How do the introverted moms make sure kids socialize? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 07-02-2013, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always been pretty solitary and introverted. I have my group of close friends, and I need my time alone to recharge. I do not handle huge group things and socializing with moms I don't know very well. I would rather sit alone at the playground while my son plays, but I realize this does nothing for my DS in terms of satisfying his need to socialize. He is 3. How have you introverted Moms found a balance? I just hate giving up my time off on the weekends to play dates and other activities when it really just overwhelms me after working all week.

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#2 of 16 Old 07-02-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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I didn't really worry about it at age 3. The kids were fine playing with me, going to the park and interacting with other kids if they felt like it, seeing neighbors and cousins sometimes, etc.

I never joined a moms club or anything, and now (at ages 5 and 8) my kids are socially well adjusted and doing great. At their ages, they definitely let me know when they need some friend time, and I try to accommodate that, but at 3 they were pretty happy in our own little world, and I didn't feel obligated to rush into the world of play dates.

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#3 of 16 Old 07-02-2013, 02:24 PM
 
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First off, I don't think socialization is the big deal that a lot of people seem to think it is. Kids learn social skills by observing their parents, and other adults, just living their lives and interacting in normal, every day situations.

Still, sometimes you want to give your kids the chance to play with other kids just because you know they'll have fun. For that, I like to take my kids places where they can socialize but I don't have to. I take them to the park, or the library, and then I sit by myself with a book. A book is a great device for signaling that you aren't interested in chatting, without seeming rude. You don't even technically have to read -- you could just sit with the book open in your lap, while really watching your child. You could also take your son to the types of classes and events where you drop them off and leave, but that's not absolutely necessary unless you think it would be fun.

It's easier when they are a bit older and you can say, "Go outside and play with your friends!"

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#4 of 16 Old 07-02-2013, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks. I see a lot of outgoing moms constantly getting together with friends who also have kids and they do these huge playdates. For me it's almost stressful, because at 3 I feel like they still need so much guidance to play together, yet there will be other moms trying to talk to me and I'm listening with one ear and trying to figure out why my son is whining with the other ear, you know? I would rather just take a walk with my son and enjoy the peace and quiet! I just don't want to hold him back socially, because he is definitely more outgoing.

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#5 of 16 Old 07-02-2013, 02:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mrs.t View Post

Thanks. I see a lot of outgoing moms constantly getting together with friends who also have kids and they do these huge playdates. For me it's almost stressful, because at 3 I feel like they still need so much guidance to play together, yet there will be other moms trying to talk to me and I'm listening with one ear and trying to figure out why my son is whining with the other ear, you know? I would rather just take a walk with my son and enjoy the peace and quiet! I just don't want to hold him back socially, because he is definitely more outgoing.

Those moms do that because they enjoy it, not because it's the better way of doing things. They're energized by being in groups, whereas for us it's the opposite. Neither way is better, they're both fine. You will be more present and engaged in your family life if you're mentally refreshed and recharged by alone time. Don't feel like not wanting to be part of a large group makes you inferior.

Heck, even at my kids' ages we don't do much large group stuff. We invite 1 or 2 friends over to play, and keep it low-key. My kids seem fine with that for now. If, as they age, they seem to be more extraverted and in need of more large-group socialization, I'll try to meet that need, but for now nothing is broken so why fix it? smile.gif

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#6 of 16 Old 07-02-2013, 03:34 PM
 
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I understand what it feels like to not want to do group activities and also feel worried that your child is missing out. Like the PP said, for some people its their idea of fun, but you dont need to conform yourself for your child's sake. The most important thing is for your child to have the opportunities, like taking him to the park or kid's museum--if he wants to socialize then he will. There's no rule that says you have to socialize, too. In fact, I've tried several play groups and I've found that my child is no more inclined to play with those particular kids than she is with others. Just because i'm chatting with their moms doesnt make my kid any more interested. I think the same is also true for many kids. Also, once they're in school (if you're not homeschooling) they will have plenty of opportunities to make friends. Please dont feel bad about being introverted, many people are, myself included, and there is nothing wrong with it.
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#7 of 16 Old 07-02-2013, 04:04 PM
 
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I do it because my DD talks so much that my introverted self can't handle it. The sporadic interactions with other moms at classes, the park, the library, are WELL worth the break from my daughter's constant chit chat.
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#8 of 16 Old 07-03-2013, 11:07 AM
 
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There is a meetup near Tampa especially for antisocial parents that still want to socialize their young kids.  And it has hundreds of members.  

 

Consider finding or starting a group like that in your area and keep it really simple.  I am highly sensitive to over-arousal when in social and new situations; I just find it very draining, so I understand where you are coming from.  My son is quite the opposite and more like his dad; so I have this constant nagging feeling that I'm depriving him.  

 

I try to forgive myself and think of all the good stuff I provide him.

 

ETA: I know the word antisocial is extreme; I think the organizer named their group that just to make sure there was no misunderstanding. For example, if it had been called Introverted Parents, some might have joined mistakenly thinking that they were supposed to talk about their introversion or be less introverted.

 

Obviously the word antisocial is far more convincing that no effort at socializing is required LOL.

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#9 of 16 Old 07-03-2013, 03:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

There is a meetup near Tampa especially for antisocial parents that still want to socialize their young kids.  And it has hundreds of members.  

Consider finding or starting a group like that in your area and keep it really simple.  I am highly sensitive to over-arousal when in social and new situations; I just find it very draining, so I understand where you are coming from.  My son is quite the opposite and more like his dad; so I have this constant nagging feeling that I'm depriving him.  

I try to forgive myself and think of all the good stuff I provide him.

ETA: I know the word antisocial is extreme; I think the organizer named their group that just to make sure there was no misunderstanding. For example, if it had been called Introverted Parents, some might have joined mistakenly thinking that they were supposed to talk about their introversion or be less introverted.

Obviously the word antisocial is far more convincing that no effort at socializing is required LOL.

I love this idea.
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#10 of 16 Old 07-05-2013, 03:28 PM
 
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Ug, this was so hard for me too.  I told myself it was fine for the boys (then 2 & 5 when we left NYC eventually) to do things with me and just grab time with random kids at the playground, but it wasn't- at least, it turned out not to be for us.  My 5 year old had NO IDEA how to interact with other children.  He couldn't play with other children, listen to an adult to do a group activity (i.e. gymboree or soccer) and worst of all, even when he wanted to, he just couldn't play with another child, despite trying- he was too obvious about trying to get their attention and was rough and obnoxious.  Could just be my son though (he's not like that anymore).

 

I remember going to prospect park in brooklyn and watching him from 25 feet away.  oddly, the parents not only discouraged the interaction- i felt so bad for my son.  Like... if i had introduced myself and him that it would have been fine for him to play with them- he even brought over sidewalk chalk and the kids wanted to play, but my son didn't play with them- they just used the chalk : /  At gymboree or soccer, the parents all seemed to know each other (or want to, at least).  We always rushed out of there in a vicious cycle- he didn't know how to play, so we'd leave quickly after instead of tagging along to barnes and noble or starbucks and the same thing would happen next time. 

 

When he was interested in trying out schooling out of the home, he was really out of sync with his peers, but charmed the pants off the teachers.

 

Almost 3 years later, he's in a half-day waldorf school here and has a lot of friends, even though he is not a native spanish speaker.  It took a year for him to learn to interact with the other children though- he would just chase them, really, and didn't make any fiends that way.

 

My younger boy is now just 5 and was almost 3 when we moved.  he was in pre-k last year (the same half-day they have for all grades here) and fit in right away, so I don't really have a control subject. 

 

I think for some kids it will be important and for some it won't; I guess that's what i'm trying to say.  I doubt everyone who has waited until 6 to put their kids in a social situation that endured has had these problems.  I always blamed myself for my social anxiety- both of them are very outgoing.  They just didn't know how to play with other kids.  They hold fine conversations with college students though!

 

Although i wish it wasn't the case, i think if i had at least tried to let him make and keep friends he would have been happier and better adjusted.  He is not a loner like I am- he did want friends to play with- not just adults.

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#11 of 16 Old 07-05-2013, 03:33 PM
 
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There is a meetup near Tampa especially for antisocial parents that still want to socialize their young kids.  And it has hundreds of members.  

 

Wow, I wish that existed everywhere! 

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#12 of 16 Old 07-06-2013, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Aggiepop-that is kind of my fear. My son is great with adults, he's really verbal and charming, but with other kids he gets a little shy and sensitive. I think it reminds me too much of myself when I was a kid, which bothers me because I know I didn't always enjoy socializing with kids I wasn't comfortable with.

It seems like my DS will attempt to strike up a conversation with a kid, then if the other kid doesn't respond or if the kid is the least bit bossy, he runs back to me. I don't know if that's just developmentally normal for his age though...because I feel like the only kids he has socialized with are kids who go to daycare or prek, and he does not.

I wish there was an antisocial meet up group!!!

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#13 of 16 Old 07-06-2013, 02:15 PM
 
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About the meet-up...anyone can start a meet-up so you could start one like that in your area.

 

Through meet-up I did find a really great group of moms, it was trial and error and it was a pain in the ass because I didn't always like the moms, sometimes left feeling bad about myself or whatever, but when I did find the right group it felt so different, so great.  I guess what I am saying is just get back on the horse and try again?  Atleast that's what worked for me.  And got me to where my child was old enough for school and I didn't feel so bad about not constantly having play situations for her.

 

And to other posters, I think each 3 year old is different.  Mine is SO social that was very obviously not enough for her being the anti-social, introvert to her highly social extrovert....she really needed that outside interaction and finding it was crucial to both our sanities.  Finding a group with sweet kids and down to earth moms made life make sense again :)  But it really was work, I approached it like a job....like my mom-ly job to figure out.

 

I also find that some moms are willing to do a drop-off play date swap where you watch one day, she watches another and then the kids can play and you don't have to chat with the adult the whole time and will get that coveted couple of hours of alone time on the other end.

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#14 of 16 Old 07-06-2013, 02:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by PrimordialMind View Post

. The most important thing is for your child to have the opportunities, like taking him to the park or kid's museum--if he wants to socialize then he will. There's no rule that says you have to socialize, too

I have found that my daughter does need the rhythm of seeing the same kids to create a deeper interaction than just a stranger at the park...which sucks for me because it has meant I have had to do that leg work.  Oh, how easy it would have been if she could have been happy with those casual interactions!

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#15 of 16 Old 07-06-2013, 04:23 PM
 
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I have raised several kids, and have NEVER done a play date. One (grown) kid is very social, one is very introverted, and one has a small circle of very good friends. The others were foster kids, and I can't really say how they "turned out". over the years, we homeschooled and did public and private schools, at different times. I am a complete introvert, and cannot stand the group stuff. Even sitting in the audience for class plays and the like is painful for me (I did it, but with no great joy). My call is that kids are born with their own styles, and will find their own ways to express that, in whatever circumstances thay find them selves in. One thing I did for my kids when we moved to a new town and were homeschooling, was to buy a trampoline and a great play structure (visible from the road!). Our house soon became the neighborhood hot spot, and we met all the kids and most of the parents in no time.
 


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#16 of 16 Old 07-15-2013, 04:09 PM
 
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I'm not introverted but I just wanted to chime in to say I do playdates because I enjoy them and they make my life easier. I love the freedom of running to the bathroom by myself and in general find 2 adults vs 2 toddlers way easier than 1 on 1. I want to second the suggestion of the library where the kids mingle and the moms can choose whether they are in the mood to interact or not. The library in my neighbourhood does a weekly storytime with many regulars where kids can get the routine of seeing the same friends fairly dependably without the moms really having to interact. If you find a family that's a good fit, you can take it from there but it's like you get to try them on for size without a lot of pressure to make friends yourself. I hope someone finds this helpful smile.gif
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