Anonymous asks:

How concerned should we be that our daughter does not seem interested in making friends and playing with other kids?

We have a daughter who will turn 9 this month.  She is doing very well in school.  She scored in the 85th percentile on her recent standardized test and got straight A's for the entire 3rd grade year.  She is also generally very happy, she tends to be more of an extrovert, and she has a very good personality...definitely not shy.  She will not hesitate to approach someone, start a conversation, and ask for something she needs or wants.  Additionally, she is VERY creative.  For example, she plays the piano and can do artwork, by herself, for hours at time.

What's bothering us, however, is that she does not seem interested in making friends and playing with other kids.  It's not that she can't make friends, she just seems to have no interest in doing so.  She'll play with other kids, as long as they're interested in doing artwork and some of the other things she enjoys.  Even her 3rd grade teacher noticed it this year.  During recess, when she asked her "why don't you want to play with the other kids", our daughter said "sometimes I prefer to have some time to myself to daydream."  Don't get me wrong, our daughter does have a few friends and she genuinely seems very sociable but, I have to admit, sometimes she seems to be in her own world.

We would appreciate any advice from anyone out there.  Should we be concerned?  Is there something we should do?  Is there something we should NOT do?    
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Jun 11, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

kjgonzo has given some great advice, especially to keep an eye on the behaviors that are concerning you.  In general, this does not seem worrisome, but an increase in isolating behaviors might indicate a problem, of course.

Kids do need to daydream, and since you have a creative child, daydreaming can be part of the inner imaginative process.  Besides keeping an eye on the behavior and checking to see if there has been any problem at school in class or on the playgound, you might want to consider whether there is anything in the home situation that could be troubling your daughter.  These types of circumstances can be anywhere from an illness or death in a family, to something minor that your child does not fully understand.

Try talking to her, and you might want to get into some discussions about her artwork.  For instance, you can say, "Tell me about this picture, drawing etc.
What made you use this color? (draw it like this, draw the_________________?)
Often kids are expressing themselves via art without even fully being aware of it.
There may be a wealth of information on your table!

Overall, however, based on this information, it sounds like you have the appropriate interest and awareness, but too much concern may not be warranted at this time.  Stay aware, talk to her, see how the summer goes, and how the next school year starts off. Keep in mind that if you are worried, professional help is out there.

Bette J. Freedson, LICSW, LCSW, CGP
Clinical Social Worker
JustAsk Expert

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Additional Answers (2)

kjgonzo writes:
As one mother to another mother I wouldn't be too concerned but I would watch her closely.  As a teacher, there are simply those kids that like to be alone and do what they want to do.  If she begins to distance herself completely from classmates and friends, begins to not participate during class instruction or discussions and spends absorbent amounts of time by herself in her room then you might consider seeking a professional to help you.  

Speak with her teacher next year and have him/her pay close attention to her peer interactions and her behavior in class.  Additionally, have the teacher note whether your daughter seems sad or argumentative toward her peers.  If such behaviors are manifesting it might be an indication there is a problem.  If you decide you would like some assistance in determining if there is an issue you might start with the school counselor.  Often times they can pull a student out of class for a few minutes.  Students often will easily trust and open up to a school counselor.  If nothing else the counselor should be able to provide you with resources to which you can turn for assistance.  Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much, but be watchful.  I noticed some students simply value personal time and don't want to be bothered with "entertaining" others.  

One other thought is there could've been a playground incident that you might not be aware of.  This could have her a little confused and uncertain how to move forward.  I watch alliances change all the time throughout the school year, especially between girls.  She sounds like a confident girl and she'll figure it out in her mind given some time.  Truly, it happens all the time!  I'm certainly no expert but I hope I helped a little.  :)
> 60 days ago

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O , Teacher writes:
Your daughter is a very gifted young lady and will make friends with others who have her same abilities/talents.  I have been an educator for 10 years and have witnessed other exceptional students who do not have as many friends as most their age, but the friends they do accrue are friends they will have for many years.  Your daughter is happy the way she is and that should be embraced; as she will be a leader!

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