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To feel deficient in social skills and unable to raise an outgoing child?

(16 Posts)
alotofthetimes Mon 27-May-13 05:11:37

My dh and I are both happily introverted. We have a few close friends and family and although we don't actually see them very often, we see them enough.

Our toddler on the other hand is more outgoing and sociable (at the moment, he might grow out of it) and I don't really know how to go about raising him. Even the basics have me feeling awkward and feeling like I'm letting him down. Just things like am I meant to discourage him from smiling and 'talking' to strangers at this age? I do try to quietly discourage but I don't want to give him a complex. How do I teach him how to speak and play with others?

I am waiting to start him at nursery when he gets a bit older (I was thinking 2.5) as I know he will love spending time with other toddlers and it will be good for him to also socialize with other adults and they can help him more socially than me, but I do feel like a failure in this area. Any other introverts feel like this as well?

Bearandcub Mon 27-May-13 06:36:45

Yes, yes, yes, yes!

He will walk into a room and announce himself, is very happy creating a scene where he is the centre if attention (think singing and dancing to entertain people in the bank queue).

I am slowly getting used to the fact that although I'm dying inside nothing bad actually happens and he makes people laugh.

Don't discourage him from talking to people though, give him a few phrases : i.e. hello my name is x, what's your name? Let them take from there. Translate if need be.

People like speaking to children and its important they don't lose the incredible confidence they have.

Bearandcub Mon 27-May-13 06:37:51

Sorry seem to have missed out: DS1 is the same!

keepyourselfalive Mon 27-May-13 06:55:58

When I had my first ds I was very introverted, he was the total opposite, I realised just hanging about with his parents was not enough for him, I had to go with him and his needs, so I took him along to a local toddler group, he had so much fun joining in with the other children and adults and made himself his own little group of friends, in time he got invites for play dates, parties etc and obviously I had to go along with him, he had a right little social life going on....spending forced time with these other parents I had to make polite chit chat and eventually these turned into friendships of a sort.
I began to get invites myself to various events, at first I made polite refusals but you can only do that for so long before you appear rude, so I went along to an event and I found it wasn't so bad, I went to a few more and 3 ds later my social life is as busy as my ds's....I'm still a very quiet, reserved person but definitely not as introverted as I used to be.
As for talking to random people, I allow my children to talk to anyone those choose to as long as I am present, they know they must not talk to strangers when they are alone (I guess that doesn't apply yet but I have a 13 year old) its nice to just say hello to someone on the bus if they give you a smile, a little conversation can make their daysmile

ariane5 Mon 27-May-13 07:27:27

I have terrible social anxiety and suffer with shyness/blushing etc. I'm quite happy to avoid all situations that involve interaction-hate going out/talking to people and I get panicky if I do have to go anywhere.

I always assumed this would rub off on dcs but the older 3 especially dd1 and dd2 are very very outgoing despite having health issues, they never feel 100percent but they will chat away, join in with what they can and dd1 always goes for main parts in school assemblies/plays and loves singing (whereas I at that age would hide or be off on days at school if I so much as thought I'd have to raise my hand to answer a question).
Dd2 talks to everybody and I always feel awkward.

I have no advice really regarding parenting for introverts but I've just always been glad dcs won't suffer like I have with social anxiety.

Jinsei Mon 27-May-13 07:28:57

I am naturally very shy and was never very sociable as a child. DD is completely different and has fantastic social skills. She didn't learn them from me, but I obviously haven't stunted her development. grin

Relax and enjoy. And try not to feel to jealous.

wigglesrock Mon 27-May-13 08:12:25

We're the same smile. I could quite happily go from one week to another in my own company. I have 3dds, who are really confident, will volunteer for everything etc. Dd2 (5) in particular is "in everything but the crib" as my granny would say. I'm delighted.

cory Mon 27-May-13 09:32:56

Don't worry about it. He will be doing a lot of his own raising as long as you don't actively stop him from expressing his personality. I come from a long line of social recluses and my teens are as outgoing a pair as you could possibly wish to see.

As to your more specific concern, no you don't need to teach him not to smile or speak to strangers at this age any more than you need to be warning him against alcohol or hard drugs. For the time being, it is your job to keep him safe. He can concentrate on being a naive and happy toddler because you are there for him.

When he grows old enough to be out on his own, he will need certain rules of conduct to keep him safe, but they should be very specific (never go with anyone, always let me know where you are going, if somebody calls to you out of a car never step close), not about general friendliness or good manners. Remember strangers are not only a source of danger: they can be life-savers too. If you are too scared to ask for help when you are in difficulties, you could end up in real trouble.

Play school sounds an excellent idea: mine really enjoyed it, and having a ready made circle of friends helped enormously with their school start.

CecilyP Mon 27-May-13 09:46:40

It can work the other way; my parents were exceptionally gregarious and I am really quite shy.

At this age, I certainly wouldn't discourage him from smiling and talking to strangers; as long as you are with him, they pose no risk. It can make someone's day to have a chat with a little one, especially if their own children are now grown. It is only when he is older and out alone that you have to teach him the rules to keep him safe. Nursery will be a good experience for him, but don't worry if he doesn't really make close friends at that age.

Startail Mon 27-May-13 09:53:07

Just let him be himself, I have one DD who finds making friends difficult, like her parents and one who is the total opposite. I wish she'd teach me.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 09:54:04

we are all introverts well I say all dd2 isn't <rols eyes> she has always been a cheery chatty girl and was great with the shyer children especially at nursery she would take them under her wing like a mother hen she is still the same she isn't obnoxious she is just well not like us, dd1 sometimes says oh mum she is embarassing she isn't really, anyway let your son be smiley and chatty it is ok he will be fine people wil respond nicely to his sunniness smile

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 09:56:12

I took dd1 to playgroups etc and she did ok she had friend but she is more awkward dd2 likes to announce herself with jazz hands grin

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 27-May-13 10:01:35

I think you should just take the lead from whoever he is befriending...if they are chatting back and have DC for him to play with then maybe leave him....or ask..."Just let me know if he's bothering you...shall I take him?" with a smile....I personally don't like toddlers coming up when we're at a cafe or something eating lunch but sitting in the park while the DC are palying, I welcome any child who wants to play!

Fakebook Mon 27-May-13 10:17:48

Yes, another happy introvert here with two very sociable children.

My dd is 5 but her personality came through when she was about 2 and would start talking to people in shops or in the bus with her limited vocabulary. I always had to end up talking to strangers; something I just wouldn't ever do! It's the same now too.

Ds is 16 months and has gone one step further than dd. when we're out and about he will stare and smile at people whilst babbling which I can cope with, but the worse thing he does is that he runs up to adults in the park or when we're out and he's not in the pushchair and holds his hands up asking to be picked up. He ends up in someone's arms for a few minutes which means I have to either snatch him back and run away or stand there and talk to people apologising and generally chit chatting and then gently take him away. It's always the latter. I really hate it but both my children force me into these situations.

I've never stopped dd from being like the way she is. You really can't stop a particular personality coming through. She's a very confident little girl now; much more confident than I was and I'm happy she is because being shy held me back somewhat in school in particular. I wouldn't discourage your ds from talking to strangers either for this reason. I find play dates hard in particular but have to force myself into it and meet other mothers and talk to them incase they think I'm arrogant or something! I do sometimes feel like a failure, but I don't think dd is affected by me being an introvert. At least I hope not!

alotofthetimes Mon 27-May-13 10:30:38

Nice to hear some about older children like this.

Yes, I want to give him the freedom and confidence to be himself, I don't want him to be self conscious or afraid of social situations.

On the whole most people and children we meet are quite friendly towards him which is nice and they smile or wave back or have a little chat. Strangely it is usually the toddlers that blank him !?

We have attended a couple of toddler groups irregularly, I find it difficult to grow friendships, I don't mind the initial small talk when I first meet people but have difficulty sustaining this. We will be moving to a new area shortly and I have made resolution to improve at this and to try to make some relationships with other mums for his sake.

mrsjay Mon 27-May-13 10:36:35

fwiw I dont think you need to be friends with anybody maybe i was just antisocial (probably) but as long as you are pleasant and chat to the other parents the kids usualy sort themselves out, and toddlers dont usually play with each other until they are nearer 3 a lot of the time it is parallel play so don't worry too much

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