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Old 01-30-2008, 08:01 AM
 
52 posts, read 215,889 times
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I was trying to find some research on my child's behavior and found this forum.

I really worry about my son even though there may be nothing to worry about. He is 11 years, very very smart, but seems to be socially immature. He has no real friends. Every day I ask him what he did at recess and its usually the same. He plays by himself. He says he likes to use his imagination and no one else likes the same things he does.

He is also a little overweight so I know his self esteem is a problem. His older sisters (by 9 years) were very athletic but my son isn't. They've always been really hard on him because they say he just isn't trying. He has expressed interest in being in the band next year and I'm hopeful he may make some friends even if they are other "nerds."

The family is always asking what's wrong with him and I'm starting to get defensive. I tell them just because he isn't like them doesn't make something wrong with him. They're just used to popular athletic kids, but not everyone can be that.

I just want my son to be happy. And he says he is when I ask. And really he doesn't seem to mind that he doesn't play with the other kids. So sometimes I think if he doesn't mind why should I? He's just much more comfortable with adults.

Does anyone have any comments? My husband pretends like there is nothing wrong, that it's just because he's so much smarter than the other kids. Could that be it?

I'd appreciate any comments.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:14 AM
 
15,187 posts, read 16,035,343 times
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If your son is really smart, he may just not have anything in common with the other kids. If you look at some "gifted and talented" websites you'll see that it's not unusual for GT kids to not have much in common with their peers. (And I know the GT label is overused, but there truly are kids who are exceptional.)

The important thing is that he's happy. If he's not bothered by playing by himself or not being athletic, and as long as no one is being mean to him, I think you should should just keep doing what you're doing--being supportive of him and his interests. Also, you might look around in your school and community for activities he might be interested in where he might meet more people like himself--science camps, chess clubs, Destination Imagination teams (if they have them there), etc.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Papillion
2,584 posts, read 9,359,205 times
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I feel for you. I had one very outgoing athletic and one that was very shy and fell behind due to grades.

First, kids are resliant as long as the home enviornment is loving and caring - so make sure they see a great relationship with husband/you, husband/son, and don't compare to the older kid.

Second, the band idea is a great thought. I understand the "nerd" comment (I made them myself when I was that age); however, Band kids tend to be great kids, they tend to be a tight knit group, they tend to be accepting of the other kids in band that aren't like them (I've seen athletic popular kids in band with the shy socially lacking kids in band hanging out together). If he ends up enjoying band, this could be a great community for him to be with during high school - and that will teach him social skills and expand his interests.

Third, if he is smart, what about programs that stretch the kids in creative ways. The two that come to mind are Destination Imagination (DI) and Odyssey of the Mind (OM). My oldest was involved in both of these (a school tends to pick one over the other and after we started in one they switched to the other - no big differences, both good). Both of these programs create small teams of like aged kids who work under a coach to solve a problem in a very creative manner. It is competion based, so they work on their solution for a few months as a team, then they go to a regional event and compete. Depending on how well they do there are opportunities to go to a national competition. Both are Great great programs and I think DI extends through high school (maybe college).

Fourth, we found another natural community for them to make friends and grow the social side was a very active youth group in church - again, tended to be more accepting and they had fun.

Good luck - don't push so hard on the issue that you end up exasperating the situation (that was a constant reminder I had to keep making myself).
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:29 AM
 
1,363 posts, read 5,341,204 times
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My nephew is like this-except he is tall and very very skinny (just as awkward at that age as being a little overweight). He's in high school now. My SIL has had him "checked out" by guidance counselors, therapists, etc. and all have concluded he is not a threat to himself or anybody around him. LOL. It is harder for us to come to terms with how he can be happy like this but he is. And it has become a lot easier to enjoy him on his terms rather than trying to get him to be who he does not want to be. He will never be a jock (my two year old daughter can throw a ball better than he can), and he will never be homecoming king, but he just may be the one who invents the next vaccine that saves somebody's life. That said, there are time my SIL and BIL will force him to put whatever book he's reading away and make him go outside to do something. He did join the band and seems to really enjoy it. My other BIL makes fun of him (also his nephew) and it just makes me mad. This is a good kid, probably too smart for his own good, who's not into drugs, alcohol, sneaking out, blatantly disobeying his parents, and does very well in school. Take away the fact that he doesn't have a lot of friends and could learn to be a little less blunt with his honesty, he's what a lot of parents would hope for. And personally, I think my nephew may be ahead of the game because he has no interest in the typical teenage BS that so many kids get caught up in.

If it makes you feel better, have him talk to psychologist or something to just set your mind at ease that there isn't anything wrong. Then let him be who he wants to be. The band gets to go on some pretty cool trips, so it's not all bad.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Camberville
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Band kids are the most popular kids in any high school. The "nerds" comment is dated and probably not too supportive of your son if you have that attitude around him.

I didn't have any real "friends" until I was in middle school. There was no point in it for me until I was that age. Even in college, I have a small core group of friends and then plenty of acquaintances. I never understood why my parents and teachers were so adamant about me being a social butterfly with many friends- did not compute!
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:05 AM
 
Location: St. Louis Metro East
515 posts, read 1,362,325 times
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Is your daughter the next closest in age to him? If so, that may be why he's more comfortable with adults. My younger daughter is also socially awkward, as was I. She is now 15, and has finally found friends... and we are moving, but that's another post entirely.

One thing that really helped her a lot was joining Scholastic Bowl. In some schools it's called Scholar Bowl or Academic Bowl, and is generally available starting in Junior High. It's kind of like a game show, where you get asked questions and get to buzz in the answers, except you are playing as a team against other schools.

Band and perhaps even community theater (if it's not available at the schools) are a great way to meet people and develop interests! There are a lot of things to do behind the scenes!

My mom tried to make me into what she thought I should be. I'm still not sure she accepts me, but that's neither here nor there. Our older daughter is a cheerleader type... and I have trouble relating to that sometimes. Our younger daughter, though, I get. My point is that he is who he is. Help him to find a place to fit in, and love him. As long as he knows he's loved at home, everything else will come.

Good luck, and God bless!

~Danielle
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:12 AM
 
52 posts, read 215,889 times
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Thank you for all of your comments so far. I didn't mean any offense with the "nerd" comment. I think most of you probably know what I meant. I wasn't meaning to be derogatory, just trying to explain. I apologize if I offended anyone. And I do try to be very supportive of my child.

My concern isn't that he's going to be nerdy or geeky or whatever term you want to apply. My concern is that he doesn't have friends. A lot of that is by his own choosing though. I think the comment about him not having much in common with the other kids is accurate. Right now, lol, all he can talk about is the presidential election coverage. His cousins are all like "who cares!" but that's all that is weighing on his mind. He was just tested for his math skills and tested at a post high school level and he's just in 5th grade.

He's hasn't grown much and I'm hoping he's about to have a growth spurt and lose some of the excess weight.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:42 AM
 
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If that's the kind of stuff that he's into, then it's not surprising that he doesn't want to be friends with kids who are into Hannah Montana and who's getting into the superbowl. There was a kid like him in band with us when I was in school. We tried to be friends with him, but he just wasn't interested. But he did really seem to be friendly with the kids in the history club who had similar interests in politics and such.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:44 AM
 
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My thoughts are that he needs an outlet for connecting with kids that may be more like him. If you are really worried about it, go get him evaluated. Otherwise, if he doesn't seem to be worried and upset, then at this point, I'd not worry either. I know it's hard as a mother to see that, especially if you were/are a social person. As long as he's not being picked on and bullied.....(have you talked to his teachers?)
One way to look at it is that you have a child who is not worried about fitting in. That can be a good thing! He's his own person.
My son at school is middle of the road. Liked by all but not a popular jock kid but not a nerd. He is small for his age - never had a growth spurt (crossing our fingers for this summer). He goes into high school next year. He is one of the oldest in his class, but one of the smallest. Very smart. In band, which here is not considered nerdy. A lot of jocks are in band. He plays trumpet and is also a drummer on the side.
He's an only child so he's always done well around adults and I would say, sometimes prefers them.
In our area, once they hit middle school, 3 schools come together. I don't know if that's the case for your son, if he's already in middle school or not, but maybe when he gets in the higher grades he'll have more kids to interact with.
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Old 01-30-2008, 09:46 AM
 
4,541 posts, read 9,493,975 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regarese View Post
If that's the kind of stuff that he's into, then it's not surprising that he doesn't want to be friends with kids who are into Hannah Montana and who's getting into the superbowl. There was a kid like him in band with us when I was in school. We tried to be friends with him, but he just wasn't interested. But he did really seem to be friendly with the kids in the history club who had similar interests in politics and such.
I love that! (The Hannah Montana thing).
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