My child’s a loner – what’s wrong with him?
As a parent, you always want the best for your child, its only natural. We want our children to be happy, sociable, popular and do well at school. Fairly common goals for most. So what happens when your child doesn’t seem to have many friends, likes to stay home and spends a lot of time alone? Is there something wrong with him?
He’s not normal!
I fought with the idea that something was wrong with my child for years. In elementary school, he was liked and got on well with others but never really had “close friends”. He was not often invited to parties and I used to blame myself, thinking what I had done wrong that made him unpopular with others. School holidays would pass by and he would occasionally meet up with friends, but not often. At parent teacher meetings I would be continually told, he was liked by all and got on well with everyone. So what was wrong with him?
It took me some time to realise that there was nothing wrong with him. He was happy, doing well at school and had one or two close friends that he talked to regularly, by phone, text email and at school. In fact, he was just like me when I was his age. I was an introvert and it would appear so is he.
Is he happy?
Now I am not saying all children that don’t socialise much, prefer their own company are introverts. For some, there may clearly be some more serious underlying issues that should be addressed. The biggest sign is if they are happy. My son smiles, laughs, chats easily with me, talks about school and life in general. He does not stay home playing video games all day or watching TV. He has hobbies that he enjoys and will get involved with activities that interest him.
It’s ok to not be one of the cool kids.
There is a certain amount of pressure on all of us to be outgoing and more extrovert. Almost that we are not socially acceptable if you are not prom king or queen, captain of the football team or at the very least one of their group of friends. You are not “cool”. Often kids that are not a part of this “cool” group feel unwanted, not good enough and they start to believe there is in fact something wrong with them. This can be dangerous, can lead to depression and have a terrible affect on their school life. We have to let our kids know its ok not to be part of the group. Its ok to be individual. Its ok to form your own group. We know kids can be cruel and school can be tough but with the right encouragement you can make your child stronger and happier. Don’t criticize or chastise them for being at home, for not having friends. If they are happy be grateful. Grateful that they are safe, that they are comfortable enough not to be part of the group, to be true to themselves.
Don’t worry – encourage.
I went to parent teacher interviews tonight for my son that is now in high school. It was very refreshing to talk to his teachers as they told me that he doesn’t always participate in group discussion, is not the most vocal, BUT that’s ok. It is the first time I have heard that and I truly thank the school for understanding that not all kids are the same, that they will not make kids feel uncomfortable. Because it is ok. I am proud of my son for NOT being one of the crowd. For being an individual and confident about it. For not worrying if others think he is different. He is happy, he has qualities and strengths of his own that will make him successful in whatever he deicides to do. And he will be successful, in his own introverted way.
Are you worried about your child. Do you think he is a loner? Really take a good look at him, talk to him. Is he happy? If he isn’t, seek help and find out what’s going on. If he is happy, then be happy with him, don’t try to change him. Let him be the child he wants to be. I know it took some time for me to understand I was a n introvert, but I know I have always been happy with my own company and small group of friends. I still love my own company and cherish me time. Its not something to be ashamed of or worried about. I feel lucky to be happy in my own company and glad that my son is too. I see too many people that rely on others to make them happy and are quite often let down. Is it a wonderful gift to be able to be happy all by yourself? If your child has this gift, be grateful for it and cherish it and let them see that you are proud and thankful for them being just the way they are!
Till next time, JJ.