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#1 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS turned 3 in April and we've been getting a lot of pressure from my family (or should I say mother) to put him in some kind of preschool program this fall. I'm sure my feelings are obvious as I've posted this here
My mother has VERY strong socialization issues, like big issues that caused her to push me and my brothers very strongly to have more friends, be more "popular" and not appear to be socially inept losers in her eyes. She's like obsessed with it and it was really hard, especailly as a teen. You feel like the world thinks you're a loser, you don't need your mom backing them up.
Anyway, we moved to the same town as my mom when ds was about a year old, and she started in with her socialization stuff. I studied child development in college for a year (that's a lot of child development) while working in Montessori so I like to think I know what my child needs. I knew he didn't need to be in a daycare situation for socialization at that point, but I still let her convince me into taking a 2hr per day job at a local montessori so he would get some regular play time with other kids. He HATED it so I quit. He would just cry the whole time he was there
I'm starting to doubt myself again because he just isn't very outgoing. He is very sensitive to loud noises and refuses to go anywhere where children are screaming/crying. He'll just start crying if another child does. He is very verbal and doesn't understand why other children don't listen when he asks them to stop hitting him/throwing water/rocks at him etc. He is so submissive that he will let other children take every toy as he picks it up, and just keep going to other toys while they follow him and keep taking what he picks up We only have one friend with a dd his age, and he does not like going to play with her (because she messes with him). I take him to every activity I can find and he's fine if he's with me, but he doesn't really seem to like playing with other kids.
So here's my dillema: my mom has convinced dh that ds needs to be in school this fall, especially with the baby coming. He needs the activity, socialization, stimulation, and time away from us (it appears he's 'too attached' to us). Thing is, *he* does NOT want to go, preschool type programs won't accept him because he's not completely potty-learned, and we can't afford it anyway! It seems obvious that we should keep him home, but I have this awful guilty feeling that I'm depriving him of the stimulation he needs. I feel like I'm not organized enough to give him what he needs at home, and I'm sure I'll be even worse with a new baby. And I have my mother in my ear telling me (in different words) that he'll be a freakish loser if I keep going the way I am, and that he is a very lonely child. I don't see him as lonely at all, he loves to be with dh and me (dh's schedule lets him be home with us much of the time) but I guess we're not good enough.
Anyone have any advice on getting a 3 yr old what they need without using a preschool? Does my ds sound normal or like he needs lots more time with other kids? I don't even know anymore :
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#2 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 03:52 PM
 
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TEMPERMENT!!!!

All kids have different temperments. Neither of my kids have gone to preschool. I did do a once a week 45 minute park/rec class when my oldest turned 3 (she's done ballet, tumbling, art and swim so far).

My oldest has always been the sort, she will just run off and join the activity. First time I took her to speech, she ran off with the therapist leaving me in the dust.

On the flip, she is highly emotional, and will start bawling if someone isn't being nice. She doesn't understand that. This isn't b/c she isn't being 'socialized'... the child would bawl at the age of 2 when I'd read a book to her, b/c of things like easter eggs breaking.

So, temperment, temperment, temperment.

Things to do at home...simple items. Read, play pretend, arts/crafts.

Do you belong to a play group? or moms club? I find that can be helpful. Kids get to 'socialize', but the moms do too...

They don't need preschool.
Tammy
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#3 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 04:08 PM
 
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You will receive many more eloquent and well thought out replies than the one I will give you, but, quickly, I will tell you what I'm sure you already know but perhaps need to hear from someone else.

Your mother is wrong. People are not all the same and neither are children. Some people do well in large, loud groups, others thrive in small groups, and still others actually need a lot of alone time. Neither group is better or more socialized than the other. Society needs all kinds. Also, our needs change over time. The three year old who only needs his family will likely become a youth who needs his family and some close friends. A single woman who sought out many lively friends may become the mother of many children who seeks quiet, alone time.

And, the kind of socialization that our civilization depends upon is not learned at the hands of a group of children but from the family group.

Your son cannot speak to all of the world for himself. He is communicating to you, and you must speak for him. No one else will do it; he is counting on you. Find your inner Mama Bear.

--LL
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#4 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 05:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisalucy
The three year old who only needs his family will likely become a youth who needs his family and some close friends.
This is so true. You can't change a child's personality by changing his circumstances -- and why would you want to, unless you think something needs changing? FWIW, my son went to day care and preschool from the time he was an infant (he's ten now) -- while he was fine there, it didn't turn him into a gregarious social butterfly. He went to public school through 2nd grade, and was never the kind of kid to have more than a few close friends (neither is his mother, LOL). We've been homeschooling ever since, and his personality is essentially the same, but he's more comfortable in his skin.
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#5 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 05:53 PM
 
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You know your son best, so keep him at home. Your ds sounds a lot like dd#1 when she was 3 (definitely normal ). We did send her to a 2 day a week homebased, waldorf-inspired preschool at 3 years old(we love love love the preschool and the teacher). She was fine there from day 1. THe other kids were unkind to her sometimes (got shoved a few times, toys pulled). The teacher was very aware of what is going on. Still, she picked up undesirable behavior from the other kids. I don't think that kids need to be packed into a place just for socialization. You can take him to the park, you can even take him to music classes or swim classes where you would be there and be only by once a week. Involve him in what you do at home, you are his best teacher!
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#6 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 06:02 PM
 
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I suggest keeping your son away from your mother until she learns some manners : Please tell her slowly and clearly so that she'll understand that you were very unhappy as a child because you knew she hated who you were, and wanted you to be someone else. You have decided to love your son for who is is, rather than who SHE wants him to be. Finish with my favorite Mother/MIL line: "You screwed your kids up; now it's my turn to screw mine up."
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#7 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 06:14 PM
 
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Real Boys by William Pollack. I'm about finished with it and I can't say enough good things about it. He put my parenting philosophies that I couldn't articulate into words and I feel more ready to respond to those who might suggest my son is too sensitive. There is no such thing. There is only people who have all kinds of different temperments. My oldest is sensitive, cries easily, scares easily and I'll admit that I used to worry about it and what I did to make him so clingy and not like other boys. But I've grown to understand that this is just who he is and he is better off finding his own identity than having others force one on him. Now that he's getting out of the toddler years I've discovered that he has some artistic tendencies and is also very observant and sensitive to everyone around--aware of when you are feeling good or bad and always trying to think of ways to help you. Your boy is fine. Just protect him from the people who tell you he isn't.

ps. I think that it is a very good sign that you are doing something right if he is very verbal at that age. WTG!
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#8 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 07:46 PM
 
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None of my children have ever been to pre-school and let me brag a minute here with the following socialization story:

My youngest as born with birth defects. We go to therapy 2x/wk because he is non-verbal at 3 and needs oral motor therapy. My oldest 3 (9 1/2, 8 1/2, 6 1/2) children play with the children in the waiting room who have cleft palates and Autism and Downs Symdrome, etc. The parents always stop to tell me how blessed I am to have children who play with their children and not avoid them. Apparently most children who come into contact with their children have been socialized to ignore/avoid them. What a shame!

Best wishes to you.

Your mother had her turn and now it's yours!

Sincerely,
Debra

*One of my children is kinda shy. It's her temperament. Also all my children cried when other children cried it's called sympathy crying. Gosh I even cried the first time my firstborn cried!
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#9 of 23 Old 07-06-2006, 09:23 PM
 
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It is hard when you have someone you love pressuring you about one thing and you know in your heart that you should do just the opposite. There comes a time in many parent's lives when they must make it clear to their own parents that these are THEIR children, not the grandparent's. They had their turn to be the parent and now they need to support you, not pressure you, to make these decisions for your children.

You know your son best and what you want for him, and if preschool/daycare does not fit with that, then don't do it. You will be the one who will have to be dropping him off, worrying about him, dealing with repercussions, and living with the decision.

There are many 3yo who do not play with other kids yet, its still well within the norm. They are more likely to play next to them or even with the same toys, but not together. Their play-skills will change as they get older. I'm sure that when you DS is *ready* for more social opportunities, he will let you know loud and clear!
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#10 of 23 Old 07-07-2006, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow thanks everyone for the replies! I will definately check out that book, Laura, thank you!
My mom is very difficult- I have told her many times, and I've even written her a letter explaining that the social thing is HER issue, not mine, and that I'm not going to put ds through what she put us kids through regarding friends. We've also gone round and round about sugar and TV and she just doesn't seem to get it. She throws her hands up and does this whole guilt trip thing about how she was SUCH a TERRIBLE mother and how she doesn't do ANYTHING right bla bla bla but she never actually listens or tries to make changes.
She just got back from a vacation yesterday so we had her over for breakfast this morning and she started right in on the preschool thing again. DS was fussing over something and she immediately latches on and says he needs to go to school because he's 'out of sorts' and needs something to do. This is during breakfast, right after he woke up. She started asking if I've made up my mind on where I'm sending him, as if I really have a choice financially. I told her I didn't think he'd be ready for preschool this year, and she got all huffy like "what are you talking about!!!!" I just told her, again, that he doesn't want to go and isn't regularly using the toilet yet anyway, so he's not even eligible for the programs I would send him to. She brought it up again later and asked if I was "going to be HOMEschooling the kids now" and I said that if morgan wants to go to school he is perfectly welcome to go.
I did tell her about some of the things we did while she was gone, and that seemed to put her at ease a little. He goes to gymnastics 1x a week and we're starting to go to a very loose playgroup once a week, plus there's plenty of stuff to do every day between the museum and plain old summer things... it's the winter I'm worried about. I guess I'm going to start organizing myself and my home and preparing some kind of structure and see how he responds to that.
It really burns me when DS is acting like a perfectly normal 3 year old and my mother starts in about how he needs to go to school because he's not acting perfectly. Then DH believes it. If he did go to school, he would still fuss about things, it's not like school is some magic fix for everything frustrating about the age 3. I worked with 3 year olds and they fussed about the same things ds fusses about WHILE they were in school.
I just want to enjoy this time when DS wants me and DH to be his closest friends. I know it's not going to last for long and I hate wasting it by feeling like it's not normal and somehow 'lonely' for him. He has regular opportunities to play with other kids, that should be enough, right?
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#11 of 23 Old 07-07-2006, 04:24 PM
 
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Set some firm boundaries.

"This is MY child , not yours. You raised your children your way. Now I'm going to raise my children MY way. I will NOT talk about putting him in preschool again. Legal schooling age is ____ in our state. This topic is now forever closed. Fume all you want , I just don't want to hear it."

Be sure to mean what you say , and follow with actions. "We are leaving now because you aren't respecting the parenting boundaries I laid out earlier".
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#12 of 23 Old 07-07-2006, 06:49 PM
 
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Below, where the *s start, I've copied and pasted what I think has to be the best defense I've found for those who seem to "know" what's better for our children in terms of socialization. This excerpt is biblically based, I'm a Christian so it applies to me completely though it can also apply to anyone who doesn't want the rest of the world raising their children.

I think children who aren't constantly around other children have an easier time becoming who they are truly meant to be without the pressures of other people telling them who they "should" be. There's nothing wrong with children being around adults regularly. In my experience, they seem to mature (in a good way) quicker than those who are around children on a regular basis. I am in no way against socializing, I do enjoy being around others and watching my children play with other children. I just don't think daily socialization with other children is necessary. We are involved in our church, including our children with children's church activities.
My oldest daughter is on the shy side, she's more like me about friends being more comfortable with a few at a time and she enjoys hanging out with the 14 year old girl down the street (who is also their babysitter when dh and I actually get to go out). My younger daughter is more like her dad and will carry on a conversation with anyone and everyone...and the girl can TALK TALK TALK til your ears go numb. : Still looking forward to learning more about who my baby boy is going to take after.

I was raised in public schools, very socialized, had many "friends" growing up but discovered as an adult that I am more of a "few friends are better" kind of person. Also, I totally slap myself in the head when thinking back at some of the ways I acted just to be more like my "friends." I was such a dork

Other children can also be so harsh and I know being a victim of that cruelty can affect a person for their entire lives. I still second guess myself many times just because of 2 girls in my 5th grade class (I was the new girl) who tormented me endlessly (and that was almost 20 years ago). I'm not in therapy or anything, LOL...but I still have those looming "I'm not good enough, they don't like me" thoughts that go through the back of my mind because of that. I want to make sure my children can stand their ground against that kind of attack better than I could.

Wow...I think this is my longest post, lol....anyways...you just raise that little man the way only you, as his mama, know how. Do not let others influence your decisions when you are the one who knows him best.

And finally...here's that excerpt I mentioned in my first line:

****Featured Topic: Socialization

Chances are you have been asked the question, "what about socialization?" or felt the condemnation of a friend, family member or even a stranger regarding the issue. But research has shown that regardless of what the critics may think, Homeschoolers are functioning effectively, productively, and successfully in society.

Homeschoolers are proudly "unsocialized" when socialization is designed to teach conformity to the values of one's society or peer group. Instead of a humanistic worldview with peer imposed values, they are trained to respect and conform to a Biblical worldview with God imposed values. The following resources are designed to make a statement, provoke discussion, and provide fact based information to intelligently to answer the question, "what about socialization?".

excerpt from: http://www.pennywiselearning.com/ ****
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#13 of 23 Old 07-07-2006, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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that is another reason why I'm not really jumping to get him in preschool- I like having control over what he's exposed to and I just don't know what he'd be hearing (from other children and from teachers) when he's away. Of course he's going to be exposed to all that someday, but hopefully by then he'll have an understanding of our family values and beliefs and won't pick those things up from others, iykwim. We seem to be in the minority around here when it comes to things like TV and commercials, fast food, and more importantly attitude and respect toward others... seems pretty racist, sexist, etc. around and I'd hate for him to pick that up from other kids.
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#14 of 23 Old 07-09-2006, 11:29 AM
 
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I would just try to stop questioning yourself and respond with " We learn at Home" and socialize with friends.

Kiya- Mama to 3 growing Son's. Waldorf joy.gifDoula  hug.gif  Making Recycled Woolens and Trainers every spare moment.
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#15 of 23 Old 07-09-2006, 11:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisalucy
Your mother is wrong. People are not all the same and neither are children. Some people do well in large, loud groups, others thrive in small groups, and still others actually need a lot of alone time. Neither group is better or more socialized than the other. Society needs all kinds. Also, our needs change over time. The three year old who only needs his family will likely become a youth who needs his family and some close friends. A single woman who sought out many lively friends may become the mother of many children who seeks quiet, alone time.

And, the kind of socialization that our civilization depends upon is not learned at the hands of a group of children but from the family group.

Your son cannot speak to all of the world for himself. He is communicating to you, and you must speak for him. No one else will do it; he is counting on you. Find your inner Mama Bear.

--LL
I have nothing to add but I wanted to say
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#16 of 23 Old 07-09-2006, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you. I think my mother is starting to understand and the pressure is easing off.
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#17 of 23 Old 07-09-2006, 02:44 PM
 
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Amy, I bet some of your mom's issues relate to her "expectations" of her grandparenting experience. She probably had this whole vision and grand ideas about what itwould be like to watch her grandchildren grow up and all the things they would do. Now that she is realizing that they are not going to necessarily happen the way she thought, she needs to adjust.

Its hard to give up your expectations, esp when its something so many other grandparents experience w/their grandchildren. However, I bet in time she will see how happy and balanced your children are from all the choices you have made for them. You know your children best and you do want what is best for them, and that is what kids need to thrive. Keep your chin up during these tough times and hopefully it will get smoother as time goes on.
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#18 of 23 Old 07-09-2006, 03:28 PM
 
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As an anti-social loser myself, I can tell you that school won't magically turn your son into a socially adept, extroverted child. In fact, just the opposite is true; he's more likely to turn inwards, and rather than simply thinking of himself as an introverted person, he'll come to think of himself as... well, an anti-social loser. The issue of socialization, especially with young children, is one of inborn personality and temperament. It has nothing to do with attending daycare or school; if your child is going to be extroverted, he will and if your child is going to be introverted, he will be.

I've got a 3.5 year old son who has never been to daycare or preschool. I knew by the time he was 8 months old that he was born to be an extrovert. He's charismatic and fun, other children just seek him out and he dives right in to play with them, regardless of age, in any situation. When a group of older teenaged boys sat around on some equipment at the playground, all of the smaller children gave them a wide berth except for BeanBean, who jumped right into their conversation and played where he wanted to, no matter who was there.

I did *nothing* to make him this way. Mike certainly didn't either; he still actively avoids people much of the time. It's just the way that he was born. It's a complete mystery to me to watch him, but he's happy and confident and it's amazing for me to watch. My daughter is less extroverted than my son; she watches people, smiles shyly and hides behind my legs as often as not. I did nothing to make her that way, and I do not try to force the issue. I know better. I lived it. Forcing her to go to daycare so that she can learn to socialize isn't going to make her more extroverted, it's just going to make her irriated with me. The last thing that a shy, somewhat anxious child needs is for her mother to force her away from the place where she feels most comfortable.

I have very strong feelings on this subject; as someone who went to school but still didn't learn to socialize until the age of 19, it's one near and dear to my heart.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#19 of 23 Old 07-10-2006, 06:08 PM
 
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One thing I noticed in the OP was that you mentioned he lets other kids take his toys away. I know a little boy (close to 3 years old now) who does the same thing and he's been in day care since infancy. I don't think those kinds of personality traits are the result of daycare or not being in daycare. Also you mentioned not liking loud noises or people being loud. I hate when people get loud, it's like I'm overly sensative to noise or something, but I still have friends. I don't think it's a socialization problem.

And I have a very outgowing 2.5 year old myself, who hasn't been in a day care setting for over a year now. And my dh and I both noticed that his personality actually became happier, more outgoing, generally improved, once he was at home with a parent and not in a daycare.

My 5 month old right now is very shy in new surroundings and takes a long time to warm up to people. Cries a lot around strangers and feels scared of them i think. My father said I should just let him cry and get used to people (he's old school), but we are introducing him to new things slowly. I don't want to "socialize" him in a daycare setting. I think an introverted shy personality needs gentle exposure to new things.

Single mom of 2 boys
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#20 of 23 Old 07-10-2006, 10:09 PM
 
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Just want to toss in a technique for handling difficult mothers and similar creatures: The Broken Record Technique.

After awhile it may become apparent that intelligent, thoughtful, considerate responses to them are not getting through. At that point something shorter, less considerate, and boring is called for. "I've made my decision and I'm not interested in discussing it further" is one option. Or "I've done my research and I feel strongly that preschool will not benefit my son." And so on. It can be relatively more gentle, firm, or harsh, but it must be short and repeatable.

Explain and justify as little as possible. Make the explanations equally short and repeatable.

My theory is that some people get into a power play. They're not truly interested in discussing XYZ with you and reaching the best possible solution; they just want to either win or appease their compulsive unease through you or whatever. Sometimes they started with good intentions but the power play took over.

The Broken Record Technique halts the power play because they just can't succeed. They are no longer able to wear you down and press your buttons as easily, or to misuse your good faith as you continually try to thoughtfully respond to them. And most of all, they get bored. They may either give up out of boredom, or they may actually stop and listen again.
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#21 of 23 Old 07-11-2006, 01:23 AM
 
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My 5.75 year old was/is alot like your 3 year old. It's been interesting having an introvert as the child of a very clearly extroverted person (me. DH is more middle of the road). I've had to really advocate for Daniel in certain situations, because he is more thoughtful and, well, introverted. He takes longer to warm up in new situations, and he's cautious around strangers (and honestly - why is this a bad thing??).

When we first moved out here, we joined MOMS club so that I could meet people. We went to a playgroup once a week, and Daniel (being a very late talker) very often played alone, or did the side by side play that was very typical for that age (he was 13 months when we moved out here). As we got closer to 3, most of the others in the group were transitioning to preschool, and definitely at 4. So, we did more one on one playing with a friend from LLL, and another friend that I had made here in town. But, it was all gentle, casual stuff. And it involved decent parent involvement to make sure kids were playing kindly, and modelling good behavior.

We started going to a homeschool playgroup last year (Daniel was just over 4) - he wasn't the youngest there, since there were younger siblings of the "school aged" children there. He has really blossomed, and looks forward to playing with those kids. He is willing to play where he can't see me, and has gotten bolder in these groups because he feels safe with the kids here (and the moms). This is a FANTASTIC homeschool group - everyone is included, everyone parents gently, and the kids rarely exclude anyone who wants to play. We meet at parks and turn the kids loose, basically. THere is always a playground/sand area, and some green space for looser, "free" play. Daniel has a stutter in situations where he feels nervous or anxious, and no one has EVER made fun of him. I am SO glad I found this group.

I say all of this to just reinforce what you know in your gut - when your son is ready to venture further from the safety of homebase, he will. And, just like they tell us in all those AP books, there will be some back and forth for a little while (where he explores on his own, and then comes back to the safety of mom, and then goes out again), but he will grow.

You're raising a boy, not programming a robot It's okay that he doesn't function just like all the other machines

Warmly,
Amey
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#22 of 23 Old 07-11-2006, 02:01 AM
 
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Wow, so sorry your mom is trying to make you feel this way... I want to send my support for you to be strong & follow your heart & your child's lead!!

I think children have enough time in school & babies/toddlers/children need time to be just that! They need to have time to play, be at home, relax, be with mom, be "overly (ha-ha)" attached, etc!!

I also think that children are all different! Your son liking to be at home with you isn't a bad thing... it sounds like he knows what he likes to do & who he likes to be around...

I persoanlly think that the "kids need socialization" thing is many times an excuse to brings kids to daycare, etc, when parents really just need some time away for whatever reason... I don't mean to step on anyone here & I do understand that sometimes parent's need breaks... but as a childcare provider before I had my son, I heard the old, "it's my day off, but she misses you & the girls, so I'll drop her off anyway!" way to many times... & I always loved having the kids at my house, as I LOVED them, but I also felt bad because they needed their mama's too!

I think the plan you currently have bringing your son to other activities he enjoys while you being able to stay with him sounds great!!

Good luck with your mom & helping her understand your decisions with your kiddos!

Jennifer, mama to Zander (04), Maddie (07) & Lizzie (10/09)
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#23 of 23 Old 07-11-2006, 02:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amey
You're raising a boy, not programming a robot It's okay that he doesn't function just like all the other machines

Warmly,
Amey
Awesome!!

Jennifer, mama to Zander (04), Maddie (07) & Lizzie (10/09)
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