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Old 10-16-2019, 03:51 PM
 
193 posts, read 262,867 times
Reputation: 166

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So, I'm wondering what any of you know about children who are loners, who isolate themselves. Since he was quite little, he has often had one friend at a time, and his best friend from grade 1 through 4 just moved to another state (crappy luck!). So now here he is, alone in 5th grade. His teacher says in a structured environment he does engage with kids in class, but is alone at recess, preferring to play basketball by himself. We've barely had 'playdates'....a few over the years...

In and of itself it doesn't sound like a problem, his dad and I are both introverts who prefer a couple of friends to a crowd. But at the same time, we both had playground pals and are just worried about this.

Thoughts? is this just more helicoptering over a snowflake or is this preventing front page news in a decade?
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Old 10-16-2019, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
46,149 posts, read 44,502,910 times
Reputation: 90239
Quote:
Originally Posted by DairyGodmother View Post
So, I'm wondering what any of you know about children who are loners, who isolate themselves. Since he was quite little, he has often had one friend at a time, and his best friend from grade 1 through 4 just moved to another state (crappy luck!). So now here he is, alone in 5th grade. His teacher says in a structured environment he does engage with kids in class, but is alone at recess, preferring to play basketball by himself. We've barely had 'playdates'....a few over the years...

In and of itself it doesn't sound like a problem, his dad and I are both introverts who prefer a couple of friends to a crowd. But at the same time, we both had playground pals and are just worried about this.

Thoughts? is this just more helicoptering over a snowflake or is this preventing front page news in a decade?
I'm sorry you're worried. I'll take your "front page news" comment as an attempt at humor.

But please stop worrying. He has shown that he can and does form friendships, and his teacher says he's interacting with the group. That's a good thing!

IMHO he's too old for "play dates," so please don't attempt to engineer his social life. Give him some space and let him figure it out. If he's doing well in school and interacts with the two of you, he can learn through your modeling proper interactions. Take him with you when you do stuff around town, and enroll him in camps and classes that highlight his interests during school breaks.

One of my older boys seemed outgoing but really is an introvert at heart who would hop from group to group, and ended up knowing a LOT of kids. Not everyone forms lifelong friend groups in elementary school.

Does his school stop at 5th grade, or is he in a "middle school" where he will be located for a couple more years?
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:35 AM
 
1,193 posts, read 832,692 times
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Is there more to this story? Bullying? Shutting himself up all alone at home? Falling behind in school? Not engaging with you, his parents, to the point where you're worried? Seems like there's something you're not telling us, because what you've described is NBD.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:45 AM
 
10,387 posts, read 14,075,982 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DairyGodmother View Post
So, I'm wondering what any of you know about children who are loners, who isolate themselves. Since he was quite little, he has often had one friend at a time, and his best friend from grade 1 through 4 just moved to another state (crappy luck!). So now here he is, alone in 5th grade. His teacher says in a structured environment he does engage with kids in class, but is alone at recess, preferring to play basketball by himself. We've barely had 'playdates'....a few over the years...

In and of itself it doesn't sound like a problem, his dad and I are both introverts who prefer a couple of friends to a crowd. But at the same time, we both had playground pals and are just worried about this.

Thoughts? is this just more helicoptering over a snowflake or is this preventing front page news in a decade?
I never had a lot of friends growing up nor do I now. It is about quality over quantity anyhow.


That said, I think it is a good thing that your son does engage in the classroom environment. Sometimes people get overwhelmed in situation with a lot of people and just want some time to themselves.


Does he do any activities like sports or boy scouts? Those are good ways to meet other children who enjoy the same things.


Your boy sounds like a sweetie
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:21 AM
 
193 posts, read 262,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdawg8181 View Post
I never had a lot of friends growing up nor do I now. It is about quality over quantity anyhow.


That said, I think it is a good thing that your son does engage in the classroom environment. Sometimes people get overwhelmed in situation with a lot of people and just want some time to themselves.


Does he do any activities like sports or boy scouts? Those are good ways to meet other children who enjoy the same things.


Your boy sounds like a sweetie

That's kind of you to say. He is definitely a sensitive soul. He loves basketball, and has been in kids music groups (School of Rock if you know what that is).

The thing is, when kids engage him, he doesn't really accept their overtures. He plays basketball in a summer camp setting that is structured, but not with neighborhood kids. In other words when someone is managing it he goes along but not on his own.

I"m just not sure if it's an issue or not. People around here take their children so seriously to an extreme, and I never wanted to be that parent but maybe it's creeping in.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:25 AM
 
193 posts, read 262,867 times
Reputation: 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by BirdieBelle View Post
I'm sorry you're worried. I'll take your "front page news" comment as an attempt at humor.

But please stop worrying. He has shown that he can and does form friendships, and his teacher says he's interacting with the group. That's a good thing!

IMHO he's too old for "play dates," so please don't attempt to engineer his social life. Give him some space and let him figure it out. If he's doing well in school and interacts with the two of you, he can learn through your modeling proper interactions. Take him with you when you do stuff around town, and enroll him in camps and classes that highlight his interests during school breaks.

One of my older boys seemed outgoing but really is an introvert at heart who would hop from group to group, and ended up knowing a LOT of kids. Not everyone forms lifelong friend groups in elementary school.

Does his school stop at 5th grade, or is he in a "middle school" where he will be located for a couple more years?
Accept my apologies for the completely crass metaphor. I could have phrased it differently to make the same point.

Yeah I never liked the whole play date thing -- so forced. We live in an area where kids play outside and in our neighborhood, it's just not his thing. Thanks for the reassurance. It's weird to go on a message board to strangers looking for it but it's not something I feel like talking about to family.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:33 AM
 
10,387 posts, read 14,075,982 times
Reputation: 6535
Quote:
Originally Posted by DairyGodmother View Post
That's kind of you to say. He is definitely a sensitive soul. He loves basketball, and has been in kids music groups (School of Rock if you know what that is).

The thing is, when kids engage him, he doesn't really accept their overtures. He plays basketball in a summer camp setting that is structured, but not with neighborhood kids. In other words when someone is managing it he goes along but not on his own.

I"m just not sure if it's an issue or not. People around here take their children so seriously to an extreme, and I never wanted to be that parent but maybe it's creeping in.
I don't have little kids so I don't know but I think it is fine. I mean, I seriously have 3 friends and that's all I feel like I have ever needed. These 3 friends have been my friends since elementary school. I don't need a high # of friends to like prove my worth or anything, lol.


But yeah. What are the reasons he kind of withdraws? My sister was very shy in elementary school and she eventually grew out of it.


Maybe he is just the kind of kid that needs to be engaged in an activity rather than just 'figuring' out something to do? or does he just not like the neighborhood kids?


Maybe not necessarily a playdate, but what if you or another parent set up an activity for the kids to do? How about getting pumpkins & have the kids carve or paint them together?
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Old 10-17-2019, 12:10 PM
 
2,784 posts, read 1,179,242 times
Reputation: 5562
Quote:
Originally Posted by DairyGodmother View Post
So, I'm wondering what any of you know about children who are loners, who isolate themselves. Since he was quite little, he has often had one friend at a time, and his best friend from grade 1 through 4 just moved to another state (crappy luck!). So now here he is, alone in 5th grade. His teacher says in a structured environment he does engage with kids in class, but is alone at recess, preferring to play basketball by himself. We've barely had 'playdates'....a few over the years...

In and of itself it doesn't sound like a problem, his dad and I are both introverts who prefer a couple of friends to a crowd. But at the same time, we both had playground pals and are just worried about this.

Thoughts? is this just more helicoptering over a snowflake or is this preventing front page news in a decade?

It is good to be alone. Teaches one how to rely on themselves, introspectively.


You mentioned you are introverts. He is just doing what kids do and models himself after his parents.
Take him out with you when you do go out. Introduce him to clubs like Scouts?In some places you can join nature camps any time of year. Teaches cooperation setting up tents, searching for wood for the campfire, relying on others and being reliable himself.

You might have to force him but once he is included he will thank you for it down the road.

Do you have family nearby. Aunts, uncles, cousins. Take him there for visits. Encourage relatives to engage with your lives and give your son a sense of belonging. He will have more people he can emulate.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Old 10-17-2019, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Seattle
3,049 posts, read 658,076 times
Reputation: 2683
A hobby that is good for encouraging social activity among young introverts is role-playing games. It is becoming increasingly popular among parents as an alternative to screen time.
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Old 10-17-2019, 01:17 PM
 
7,990 posts, read 4,260,709 times
Reputation: 17182
When other kids make friendly overatures, he may simply not recognize it. Maybe say something like "It seemed like Billy wants to play with you". Sometimes shy kids get so into their own heads that they don't read social signs well.
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