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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My dd has always been shy, reserved, quiet, but when she was younger it didn't really concern me. Now that she is 3 and is still this way, I wonder if I should be concerned. Thing is she loves people, loves her friends, is very kind and sweet, interested in other children, but just doesn't play like other kids, WITH others.
We just came back from a birthday party where there were a lot of kids around her age, and some younger, she loves paying attention to the younger ones, and then will go and do her own thing while all the other children are playing...at one point all the kids were playing in the sprinkler and she was in the sandbox, back turned towards them playing by herself. She would turn around and watch or come up with me and watch them but doesn't get involved. I don't force her of course. I asked her if she wanted to take her clothes off and play in the sprinkler, she said she wanted to take her clothes off but didn't want to play. She just prefers it this way. And always has.

Her father and I were the same, and still are, so I don't see it as a fault
, but I am wondering how others deal with this...or don't. I figure if she wanted to play, she would, and she is just more reserved.

I guess it would just be nice to hear from other parents with children like this, do you ever feel concerned about it?
 

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Did she know the children at the party?
My 3 yo would probably not join in if she did not know the children....that would be very intimidating for her.

But she would join in if it was a group she knew well (for instance, groups of children from our MOMS club, or Waldorf group, or our Music class). Is this similar to your dd?
 

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It sounds like you just have a reserved, shy little girl. It may also be that you also have a very independant child. She has her own ideas of what she wants to be doing, and if the other kids aren't doing it, it doesn't bother her. My dd1 is like this. She loves playing near other kids, and often with them. But if they are doing something she doesn't want to do, she will just do her own thing. BTW, she is exactly 1 month older than your daughter.


I wouldn't worry about it too much, at this point. What about older kids? Or adults?

Bec
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your replies
She knew most of the children, some not at all. But she is like this even around family. She isn't unaware of anyone on any level, I think, like you have said she just wants to be doing different things than the other children, and maybe I was focusing more on the times when she wasn't playing with them more than the times she was because I am thinking about it. I think the other issue might be that she hasn't had the best experiences with kids her own age, she is quite gentle and quiet and so many other kids have freaked her out, or are too aggressive, especially when she was younger, so I am thinking this might be why she backs off from kids in her age group. She is always ultra cautious, but not with older kids, or like I said babies. So I think she learned earlier to seperate herself at times, which is fine, because she still loves other kids, but can be wary.
 

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Just saw this thread as I was looking back for something. My son who just turned 4 has always been reserved. He is getting less so as he gets older but definitely likes to do his own thing. The benefit of this is that no one is going to talk him into anything when he is a teenager.
I think with girls there may be more pressure to be social as this is what they are suppose to be but I know some pretty reserve women and some super extroverted men. We are all different. Also I think that 3 is still pretty young to always want to socialise--especially in a large group which can be pretty stressful.

A-C
Mothering two wonderful boys 06/21/00 and 08/15/03
 

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I just wanted to chime in here late and let you know that you described my 8 year old son to a tee when he was your child's age.

He was extremely reserved and needed about 3 hours of warm-up before he would actually play or talk or even move from my knees. I started out trying to encourage him to be more social, because I am fairly reclusive and was worried that he'd become be stunted emotionally or socially or something. Then, I realized that this is just who he is. He needs time to get to know a situation before he enters into it. He's the most cautious child I've ever known and that makes me happy actually, as we move into adolescence in a couple of years.

Even now, at 8, he prefers the play of younger children, or girls to those male peers who run and scream and act like banshees. He's a gentle spirit who needs a harmony that he can't get playing with boys his own age. In a way, you're lucky she's a girl, because I get lots of flak for raising such a cautious, careful boy. Like I've "coddled" him or something.
Whatever the hell that means.

I like him, I mean really like him, and he's a joy to be around. He's insightful and perceptive and quiet, generally, but when he speaks, he knows what he wants to say and how to say it effectively, and that makes me feel like he's going to turn out okay, you know?
 

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You and I have the same child!!!

Wow! We should get the girls together so they can ignore each other! Seriously, I took mine to a playgroup (a new one) and she would shy away from any kid who tried to talk to her and if other kids came over into her area, she would leave. It's so frustrating, because I want to encourage her to be more social. I have no useful suggestions, but I'm really glad YOU asked...and that I'm not alone in this concern.
 

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Well I don't have a child that age yet, ds is not quite 7 months, but I WAS that kid.
It sounds like you're doing fine with it, and really allowing her to just be herself, which is wonderful. My family tried a lot harder to 'encourage' me to be social, and it was pure torture.
I was that kid who took more than half the school year to start becoming even remotely comfortable in that particular setting and group. I so wish I could have been homeschooled! Not so I could always avoid people, but so I could get used to things on my own terms.

You know when I go to parties now I still act a lot like you described your daughter. Need lots of time to adjust to being there, even then I hang back from the action, take it all in, maybe join in occasionally or nearby.

Anyway sorry to go off into my own tangent there but really, she sounds like a great kid and it sounds like you're doing a fine job. Just keep doing what you're doing, let her be who she is, no pressure.
Oh and please please please, having been on her end, every time you see someone or go somewhere, do NOT ask her if she wants to say hi or give a hu or whatever. Even if it's close family. If she wants to say hello and give a kiss she will! Either way being put on the spot, however gently or subtly, can still be completely mortifying to her, like there's a big spotlight on her and everybody's waiting for her response.

I mostly didn't come out of myself until I had the space and time to do it my own way on my own terms. When I left high school and got a job. Now, 7 years later, I'm still shy and reserved but it's not nearly so painful.

Anyway I have no idea if I'm making sense, I haven't been up very long and I need
so if you need to just ask me to clarify or whatever. Hope it's at least semi-coherent!
 

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i used to worry

then suddenly (to me) one day my dd approached another child when we were out, without any hesitation

it was like someone turned on a light switch kind of change. it was right before her fourth birthday. i stopped worrying : )

i should clarify, that she can still have her moments of checking it out before jumping in. its not like the essence of who she is changed. but is much more willing/able to approach and enjoy a social situation
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you so much. I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and have been watching her in a different way, without categorizing her into the "anti-social" one which was my own fears coming out, as I have had problems with this as well. My dh and I had a great talk about it yesterday and just said that you know it's prety great that she is her own person, very individual already at the age of three. She doesn't do what others want her to do just because she wants to hang out. She would rather just do her own thing if the situation isn't right for her, and that is actually pretty awesome, just thinking about it for the long term too. She is social, but like me, has no problem being alone. I was just afraid that she actually WANTED to play but was feeling down about the situation in some way, but I think that is just what she prefers. And I am able to start looking at it an admire it and respect it rather thatn thinking there is something wrong with her reaction b/c it's not like the other kids. That's my problem not her fault.

Thank you all so much for your stories and compassion. It is so wonderful to have that support. I too am like her still. I have never been a hugely social person, although I love others company. I am reserved and am very cautious about people, I don't know why this is always viewed as a fault. I obviously do it too. It's a good lesson to see this in my daughter actually. It's healing for myself as well.


And Sarah, good point about not *making* her go up to people, or say hi etc. I do that too much. I have stopped or caught myself morte recently, but I agree, it puts her on the spot and makes her feel uncomfortable. How would I feel? Now I usually say that *I* want to go say hi to... or just try to lead by example. I guess I feel bad mostly because of the other parents, but again, this is not her responsibility. My issue.

Whew.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by onlyboys
I just wanted to chime in here late and let you know that you described my 8 year old son to a tee when he was your child's age.

He was extremely reserved and needed about 3 hours of warm-up before he would actually play or talk or even move from my knees. I started out trying to encourage him to be more social, because I am fairly reclusive and was worried that he'd become be stunted emotionally or socially or something. Then, I realized that this is just who he is. He needs time to get to know a situation before he enters into it. He's the most cautious child I've ever known and that makes me happy actually, as we move into adolescence in a couple of years.

Even now, at 8, he prefers the play of younger children, or girls to those male peers who run and scream and act like banshees. He's a gentle spirit who needs a harmony that he can't get playing with boys his own age. In a way, you're lucky she's a girl, because I get lots of flak for raising such a cautious, careful boy. Like I've "coddled" him or something.
Whatever the hell that means.

I like him, I mean really like him, and he's a joy to be around. He's insightful and perceptive and quiet, generally, but when he speaks, he knows what he wants to say and how to say it effectively, and that makes me feel like he's going to turn out okay, you know?

OMG, this is MY son!! He is not really shy as much as he is cautious. He's very cautious. I mean, at the park, it takes him up to an hour to where he feels comfortable going down the slide. He may comment, upon his inspection of the play equipment, that he can see the ground between the slats. By the time he gets ready to slide, it takes up to one minute for him to carefully sit and get comfortable, before slowly sliding down. LOL.

He has never been one to run and gleefully shriek. At the park a few weeks ago, when the little girl in front of him shrieked, he asked, "Are you OK?", with genuine concern on his face. Like your son, we've found that little girls generally make great playmates, as he's very quiet and passive.

For a while, I was concerned, until MIL told me that dh was just like that as a kid. DH is introverted, but he's a very confident and friendly person. So it no longer concerns me, although I still note how different ds1 seems from other boys his age sometimes.

Anyway, I don't think there's anything wrong with a kid wanting to do their own thing, whatever makes them happy.

ETA: I also get flack for ds1' gentle, passive nature. I made some comment about my baby yelling when he feels left out or feels annoyed. I joked, "He's no wallflower." My Dad said, "Good. He can stick up for his older brother." WTF? His older brother is perfect as is, a gentle little soul. People annoy me sometimes.
 

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Sounds like you have a great kid to me! My older dd, who is now 5, has always been *extremely* reserved. She won't jump up and join in play unless she knows all the kids and even then,she tends to hang back and watch. The funny thing is that kids are drawn to her and want to be with her because she is so gentle and compassionate. What we have really discovered about her, though, especially in the last year, is that she is very independent. She has a solid core, knows what she wants,and has a very good sense of herself.
I love reading about parents who accept children for who they are! I can't help but smile and think, "What lucky kids!"
 

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That's my Ben
He acts just the way you described when we go to playgroups, to the park, etc.. He's much happier playing quietly by himself than trying to interact with the other kids. He does eventually warm up to adults and children if he's given enough time to do so.

I used to worry a little about him but he's a very happy child 99% of the time. It just takes him a little longer than most to warm up to new people and new situations.
 

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Sounds like my daughter. My daughter is not shy nor reserved, but she has her own ideas on what she wants to do and does it. I think it is more independence (in my daughter's case) rather than being shy and reserved.

My daughter loves loves loves to go out and play with the neighborhood children. When she sees them outside she giggles and carries on and hollers (mommy they are outside, mommy lets go play, mommy mommy....) Once we get outside, she plays with them for like 2 minutes and then is off doing her own thing. I'm not worried about it at all and I like that she does what she wants when she wants.

I always considered myself more of a social butterfly in my younger years,
but I could be by myself as well and be totally happy and content. I always thought it silly that some girls had to have another girl walk with them to empty their tray in the cafeteria or to go to the bathroom - ugh!

As I get older, I find that the more I socialize the less I find I like other people, LOL! Now I prefer to take off to an amusement park all by myself so that I can eat when I want, leave when I want, ride what I want - basically do what I want when I want it. When I go by myself, there is no compromising.
 
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