Dear Lulu: Help! I Get Hurt On My Son’s Behalf

Help! I get hurt on my son's behalf when other children don't return his affection. Our agony aunt, Lulu, offers some advice.

Dear Lulu,

After the nightmare of waiting to find out what school my son had got a place in was finally over, I thought that the stress would stop.

I began thinking of him starting his new school life in September and that’s when a new worry started.

He is a gentle soul who loves nothing more than to show his love for his friends and family.

Sometimes other children don’t want him to be physically affectionate towards them, or want to play with him. This is absolutely normal, of course, but I can’t help but let it worry me.

I hear him asking “{name of child} why won’t you play with me?”, or “I love you” and not receiving a reply, and it hurts!

He seems fine as far as I can tell. I dread asking him for fear he’ll tell me he is upset. I tend to ignore those moments as if nothing has happened. It’s me who is more affected I think, and it’s only going to get worse once he starts school. I fear how other children who aren’t as overtly affectionate will treat him; how this will make him feel; how this will make ME feel and ultimately how I will be able to navigate this in an upbeat manner in order to help him.

Am I completely overreacting?! I would really appreciate your advice.

AH, Balham


Dear AH, 

Don’t worry I completely understand where you are coming from there’s nothing worse than seeing our children being rebuffed, it really hurts!

If you’re m,  you want to step in immediately and make it all alright when in fact that’s the worst thing we can do!

Try not to worry about September as the new school term is a long way off and a lot can happen over the long wonderful summer holidays.

Your son will grow and change over the next four months and the holidays are a perfect opportunity for him to experience different social situations, situations where he can experiment how best to interact to get the best outcome.

Find time for play dates, sleepovers and activities that make him grow in self-confidence.

Build up his self-esteem by giving him tasks to help in the house, his own roles and jobs that give him a sense of achievement when completed.

Invite children over to your house so he can share his home, allowing him to lead the way and be the boss.

You can enjoy some fun time role playing too, demonstrating in a humorous way with your family and friends what it’s like to be a ‘space invader’ and how it tends to put people off!

You can then demonstrate a better way to interact; one that shows your son how a connection can be made to get the best result for everyone.

Good luck with everything and please get in touch if you need any more help or ideas.

Lulu x

Do you have a parenting issue you’d like Lulu to address? You can write to her at lulu (at)

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