or was I the only child in the world who was like this?

(53 Posts)
dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 09:53:28

Not a fred about a fred but inspired by another poster who mentioned her DSD finding holidays boring because she'd want to make friends not hang around with adults.

I remember people saying this to me as a child about holidays and things - "don't you want to make friends?". "Wouldn't you be happier with kids your own age".

The answer was always a resounding no! I had friends, quite a few, at school and locally. Did that mean that whereever I was, I would always want to choose any random other child to hang around with? Absolutely not!

I find it funny looking back because lots of the adults who would say such things would have rebounded in horror had anyone suggested they take part in any enforced socialising. I mean, if you said to someone "there are two other 35 year olds coming with us! I'm sure you'll have a great time with them" they would probably think you were bonkers. If I said to my great aunt - "there's another old age pensioner! Why don't you two go and make friends?" she'd think I was being a patronising git.

Now lots of children do enjoy the company of random other children, but lots don't. My neices and nephews (two only children, three sibs), for example, all seem to be quite like me. As a society, we tend to except it of adults, but not of children.

Why is this? Or was I, and are my DNs, just old before my time?

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 09:55:00

accept it.

I used to hate this. Even when it was children I did know. I wasnt "cool" or good at sport or I didnt know what the games where that they were playing. I was old before my time.

I didnt fit in with kids and hated being told to go play.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 10:04:50

Although I have used the phrase "old before my time", I don't really like it, because I feel passionately now (and did then, though couldn't have articulated it like this) that there is more than one way of being a child, just like there is more than one way of being an adult. It didn't mean that I was a five year old moaning about a bad back or wanting to get a mortgage, I just wanted to be a child in my own way.

HeathRobinson Fri 24-May-13 10:05:43

I was like this. 2/3 of my kids are like this too.

I never did play with random other children on holiday and neither did my parents encourage it, but I think it might have been the types of holiday we went on (holiday cottages etc). I think I would have liked to have had more opportunities to meet other children.

WIth my own DCs I do encourage them to play with other children, we go camping quite a lot and there are usually lots of other children around. DD is a complete natural, she can make friends with other little girls in an instant and play for hours with them on campsites, parks etc. DS has Asperger's Syndrome and finds friendships a bit harder, at times I think I have been so paranoid that he is being left out that I have pushed him into playing out more than he wants to. When he goes off and plays with other children of his own accord he is very happy to do so, but sometimes when a child has been at the tent or our front door (there's a park opposite) asking him to come out and he doesn't want to I have probably pressured him too much. I realised this last summer and have decided to back off more now, maybe try a little persuasion but let him decide ultimately. I just worry that with the ones from school who call, if he doesn't go out they will stop asking, and then he complains that no one comes to play with him.

YANBU! MY DS (Only child) much prefers the company of adults. When we go on holiday we try to encourage him to maybe go to the kids club, make friends or whatever and he done so a couple of times to humour us but he doesnt really like it, he would rather be with us.

I was a bit of both, loved adult company but equally loved being with other kids and always made loads of friends on holiday.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 10:19:49

Betty I remember that humouring the grown-ups! I remember thinking when I was nine or ten, I'll do three days at the kids club so they can go and do "their stuff" (which it was slowly dawning on me probably included rose wine and bonking) because they paid for the holiday, but I'll be damned if I'm doing it every day!

Dancing - we went to the Dominican and badgered DS to go into the kids club for the superhero lunch. He was 8 at the time and ended up sitting on a table with real little ones....the look on his face was hilarious as if to say "what the hell am I doing here" and that was the last time he dabbled with the kids club haha!!

Rose wine...yum smile

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 10:28:56

Betty I can imagine it. I remember pulling that face.

I mentioned this just now on the phone to my mother. She remembers when I was four or five and was interviewing an afterschool nanny/housekeeper. I was sitting at the kitchen table drawing while they chatted, and apparently the woman was saying why bringing her children with was her big selling point. "Kids love running around in a group and making a mess" etc. I apparently looked up and just said quietly "no they don't".

DorisShutt Fri 24-May-13 10:32:52

I hated "kids" stuff growing up. We didn't go to hotels very often, but I detested the kids meals, the enforced "fun" and the "lets all be friends just because our parents happen to have booked the same hotel".

Much preferred my parents company, but looking back and looking at DS now, I can see why they insisted some days! grin

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 24-May-13 10:33:07

I'm a firm believer in socialising only being fun if you enjoy it and given that its sole purpose is to be fun not much point if its not.

I dunno, I love DS dearly but on holiday unless he is in the pool with me and DH pretending to be sharks for hours on end...........get's a bit tiresome and I am sure lots of kids would love to play that game :D

SixPackWellies Fri 24-May-13 10:38:06

I am with you also on this. I used to hate being told to go out and play. I would much have rathered spend my holidays reading, or just chilling, and doing it on MY terms, not on others.

Actually- this is a good reminder, as yesterday had a play date and I was trying to force DS to socialise more, when actually he was happy just running around looking at leaves. (he's 3)

LemonPeculiarJones Fri 24-May-13 10:41:16


It's okay if holidays are just family time, too.

cory Fri 24-May-13 10:41:39

Totally agree: it's funny how it never seems to apply to adults: nobody assumes that you will want to be taken to a hotel and dumped there and spend the whole time socialising with whatever other adults happen to be staying at the time. Of course there are plenty of things I prefer doing/can only do with other adults. But that doesn't mean any random adult will do.

ISpyPlumPie Fri 24-May-13 10:45:30

I was definitely like this. Had friends and enjoyed spending time with them, but if there was a group of children charging around I'd much rather have been chatting with the mums. Looking back bet they thought I was a right pain grin.

I always wanted to make friends! I lived in the country, very few children in my village (yes it was very boring) It was awesome being able to do the playing out type stuff I had almost no experience of.

Chivetalking Fri 24-May-13 10:54:43

I have very,very fond memories of various holiday friends. I wasn't encouraged to find them but I'm sure my parents weren't sorry when I disappeared for hours on end grin

My own children have made friends and disappeared with them or not as it suited them. It never really occurred to me to send them off to do it officially though. Clearly missed a trick grin

limitedperiodonly Fri 24-May-13 11:03:17

I liked being with my parents best on holiday. Luckily they seemed to like me too grin

Lots of children like adult company but only some adults are mature enough to cope.

When I was about eight someone asked me if I liked school and naturally I thought he was interested in my opinion. Halfway though my detailed answer I realised it was just something some grown-ups said when they couldn't think of anything else.

MummytoMog Fri 24-May-13 11:44:17

I loathed this notion that I would have anything in common with other children - I very rarely did. Luckily I'm one of five, so generally could hang out with the sibs. Worst of all was hanging out with the children of my parents' colleagues. Seriously, we're the same age and gender so we MUST like each other? I still get updates on them now. I DON'T CARE.

This is why I am not that bothered when the teachers at DD's nursery go on about how she is self-contained and doesn't seem to want to play with the other children. Why should she? They're probably quite dull.

limitedperiodonly Fri 24-May-13 11:57:17

I was at a friend's birthday party aged about 10. I liked her and used to play with her and her brother quite a bit, but I didn't really like the other children. Didn't hate them but didn't have anything in common.

Her mum found me in the kitchen feeding and chatting to their cat. She was obviously worried about me and told my mum in nice way. My mum wasn't at all surprised or bothered.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 24-May-13 12:11:29

My mum still does this now!!! Last autumn I went to a funeral with my parents and at the wake/reception afterwards, Mum pointed at some people of roughly my age and said, "oh PBB, there are some people your age, go and talk to them". Blardy hell mother, I'm 43 stop telling me who to talk to.

manicinsomniac Fri 24-May-13 12:19:53

I always had my sister on holidays so didn't really need other children (plus we went to holidays cottages most of the time) but I do remeber making friends with other children on campsites sometimes and actually enjoying it. I think it happened naturally rather than being forced though. They were like holidays romances though - a little girl I met when I was about 7 and she was maybe 5 or 6 phoned me at home a few weeks after the holiday and it was hideously awkward. I had nothing at all to say to her really.

For my own children I feel it's important for them to make friends on holiday. They get on very well but they are 4.5 years apart in age and need different things. Also, we only ever go to Brazil, either to stay with friends or work with street children/in orphanages. The girls are half Brazilian but I am English. They will never meet their Dad and my Portuguese is good but by no means fluent so it is vital to me that they keep talking with other Brazilian natives. I want them to know my friends and their children and I want them to interact comfortably with the children who have nothing so they realise that those children are not a) inferior to them or b) scary.

I'd never thought of it as forcing them though. I hope they're happy to do it and I do like that they're mostly bilingual.

Viviennemary Fri 24-May-13 12:25:58

I found the summer holidays a bit too long though I still didn't want to go back to school when the time came. I had friends but seeing them so often they got on my nerves. And I suppose I must have got on their nerves too. grin I certainly didn't enjoy being in a large group of children. Awful!

Kungfutea Fri 24-May-13 12:57:55

Actually I think that rather than kids copying adult social behaviour, the world would be a much friendlier place if we copied the kids'. My 9 year old dd just walks up to another girl, asks if she likes gerbils (she does) and they're instant friends! I'm jealous!!

5Foot5 Fri 24-May-13 12:58:38

I always assumed it was an age thing. When I was younger we all (Mum, Dad, and my elder susters) holidayed with another family who had kids the same age as us. However, when I was about 8 my sisters had left school and didn't want to come away so it was just Mum, Dad and me. The first time that happened I did easily make friends with two children my age staying in the same place as us.

However, 2 or 3 years later there is no way that would have happened. I remember when I was about 12 my Mum was considering asking her widowed sister to come on holiday with us and was suggesting that it would be nice because me and my cousing would be company for each other. My cousin would have been about 16 by then and I can't recall ever having met her so I was quietly horrified. Fortunately it came to nothing, probably because my Dad was less quietly horrified at the prospect of spending a week with Mum's sister!

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 13:44:47

kungfu I don't thinkthstthat children should have to copy adult behaviour. It just annoys me that adults tend to assume all children are like your daughter, can be or even want to be. As a child I found the pressure to conform from other children and from adults to be quite unpleasant, particularly because it was self-evident to me from a fairly early age that adults aren'tunder that same pressure. Yes, it is expected that adults be polite and helpful, but not that they will want to do things with other adults because they were thrown together by chance.

dancingwithmyselfandthecat Fri 24-May-13 13:46:53

I might start a campaign on behalf of reserved and anti-social children everywhere. "What do we want? To choose when we make friends. When do we want to do it? In our own time and as the mood takes us."

limitedperiodonly Fri 24-May-13 14:06:34

I couldn't support that. I've never been that much of a joiner.

SixPackWellies Fri 24-May-13 14:07:54

Love that campaign slogan dancing. grin

I was like this and so is ds2.

Dd can make friends within two minutes of entering a park, it's really odd to me as I was always quite wary of new kids, don't get me wrong... Id make friends on some holidays but not immediately and not with any old child!

TigerSwallowTail Fri 24-May-13 14:14:19

I was like this too OP, and I'd hate getting sent to a kids club on holidays too, despised it.

TigerSwallowTail Fri 24-May-13 14:15:11

"When do we want to do it? In our own time and as the mood takes us."


MummytoMog Fri 24-May-13 14:42:48

I will join and so will DD! DS and OH can feck off and be all socially indiscriminatory somewhere else smile

ChewingOnLifesGristle Fri 24-May-13 14:54:11

I was EXACTLY like you dancing. The idea of joing a kids club would have brought me out in a rash. I am an only child, may may not be relevant but I don't think I'd be any different even if I had had a bigger family tbh.

I'm the same now. I absolutley detest being 'organised' socially. I like my own company (introvert I suppose) and if I want to be around anyone else then I will be, but pushing the issue has the opposite effect on me.

Many peolpe don't get it though. Very social people feel almost compelled when the see someone Not Joining In to try and make them and that's esp the case when it's relating to children.

Curiously my dc are most enthusiastic joiner-inners and will happily go off and strike up friendships with whoever is around. They must take after dh.

ChewingOnLifesGristle Fri 24-May-13 14:57:05

Rofl at PostBellum'Mum pointed at some people of roughly my age and said, "oh PBB, there are some people your age, go and talk to them". Blardy hell mother, I'm 43 stop telling me who to talk to.' grin

Kungfutea Sat 25-May-13 01:22:43

I agree with you abut the compulsion bit. My dd may be OUT going but she's not EASY going so she definitely wouldn't be happy about having to spend extended periods of time with the same children regardless of how well she knows them!

But I do still love the relative ease (compared with adults) that kids can make friends. I wish it were socially acceptable for adults to go up to someone, find out something in common, and then just offer to be friends smile

Startail Sat 25-May-13 01:52:03

I liked my own or adult company. My DSIS would play with other DCs.
Likewise DH and DSIL and DD1 and DD2, which leaves me wonder if younger siblings are always the more sociable.

Startail Sat 25-May-13 01:56:26

I liked my own or adult company. My DSIS would play with other DCs.
Likewise DH and DSIL and DD1 and DD2, which leaves me wonder if younger siblings are always the more sociable.

Startail Sat 25-May-13 01:57:31

sorry site is crashing and confusing me and my kindle

Spinkle Sat 25-May-13 05:52:47

Oh god my sister always somehow found a 'friend' but they'd always be, umm, slightly edgy sorts. Sorts who would smoke or drink when they were about 11. She's like a magnet!
I was the boring one, happy with a book. Parents insisted I go with her/them. I hated it and felt uncomfortable with them.

kickassangel Sat 25-May-13 06:09:41

Until about 12 or 13 I preferred a book. Then I became incredibly social and now I am getting older and grumpier and prefer some quiet time.

Dd has friends, gets in well with them, but hates being pushed into joining in things. She is fine if there's a purpose, but general run along and play isn't her thing. I have learnt to respect that, o thank you for this thread which makes me feel better as a parent. We live in he States and people don't get why I don't send her off to endless day camps.

mathanxiety Sat 25-May-13 06:37:21

One of my sisters used to adopt 'strays', for want of a better word. She cried and cried when told we couldn't have a little boy from across the road as our brother and that he had to stay in his own house with his own family. It got to the point where mum and dad actively discouraged making friends when we went away.

TheBirdsFellDownToDingADong Sat 25-May-13 06:46:20

My Mum used to put me out of the door and say "go and play" (there were about 5 other kids on our street that were my age) I would wait behind the wall, then sneak in the front door, up the stairs, grab a book and go and sit back behind the wall, reading.

I don't like people very much.

I am however, happy that dd is the polar opposite. While she is happy to play on her own, and read etc, she is also mega sociable and likes nothing more than being in a big group of friends.

DontmindifIdo Sun 26-May-13 20:03:36

I wasn't really keen on making lots of random friends on holidays, but then my parents also did the holiday cottage thing so there was at best one other family to play with - but then DB and I are close in age so we had someone to play with already IYSWIM - I used to hate that other parents seemed to want to force us to play with their DCs.

trinity0097 Sun 26-May-13 20:28:21

I rarely saw any children in the school holidays, as I went to a boarding school and they lived all over the world, my best friends lived in along Kong and Germany and I lived in Swanage! I just accepted it as what happened, I got to live with my friends 24/7 term time, so to be honest it was nice to get a break from each other!

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 26-May-13 20:52:07

I was the same OP. I remember one caravan holiday with just my parents because my siblings were older, a girl came knocking on our door...with tennis raquets in tow..."Wanna come play tennis?" and I was all hmm

Parents made me go though!

Trills Sun 26-May-13 21:02:29

Sounds like this is an introvert/extrovert thing.

Not in terms of being friendly or liking people, but in terms of how much "time with people" is your "correct amount".

Everyone has a point below which they feel lonely, and a point above which they need some quiet time.

Some people's "happy range" is wide, other people's happy range is narrow.

If you rarely get lonely and find it easy to have had "too much people-time" then you are very unlikely to find it rewarding to go and spend time with random other humans. You only want your time-with-people to be with specific people that you have chosen.

If you easily get lonely and want to spend time with people as much as possible, then making friends with randoms will fulfil that need.

TheSmallClanger Sun 26-May-13 21:47:57

I was in the middle, really. I didn't like organised children's activities, but I did strike up some good (and occasionally lasting) friendships with other children on holiday. Mostly, ones who were staying in the same hotel, not ones we met on the beach.

DD is quite similar. She will sometimes become friendly with other children/teens, and sometimes won't, and prefers being around DH and me. She also has an affinity with certain older ladies and has occasionally been found chatting knitting and dogs with people's grannies.

Actually, come to think of it, I went through quite a long phase of having some "odd" friends, some of whom were adults, like a lady pig farmer from up the road and her son, who was a bit younger than me and didn't go to school. They had been a circus family and told fantastic stories, which I now believe to be mostly made up.

Beamur Sun 26-May-13 21:53:56

I was like this too. I remember being traumatised by being forced to go to a kids club once on holiday - I hated it with a passion and felt close to tears the whole time.
I always liked adult company and was never happier than when hanging out with my Grandparents. I spent most of my summer holidays with them in their caravan - they used to go to the same, very basic site - no playground, no other kids usually (it was full of old gimmers like them) and I was happy as larry.
I'm more sociable now, but not much...
My DD is similar, in that she is very good at keeping herself amused, but she is sociable with other children, although has no qualms at removing herself or refusing to play if they are playing something she doesn't like.

mathanxiety Mon 27-May-13 00:54:33

Did parents who took their families on holiday in small caravans or holiday chalets whoosh their children out to 'make friends' more than parents who booked apartments or suites in hotels I wonder?

C999875 Mon 27-May-13 01:29:57

My daughter prefers the company of adults. I think it's because she is the only child and has always been around adults. She was born aware of her surroundings and has grown up very quickly. However now she's that bit older she has her little group of friends and is always with her best friend. xxx

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