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16yo Dd has no interest in people or a social life

(23 Posts)
Kessy2 Sun 01-Nov-15 13:12:19

Dd's always been quiet. Example, we would have a play date and be going somewhere in the car, and her friends would be happily chatting away and she'd just sit there. Kept saying things like 'speak, dd' quietly to her but she'd just look at me and continue being silent.

As she's got older, she doesn't like parties, doesn't like going out at night, no interest in a boyfriend (or girlfriend), doesn't like shopping. I've tried to help her be more social by taking her out with friends who have daughters my Dd's age to every type of social thing you can think of and NOTHING interests Dd, including the other teens. In the summer, I took her and 4 other teens (who she knows!) to London for a mini holiday with a friend of mine (mum of one of the other kids) and while the other 4 had a blast and spent the whole time stuck to each other's sides laughing and having fun together, Dd stuck with us adults, or wandered alone behind them, sat alone in the hotel room reading a book while the others messed around having fun, and didn't speak at dinner.

She does do a couple of sports, which she loves. But again, it's in the absence of socializing. She went to a sports camp in the summer and I was so happy because it turned out there was a group of six girls from her school there and I thought great, she'll make friends with these girls and it'll be the start of her social life, but no. Dd kept herself to herself and didn't make a single friend (though she said she loved the camp and had a lot of fun )

How can I encourage a more active social life? She's 16 and I think she is really missing out.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Sun 01-Nov-15 13:14:15

Is she happy? If so then leave her to it.

MrsMolesworth Sun 01-Nov-15 13:18:48

Sounds like she is naturally very introverted, which is fine, but she does need to develop the social skills to get on with others and contribute in group situations, or she'll miss out at work and may become lonely long term.

Can you explain to her that these are essential skills she needs to acquire, even if she then chooses to use them only rarely. Ask her to do a year at a local drama club or youth theatre to develop social skills. Or get her to mentor younger children, maybe at a local sports club or scout troupe as part of D of E or similar? But I would explain it is necessary. (DS2 has ASD and we chat about things he has no desire to do socially, which, nevertheless I insist he occasionally does because it's part of what he needs to be capable of as an adult.

All the stuff you describe so far is good. Sports camps, holidays with other girls. It's time for her to make the effort now, on the understanding it's OK for her to be introverted 90% of the time as long as she's willing to join in when needed.

Kessy2 Sun 01-Nov-15 13:20:22

She seems to be. She talks when it's just us, but her topics of conversation are pretty limited. I know she talks to people at school, but whenever I ask she is never interested in inviting anyone to do anything with her and similarly she doesn't get invites (that I know of).

Just seems a bit sad, such a solitary (and honestly, boring) way to live.

Kessy2 Sun 01-Nov-15 13:22:32

Yes I agree, that's why I've been doing these things. She says she doesn't like teenagers confused

I think I'll have that talk with her and keep pushing the social things with this group of teens we went on holiday with. Easy as I'm friends with the mums but we only get together once a month or so, which isn't too often to expect Dd to interact.

bonzo77 Sun 01-Nov-15 13:26:46

I was your daughter. My mum was you. Did huge damage to my self esteem. Once I left for uni and escaped the pressure I was much happier. And made friends. Leave her be. She'll almost certainly work this out for herself in her own time.

maybebabybee Sun 01-Nov-15 13:27:29

Um, as a teenager I had a few close friends but didn't enjoy socialising in large groups, drinking, and my idea of hell was going to a party. I'm still the same now. I feel no sense of having 'missed out'.

As long as she's happy I don't see your issue. You can't make her enjoy things that you think she should be enjoying. Everyone is different.

foxybayee03 Sun 01-Nov-15 13:31:59

Don't force the issue. At least shes not out drinking/drugs and causing you a worry that way. She sounds perfectly fine to me. Just let her be who she wants to be without making a big thing of how YOU want her to be.
But please don't push her and make out shes unusual just because shes not behavouring how you think she should. Many parents would love their kids to be like her.Shes loved and cared for thats the main thing.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 01-Nov-15 13:36:51

I wouldn't push her too much to interact with other teenagers. That sort of very unstructured social interaction where there are loads of unspoken rules and probably lots of in jokes she doesn't know is about as hard as it gets (and pointless, from her point of view).

It might be more helpful to encourage her to do a Saturday/holiday job if she hasn't already - that will help her develop the sort of work social skills she will need.

WanderingTrolley1 Sun 01-Nov-15 13:38:41

If she's naturally introverted, pressuring her to socialise will only make her withdraw further.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 01-Nov-15 13:43:34

Also, do remember that her definition of boring is probably entirely different from yours. Indeed, listening to a group of teenagers chat about who they fancy and what bands they like is probably very dull for her!

Tokelau Sun 01-Nov-15 13:51:30

OP, I was like your DD. I did have friends, but they were like me. I liked reading, cinema and spending time with my friends, but I wasn't too interested in fashion, boys, drinking and parties. I was happy doing my own thing. I needed to have a certain amount of time on my own, and still do. My mum is quite extrovert and my dad is more like me.

I did well at school, but didn't have a passion for anything really apart from animals. Then I was persuaded to go on the school ski trip and found my passion! Although I wasn't particularly sporty, I loved skiing and still do today, in my forties.

Perhaps you could encourage her to try a few activities that she hasn't done before and see if there is anything that she loves. Lots of girls that age are mad on horses.

I am quite normal in other ways! I met my DH in college, and we have two teenage children. I just don't like nights out, they are my idea of hell. I like to go out for a meal, or to the cinema. Please don't push her to do that sort of thing if she hates it. My mum used to try to make me go to parties and I really didn't want to.

onlyoneboot Sun 01-Nov-15 17:33:36

Leave her be and stop trying to turn her into the person you think she should be. I have horrible memories of people trying to make me talk as a child/teen, it's okay to be quiet! If she enjoys sports camp, be glad and let her get on with it. My DDs don't have friends, they have no interest in the teenage chatter, but they are lovely, funny, smart girls and I'm sure they will find their 'people' as they get older through shared interests and smaller groups.

TheBunnyOfDoom Mon 02-Nov-15 18:25:07

Please don't force her to be sociable when she doesn't want to be.

I was similar as a teenager. I hated big groups and gangs of giggling girls was my was worst nightmare! I much preferred being at home with a book or a movie. I'm 26 now and still prefer my own company. I don't like talking for the sake of it and I would much rather listen to other people.

I'm happy. Please let her be. Forcing her to be something she's not will just damage her self-esteem in the long run. So long as she's not miserable, let her be herself.

PurpleHairAndPearls Mon 02-Nov-15 18:41:37

Does she have a good friend, or a couple of good friends?

Your post seems to be all about social life rather than friendships. They are different issues.

I am very introverted in RL and don't have a "social life". However I have two very good friends (and a smaller circle of less close friends) and that is enough for me. My DC are a mix, one is very sociable and outgoing (I spend my life ferrying her about or listening to her plans smile), another DD is more like me - doesn't like going out/parties/socialising hugely but has a couple of good friends.

We all have more than adequate social skills btw grin

If she has a good friend or two, and she doesn't want an active social life please leave her alone. In fact, if she is happy, leave her alone! We are all different, including our DC and generally by this age they know what their preferences are.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Mon 02-Nov-15 18:44:44

She probably needs to find someone more like herself and Id guess as she gets older she's more likely to do this.

Ive a 14yo and a lot of teenagers are shrieky horrors. If she's got no time for such nonsense I don't blame her. grin

Tummyclutter Mon 02-Nov-15 19:00:13

I would only worry if she says that it bothers her- It doesn't appear that to.

I'm with lots of other posters, please don't ruin her self esteem.

stablemabel Mon 02-Nov-15 19:47:09

Hi OP, another one here who says don't force the issue and make her think she should change. It's perfectly fine to be quiet and not be a party animal. Only if she is unhappy and wants more social life does she need to do something about it, otherwise she must be whoever she wants to be.

MY DD 13 yrs and DS 16yrs are both similar to your DD. I used to worry myself over it but I have finally stopped, there is little point and they could be out partying and getting up to allsorts ( they have a cousin who does just that and has just ruined a year at uni).

I found that you cannot do much about friendships at any age, I tried my best to sort out play dates and birthday parties but they usually ended up badly and with me totally stressed out.

If she is bored then at 16yrs she is old enough to realise she must do something about it, it's not up to you to sort that out for her. Sure be there for advice and support as mum's should be but the bulk of the effort must come from her.

Hope you've found some help here.

Clobbered Mon 02-Nov-15 19:51:38

You don't seem to have much empathy with your nearly grown-up daughter's life choices. Why don't you let her be?

welshHairs Mon 02-Nov-15 19:52:52

I don't want to get told off for armchair diagnosing but she sounds like me and I have ASD. She probably is just very introverted like pp's have said but just thought I'd mention it. If she is happy as she is, leave her be.

VulcanWoman Mon 02-Nov-15 20:00:49

Please let her be. What more could a parent want than their child to be happy. She will realise her own Mother disapproves of her choices which will be so bloody awful for her.

stablemabel Mon 02-Nov-15 21:51:22

Just picked up on that you said 'NOTHING interests DD' then a few sentences later, she was sat reading a book. Reading is a big interest OP please do not let her sense that you think she is doing nothing or is boring if she is reading. You may not have meant it like that at all but if that's what she likes to do rather than talk then you have to leave her to it.

Toffeelatteplease Mon 02-Nov-15 21:58:28

I wondered about autism in girls too.

If sheis happy that's the main thing

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