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Child who doesn't want to mix

(12 Posts)
GeraldineGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 14-Jun-11 18:42:49

(This is another Ask a gran question sent in by readers of the Radio Times.)

I keep encouraging my son, an only child who’s 8, to join after-school clubs, but he refuses to go and says he’d sooner be at home. He seems perfectly happy but I feel he needs to socialise more with children of his age. Shall I force him to go?

mollie Tue 14-Jun-11 20:26:15

No! Not every child needs to be socially busy...assuming he goes to school he spends time with children his own age so why not let him be after force him might make the situation worse...

goldengirl Tue 14-Jun-11 21:53:32

I was an only child and happy both at school and with my own company. You say your son is happy so let him enjoy the time on his own. Who will benefit from forcing him? Neither of you! He'll join clubs when he wants to; if he doesn't want to, so what!.

lucid Wed 15-Jun-11 11:35:57

Why do you feel he needs to socialise more? If he is perfectly happy at home then why force him out. He'll socialise when he's ready- forcing him will only make him feel unhappy.

nannym Wed 15-Jun-11 14:08:14

If he's happy at home then let him be!! Some children like going to after school activities and others don't. As long as he is happy and making friends at school surely that is enough. The time will soon come when you will be wondering why he is never at home - enjoy his company while you can!!

jackyann Wed 15-Jun-11 14:11:14

8 is still quite young to be socialising, and I wouldn't worry.
But it wouldn't hurt, at the next parents' evening, for parents to ask if he seems sociable & happy at school.

Lynette Thu 16-Jun-11 19:36:39

No, he'll find a pal or an activity he likes soon - keep offering him different ideas. But don't make him think he is odd. He isn't.

willosal Thu 16-Jun-11 20:06:48

I agree with all thats been said,if he is happy then let it alone,being alone doesnt mean he is lonely,he may just need that quiet after a busy day in the classroom.

FlicketyB Fri 17-Jun-11 21:04:13

If he is happy at school and mixes with children there in class and at playtime let it be.

My son was quite happy at primary school and popular with other children but felt no desire to take part in out of school activities or even, at times, visit friends who invited him round. At secondary school he gradually changed. Now nearly 40 he is a gregarious man with a wide social circle.

However if he is a loner or withdrawn at school it might be worth talking it through with teachers and if necessary seek further advice

supernana Sat 18-Jun-11 13:35:53

Some children are outgoing and some are not. Simple! My 50 year old son was extremely shy as a child. In his late teens he was less "retiring"... married in his twenties and continued to be very content with a quiet life. Now has three fantastic children - eldest is 22 and prefers her own company - middle son 19 and extremely popular and outgoing - young son is 11 and hasn't really made his mind up as to whether he likes to join in with other children or not. They are all different. They are all happy. Everyone who works with my son describes him as first class company and yet, he hasn't changed that much. When invited to a social occasion he still prefers to be alone with a good book...

jangly Sat 18-Jun-11 16:06:12

Try to ensure your child has his friends from school home to play when possible. This will help cement friendships and then he might be more inclined to go to afterschool clubs. He doesn't need to be doing extras every afternoon/evening but some other activities are good for him. Does he go to cubs? That can be very enjoyable and rewarding for a boy of his age.

It is natural, really, for children to want to socialize and so I think you need to find out why he doesn't seem to want to.

HildaW Sat 18-Jun-11 21:27:34

Social development is such a complex subject. Although its a skill that can be learnt it is also an ability that might not be very well developed within a child. Just as a child can have problems with eyesight or hearing some can have problems with social skills. Forcing them towards social interaction when they dont feel ready or when you dont fully understand why they are reluctant could be asking for trouble. Be lead by the activities he enjoys doing at home and see if you can encourage him to take it further but in a less organised way. He could just be shy and I'm not sure thats something we ever loose, as adults we learn to compensate but when you are young being forced to mix with others when you dont feel up to it is pretty challenging. Its a bit like being made to join an elite swimming club when all you want to do is float up and down in the shallow end. Have a chat with his teacher its amazing how different some children behave in school to out of it. On the other hand he might perhaps be having a problem at school that he has not told you about, that would be another reason why he is happier at home.