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Old 03-08-2014, 07:58 PM
 
550 posts, read 959,795 times
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Just had our daughter's mid-year assessment with her Kindergarten teacher, who said that she is very high on the academic performance chart. (We kinda knew since she's been reading - and enjoying - Encyclopedia Brown, while being able to do simple math.)

She was very quick to point out, however, that at this age of around five or six, just as important - if not more important, is the social and emotional development of a child. Any child.

Our daughter is naturally introverted and somewhat shy. Her advanced academics seem to build her self esteem though.

We know all about the power of positive reinforcement, but what else can we do specifically to make sure that socially and emotionally, she can be more confident about herself?

FYI, we don't push her academically. She just loves to read, and the math part seems to come easy too. Our school district is a fairly reputable one in New Jersey, and the teacher in particular has been described as the "cream of the crop," so I really think it's on us as parents to supplement whatever the school is teaching, which has a focus on social development in Kindergarten; i.e. I have full confidence that the school is doing what it's supposed to be doing for our child.

Last edited by stradivarius; 03-08-2014 at 08:06 PM.. Reason: Incomplete post initially
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Old 03-08-2014, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
49,932 posts, read 59,458,232 times
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Did she attend preschool? Does she have siblings?

Make sure she has plenty of chances to play with other children in a free environment (i.e without parents hovering over every activity). Sending time with friends (who are nice and fun to be around) is the only way she will develop socially. Letting her venture out on her own during these interactions with others builds her confidence, not having to look to a parent constantly for approval (not that you do that).

Also, modeling correct social behavior is key. If she sees you having friends over and interacting in a healthy way with them, she will learn. Kids learn WAY more by watching their parents.
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Old 03-09-2014, 07:21 AM
 
550 posts, read 959,795 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
Did she attend preschool? Does she have siblings?

Make sure she has plenty of chances to play with other children in a free environment (i.e without parents hovering over every activity). Sending time with friends (who are nice and fun to be around) is the only way she will develop socially. Letting her venture out on her own during these interactions with others builds her confidence, not having to look to a parent constantly for approval (not that you do that).

Also, modeling correct social behavior is key. If she sees you having friends over and interacting in a healthy way with them, she will learn. Kids learn WAY more by watching their parents.
.
Thank you. Some great points. She did attend preschool and she has a younger brother. She's starting to really enjoy the "big sister" role recently; our son just turned two.

This week was kind of nice because she's had two play dates, another one coming up later today, and a birthday party later in the afternoon. Arranging them has been somewhat of a struggle since we're still relatively new to the area and don't know a ton of people, which means that many outings have been more family-oriented. I see what you're saying. I definitely want to provide more opportunities for her to spend time with friends without parents around.

I do wonder how much of this is nature vs. nurture, because I see so many similarities between my wife and my daughter.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:39 AM
 
3,167 posts, read 3,971,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stradivarius View Post
Just had our daughter's mid-year assessment with her Kindergarten teacher, who said that she is very high on the academic performance chart. (We kinda knew since she's been reading - and enjoying - Encyclopedia Brown, while being able to do simple math.)

She was very quick to point out, however, that at this age of around five or six, just as important - if not more important, is the social and emotional development of a child. Any child.

Our daughter is naturally introverted and somewhat shy. Her advanced academics seem to build her self esteem though.

We know all about the power of positive reinforcement, but what else can we do specifically to make sure that socially and emotionally, she can be more confident about herself?

FYI, we don't push her academically. She just loves to read, and the math part seems to come easy too. Our school district is a fairly reputable one in New Jersey, and the teacher in particular has been described as the "cream of the crop," so I really think it's on us as parents to supplement whatever the school is teaching, which has a focus on social development in Kindergarten; i.e. I have full confidence that the school is doing what it's supposed to be doing for our child.
Does she have any friends at all? Is she happy? If so, I can't see why she can't be left alone to just be herself. Not everyone is a social butterfly. Not everyone wants to be. At some point I think joining clubs with students with similar interests is helpful, so she could pursue an interest with others who want to do the same. However, I'm not sure ES offers that.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
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I have a bit of insight into "nature vs. nuture" because I have twins, and I assure you that the "nature" side is VERY strong.

From the beginning, we often treated the twins as a unit out of necessity. In order to survive as first-time parents with all the feedings, crying, diapering, etc, we had to basically treat them the same way.

EVen as infants, though, they exhibited separate personalities. Now they are in high school, and they could not be more different. One is a total extrovert who who rather die than consider that someone was doing something that he was not in on, while the other is a complete introvert who HAS to have alone time and has just a couple of good friends.

All of that personal history is to say that yes, you can and should provide and model healthy social interactions for your daughter, but she is who she is in the end, and if she tends toward to quiet side who prefers to read, so be it.

Let her happiness be your guide.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:45 AM
 
6,129 posts, read 6,763,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mnseca View Post
Does she have any friends at all? Is she happy? If so, I can't see why she can't be left alone to just be herself. Not everyone is a social butterfly. Not everyone wants to be. At some point I think joining clubs with students with similar interests is helpful, so she could pursue an interest with others who want to do the same. However, I'm not sure ES offers that.
I agree with this.

I think if she's seems otherwise well adjusted and happy, and has at least one friend or two, I wouldn't worry about this too much. She's only in kindergarten. Just keep making sure she keeps having the opportunity to interact with other kids and let her blossom on her own time. I absolutely agree with enrolling her in a class that aligns with her interests with the time comes as well.

But for now, I would not let myself get sucked into the whole "let me engineer the perfect kid" mindset. It's easy to do, but resist LOL! Kids are just different and you have plenty of years of development left. Relax and enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:28 AM
 
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Some kids are not extroverts. There is nothing wrong with them. I would provide her opportunities to socialize but I wouldn't force it on her. My oldest son is 20. He is in college, has good grades and friends.

He is a member of a fraternity. It surprised me when he pledged because he is such a natural introvert. As long as your daughter has good social skills she does not need to be constantly socializing. I would let her take the lead regarding how much socialization she wants. She will find her place.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:12 AM
 
10,599 posts, read 17,765,464 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stradivarius View Post

I do wonder how much of this is nature vs. nurture, because I see so many similarities between my wife and my daughter.
First of all there are not just TWO CHOICES. Socially well adjusted OR EXTROVERT.

NATURE 75% for sure.

My kid used to get embarrassed with any "public" attention like on a merry go round if you yelled hi at him or something. At TWO YEARS OLD.

I addressed that RIGHT AWAY. In groups of kids with him and getting more "rowdy". (He was a funny and active kid when comfortable but shy)

The FIRST thing I did was ROLE PLAY. Like if he was invited to someone's house for lunch and afraid he wouldn't like the food he learned to say "No thanks I don't care for any" loud and clear with a smile instead of panicking or feeling awkward.

My son had 90% of his father's innate qualities and NEVER grew up anywhere near him.
As he got older and more influenced with my more gregarious personality, tenacity doing things I didn't like doing, and interests he was able to somewhat work on the NATURE part. (ADD, unfocused unless it was something he LOVED like studying, stubborn, "know it all") Instead of being MAD about the father's traits, I sneakily worked to try and help him work with that. Versus my mother who often insulted him "You're just like your father." sigh. So annoying and mean. To THIS DAY as an adult he hast to watch and acknowledge when his brain is competing with his tasks.

Introduce your daughter to a variety of FAMILIES with completely different personalities, lives and interests. But with some "commonality" like sports or dance or something. Or teach her something YOU know and like. Even going fishing or something. Then take a friend and her dad or mom. Where she can show the friend "how".

My kid's BFFS families at that age were his greatest role models. And we/he all stayed friends forever. We met because we all had boys who played seasonal sports in the community. Soccer, basketball, baseball. NOTHING Like when baseball season starts in March/April and everyone shows up for the "parade" and first game in the rain and you have a huge barbecue for the entire day in someone's yard. The excitement of the kids is incredible after being cooped up all winter.

Of course, when your kid has interests like sports, you get to know other families and if you're lucky they become your social circle. You can pick and choose which relationships you encourage when you see what kids your kid "likes" and you like the family.

My kid learned so much from other parents, who treated him like their own on weekends because in our crowd of 8 couples (me single) we had sleep overs all the time and socialized as a group. We KNEW each other very well, had pool parties, barbeques etc and trusted each other to treat each others kids like our own. Every weekend there was something going on or like, a trip to England to play soccer or something.

Was I nervous having him learn to shoot a BB gun? Sure. Did I freak out that the kids drove an old Subaru pickup truck over 5 acres shooting paintball at each other hanging off/from the bed or out the window before they were even 12 years old? Pretending to be the CIA and The "BAd Guys". Of course. They LOVED IT and of course, NOTHING happened and we parents got to LAUGH our butts off watching these games they made up. Once they took the chubby kid and dressed him up and made him Hilary hahaha. (older brothers where involved too and sisters LOL)

But that same parent ran a business and it became my son's avocation completely different than my corporate life. WHICH, when I took him to "meetings" he called me crazy for ever suffering through that kind of life. He used to go to the guys' car lot and learn how to negotiate, laugh at wholesaler's crazy ways, how to LAUGH and have fun at work, how to SELL stuff, how to protect your own interests etc etc. He watched him at home in his office running the paperwork, but still playing with the family. In fact, that guy had a computer a decade before everyone else and then so did my kid.

MORE IMPORTANT, your kid sees NORMAL families and activities and learns social boundaries, norms and hopefully will steer clear of her picking out problem kids for friends like stray puppies. (we had that problem for a minute in middle school). They also LEARN about FAMILY dynamics and challenges, for example if an uncle has a "drinking problem" or something.

These experiences and memories create a confidence even if it's a quiet confidence. (BTW girls are harder, sorry. They start this "who's prettier" thing quite young so find a group who's not like that, probably better if they have brothers and big families)

EXPOSURE not PROTECTION. Let her stretch in safe, comfortable environments. And of course you MUST KNOW what is going on because even some parents who you think are "normal" can be nuts. LIke allowing Freddie Kruger movies at sleepovers age 6!!!! UM NO.

Like anything else you need to really KNOW and share VALUES with the people your family socializes with. IT's a BIG WORLD. Parents don't know and enjoy EVERYTHING while the kids are a sponge and may surprise you with interests once they're exposed to them.

If your wife is more introverted or passive, good luck. Will be tough. That energy passes on to the children.

Watch Cesar Millan the Dog Whisperer, I'm not kidding. It's a education in HUMANS, not DOGS!

P.S. In 7th grade the doctor prescribed Ritalin for ADD for test taking and it worked. My kid said "I hate that stuff, I'm not funny when I take it". HAHAHAHA What a change.

PS2 MY father taught my son a TON of things that built confidence. Utilize grandparents, too if they are well adjusted people. My kid HATED karate which I enrolled him in at age 4 thinking it 'd build confidence. He got ALOT MORE out of interpersonal relationships over "performance" not including sports. But you could try that, too. You'd have to do it WITH HER. Or take her to "daddy and me swimming lessons" or something. Then TALK TO PEOPLE there.

Last edited by runswithscissors; 03-09-2014 at 11:49 AM..
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Old 03-09-2014, 01:34 PM
 
3,633 posts, read 6,128,529 times
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I wouldn't worry about it or try to change her. My son was very shy as a small child, but as he got older, he became very outgoing and had many friends. So you never know. Many small children are shy at that age.

She is the way she is, and trying to manipulate her into being different only sends her the message that you think there's something "wrong" with her. There isn't.
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Old 03-09-2014, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,932 posts, read 11,641,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukiyo-e View Post
I wouldn't worry about it or try to change her. My son was very shy as a small child, but as he got older, he became very outgoing and had many friends. So you never know. Many small children are shy at that age.

She is the way she is, and trying to manipulate her into being different only sends her the message that you think there's something "wrong" with her. There isn't.
+1 with that.
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