On this week's 'Parenting' segment on the Moncrieff show, one listener sought advice about her young daughter's struggles with socialising.
Joanna Fortune, psychotherapist specialising in Child & Adult Psychotherapy, joined Moncrieff to answer this and other listeners' questions.
"My four year old daughter struggles to interact with other children, particularly those around her own age."
"Of late, she is interpreting interactions with other children incorrectly, saying they don’t like her, and other such comments and even once I heard her say what is wrong with me."
"Thankfully my six year old daughter, who is very sociable, will try and help her younger sister to play in these situations."
"We try reassure her and I’ve explained that she is so wonderful and similar, and I haven’t heard her question herself since. But it is a worry, and i wonder if low self esteem is a factor, even at 4?"
"I’m worried for her starting junior infants next September, and I wonder if there is anything we can do so that she can better interact with her peers, or at least better understand interactions such that she doesn’t get so upset."
"She's four, but children her age have actually spent a large percentage of their life, nearly half their lives really, dealing with COVID-related restrictions."
"When we make significant changes to how any group socialise, interact, go about their lives, we should expect significant impact at least until we can do some restoration of regulation and normality."
"At four, she didn't have some of the other kind of stages to play that children have."
"It might be that she's just not refining those skills at a pace that your older daughter did - different circumstances, different children."
"I would just give her some time and space and afford her more play opportunities."
Setting up play
"Talk to her pre-school teachers and bring in their help with this."
"Ask them could they set up some play with others, could they stay with her and help her to work out what others are saying and doing in their play and in their interaction."
"Bring her to places where transient connections can be made - playgrounds, in other words - where I can have an interaction good, bad or indifferent."
"She might benefit form even a short burst of play-based therapy, and at her age children can respond so well, so quickly."
"If that pattern of 'what's wrong with me' was to continue, I might nudge them in that direction."
Main image shows a four year old girl sittings on carpet playing. Picture by: dero2084/Alamy