Social disorder in a 3 yo? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 04-25-2009, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is this even possible right now or are we overreacting?

DS is involed in a soccer camp and each time that he's gone, he's wanted to participate in the class only for a little bit (20 minutes or so) and then wander off to play on his own with either H or I. Some times it has become a little embarrassing in his reaction to us trying to get him back in the class and focused on what is going on. He says that he's tired or hungry, we offer a quick snack and drink, encourage him to go back and play, and we also changed class times to not interfere with nap/lunch time. That didn't seem to help.
This morning, he was in a class with kids more his age. The first few classes were for 2 to 2 1/2 year olds and he's 3. I thought maybe he would have more fun with it. He just stood there upset at me for wanting him to participate, watched the other kids, and then 10 minutes later, wanted to go home. H and I are concerned.....he loves the sport, just doesn't want to participate. Is this common or do we need to dig further?

H and I plan on meeting with his daycare's director next week to have his teachers look a bit closer at how he socializes with kids at school. Could it be because he doesn't know these new kids at soccer camp and that's why he's hesitant to participate? He's great at the playground and with other kids his age at parties and get togethers.....

Have you encountered anything like this? If so, what did it take to help your LO become more active and involved? He loves all sorts of sports...soccer, baseball, basketball and golf.... we just want him to start learning how to be a part of a team and the specifics of the actual sport.
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#2 of 18 Old 04-25-2009, 11:08 PM
 
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Honestly, mama, you're overreacting.

He's 3.

Let him be 3.

Believe me, my DD is 3.5 and both DH and I are avid sports enthusiasts, we definitely want her to participate in both team and individual sports but we know that the ability to do so on social/emotional/cognitive/physical levels comes much later than 3.

Please don't pathologize the way that he is acting, it is totally normal. Let him participate at his own pace and in the way that he wants to, so that sports are always a positive experience, not something that he is pushed into doing.

We have done parent participation classes up until she turned 3, at which point she started taking a gymnastics class where we watch from the sidelines. The first few classes, she observed a lot more than she participated, but we know that this is a reflection of her learning style, she is a visual/auditory learner and she prefers to watch before trying something new.

She also used to run back to us every 5 minutes for a check-in, kiss and hug. Now she participates for the full 45 minutes and does everything the instructor asks of her. Every once in a while she glances over her shoulder to see if we are watching, and she smiles and waves.

She is comfortable in the class, she knows the flow and routine, likes the coaches, and is proficient at the skills, so she feels at ease. I imagine that if we put her in another sport, she would do the same thing and be hesitant for the first few classes, and want us closer, and slowly transition to being fully independent in the class.

Maintaining your attachment and connection even in a non parent participation class is possible. Make yourself visible, maintain eye contact with him when he looks over at you, and be available for and enthusiastic about affection or attention whenever he asks for it. If he doesn't want to play, let him make that choice. Encourage him to watch from the sidelines and talk to him about what the coaches are doing if he chooses not to participate. In that way, he will still be learning about the sport and absorbing more of the cognitive aspects of the game even though he's not participating at that given moment. He might be a more visual learner and it helps him to watch the other kids...let him!
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#3 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 09:28 AM
 
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Totally agree with kidspiration. My first reaction was 'wow, that's a lot to expect of a three year old!'. I used to be a teaching assistant for pre-schoolers and his behaviour sounds totally normal for his age group and that level of concentration for group activity.

I know that my 2.5 year old DD will in no way be ready for team sports in 6 months. It's great that your DS loves sports but I doubt he loves them for the social interaction.

When we do group activities (mainly dance class or sining classes), my DD is sometimes very involved and sings/dances along with the other kids and then there are days where she wants to sit and sing with me in the corner or won't dance and instead insists on jumping around ect. I've seen other kids behave the same way and I've seen other kids follow instruction exactly for 45 minutes.

It probably doesn't help that the instructors at the soccer camp aren't making you feel like your DS's behaviour is normal or acceptable (I'm assuming they aren't...). I think that probably isn't helping.

But it sounds like he is very social and gets along with kids his age, which sounds great! Good luck with the meeting.
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#4 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 09:38 AM
 
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It sounds really normal to me.

It might be helpful for you to read up on developmental stuff and even talk to ppl who work with that age group. Every child is so different and who knows, maybe they won't ever like to play soccer.

It seems like a lot of expectation to have on such a young child.
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#5 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 10:13 AM
 
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Soccer camp for 3 y/os seems really young to me. I agree with previous poster...your child's connection with you and H is the most important relationship you should be concerned with. Getting along with others in a team setting is not developmentally appropriate for a 3 y/o.

Pushing a child into something too early can work in the opposite direction: you make it not fun any more. Just because the schools and camps are pushing these "camps" and groups younger and younger does not mean our kids are prepared for them.

I am sorry if I am sounding preachy. I am so frustrated with the educational system and other groups creating situations like this that runs so counter to what normal, healthy development is all about.

Please, I encourage you to look into the developmental sites below. I think it is very tempting to follow the guidance of the "experts" (daycare providers and teachers) and not listen to your child or your heart.

http://www.childdevelopmentinfo.com/...elopment.shtml


http://www.learningplaceonline.com/s...ze/Erikson.htm

3. Play Age: 3 to 5 Years

Ego Development Outcome: Initiative vs. Guilt

Basic Strength: Purpose

During this period we experience a desire to copy the adults around us and take initiative in creating play situations. We make up stories with Barbie's and Ken's, toy phones and miniature cars, playing out roles in a trial universe, experimenting with the blueprint for what we believe it means to be an adult. We also begin to use that wonderful word for exploring the world—"WHY?"

While Erikson was influenced by Freud, he downplays biological sexuality in favor of the psychosocial features of conflict between child and parents. Nevertheless, he said that at this stage we usually become involved in the classic "Oedipal struggle" and resolve this struggle through "social role identification." If we're frustrated over natural desires and goals, we may easily experience guilt.

The most significant relationship is with the basic family.

**Your little guy seems normal and healthy to me. He wants to be with the most important people in his life while popping in to check out the peer interactions. Enjoy your little boy.
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#6 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 01:10 PM
 
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I agree with pps that it is not even developmentally appropriate to be fully participating in team sports at 3.

It also appears, from your user name, that you might have expectations for your son that,well, he may never fulfill. Gosh, I'm 34 and I am still unable to play 'team' sports. If my parents had forced that on me when I was a kid, I would have been traumatized. Just let him have fun, and be there for him when he needs to reconnect with mommy.
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#7 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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Learning to be on a team and specific rules of any sport seem like they would be very low on any 3yo list of priorities. It sounds like he doesn't enjoy his time at soccer camp so why not just forget it for another couple years (or longer)? Let him be a kiddo the way he enjoys it while he is still so young! Soccer may not end up being his sport. Let him choose when he's ready.
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#8 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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At three they are still barely coming out of the 'parallel play' concept. I'm betting in a few years you won't have the slightest concern


GOOD moms let their kids lick the beaters. GREAT moms turn off the mixer first!
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#9 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by fireweed View Post
I agree with pps that it is not even developmentally appropriate to be fully participating in team sports at 3.

It also appears, from your user name, that you might have expectations for your son that,well, he may never fulfill. Gosh, I'm 34 and I am still unable to play 'team' sports. If my parents had forced that on me when I was a kid, I would have been traumatized. Just let him have fun, and be there for him when he needs to reconnect with mommy.
That is definitely not the case, fireweed. My username is what it is....maybe some day it might happen, but maybe he might be interested in a different sport. I'll still consider myself a soccermama - a mama of a little guy that loves sports. Plain and simple. And please, we are not forcing anything on our DS. We just want him to have fun in a sport that we know that he already enjoys.
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#10 of 18 Old 04-26-2009, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
At three they are still barely coming out of the 'parallel play' concept. I'm betting in a few years you won't have the slightest concern

H and I have discussed this further and we've talked about that, too. Maybe he's just not ready for this type of interaction in a sport like setting and that is TOTALLY fine with us. We're not pressuring him in to anything whatsoever, we just know how much he LOVES soccer and why not get him interested in it a bit more at earlier age?
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#11 of 18 Old 04-27-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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Sorry, double post.
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#12 of 18 Old 04-27-2009, 03:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by soccermama View Post
H and I have discussed this further and we've talked about that, too. Maybe he's just not ready for this type of interaction in a sport like setting and that is TOTALLY fine with us. We're not pressuring him in to anything whatsoever, we just know how much he LOVES soccer and why not get him interested in it a bit more at earlier age?
Great! How awesome that he is showing an interest for the sport so early. Maybe you and your husband can play with him and work on the basics of the game and the gross motor skills? The team/game aspect of it should come much much later, at 3 they have little to no understanding of how that works, but they sure can understand how to kick the ball and get it into the goal past mommy and daddy! Get some cones and a goal.

My neighbor has 2 girls who are both exceptional athletes, they both play soccer and they are both on travel teams. His older girl plays both soccer and lacrosse now, and she is so good she will probably go to college on scholarship. He loves to tell us that he never put his girls in those pee-wee soccer programs, but that he used to kick the ball around with them. They both started playing organized soccer when they were 5, and he volunteered to coach on their teams, so he was (and still is) very very involved.

If your child has an affinity for and talent in a sport, they will excel, and their participation in a peewee sports program at 3 will not make or break them. The key is to keep it fun, and to make it into a family activity that you all enjoy and participate in.
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#13 of 18 Old 04-27-2009, 07:24 PM
 
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Maybe he is just an introvert? I'm dealing with figuring out how to understand my introvert ds. It is difficult for me as I'm SUCH an extrovert. But he gets overwhelmed and wants to be alone or go home, etc. I'm learning.
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#14 of 18 Old 04-27-2009, 10:34 PM
 
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It would never occur to me to expect any 3 year old to participate in anything even resembling a team sport. It sounds about as fun or easy as herding cats.

What exactly do you mean he loves soccer? Does he love kicking balls? Or does he understand how the game is played? Your ds is only a few months older than my dd, and any understanding of a team sport seems WAY off into the future for her.

Preschoolers' attention spans are really short. I would expect them to wander off after 10-20 minutes, if not sooner!
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#15 of 18 Old 04-27-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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: to pretty much everyone.

My son loves soccer too. By which I mean he loves kicking the ball around with his stepdad or a couple of friends' kids, he loves watching other people play, etc. But ... he's two. He just knows fun when he sees it ... he doesn't give a lick about the organizational aspects of it, and if put in a situation in which he needed to on any level he'd be bored in two seconds flat. If put in a situation with a bunch of people he doesn't know at all, he'll take time to warm up to it. If put in a situation containing both elements, he'll get upset and back away. That's not a disorder so much as it is toddlerhood.
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#16 of 18 Old 04-28-2009, 02:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kidspiration View Post

He's 3.

Let him be 3.
I agree--there's plenty of time for team sports later.
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#17 of 18 Old 04-28-2009, 12:23 PM
 
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I get the sense that people are kinda making it seem like it was wrong to sign him up for the team or camp. As long as you are not drilling soccer into his head I see nothing wrong with signing him up for something he might enjoy. Would you all feel that way if it was dance, music time, or art classes. It doesn't sound at all to me that she was a dicatator forcing a sport upon her child. She listened to his wants/needs with providing a snack drink and switching times. IME those camps\teams are completely laid back and just try to teach the kids VERY basic principles of the game. Most teams I have seen allow the parents to stay on the field with their child.

In regards to the OP my nephew is 3 and he play on a soccer team and at his first practice he was throwing the cones and kicking balls that were out of play. At his first "game" he wouldn't let go of my Sil's hand. But yet he always ask when he can play again. I wouldn't expect to much out of a 3 year old at things like that. I would just let him go at his pace and if he wants to sit it out a few times or participate for only a short while that is perfectly normal.

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#18 of 18 Old 04-28-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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I don't think he is an introvert - especially if he has a fine time with his friends at school. I am betting it is the general unfamiliarity with it all. I am the type that will watch people for a while before I decide to join in - not a social disorder, not exactly an introvert, just shy - and perhaps related a bit to my ADHD.

What helped me was my parents were super inolved in my group activities. So they helped facilitate my getting to know people. I might as the soccer camp instructor what she thinks, and maybe see if you can take a "helper role" in the class, so that his play with you becomes part of the class activity as a whole. YKIM?

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