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To be sat here holding back tears over a childs birthday party

(60 Posts)
askyfullofstars Sat 01-Nov-14 14:58:50

DS is 3 almost 4.
He goes to nursery 5 days a week and while he is there, he is so sociable, he plays with everyone and everyone knows him.
However, any time he goes to a party he becomes shy and clingy and wont join in. At all.
Have tried everything. A few of the parties were at soft play and I just put his lack of joining in down to tge fact he doesnt like soft play, he has always been a bit scared of the noise and chaos.
Today he went to a party in a hall, thought this may be different as his best friend from nursery was there, but again, no joining in. Just wanted to play with balloons with daddy, would cry and freeze if you even started to try and join in.
I just dont understand, he is normally so sociable. I feel so sad for him playing by himself at parties sad

askyfullofstars Sat 01-Nov-14 15:00:48

I think Im just scared he will stop being invited. Growing up, I was always one of the kids never invited and it felt awful. I know everything got better for me, but at the time it was awful and I dont want him to feel that sad

BatsCantTwerk Sat 01-Nov-14 15:03:07

If he doesn't enjoy parties then don't make him go.

They are not essential smile

AllThatGlistens Sat 01-Nov-14 15:04:16

In the nicest possible way, I think you're projecting your own fears onto your little boy here. He is still very, very young, and his behaviour is normal, not all little ones are ready to join in, he may feel overwhelmed and that's okay!

Relax, and let him enjoy things at his own pace, it really isn't anything to tie yourself in knots about smile

MissWing Sat 01-Nov-14 15:04:29

Poor you. Party is a busy and unfamiar environment. My DS is the same age and one of his pals only just begins to join in in the last 5 minutes of any given party. Frustrating for his poor mum, but he'll gradually get used to them and want to join in sooner.

Are you feeling vulnerable about something else? Your DS sounds like he is doing well otherwise... (At nursery etc)

VileStatistyx Sat 01-Nov-14 15:05:00

He's very little. Please try not to worry. Parents understand.

You could chat to the hosts, thank them for the invite, say how much he loves to play, say he's going through a bit of a phase, etc etc, but honestly most parents will have experienced similar. I really don't think they will think anything of it.

He's sociable in familiar environments. In noisy, big, echoing places where all the kids are hyped up, he currently feels a bit overwhelmed. It'll pass.

He's happy playing by himself. I am sure if you look round and watch the other kids - he won't be the only one! There'll be others overwhelmed. Some crying, some shoving, some going loopy on sugar grin

KoalaDownUnder Sat 01-Nov-14 15:05:55

Oh gosh, he's only a baby still - not even four yet! I'd be worrying if he were seven or eight, maybe, but he's got plenty of time to grow out of it.

I was a clingy, unsociable child at big 'events' like this, even though I was fine at more structured social interactions in a calmer environment (like school). I was find once I got a bit older.

Surely nobody will start leaving him off guest lists because he's a bit socially awkward at 3. Try not to worry too much. thanks

SirChenjin Sat 01-Nov-14 15:05:55

It will get better, honestly smile. Some children are just better/quicker at joining in at noisy, overwhelming parties - please don't force the issue, and he will come round in his own time. Or maybe not - maybe noisy parties will never be his bag, and that's OK.

If it's any consolation, DC1 was exactly the same - happy to mix at nursery and school, but didn't join in at parties. I was the only parent still staying with him aged 5 and 6, used to be desperate to drop him and go off to the shops for a precious couple of hours to myself, but no. He's almost 17 now, and he's a bit of a party animal - first there, last to leave grin

Muskey Sat 01-Nov-14 15:06:07

Take a deep breath. My dd went through a stage of doing this. Sometimes I think little dc just get a bit overwhelmed at parties and sometimes that overwhelmed feeling comes across as being anti social whilst other children can go the opposite way and be really over the top at parties. I don't think dd actually got used to parties until she was 7 or 8 ( including her own)

ShowMeTheWonder Sat 01-Nov-14 15:06:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hollie84 Sat 01-Nov-14 15:07:01

He's only 3, and he doesn't enjoy big parties. That's fine, don't make him go!

SunshineDaisiesButterMellow Sat 01-Nov-14 15:08:59

Dd was the same when she was 2-3 years old. I felt like I had failed her somehow as she didn't go to nursery as I'm a sahm.

Sometime after Christmas break at nursery school when she was about 3 1/2 something changed and she was a lot more out going. She's 5 now and so much better. She loves going off and playing at parties but she also likes playing by herself sometimes if she gets overwhelmed. I think she not quite an introvert but not quite an extrovert if that makes sense.

Try not to worry too much , if he's sociable in nursery he'll most probably be invited as kids tend to invite who they play with.

skaen Sat 01-Nov-14 15:09:00

We've just had DS's 5th party with friends from nursery. The group of children have even close for 2+ years but one spent the whole time sitting on her mum's knee, another was climbing over her dad.

I hope they enjoyed the party, but I'd certainly invite then again because DS loves them. They're there to hopefully enjoy themselves and see DS. Please don't worry!

kissmethere Sat 01-Nov-14 15:09:47

No you need to try and not worry about this. My ds was and still is the same to a point. He really did not like parties. It was all just too over whelming for him. I still brought him to parties but totally went along with what he wanted to do even if he didn't want to stay very long.
it might be easier when you go to parties where you drop him off and pick him up and your not there to entertain him.
If he was withdrawing himself in nursery it would be a different story I think..

Kewcumber Sat 01-Nov-14 15:09:57

He's tiny! If he wants to go and play with balloons, let him. NOne of the other kids will care. Only you care.

If he's sociable in normal situations then I don;t see what you're worried about - they don;t have to earn a "party" badge in order to graduate from nursery!

budgiegirl Sat 01-Nov-14 15:10:42

Try not to worry, lots of children are like this. My ds2 was terribly clingy at parties, and occasionally didn't even make it through the door. Now at 12 he's very sociable and outgoing.

Marshy Sat 01-Nov-14 15:11:29

When my dd was preschool and young primary age I knew the routines of all the children's entertrainers in a 10 mile radius as I'd had to sit through every one of them with dd in my lap whilst the other parents skipped gaily off for 2 hours child free time. Or at very least they got to sit at the edge and chat whilst their dc joined in. I did despair that it would ever change but it did.
Dd is half way round the world on a uni placement now and having a great time though she did cling a bit when we waved her off at the airport grin
Stick with it op, it will get better.

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Sat 01-Nov-14 15:14:26

Please don't worry. At that age my son was the same, a teary, stressed limpet at parties, never joined in, always clinging to me for dear life. It was exhausting! I alternated between upset and frustrated.

It's now 3 years later and what a difference. He just went to a Halloween disco and he dressed up and face-painted (not a chance at 3/4), danced his socks off and was the life and soul the others all wanted to be with.

He will get there in his own time. He's his own little person on his own journey. Just be there (and try not to hand him your worries too). Talk about what he DID like afterwards and big up the fun so he remembers it as positively as possible, and don't worry.

lemonpuffbiscuit Sat 01-Nov-14 15:14:28

It's normal behaviour and the worst thing you can do is force the issue.

He's not shy. He's observant and finds new situations stimulating and a little overwhelming.

DancingDinosaur Sat 01-Nov-14 15:17:10

I wouldn't worry about it. Let him cling if he wants, he'll grow out of it eventually. Its perfectly normal, both mine did the same but they're fine now.

EvansOvalPiesYumYum Sat 01-Nov-14 15:18:01

Parties and large gatherings can be completely overwhelming for a littlie, no matter how sociable he/she might be.

My DD had a party, many years ago. A friend was invited, came, had a wobble, had to go home almost immediately as she panicked. No-one thought anything of it - it is quite, quite normal, honestly. Don't worry about it at all. flowers

SophiaPetrillo Sat 01-Nov-14 15:18:17

As others have said, it's very normal. I agree that you're probably projecting your own fears onto him as well. Just remember that you're totally focusing on his behaviour, I bet you've never noticed several other children doing exactly the same thing, or behaving in a way you wouldn't want your DS to behave...perhaps running riot, hitting people, stealing toys, throwing food etc.. There will be another parent stressing over their DC doing things like that. All these behaviours are "normal", your DS is very young, don't get too hung up on it, there will be plenty of opportunity for real stresses as the years go by!

CaptainJaneSafeway Sat 01-Nov-14 15:20:27

My Ds was like this too, and I'm a bit like it tbh. Some people don't do parties very well. It's possibly something to do with the expectation of having to have fun and the unfamiliar situation.

He might grow out of it, but he might not and either is fine. My DS now much older still hangs about on the fringes of parties and only really joins in because he knows it's expected (now he can understand these social rules). For his own birthdays, he chooses to go on a trip with one friend or something like that.

If you do want to go (I always took DS to parties he was invited to, he liked taking a present, the cake and the party bag for example) just sit with him, hug him, reassure and don't worry. Take a colouring book or ipad so he can sit games out (check with host if you think they might mind - I wouldn't).

Grittzio Sat 01-Nov-14 15:22:08

My DD was exactly like this at 4, she is 6 now and I was actually allowed (by her) to leave her at a house birthday party a few weeks ago. He will get better as he gets older, I always try and be early for a party rather then turn up just after when loads of kids could already be there, this worked as even I would feel intimidated walking into a party in full swing. One mum I knew never stayed at a party she just dropped off as she knew her child would have a much better time without her as a comfort blanket there, of course this always depends on where the party is and if you feel comfortable leaving them.

askyfullofstars Sat 01-Nov-14 15:22:17

Thanks for all the posts. I know the important thing is to not force it, if he wants to join in, let him, if not, then he doesnt.
There were a couple of times he asked to go play with the others if I went with him so I held his hand, hed get about halfway and thats when he dug his heels in so wed go back to sitting with me or playing balloons with daddy.
Thought Id clarify that as reading back my OP it sounds like I was trying to force him to join in.
I know hes ok as hes so playful qt nursery I think I just needed some reassurance.

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