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Calling all parents with children who won't join in.

(13 Posts)
JoshandJamie Tue 15-Jul-08 12:58:35

I've just come back from the pre-school sports day. And I feel like an emotional wreck.

I have two sons.
DS1 is 4.5. He is a very senstive child and has never liked joining in things. He just wants to sit with me until it's all over and then gets upset when he hasn't had a turn. For ages people have been telling me 'it's an age thing'. But it's not. Because he's been like this since birth.

Apparently in the prep for sports day, he has taken part and won most races. He loves it. Today though, I was there. Cue immediate meltdown, beside himself crying. Staff eventually managed to get him to sit with the other kids but he wouldn't take part in the races. He finally did towards the end, but fairly reluctantly.

DS2 is 2.10. He is not the same as his older brother, but I think he copies his behaviour. So race one, he joined in. Thereafter he just wanted to sit on my lap and cry. And fair enough, he's only little so I let him.

My question is, what's the best way to deal with kids like this? I see other children who really enjoy joining in - whether its dancing, sports day races, football, party games, whatever. It's something fun. My guys just sit and cry.

I want to build their confidence somehow but it seems that no matter which approach I take, it's wrong. I want to weep. I honestly feel like I must be failing them in some way. That I'm not giving them the praise/support/whatever they need. Help

VeniVidiVickiQV Tue 15-Jul-08 13:00:45

I found a helpful book to read was the highly sensitive child by Elaine Aaron. Your DS might not fit into the model well, but, it does give some good insights about changing the way you view a child's personality smile

itati Tue 15-Jul-08 13:32:39

I have sensitive children - 2 out of 3 of them, and yesterday was their sports day. I was surprised how well they did and they joined in everything. I know it isn't what you want to hear, but it will come, and they will grow in confidence as they try and succeed, and then it will feed itself. tries, does well, gains confidence, wants to try again.

You are not failing them. You wouldn't be asking for adivce if you didn't care. Are they a bit young to talk to you about how they feel? It can by daunting with lots of people and noise around.

madamez Tue 15-Jul-08 13:36:09

Fe things are more grim than being forever forced to 'join in' when you don't want to. Let your DC be themselves, there are lots of benefits from individuality.

Morloth Tue 15-Jul-08 13:44:11

If they don't want to do it I wouldn't make them.

Gosh I STILL hate being jollied along and people pushing me to "join in".

Best part about being an adult IMO, if I don't want to do something, then I damn well don't (obviously not something necessary).

Ecmo Tue 15-Jul-08 13:53:09

My DS will be 7 at the beginning of August. He had his sports day last Thursday.He had been saying all week he didnt want to do it so I asked him if he wanted me to come and watch and he said yes.
It was the FIRST year he has ever joined in with it all and really enjoyed it. He didn't win anything but he did it all and I was really proud of him.
I think there's something about not wanting your parents to see you if you don't think you will do well. They don't yet understand that we just want to see them try things and enjoy themselves.
Don't push them and they WILL eventually join in. My ds is still like this for parties occasionally.
Just the swimming gala to go on Friday now hmm

JoshandJamie Tue 15-Jul-08 14:14:29

Thanks all. I don't force them. I just wish they would join in as they seem to miss out all the time. And with DS1, I don't think it's a case of him not doing well and therefore he doesn't want mummy to see. He just hates being looked at. Fullstop.

I wish I could figure out a way to help him get over this because I can see that he is brimming with potential. He really can run very fast - he beats me at the egg and spoon when we play at home. I just wish he would let himself do it so that he can feel good about himself. But he hates being the centre of attention so much that he almost doesn't want to do well because it would put more attention on him.

I did have a proud moment today though. He actually got up and collected his leaver's certificate. First time he's ever done that. Normally he refuses to stand up and just cries. So maybe it is something that just takes time.

I just keep thinking that maybe I'm doing something wrong. That there's some special technique to teach your child to become more confident, but am not sure what that is.

itati Tue 15-Jul-08 14:16:26

You aren't doing anything wrong. sad

Can you talk to your older son about how he felt when he went up for his certificate for the first time? How exciting it must have been, etc, maybe a treat for tea?

JoshandJamie Tue 15-Jul-08 14:20:48

itati - I think that is exactly where I get confused. To me it makes sense for me to talk to him about getting his certificate and ask did he enjoy it or make any mention of it all. To me that would help reinforce his confidence. But it's almost always the complete opposite. He'll get really angry and say: I don't want to talk about it. It was stupid. Or something similar.

So then I think, best not to say anything and just leave him to get on with it. But it just seems counter-intuitive - surely if you have confidence issues, you need your confidence boosted, not have successes ignore?

The child confuses me

Ecmo Tue 15-Jul-08 14:27:56

He sounds JUST like my ds. you could try telling someone else how proud you are of him whilst he is in earshot, so you're not telling him directly IYSWIM, that seems to work well with my ds.

JoshandJamie Tue 15-Jul-08 14:30:51

I'll try that Ecmo. So glad to know there's someone else out there with a child like this. Please feel free to share any other great tips. I feel I'm going to need them

itati Tue 15-Jul-08 14:39:23

My 7 year old is the same, actually. He will put himself down when I try to praise him. sad

MrsSnape Tue 15-Jul-08 14:40:46

I wasn't one for joining in as a child and I still don't like to socialise much now.

I know its hard to sit there and see how much fun the other kids are having whilst your own looks all sad and depressed but look on the bright side...in 10 years time when friends are doing stuff they're not supposed to be doing, hopefully your DS will still not feel like "Joining in".

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