Am I worrying too much about my happy 12 year old daughter?
My daughter is in 7th grade and appears to be very happy. She had a best friend through 5th grade and was very hurt by this girl. She says she has friends in school, has kids to sit with at lunch every day, has friends on the school bus but does not socialize at all outside of school. I know these other "friends" do get together outside of school. My daughter just seems not to be included. She will occasionally invite a friend over but seems to prefer to be home with us. I don't know if I should push - she says when I push her it causes her to pull away so I guess that's not a good thing to do. Do I just leave her alone and let her know she can talk to me whenever she wants to? It just bothers me to see her home all the time but I guess that might be more my problem than hers.
Your daughter seems to be doing fine. She has friends at school but you are concerned that she is not socializing away from school. Her preference to be with her family is okay. She may need to be introduced to activities away from school, such as a class in dance, art, or music, or sports activities. Girl Scouts (or a similar organization) is a great way for children to learn teamwork and social skills outside of school.
Talk with her teachers and the school counselor to see if they have any concerns about her relationships at school. What do they observe about her interactions with others? They may have some suggestions, such as joining a club that reflects her interests and strengths.
I may not be able to help as much as "the expert" who answered your questions, but I am a male who is around the same age. I agree with what she says, but personally, I don't have too many friends, and I stay at home alot, and I'm fine, because I like to be at home and I'm glad that I have a few really good friends, and to me that is all that matters.
I DO NOT RECCOMEND taking her to a therapist. Trust me. When parents who are concerned about this sort of thing take them to a therapist, it isn't pretty.
I DO RECCOMEND that you should talk to her about this.
I DO RECCOMEND (if you live in a safe enough area and your child and her friend both have cell phones) that you let them go out in the neighborhood, or go shopping together, or whatever.
I DO RECCOMEND encouraging her to hang out with her friend, but subtly. "Hey, why don't you hang out with "so and so" today?"
I DO NOT RECCOMEND getting in their space. They are girls, and rarely would include mothers at this age, unless you are a cool mom
AND IT IS ABSOLUTELY OK for her to have friends that are boys. I have a friend who is a girl and we are really good friends, and not dating. We just have a friend relationship.