My child is unfriendly!? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 02-26-2002, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I usually have dd at work with me for 1 or 2 hours once a week and have since she was 7 mo (now 19 mo), and this woman is always trying to take dd and play with her, hug her etc. Well, my dd has always been reserved around non-family since birth and I am not surprised when my co-workers efforts earn her a scowl or a firm “no, mama”. Well today this woman told me my dd was unfriendly and if I didn’t start doing things to bring her out of her shell, she would never have any friends.

Whatever! : I have never worried about dd not liking other people, figuring this was just a phase she would eventually grow out of. It’s not something I’m concerned about even now, but I am curious what you all think about this idea. Do you think children should be force socialized? (handing them off to lots of people so they will learn to go to anyone) Have any of you had similar experiences? How do you feel about the idea that children should be sociable from a young age?

By the way, I did tell this co-worker that Children can see right through people to who they really are and dd is just a very bright and sensitive girl who is discriminate about who she spends her time with. (I don’t like her much!)

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#2 of 24 Old 02-26-2002, 09:34 PM
 
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That is exactly right! Your DD is sensitive to people's "vibes" You must respect her choice on this.
There is no way a 19 month old could possibly be labeled "unfriendly" That is utter non-sense. This woman is obviously miffed that your DD doesn't "fall all over her" with affection.
Your DD will need to use her intuition about people for the rest of her life...she needs to be able to trust it. You are doing the right thing by not forcing her to be "friendly" to this woman.

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#3 of 24 Old 02-26-2002, 09:42 PM
 
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Looooooooser ...

My Cub is reserved as well, and I don't apologize for that. He's very warm and loving with those he knows, and he's not *afraid* of others, it's just that he seems to be assessing them before he smiles or flirts. You know what? I'm pretty choosy, myself!

As a matter of principle, I have not taught him to hug or kiss "on command". It's always spontaneous and never forced. If someone is offended that he won't "be cute" for them, that's their issue, not ours. We treat him as we wish to be treated -- with respect.

In short, screw 'er.

You're right, she's wrong.


Namaste,

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#4 of 24 Old 02-26-2002, 09:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sizzkid
By the way, I did tell this co-worker that Children can see right through people to who they really are and dd is just a very bright and sensitive girl who is discriminate about who she spends her time with. (I don’t like her much!)
Obviously you know your child better than she does!
Force socializing children is absurd and unnatural. It's like making kids kiss people they don't want to kiss. I think it can also encourage insincerity. By taking her to work, going to the grocery store, visiting friends and relatives, she'll socialize just fine.
Some children are more reserved than others, just as some adults are more reserved than others. My dd is very outgoing and warms up to new people very quickly, as was I as a kid. She always was (she's 2.5yo). My dh was the opposite and is still a very reserved person. If dd makes it clear she doesn't want someone to hold her or touch her we never force her.
Tell your co-worker children's boundaries need to be respected just like adult's.
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#5 of 24 Old 02-26-2002, 11:05 PM
 
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I agree with the other posters. I also once heard a child safety expert speak, and he said that the most important thing parents could do to keep their children safe from predators is to teach them to trust their instincts. If a child doesn't want to kiss someone, even a family member, don't make them. If they don't want to play with someone, don't make them feel silly, regardless of if they have a "good" reason for it. All of these seemingly innocent things that parents do to "socialize" their children undermine the child's ability to respect their vibe or intuition about a particular person or situation. This advice makes a lot of sense to me. Sounds like you are doing exactly what you should be doing.
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#6 of 24 Old 02-26-2002, 11:14 PM
 
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i can't really add anything original here, but i think you are doing a great job with your babe!
i love that you gave that woman a nice verbal kick in the teeth! but, knowing people, she was probably too blind to get it!
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#7 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 12:29 AM
 
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I'm with everyone else here. I especially like the attitude that kids see the real person behind the facade (sorry for paraphrasing.) Taking the opposite view, there is something about my dh that draws children to him. If we go to Chuck E Cheese he has strange kids coming up to him of every age -- especially toddlers and preschoolers. They just want to be by him. My friends daughter who is VERY reserved just LOVES my dh. We went to my brother's wedding and the ring bearer who was two (and we had never met, BTW) was literally attached to dh's leg within the first five minutes of the rehersal (we have pictures.)

Just as there are people who draw children to them, like my dh, there will be those people who drive them away. Who knows why, but I think that children are able to see things that we are not.
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#8 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 12:37 AM
 
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I think your coworker is an idiot. She needs to grow up, it sounds like she was offended that your Dd did not want to interact with her. :

I love your response to her, I hope she got it.
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#9 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 01:13 AM
 
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ITA w/ JaznJakesMama! She's nuts!

I'd like to add my own vent! My ds is almost 3 now & in the past year he has grown more discriminating. If he is allowed to make the 1st move he is very out going & conversational. But, let someone come on too strong & he'll tell them he hates them. This is a problem at the grocery store, where grown ups seem to depend on positive interaction w/ small children for an ego boost. When ds doesn't respond in the expected way they are disappointed. Then I get the feeling that I am supposed to apoligize! Whatever! These people don't go up to other grown ups & say "HI THERE! Aren't you cute!" and expect a smile. Why should my ds talk to them? At first I taught him to say "I don't feel like talking right now." I was so proud of us when he got this down & I felt so accomplished. Well, then this lady mocked ds about his response! The 1st time he told her she said "oh, I understand!" in this very "up" voice (you know the one). The next time we saw her she said "oh, I remember you don't feel like talking." in a very condescending sing songy voice. I could tell that she thought it was sooo cute that ds spoke his mind. Argh! I felt like saying that obviously she did not understand and so on. After many such incidents ds & I have a new agreement that I will tell them b/c he knows that not all grown ups can respect & understand children I am so sad that he learned that! Now how do I teach him to have respect for others.

Sorry to go on & on. This is a very relevant issue for us right now. We seem to be going through this in all of its various aspects. Such fun.


EDITED to correct myself! The coworker is nuts! JaznJakesMama seems quite sane to me!

JaznJakesMama ~ your post made me lmao, sorry, that it came out like you are nuts, Ashlea
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#10 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 01:19 AM
 
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Hey, that kinda sounded like you were saying that I'm nuts (which some would agree)
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#11 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 06:15 AM
 
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Sizzkid, your giving your child a secure base from which she can eventually come out of her shell. I can think of no better way to socialize a child!

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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#12 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 12:02 PM
 
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Love your response to your coworker! Thoughtful, respectful, caring people do not behave the way she does.

I do not force my dd to do anything. She too is sensitive and knows what she wants when she wants it.

Don't worry about socializing. What she wants she'll make plain to you!
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#13 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your supportive comments. I think I got into my mama lion role a little with this post. I just get very tired of people making me feel like I need to defend my dd. I really didn’t expect this to happen at work though so I was off my guard. I work at the birth center where dd was born and have always found my co-workers to be very supportive of AP. Two of my other co-workers breastfeed their toddlers, co-sleep, etc. You know how it is when you get broad sided in what you feel is a safe environment. This co-worker is young, and new so maybe I need to find a gentle way of informing her that her comment was insensitive and could be hurtful to my dd who is getting old enough to understand conversations around her.

Pallas you kill me…that is almost exactly what my dh said.

Peggy, oceanbaby, I too feel that intuition is something we should nurture in our children. They won’t always have a parent around to say, “this person is okay, this person is not okay”

AMum , I can’t stand the way people are condescending to children. I would have had a few condescending words for that woman!

I also cannot tolerate all those overly friendly supermarket shoppers! When dd was just a baby, dh and I would be interacting with her and she would smile and coo back until a “stranger” would come up to coochy coo her. Then she would give them this perfect drop-dead look! LoL ! People really had a problem with that!

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In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul. -Lisa T. Shepherd
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#14 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 01:57 PM
 
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I can't agree with all of you more. I was just having this same conversation with my family about my dd. She is very reserved with people she doesn't know and some of those we do know. I had a similar situation at the grocery store a few weeks ago. My dd who is 2 is the cutest thing (now I'm not biased a bit) and everyone stops to try to talk to her at the store. This lady that works at the health food store who we have seen a couple of times tried to talk to Kyra and Kyra screamed back at her. The woman takes a step back and says, "that isn't very nice". I just kinda of laughed it off, but felt like saying something back to her. I don't know what, but something. I wish more adults would try not to get into their personal space so much, and treat these kids like they would treat adults.
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#15 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 04:50 PM
 
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I would just tell anyone who complains, "You are a stranger. It is appropriate for her to act that way to a stranger." and leave it at that.

BTW, too funny, jasnjakesmama, you are a little nuts! Me too!
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#16 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 05:21 PM
 
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My good friend had a talk on Monday with her 3 3/4 year old dd about strangers. She was having a problem with her wondering away and she couldn't keep track of her 20 month old ds and dd at the same time, so she talked about what a stranger is, and that not all strangers are nice, and she didn't want a mean stranger to take her dd home with them. Her dd asked some questions and seemed to understand. Job well done -- or so she thought.

Tuesday they were at the mall in a small, educational toy store. Her dd wandered to the other side of the store. A couple seconds later a woman came in and was looking in the same area as friends dd. She looked up, screamed and began running for her life in a big circle around the store looking for her mom (who she ran right by a couple times.) Now my friend can't get her daughter removed from her leg. We went to the children's museum and dd wouldn't leave her side. She also won't stay with me anymore if her mom has to attend to the ds. I have known her since birth and am her little brother's godmother, I'm basically family to her. She starts to cry if anyone comes too close to her.

My friend is wondering if she has scarred her for life. I told her that it will just take time for the "edge" to wear off. Who knew that such a seemingly successful "stranger" conversation could derail so easily.:LOL
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#17 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 05:25 PM
 
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:LOL
Oh my goodness, that is too funny!
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#18 of 24 Old 02-27-2002, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree that it can be hard to find the middle ground when having that "stranger" talk. I read somewhere once that most elementary school children when asked say that a stranger is someone who looks scary, mean, or different. (The guy dressed in black scenario) My dd is not old enough for this to become an issue for us yet, thankfully! I wonder how I will approach this subject as we live in a small Alaskan town and there are no "strangers" per say.

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In raising my children, I have lost my mind but found my soul. -Lisa T. Shepherd
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#19 of 24 Old 02-28-2002, 12:26 AM
 
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I really don't understand how people can be so silly. If you need and ego boost or a friend call a 900 # , don't try to make a strange child love you.
My dd islike Amum's ds. She will make friends with people as long as she gets to make the first move. If they are too forward she is very shy. It actually took me awhile to really respect her for this and learn to protect her from people. i was just caught up in the "Kids should be sweet and pleasant and go to anyone" thing that our society has. I made it a point to never apologize or make excuses when she doesn't like someone. She is a person and is entitled to have her own opinions and make her own choices. We are so disrespectful of children these days...it baffles me.
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#20 of 24 Old 02-28-2002, 01:11 AM
 
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my 4 yr old ds doesn't like to interact with strangers either and people are always trying to chat with him - something about curly hair and big blue eyes - he's like a magnet! When ds isn't friendly back (which is like 99% of the time) I just smile at the person and say - well you know, never talk to strangers and they usually smile back. At least this way they don't take it personally.

The harder situation for us is with my mil. My younger ds (20mos) is fairly picky about who he wants to hold him and mil only sees him about twice a year so he's very reluctant to go to her and she gets so offended by it. I always have to bite my tongue b/c I just want to tell her to get out of his face and he'll warm up to her on his time.

Strangers I can handle - family is an entirely different story!
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#21 of 24 Old 03-01-2002, 01:17 PM
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I'm sorry, I didn't have time to read all the replies, but I wanted to share my story with you.

My son is 5.5yo. He was always very timid around most people and wanted me or his dad to be with him all the time. At playgroups, he'd want me to move with him from activity to activity and he only did some interacting with the other kids. As for adults, if anyone even looked at him (never mind tried to talk to him) he would hide behind me or look away from them. I'm sure there were some people who thought he was rude, but I never heard any direct comments. As he grew older, I would discuss it with him and tell him it was OK to just say Hi to the adults, but that he didn't have to talk with them if he wasn't comfortable. I didn't push him. Even with close family members, he was pretty reserved and wouldn't give hugs or kisses, unless he wanted to (I never pushed him into that either). Talking with them was also difficult for him. A lot of it may have something to do with the fact that we were living 250 miles away from all family and I felt kind of isolated (plus we saw them only a few times a year). I believe that his personality plus the isolation played a part in his behavior.

Anyway, when he was 4.5yo we moved close to family and old friends. We used to live in a single-family house, set back from everyone else (kind of isolated) and we moved into a condo. Well, the very first week we were here, he was outside with me and he was saying Hi to everyone he saw - children & adults. It's as if he broke out of a shell. He's still a bit reserved around some people and I respect his feelings on that. I still don't push him to interact more than he wants to.

I do think this would have happened (more slowly) even if we hadn't moved. The move made me feel better (now I'm only 10 miles from my family) and I think my son felt my internal sigh of relief that I was home again.

I believe that honoring my son's feelings is much more important than what other people think. They're adults, they'll get over it. I want my little boy to grow up knowing that his feelings are important, even if others don't think so.

I hope this helps. Once again, I'm sorry I didn't read all the replies. Time is short today.
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#22 of 24 Old 03-01-2002, 04:13 PM
 
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Way to go! And these are great replies, too. I really struggled with this when my firstborn was a baby. My kids were (?! ARE!) drop dead cute and all babies attract people anyway. The fun part was that my firstborn would scream bloody murder if anyone so much as made eye contact, let alone tried to pick her up or talk...She's since grown beyond all that, for the most part, but back then people accused me of reclusive living, of sheltering her(and this is bad because...?), of giving in, of not being the parent because I wasn't using force...sigh.
One funny thing was that this same dd called both me and dh daddy for about a year. When she called "Daddy!" We'd say, "Which one?" Well, my dh was holding her in the store while I ran to the bathroom, and the whole time I was gone, she was reaching over his shoulder screaming "Daddy! Daddy!"
Not a soul reacted. My dh said he got some looks, and he was glad when I reappeared so he could give the fiery thing back to her momma.
Be a momma lion! We need more a 'em!
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#23 of 24 Old 03-03-2002, 11:35 PM
 
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One of the most wonderful traits children have is their intuition. Unlike adults they see the world through un-tainted eyes. They don't "pretend" to like someone or somthing. I never forced my child to hug anyone they didn't want to. (Even if it was a family member) They cannot always express what it is they are feeling, but somehow they know that it isn't right. If I could live like anyone, it would be like my children. They see good in just about everything (except bedtime and leaving the grandparent's house), they accept new friends regardless of color, race, or financial status. They take things from one day at a time to one hour at a time, and life, to them, gets better with a hug.
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#24 of 24 Old 03-04-2002, 12:33 PM
 
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hooray for supporting our children's own intuition!!

my dd was very iffy with people when she was little, too. we would just tell people she was (i can't spell this, it's spanish) oo-rran-ia. i assumed i was going to have to learn how to raise a shy child (i'm not particularly shy myself), and then, when she was 3-1/2, we took a trip to Germany for one month. She returned a total social butterfly, saying hello to everyone we passed on the street, etc. at 5, she's the most sociable child her age we know.

but, she still is 'oorrania' around some people, and i respect that. i think not forcing her when she was smaller enabled her to learn to trust her own judgement.
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