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Advice about my nearly 6 year old son please

(11 Posts)
doigthebountyeater Sat 01-Oct-11 09:40:31

Hi there,
I'm just looking for some words of wisdom really. My son is almost 6 and very bright in certain areas (maths/science/reading) but absolutely hates writing/drawing/crafts/time activities etc. School was a bit of a disaster and he is now being home educated. He goes to a forest school one day a week where he does play with the other children at times but generally enjoys the company of the adults. I've done play dates with other children and sometimes he really enjoys the but often he really isn't that bothered. I tired a couple of the home ed groups but they were very arts/crafts/musical - all things he refuses to participate in. (Although strangely he does love history and appreciation of art and poetry).

We don't have any family so I'm concerned that he just wants this intense relationship with us (he has a 2 year old brother and they are very affectionate with one another). Should I enncourage group activities or just accept that right now he isn't terribly social? He hasn't got aspbergers by the way, he's more like a classic mad professor (science over food/being dressed etc. It's not just about his needs anyway - I know I'll get depressed if I have to spend the next 10 years in the house because he just wants to sit and take a computer apart and my 2 year old also needs social interaction. We have no other adults to 'help' and I cannot afford childcare (and don't want to use it anyway). Any ideas?

doigthebountyeater Sat 01-Oct-11 09:42:09

Sorry about the typos btw. I am typing fast to get this done before he comes in and reads about himself over my shoulder!

Saracen Sat 01-Oct-11 15:54:19

Your little boy sounds like he is getting just what he needs and wants. Not everybody has to be a social butterfly. He may find more common ground with others as his interests develop. Probably he'll never be the life and soul of the party, but I know a number of children who were similar to your son at that age and made one or two good friends as they got older, and sometimes even found a group focused on an area they were really interested in.

But this "It's not just about his needs anyway - I know I'll get depressed if I have to spend the next 10 years in the house because he just wants to sit and take a computer apart and my 2 year old also needs social interaction" says to me that he may have to learn to put up with getting dragged out places he isn't terribly keen on, so you and his brother can get your social needs met.

That's part of being a family, and so long as he doesn't absolutely hate going out, I'm sure you can find a compromise. For example, perhaps he can bring a book or something to play with in case he isn't feeling sociable. At the home ed groups I go to, there are generally one or two kids sitting in the corner or waiting in the car doing their own thing while the rest of the family socialises. Nobody thinks anything of it. You could invite other families to your home and give your older son permission to go off and do his own thing. Just because you and your 2yo are having a playdate with another family doesn't mean he has to join in. So long as the other family has been told that he isn't always sociable, and aren't expecting him to join in, they won't be offended. If you have some interesting stuff for visiting children to play with, they will probably enjoy themselves regardless of whether your son plays with them.

And it's likely you won't feel you have to wait till he is 16 to go out without him! Many HE families I know, including my own, regularly leave older children home alone while parents take younger children out. I know of more HE children who are left alone from a younger age than schoolchildren, though of course every family and every child is different and I also know HE teens who are never left alone.

Leaving kids home alone isn't done out of necessity: older kids can generally be taken along if their parents feel they need supervision. In my opinion HE children, because they spend so much time with their parents, get more coaching in life skills and situations. And having spent so much time together in a range of situations, their parents actually know them better. As a result, parents feel that they know whether their kids are ready to be left alone, and can predict what the likeliest potential problems are and how they can prepare their children for those situations. I always used to be quite baffled when I read posts from parents (of schoolchildren) asking, "At what age should my child be allowed to...?" and I'd think, "Well, how on earth should I know? I don't even know her, or your situation. She's YOUR child; don't YOU know whether she can safely do that?" But then, talking to people, I eventually realised that many parents do not actually see their children for enough hours of the day to be able to predict how they will react. I think this may contribute to a culture of overprotectiveness, a better-safe-than-sorry, you-never-know-what-they-might-do attitude.

Anyway, your little boy sounds absolutely lovely!! I hope you are enjoying your time together and that you will find ways to get what you and your younger son need too!

doigthebountyeater Sat 01-Oct-11 16:47:54

Thanks Saracen.

seeker Sat 01-Oct-11 16:53:52

Do bear in mind that one of the things you learn of necessity at school but don't always when home eded is that sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do!

doigthebountyeater Sat 01-Oct-11 18:55:51

That's a big problem with my son. He can go really 'demented' when forced to do something he doesn't want to do (one of the reasons school was not working for him).

seeker Sat 01-Oct-11 19:21:31

Well, speaking as an adult who was home educated and as thee aunt of lots of he kids, I honestly think you need to be dressing this issue. It won't get any easier!

doigthebountyeater Sat 01-Oct-11 19:29:33

Any suggestions? Other than dragging him along physically that is!

itsstillgood Sat 01-Oct-11 21:08:47

No real help but wanted to sympathise. I have a nearly 6 year old who just isn't bothered with social stuff. He enjoys seeing people when we do but nearly always declines opportunities for going out to play, joining groups etc.
Where I differ is that he is the younger one and I think he is so used to tagging along after his older brother that he lacks the ability to fit in with kids of a similar age to himself and finds them a bit rough and confusing.
Practical suggestions, if he isn't interested in groups on offer, try and set up ones he is into. A friend of mine set up a science group using the BA Crest awards because it was her son's thing. We are just setting up a history group.
And this might not be a popular approach but ... prioritise your and his brothers needs. So what if he doesn't join in the crafts at a home ed group activity, in most groups I've been to no one will care, take a book or a toy car so he's entertained and then your younger one can join in if he likes and you can chat and socialise with the parents.
It may simply be he doesn't need a wide social circle (I'm like that). In that case fine, don't push him into organised groups like Beavers, but equally well don't let him stop you and the younger one socialising if that is what you need.

seeker Sun 02-Oct-11 07:51:16

Do deals. "today yournthing, tomorrow your brother's thing and the next day Mum's thing. Then it'll be your turn again"

Occasionally when it's something important, be implacable "I'm sorry you don't what to go but we're going"

Persist in the groups even if he doesn't join in. He's only little and children change. In a week, a month, 6 months he might suddenly want to join in and he can't if he doesn't know what's available.

Never let one person set the agenda for the whole family!

FionaJNicholson Sun 02-Oct-11 09:03:29

What Saracen said about taking turns rather than trying to coax someone into something. I still do this with my 18yo in conversation "you've got to spend 10 minutes listening to me then it'll be your turn."

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