My daughter doesn't play well with other kids: Advice?

So my daughter is 8, she’s an awesome kid. She’s very sweet, smart, funny. I don’t have any issues with her. The thing I’m worried about, though, is she doesn’t seem to play well with other kids. Almost every time we have a play date, she, at some point, gets very upset because they don’t want to do what she wants to do, and she allows this to ruin her mood for a long time. I just worry her attitude towards this will keep her from developing close friendships. She always gets upset with her friends when they want to play two different things; I try to see if they want to play something that interests them both. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I tried talking to her to let her know it’s okay to feel these frustrated feelings, but then try to let it go and enjoy your day. These disagreements seem to be catastrophic to her, and she gets very sad. Or when we are out, and there’s a lot of kids she doesn’t know, she is very apprehensive about asking to play with them. If they are uninterested, it really hurts her. I just want to help her with her social relationships with her peers. I want to help make this easier somehow. Any tips ?? She has a good home life, does well in school, is surrounded by a lot of people that love her, so it’s not environmental stress. I just think maybe her being an only child is having it’s setbacks…


It’s about her being a spoiled brat and not getting her way. Try discipling her for her bad behavior.


My son was an only child and he did well playing team sports. He didn’t always do so well with playdates. He’s 25 yrs old now and does well in management/supervisor positions.

She may be a loner. Its ok. The friends she does make will be a stronger friendship


Could it be that shes used to getting her own way and doesn’t like it when someone else wants to do something , I’d honestly ignore her behavior and carry on the game or activity that they had been playing before she decided she wanted it her way ,


Is it possible that she’s way above level? My youngest struggled to connect with kids her age and when she started school she was tested on a genius level. We have meetings every few months and friendship/social interactions are one of the things mentioned in all the packets I’ve ever received.

Maybe explain to her sometimes we do what others want to do or like and what they think is fun because we care about them and vice versa.
Taking turns…for ex. Her friend wants to play barbies and she doesn’t but she cares about her friend so she plays barbies for awhile then I bet her friend will play what she wants for a lil while even if she doesn’t have a huge desire. Reciprocity and mutual support.


My daughter was an only child. As soon as she was old enough she played soccer even when she didnt want to go, we went. She grew to love it, she grew to respecting the coach and ref and she made friends. We also began volunteering at a homeless event that runs twice a year. It helped me curb the ‘entitled’ phase that I thought I was sensing. Honestly, explain the behaviour will have consequences. People dont have to put up with being treated poorly or unfairly.

Sounds like she’s used to being the only one that gets to pick what to play. Only child syndrome is hard in the real world. She needs to learn to compromise with the other kids and that things aren’t always going to be her way when in a group.


There are lots of kids who aren’t an “only child” that have trouble with taking turns and sharing. So I could see it being even harder with a child who doesn’t have siblings. I don’t really have any advice besides what you’re already doing, by trying to teach her how to share and talking things out with her. There’s some ignorant comments on here that want to make character judgments about an 8 year old…

Mention it to her doctor, she could be on the spectrum, social problems can be an indicator


I’m an only child. My son is an only child too. She needs to learn that she won’t get her way all the time or she will have a hard time later on. You are making it even worse by giving in to her and not letting her learn the hard way. She needs to learn to compromise, share, and take turns or she will be one lonely person. I had to learn this myself.

My son went through this also. Was most definitely not a spoiled brat. Was disciplined for misbehavior. He had A.D.D. which made it hard for him to change his train of thought when it came to things he enjoyed.

Compassion helped immensely when we tried talking to him about how his behavior made the other kids feel. And we explained that they wouldn’t want to come back to play if they didn’t get a turn to do stuff they liked.

He didn’t have a large quantity of friends, but the ones he had, they stuck by each other through thick and thin. One lost his father at 14 and I shaved all 5 of their heads because they wanted to do it in honor of his dad. They became a wall of protection around him everywhere they went.

For what it’s worth, they are 21 and 22 yrs old now. And still very close.

I apologize if this sounds harsh…but sounds to me like she is used to getting her own way and doesnt understand how to handle it when she doesn’t. Its an easy thing to do tbh…especially if she only child. There arent other kids involved in the choices. She needs to learn its not always gonna b her way and that starts at home. U have to start that. U have to make her do things she doesnt want to. U have to make her learn it wont b her way all the time. It wont b easy but has to b done


Therapy. THERAPY. It’s one thing for her to be upset for a little bit, but if this bugs that much for a long time she should have someone help her sort out her feelings before this gets worse.


Examine your parenting skills! Your daughter needs to learn that life does not rotate around her. She needs structure and discipline. You shouldn’t be her friend and shouldn’t beg or pacify her. GoodLuck!


My youngest was like this. She’s still a bit of a perfectionist and very sweet but she couldn’t understand why friends didn’t want to play her way growing up. We had a lot of talks about taking turns so everyone gets to play their favorites & about what being “bossy” seems like to others. ( she never thought she was) She grew out of it, but just make she she keeps talking to you about how she feels about stuff. Kids that have trouble making & keeping friends have a hard time & can even get depressed. Good luck

It’s only child syndrome they are basically believing it’s all about them. Actually my oldest was 8 when i had my second child and he was completely distraught for months. But it was easy for me to let him know the sun doesn’t rise and set on his ass and that he needed to get it in gear

You need to set up games (structured) during play time that allows EACH child to be in control, taking turns. Start at HOME first with you and other adults. She’s been spoiled into having her way or it’s no way. She needs to learn that life isn’t about her way, it’s about compromise and YOU need to teach her that or she will be in JAIL before she’s an adult.

I just love it when people assume because she is an only child that she is used to being spoiled. Do not listen to other people and their “opinions “ maybe she suffers from some anxiety, ADHD?


Does she choose the friends? Or do you? Even as children we know who we like.


Maybe sign her up for some kind of team activity like soccer or softball?

It is a good thing you are aware of her behavior and you being honest and no making excuses. With your help she will learn the consequences of acting like this. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t admit the truth. Good job Mom.

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either stay to yourself or play nice

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I think this is normal for an only child of that age. You have to explain that she needs to take turns on the game they are playing. Maybe even a timeout until she can apologize for the way she is acting. Or saying no more playdates/going to friends house until she can take turns. As for playground, both of my kids have been that way, it’s just a different setting with ppl they don’t know. Everything will be okay, it gets a little crazy at times but i think you can do this. Keep up the work momma

My nephews get this way sometimes. He wont want to share with his brother and get so mad he takes the toy and goes across the room and plays by himself. Hes 3 and hos little brother is . We just tell him “that’s not nice you have to share you guys can play together” he normal gets over his fit and comes back and hands the toy over :woman_shrugging: he does ot at daycare too just sounds like your kid needs to work on sharing ideas and items and to not get so deep in her feeling :woman_shrugging: show her how to calm down talk her out of the fit and then ask do you want to try again with your friend. It takes time she’s gotta figure it out on her own.

She sounds like she’s spoiled

She’s spoiled. Start watching what u do when she shits down etc.

I was like that as a child… Get her into counseling… She may be having identity crisis… She doesn’t know where she fits in. So she acts out… I still feel like that sometimes as an adult with a kid of my own, who doesn’t seem to have that problem… I had 3 other siblings and still had that issue. I was the oldest though

My advice would be to take a step back and let her work things out on her own. She will have to do this as she gets older and it’s good practice for her now.


My only child went thru that faze. I told her she doesn’t get to boss everyone. Over time she learned to get along and play with others. I think it’s the being an only child that has a lot to do with it. I just had to remind her that she has to play what other kids want to play and they will play what she wants. Give and take.


Its definitely the only child thing. I kind of went through this w/my daughter. By the time I had my son she was already 7. But shes almost 18 now. Shes strong headed & independent. She’s a leader & not a follower. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. :woman_shrugging:


My 1st thought was if she was an only child and then you answered that. I would suggest building empathy with her in other outlets like having her earn allowance and maybe use the money for buying relatives gifts, things THEY really want or would like. Or maybe helping some elderly ppl in the neighborhood or any good deed in general that helps someone in a totally diff environment other than her own so she can see and understand different needs and perspectives.


My middle child has been going through this. She also has anxiety problems so any time there’s a change such as in playing she loses control of her emotions.

Maybe there something underlying. My daughter has been going through this for years. If it’s just something new it’s more than likely a phase. If not talk to the dr and see if they can get you a referral for a therapist.

Talk to your daughter about it. That’s all you can do.

My question is what do you do when your 13 yr old granddaughter is ungrateful? I am the dads mom who is not on good terms with my ex (grandpa) or the mom
My son & I are on the outside and don’t have any support from that side of the fam. We have been denied regular visitation of the teenager & she is totally spoiled by the other side of the family. My granddaughter is so unappreciative of trips to FL for spring spreak & just other nonmonetary visitations. She takes after mom & doesn’t show warmth, affection or common decency. Do I talk to the teenaget, mom, or just let it be & stay didappointed in her behavior? Thougjts please!!!


My 7 and 10 year olds have the same issue and I’m truly at a loss myself.

Exactly how it is with my daughter she’s like an only child because my son is much older and moved out. She gets better with this the older she gets so just hang on I’m sure it will get better💜

She needs to figure this out on her own. It’s only a phase. I think she is just having a hard time understanding things she likes and doesn’t like when it comes to being around her friends. Maybe take a step back from play dates for awhile, and when you start them again, maybe try and plan out some craft or game ideas you think her and her friend will BOTH enjoy.
This whole thing she’s dealing with and going through, is completely normal. She’ll be fine
Maybe just step in from time to time when it’s out of hand, but she does need to learn these little lessons on her own

My daughter is an only child and had the same issues and sometimes they can be selfish and want to do there own thing and be bossy with there peers.

I have a 5 year old that is the same way and he has 3 other siblings. I thought it was middle child syndrom. He’s just so active and some kids can’t keep up with him or act annoyed by him. Definitely kills my feelings for him

My daughter is 5 and would get very angry with her older brother so she now has a therapist. They help with guidance and giving them ways to calm themselves down.

Hello… I’m a mom to 8yo boy and 9yo girl.

We have random game nights.
They each pick a game and I choose. My son will become so upset if I don’t choose his. Sometimes he refuses to play…I let him refuse.
My daughter and I play.
Sometimes he will ask to play with us after the game I set up; and sometimes he pouts or whines or cries or does all three.
He’s loving and sweet, kind and gentle.

I think some children just experience emotions differently. They are allowed. But they should know also that their feelings aren’t the only ones that should be considered…

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It’s called being spoiled!! And that happens with being a only child !!!

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I wouldn’t say it’s an only child thing. My son is kind of the same way and he makes doing fun things as a family really difficult sometimes. I’ve had to be really firm when we go out as a family for fun because I dont want him being angry and pouting and crying the whole time. Being firm helped me but I dont see him behaving that way with his friends. Also, not that you need to do this or your situation even matches but he would scream and cry VERYYYYYY dramatically for everything, I ended up spanking him one solid time after weeks of trying other things and it worked, thisbwas all for things inside the home though. The constant crying when things didnt go his way was the most annoying and irritating thing.

I read one sentence and can see she is an only child.

IMO She is behaving as someone who frequently gets her way and never has to share. THAT is the problem. She is unintentionally showered with attention. It all needs to start at home. Encourage friends to come and you sit by and watch. Don’t let her temper control the mood. As soon as she exhibits is… move her away for a brief cool down. This is behavior that wasn’t stopped in her toddler years so its hard to maneuver as an older child. I would also recommend therapy.

I think she also has to realise that she can’t always do what she wants to do… that what her friends want to do is also important. She needs to understand how to compromise and come up with things that everyone will enjoy.

Sounds like she’s a little spoiled. My 9 year old is very spoiled and has this issue as well. I told her that what they want to do can be fun as well. If she doesn’t want to play their game, she should either sit out until they are done, or she won’t have anyone to play with. It’s her choice at this point.


I think some children who are very smart have a hard time relating to other children


I would get her therapy and tested. I was alot like that as well. I have aspergers and along with it i have severe social anxiety, general anxiety and a type of OCD. It got worse around puberty (when i was 9). Its just something to look into.

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I agree with the ladies above. My daughter also an only child and smart had a hard time connecting to others. It’s super hard to watch but you have to let them figure it out. Give them advice but ultimately they have to decide. She has a group of kids she hangs with but not a “best friend” yet. She’s 10. I worry, but I can’t make friends for her. She’s in private school but even the teacher suggested that maybe she would benefit from a stem school. We are letting her finish elementary there and then we will move her. I’m hoping she will find her Amy and Bernadette soon.good luck!

She gets her way too often, now she throws fits when she doesn’t get her way … would appear that she is ENTITLED… and doesn’t like when she doesn’t get that entitled treatment. Tell her NO . Or your gonna have a twit on your hands as she gets older … and for you overly sensitive moms … o grew up with 5 sisters in my house . I survived . We all did so don’t have a coronary. This is one of those things where you actually have to teach your kids to be good people not lavender scented entitled assholes ! Good luck !


Let others pick tv shows what’s for dinner where to go in your home she will start seeing that it’s ok to not always be the star of the show


IMO, by age 8 she should be out of this faze. If you’ve exhausted all other options, I would talk to her pediatrician.


Sounds like she is a bit spoiled. For being an only child she’s not used t sharing and doing what the other kid wants to do. At first I thought maybe an introvert but it seems she’s just her way or the high way. It’s normal in older siblings and only children. You just need to tell her it’s not right and if she doesn’t stop you’ll stop having okay dates. She doesn’t act that way around you when it’s just her but how is she at school ? If she’s like that there then she needs a therapist. If not then she’s just acting up around you because she wants the attention and just wants it her way like it always is especially if it’s her toys and her house.


Your daughter is me, I was just like that, it turns out I am just anti-social. I like very few people, I hate being in large groups and I prefer to spend the majority of time alone. I have a great life and family


I was like this too as the oldest kid. Hated having sleepovers at other kids houses. I eventually outgrew it. Learning to help others and how happy it can make me to make others happy helped alot. Maybe do some days volunteering or plan a surprise for her friends.

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only child syndrome… its a thing


Don’t take her tell she can behave, get canceling

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I was kind of like this. I’m the youngest. Especially the getting upset when the play doesn’t go how they want it to. I’m still like this. I have an idea of how I want things to go and when someone messes with that, I get really irritated.

She’s 8. She is just at the beginning of learning how to work through that situation. Help her with some role
Play. Help her understand how her reactions may be perceived. She will get through it in time.

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All children, regardless of age, argue, disagree, and get upset when things don’t go their way. I have an 8 year old and 3 year old. They hate when the other doesn’t want to play the game they do. With other kids and each other. They hate when the other gets to pick the movie we watch or food we eat. We have to repeat ourselves in everything we do as parents 24/7 and practice what we preach to instill everything from life lessons to morals and all in-between. Just have to remind her everyday that she needs to treat others how she wants to be treated and how to understand and process her emotions.

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Some kids just do play well with others. I wish I had better advice for you.

My eldest daughter was the bossy one. When her friends came to play, it was her way or the highway. One day they were out back, and one of the girls wanted to pick a different game for a while. My daughter flat out told her no, and that if she didn’t like it, she could go home. I was so upset! I was raised that, when we have a guest, we defer to what the guests would like to do. I jumped up to go out and give her a piece of my mind and make her apologize. My husband stepped in (one of the few times he offered disagreement with how I chose to raise our children) and he said I needed to let them work it out. He pointed out that I wouldn’t only be teaching my daughter a lesson, I’d be teaching other people’s children that they don’t need to stand up for themselves, or debate, cause someone else would handle it. I I didn’t like it at all. It went against the manners I’d been taught. Well, he was 100% right. My daughter was just born with a focus on leadership. It has served her very well. She’s 30 and wonderful.


This sounds like anxiety. Children can have anxiety, too.


Get her into sports or girl scouts they learn how to play together.

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Give her sher pace. These are the signs of a leader, not a follower. In due time she’ll refine her social skills.


She’s spoiled. Having a catastrophic meltdown over not getting her way? Nip that shit in the butt before she turns into a monster.

Let the kids work it out- don’t be a helicopter

I had this attitude as a child, because I was very insecure, now as an adult diagnosed with asperger but I don’t know in how far that was the reason for my insecurety. But as a child when I could be the leader then no one would leave me hanging, otherwise I felt like I didnt matter to play with

My son wants to control the play too. He is our youngest and doesn’t have to share much. I have been working with him a lot too. I talk to him before we go some place that will have kids to play with. I remind him that playing with others means that they get to choose what to do too. I suggest taking turns with what to do. I think it has been helping. I also try to praise him if he gets along and does well at the play date. I think I kids need help with this.

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I have a strong willed, assertive daughter as my oldest, and she was very controlling/bossy with her friends and brother during playing to the point where nobody was having fun. I sat her down around age 7/8 and we talked about what is more important, her friends and having fun or being in charge/being right. Also told her it would break my heart if nobody came to her birthday party because they don’t have fun around her. She got better (some setbacks and reminders of course) and has been great about it for a while now at 11yo

Sounds like your daughter is going to travel a rough road in life!

My 4yr old daughter is like that sometimes,she always wants things to be done her way when she is with friends if not she gets sad or upset.

Maybe you can put her into some after school activities or a sport. Sports could really help her to learn how to work with others.


She is the only child. Just tell her she won’t make any friends if she acts like that. I had some of the same issues. She will grow out of it

Take time to sit and talk to her about how to be a friend. Teach her that she needs to compromise sometimes and give her suggestions on how to handle it when the other kid doesn’t want to do what she wants to do. Also teach her how to be the host and how to treat guests in her home. Maybe put her in girl scouts or something where she can learn to interact with others.

Stop being her friend and be her parent. Stop being lazy and taking the easy way out because it’s easier to give in.

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Stop interfering. Make her learn to work it out. Don’t come up with an interest for both, she needs to learn to play what they want and then what she wants…compromise but SHE has to learn it!

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I’m not being rude, this is just my opinion and what I’ve seen personally while raising my 4 kids…anytime my children have play dates with kids who have multiple siblings, it’s a fun filled time. When my kids have a play date with a kid that’s the only child…never fails, it’s always a train wreck. I’d set boundaries when she’s with friends. Try to get her involved in activities, sports, dance, keep introducing her to groups of kids.

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Too much mom shaming here and even kid shaming. Not cool. She asked for advice and opinions but not a bashing. Agreed, this could definitely be an “only child” issue. Setting boundaries and some rules and expectations ahead of a playdate may help. Also, teachers can provide great feedback as well. Find out how she interacts with other students in school and if the teacher recognizes any obstacles or if the problems are primarily in your presence. Sometimes, we, as parents, can get in the way of social growth without even realizing it.


I have the same issue with my daughter. She decides to be ringleader, boss everyone around and be an all around jerk. Now all her friends at school dont want to play with her. Basically explained to her that if she’s going to be a jerk then no one will want to be her friend.

Mine either too much

I work at a center with kids and this happens often. What we do is prompt the kid to tolerate change of play for a set amount of time and then we play their way. For ex. “Hey in a minute we’re going to play our friend’s way for 1 minute and then come back to your game.” Timers are helpful so kids can have a physical reminder. Once they master a minute of waiting (however many play dates it takes) we slowly increase waiting time to 1:30, then maybe 2 minutes. Until change of play isn’t much of a problem anymore because they know that they’ll eventually get to play the way they want/their game. Hope this helps.

I’m 31 and still don’t play well with others :woman_shrugging: sounds like you have a strong willed child on your hands. It’s both a blessing and a curse :smirk: