Four years is old is the general age where your child will start kindergarten. This is a huge milestone, it’s the start of their education and the place they begin to form friendships.
For me four was one of the hardest and loneliest ages. My kids were included and treated well by all of their peers, but they weren’t exactly friendship material. I saw mums forming new friendships with each other due to their children’s bonds and started feeling very lonely.
Kallan has always told me he doesn’t care if he has friends or not. He’s always happy to play on his own and doesn’t understand the concept of being left out. This is great for him, but was always hard for me to accept.
We tried to push him to make friends. He eventually started playing with a girl who had just moved from India to Australia. Of course she didn’t speak a word of English. They used to play side by side, not exactly together.
Even at 4 Kallan was very smart. I remember getting out his kindergarten group photo and asking him which children he might like to be friends with. He pointed to four other children and said “I’m only allowed to be friends with these ones”. When I questioned why, he explained that these children were the other children who he knew saw the kindy speech therapist, just like he did. So he wouldn’t feel nervous talking in front of them.
When Campbell got to kindy he too had no real friendships. Which meant again I was feeling rather isolated from the other parents.
Campbell has always been liked by the other kids but has issues fitting in with games they play. If the other kids were playing soccer Campbell might run up and down the side of the game flapping excitedly. He also had communication issues and was still prone to having melt downs. Again Campbell had no issues wether the kids liked him or not, he was happy to do his own thing.
I’ve realised now this was solely an issue I had. Having friends is what we do, it’s what I did, it’s normal. I can’t imagine not having friends. So it was my heart that was feeling broken and not theirs. This took me a long time to work out.
I look back now and wonder if it was for selfish reasons that I was pushing so hard for the boys to have a friend. I would always ask first thing on picking them up “who did you play with?” Kallan would reply with rote answers such as “a boy with hair” or “a boy with pants on” because he knew giving an answer made me happy.
In truth it wasn’t the kids who were lonely. It was me. I became a bit depressed over this time. I’m ashamed to admit, I did not care too much for my personal appearance. I gained quite a bit of weight and often just wore whatever I pulled it of the cupboard. I felt like I just couldn’t be bothered to make any effort any more.
If I could go back to 2010-2011 I would do it all differently. I certainly wouldn’t be focusing all my attention into forcing my children to make friends but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
So if you are out there going through a lonely phase like I did remember:
This too shall pass.
Kallan has a whole group of friends now, he goes for regular sleep overs at his best friends house and is always bringing me home phone numbers of friends he wants to have over.
Campbell too has a small group of friends who share similar interests to him.
Kids do things in their own time and it will get better. I wish I’d had some tell me that during the lonely age of 4,