things (maybe even a new restaurant or new playground) and praise her on it, will help your daughter return to her old self.
I wish you the very best.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center
Best selling author of the book, Blended Family Advice