not-that-social parents of an only child! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-11-2014, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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not-that-social parents of an only child!

So, dh and I have an only child, a 4 yr old ds. By nature I am not super social. I live in a nice town with a nice community and I know many people. And I could work more on deepening friendships. But in general, I am not someone who likes to go out all the time and be with other people all the time. I am more content being home a lot, and hanging out with ds and dh.
My dh also isn't super social- I mean, we both have friends and if we put more effort into it could deepen friendships. But dh and I really mostly enjoy hanging out with eachothe ( and ds).
The problem is not that I can't meet people or don't know any people that I connect with. It is more that by nature I like to hang out mostly with my husband, and I also like to be alone a fair amount.

So, we have an only child and the little guy for sure does not get enough time playing with other kids. We go out every day, and go to kid things , and to the pool and the park. And he has grandparents near by, and we know a lot of people to chat with when we are out. But we don't have a lot of playdates at all.

I sometimes try to make the effort and find it is quite hard for me! I sometimes feel overwhelmed and having an extra kid over feels extra overwhelming.
Ds stated preschool 3 days a week last year, and next year he will go 4 days a week ( just 1/2 days).
And even last year his preschool teacher suggested that it would benefit ds to have more social interaction with other kids outside of school.
then this year I went through an illness for a number of months which made it even harder for me to socialize ds.
At any rate, I feel badly for ds that he doe not have significant little friends to play with!
I keep wanting to make more effort to have playdates for him but somehow it is very hard for me to follow through! I have managed a few. And now as he gets older I find it is even more important for me to facilitate friendships for him.

So my issues are on a few levels:
One, I feel guilty that because of my not-that -social nature, I am not giving ds the socialization he needs. Like I said, he gets out andabout and chats with people every day- but just does not have much significant play time with other kids ( outside of preschool).
I definitely plan to try to schedule more playdate with the other preschoolers in his class this year.
but even so, it does not at all come easily to me! I have some friends who are much more social than I am and their kids play with other kids all the time.
So I feel guilty that dh and I chose to have ds be an only child and yet he is not socialized enough.
Dh, ds and I are a very loving unit of three- we hang out together all the time. But I know ds needs more kids in his life.
So the other issue about it beyond the guilt is that even though I want to create more kid friendships for ds, and I am willing to stretch my comfort level to do so, I am still not good at actually doing it.
I mean,I don't even really get the logistics of playdates! Is it generally something where the parent drops the kid off ( for a 4 year old) or stays with the kids? I guess either.
and then I get overwhelmed with feeding the other kid, and being responsible for the other kid. I tend to be a bit of a worrier, I am not the most chilled out mom. so I do watch ds pretty cloely so I don't know.
It is just not something I am very good at- watching more than one kid, and figuring out how to even create the kid relationships that ds needs.
Any helpful advice?
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#2 of 6 Old 08-14-2014, 05:10 AM
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not-that-social parents of an only child!

First, I say you're doing a great job! You have no reason to feel guilty. We all parent differently and there's not one right way to parent.

4 is still very young. My eldest is very social now, but at 4 he was completely uninterested in playing with other kids. My dd does not appear to be as social, but we'll see what happens as she enters kindergarten. I think it's not uncommon for kids to not start to form true friendships until 5, at the earliest.

Think of your own childhood. I don't know about you, but I knew of NO "play dates" as a kid. When kids started becoming aware if other kids at about 5-ish, they ventured out into the neighborhood or at school and started forming friendships. Sometimes, you'd end up playing with your mom's friends kids, but that was really about the moms getting together, not the kids.

I'm not saying you SHOULDN'T facilitate play dates, just it may not be necessary. Do you have ANY friends or family with kids? Go see them and drag junior along. If not, stretch yourself into something social that you'd enjoy. A mommy book club where kids are welcome? A vegan cooking class with kids? Whatever crunchy thing brought you to MDC in the first place?
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#3 of 6 Old 08-14-2014, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the kind reply!
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Last edited by Snapdragon; 08-16-2014 at 09:14 PM.
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#4 of 6 Old 08-17-2014, 07:49 AM
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Speaking as the Mom of a still-non-social 15 year old, I say: MAKE THE EFFORT, SERIOUSLY!

Our situation has been your situation for years. We are older parents (I was 39 when ds was born, dh was 44) and, when ds was born, everyone else we knew already had children in their teens. They were busy with their kid's activities, so we didn't fit well then. As their kids grew and reached older ages, the kids did their own thing and their parents filled that void with their own interests. Still not much room for us in that. Younger parents didn't want to hang with us oldies!!

We also live out in the country, nobody else (with children) for quite a distance, outside a very small town. Nearest city of size is over 90 miles away.

Our friends are all very mainstream (cable TV, daycare advocates, formula-only, cio, both parents working, public school, mainstream medicine, lots of sports, etc).

We have never had TV, I was/am a sahm, breastfed until he was 4+, co-slept for years, homeschooled, mainstream+alternative medical care, not into popular sports. Sigh...........

Though we liked/like these people (all of them dh's friends and coworkers), they were past the diapers and infant interests and only discussed baby-related stuff in the past-tense. Many of them are now grandparents, which puts another spin on the gap!

Ds was fairly shy and didn't like the few children he met through friends (their interests weren't his interests). We should have been much "tougher" on making his socialization with other children a higher priority. Dealing with serious eldercare (all 4 of our parents) for 3/4 of his life had him around adults, rather than other kids, but there was no help for this. He is great with adults, mostly (not many share his love of Transformers!), but still shy.

He has been homeschooled and will enter high school, part-time, next week. I know he is nervous (saw it on a forum he posts on, which he doesn't know I read), but won't discuss it, saying he doesn't care one way or another. I am nervous, but what can I do, but assure him it will be okay and not try to make it sound like it will be a horrible (I haven't done that, just said it will be a big change and there will be some adapting!). He is nerdy, very computer-oriented, and not exactly solid. He is slender and, though very mature in some ways, he is very immature in others. I can easily see him being bullied, though I hope it won't happen...........

I would do it all differently, if I could do it all over again. I would have public schooled him and made (some) other changes. Hindsight sucks!

But, I can't, so it will be nerve-wracking for the next several weeks, until we see whether or not he can handle the onslaught of socialization that comes with being the new small fish in a big pond. I am dreading it.....

Sometimes, being the folks with more alternative leanings isn't fair to their children, who had no choice in the matter.

Sorry, I hope this didn't scare you, I just wanted to tell you what it has been like for us.

Last edited by grahamsmom98; 08-17-2014 at 07:51 AM. Reason: added something
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#5 of 6 Old 08-17-2014, 08:16 AM
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4 is young, and he's spending time with other kids at preschool. Developing friendships and wanting to spend more time with those friends will come naturally in elementary school. Three years from now, you'll be swamped with kids from school playing at your house!
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#6 of 6 Old 08-17-2014, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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we had a playdate today I have been making more effort and we had some nice friends with little kids over to play today!
Anywy, it is still a lot of effort for me etc but thanks for the words of encouragement.
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Last edited by Snapdragon; 08-18-2014 at 11:45 AM.
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