Mothering Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
DS has taken many classes (music, art, dance, gymnastics, sports - maybe too many!). We do a weekly playgroup and a variety of meetups on occasion. We try to get together with mama/kid friends now and then. I work 2.5 days per week (which he spends with our 50 something y.o. neighbor nanny) and have felt a bit overscheduled on my days "off" - I'd just prefer to spend quality time with DS for a bit.<br><br>
Anyway, I'm concerned about the way he plays with other kids his age (+/-). He has a tendency to shout at & push/grab other kids if they're not doing what he wants them to do. Sometimes he'll play aggressively with them (i.e. swords <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/fencing.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="fencing"> or monsters <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yikes"> ) which scares certain kids especially when they're not expecting it or haven't warmed up to the situation yet. On the one hand, he doesn't have these problems with older kids (5+) and adults, I think because they are able to communicate more effectively. On the other hand, it makes me sad that he cannot control his anger / play gentler with young children.<br><br>
On a side note, another challenge is the park (or anywhere else there are plenty of kids around). He gets very nervous around kids he doesn't know. He'll be happily climbing on equipment until he sees another child climbing up behind him then he freaks out <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/horrors.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Horrors"> and wants to get off, afraid that they will hurt him/push him. When his anxiety gets high, he'll roar at the top of his lungs at the kids or blow a raspberry towards them. Of course, they have no idea he's doing that to them since he keeps his distance. I can see that a lot of those behaviors stem from feeling a bit helpless. If anyone has advice on this I'd love to hear it.<br><br>
At class, there is not really a time to "socialize" since, so far, they have been mom/tot classes where the kids are there to learn a skill/subject. (BTW, we tried a drop off class which he was apparently not ready for. We keep trying, but he hasn't budged so as an AP parent, I don't really want to force it on him. We may try another drop off class with a teacher he knows and likes to see how that goes.) Aside from the weekly playgroup (~2 hours per week) and the occasional playdate, he 'socializes' with adults for the most part. Is this enough time for playing with kids his age? Is his behavior simply a normal adjustment period for a 3 y.o.?<br><br>
I've been really gung-ho about homeschooling until this came up. I'm starting to question the importance of "socialization" at preschool. I've always thought it was a bunch of hooey and figured we didn't live in the middle of nowhere so there was no need to worry about socialization in the city, but being a mama, I can't help but worry!<br><br>
Anyone have any advice, suggestions, or words of support? I don't feel like any of the other mamas seem to have the same issue with their LO's and we don't have a big family so I'm at a bit of a loss for someone to turn to for advice. Thanks in advance for your help! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
How about if you follow your gut and spend more time with him one-on-one? You can gently try to guide the play towards practicing playing more gently, using his words (teaching him phrases) instead of growling/roaring...you know, role playing (either the two of you directly, or through finger puppets or action figures) or making up stories. Nurture your connection with him (fill up his love cup), and give him time and space to be more comfortable in his own skin before subjecting him to so many different strangers. Don't sign up for so many classes. He's got the rest of his life to learn; what's the rush to cram everything in now?<br><br>
I'm an introvert (being around others saps my energy) with a 5yo DS who is showing introverted tendencies. We don't live near family or friends. There's a little girl across the street that he might get to play with, at most, once a week for a few minutes (she leads a very busy life). Once a year we visit family, and he gets some time to play with cousins that are maybe two years older than him. He hasn't ever taken any classes. Rarely, when we go to the park, there might be other kids there that he can play with, but usually it's deserted.<br><br>
I'm not worried about his social skills at all. (But that's me and my son.) Does he need some more practice/guidance? Yeah...and we do give him gentle prompts/reminders when, in the moment, he seems about to revert to non-verbal/less polite behaviors. He is learning now; he will learn more later. He observes the interactions that DH and I have (with each other and with other people); we read lots of library books; we watch some movies--we talk about all of it to some extent. Right now he spends about 80% of his days happily playing by himself with his Legos or train tracks. I can hear him softly talking to himself, creating dialog between two little Lego minifigures, or two different trains--he's actively processing everything he's observing.<br><br>
Is your DS asking for more time with other kids? If he's not, then he probably doesn't want any additional face time with others. On the other hand, if he's constantly begging to play with other kids, then maybe you've got the right amount of social exposure going on, and he just needs some more help on his social skills. I really don't see this as a homeschooling issue; for me, it's a personality issue. Just b/c you immerse your child in preschool or classes/playgroups, that doesn't mean he'll automatically become a wonderfully polite, social little butterfly. Maybe think some more about what it is you're really trying/hoping to accomplish, and figure out if there are different ways you could go about meeting those goals. If what you've been doing doesn't seem to be working for you (both), then try something different. Good luck! I know it can be tough to figure out when the communication skills aren't that developed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
Do YOU like being busy? It sounds like it from your OP. It also sounds like your son is more introverted and could use more time to himself. If kids overwhelm him then that's valid - I find random people at the park who push into my space and grab stuff pretty overwhelming too.<br><br>
I guess my take on this is that preschool wouldn't help your DS. Well, it could. The issue is intentional practice at gentle interacting. If you do that, then that will help. If a preschool teacher did, that would help. Also it sounds like there is some discomfort for him around groups of kids his age. Preschool could either help this or make it worse. BUT, is it really a problem that he doesn't know what to do with a bunch of toddlers/early preschoolers? I don't necessarily think so.<br><br>
I am thinking about homeschooling and will be sending my 4.5yo DD to 2 days a week of preschool because I think she would have fun and we aren't totally decided on homeschooling and if we DON'T homeschool it is full-day every day kindergarten... My DD's personality is a bit like your son's. She has gotten more comfortable around kids we do a semi-weekly playgroup with. I'm paying attention to her there and helping her understand the interactions - I occassionally intervene. I find that with age it gets easier for her too.<br><br>
HTH<br><br>
Tjej
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,067 Posts
I just don't see the lasting value in a 3.5 year old being able to play with 3.5 year olds learning by trial / error of a less supervised (1:6 or 1:8 ratio typical of preschool) environment. Next year they are 4 and the game all changes. Then 5, then 6<br><br>
I think ... social development is best facilitated you are there when he scares a kid playing monsters and explain to him that the other person feels X when he does Y and that he needs to do Z instead. That is the kind of learning that is lasting.<br><br>
I have seen plenty of preschooled and schooled kids go through dysfunctional social phases.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the responses so far <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Actually, I really feel that DS is not an introvert at all. He's definitely a little slow to warm to strangers, but I feel that's completely normal and appropriate for any age. He's not the type of person to chat just anyone up, but he's also not the shy kid who prefers to play alone. He likes people and craves interaction once he gets to know them. I do agree that he enjoys time at home to be with me & DH.<br><br>
Although he has taken many classes, we're chilling out this term. (No, I don't like being busy. Like I said, I feel completely overscheduled, and although DH may only take 2 classes per week, that means that I'm busy 5-6 days per week including my work schedule.) We did a lot when he was little, but as he's getting older, contrary to what I originally thought, I think he needs less classes. This would allow for us to have more relaxed impromptu playdates which I'm guessing might help with the social aspects.<br><br>
Thanks for reminding me about Preschool socialization backfiring! (Funny how easy it is to forget.) I can totally see that happening to him. I can easily see how he may be pushed into believing that he's being bad or pick up worse behaviors from his peers.<br><br>
I agree with the idea of teaching him phrases / alternative coping techniques. I can never get him to do it in the moment when he's completely emotional, but I definitely try to find opportunities to practice during play. I have to admit, though, sometimes I'm at a loss when DS makes his needs clear to another child but the child does not comply. That's usually when he'll lose it. He figures, "O.k. I told you what I want. Why won't you do it? Raaahghr!!!"<br><br>
Thanks again. I'm looking forward to hearing more advice! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,403 Posts
Plenty of mamas have kids who are aggressive. I think you are right to chill out on the classes. At the playground I would just watch him constantly, ready to step in to avoid him getting into it with another kid. I found giving my DS reminders just before we arrived at the park or playplace helped.<br><br>
Your son's behavior is normal, he just needs some guidance and I would say maybe LESS time with groups of kids. I also think it's important to watch his cues. If he seems ready to go, then go, even if you think he hasn't had enough social time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,521 Posts
I agree about the need to shadow your child at the playground. My dd was the opposite at that age--extrememly shy and sensitive--so I would always stay with her to help her navigate things socially.<br><br>
It's amazing the difference a year makes! At 3.5 my child was very much like yours socially, and I was a little worried. Now at 4.5, she's improved by leaps and bounds. Now, she talks to strangers, doesn't freak out over people at the playground, can bump into somebody without becoming velcro-baby again, etc. We did nothing different other than just wait it out and model behavior for her. She stays at home with me and we do a playdate maybe once a month or so--no other activities. So, for us, just lots of parental modeling and TIME worked wonders.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,576 Posts
Have you considered the possibility of scaling back your group activities and getting to know one or two families of kiddos better? He sounds very imaginative (sounds a lot like my boys) and perhaps the opportunity to build a fort/ship/tee-pee/zoo in your livingroom/yard and play with one or two other boys around his age and get to know them better and develop long term social interactions would be of benefit to him.<br>
If those boys have younger siblings as well, he will learn through observation and modeling how to be with little-er ones.<br>
Have you seen this site? <a href="http://www.filthwizardry.com/" target="_blank">http://www.filthwizardry.com/</a> This mama has girls but many of her ideas are fantastic, period.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>zebaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15438812"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Actually, I really feel that DS is not an introvert at all. He's definitely a little slow to warm to strangers, but I feel that's completely normal and appropriate for any age. He's not the type of person to chat just anyone up, but he's also not the shy kid who prefers to play alone. He likes people and craves interaction once he gets to know them. I do agree that he enjoys time at home to be with me & DH.<br><br>
That's usually when he'll lose it. He figures, "O.k. I told you what I want. Why won't you do it? Raaahghr!!!"<br></div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Your DS could well be an extrovert, but I do want to point out that introverts aren't necessarily shy. What you describe sounds like he could be an introvert - introverts love to interact and can talk the ear off of someone they know or in smaller groups. The whole introvert/extrovert thing is more of a where you get your energy from thing - introverts it is from unwinding/quiet time and extroverts get their energy from group settings.<br><br>
For the losing it when kids don't do what he has said, I have worked with my kids on "tell them what you want and if it doesn't work, come get Mama". That has helped a lot.<br><br>
Tjej
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
508 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Needle in the Hay</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15438965"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">At the playground I would just watch him constantly, ready to step in to avoid him getting into it with another kid. I found giving my DS reminders just before we arrived at the park or playplace helped.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
Thankfully, he keeps his distance from kids at the playground, avoiding major confrontation. It's easier for me to help the kids when the other child is comfortable with me as well.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LuxPerpetua</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15439126"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It's amazing the difference a year makes! At 3.5 my child was very much like yours socially, and I was a little worried. Now at 4.5, she's improved by leaps and bounds. Now, she talks to strangers, doesn't freak out over people at the playground, can bump into somebody without becoming velcro-baby again, etc. We did nothing different other than just wait it out and model behavior for her. She stays at home with me and we do a playdate maybe once a month or so--no other activities. So, for us, just lots of parental modeling and TIME worked wonders.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/praying.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="praying"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>2sweetboysmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15439745"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Have you considered the possibility of scaling back your group activities and getting to know one or two families of kiddos better? ...<br>
Have you seen this site? <a href="http://www.filthwizardry.com/" target="_blank">http://www.filthwizardry.com/</a> This mama has girls but many of her ideas are fantastic, period.</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
That's actually exactly what I was thinking of doing! Unfortunately, none of his friends has younger siblings (except for his 7 y.o. friend who has a baby brother).<br><br>
I LOVE filthwizardry! She's amazing <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tjej</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15440196"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">... - introverts it is from unwinding/quiet time and extroverts get their energy from group settings.<br><br>
For the losing it when kids don't do what he has said, I have worked with my kids on "tell them what you want and if it doesn't work, come get Mama". That has helped a lot.<br><br>
Tjej</div>
</td>
</tr></table></div>
In that case, I think we're both introverts!<br><br>
I love that line! I tell my students that all the time - why didn't I think of that? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="duh"> Thank you!
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top