Eleanor has recess first thing in the morning, so her preschool drop off is actually at the playground. Which meant as I was walking back from dropping off paperwork, I got a glimpse of her alone on the swings (practicing how to pump her legs) while most of the other kids were in the sandbox or using the ride-on toys.
So what’s the problem you ask? Whenever I get a chance to sneak a peak at her at school, she’s typically alone. (It wasn’t until last May that she could tell me all 12 children in her class…)
Here’s the deal though… it’s NOT a problem for her! Eleanor LOVES school and loves her teachers and loves the activities and loves the projects. Bottom line, she’s WAY into it. Like I was into Michael J Fox or your 12-year-old is into One Direction….
…This is MY thing. My issue, and mine alone.
As parents, we all have our things. The stuff our kids do that we don’t envision for them or relate to. Maybe it’s that your son wants to wear a tutu to school. Maybe your middle schooler has decided that the Dungeons and Dragons club is their cup of tea. Maybe your daughter has gained a little weight. Maybe your son wants to grow his hair to his shoulders. Maybe your child will only wear black.
Point being, we have these moments as parents when our children start to diverge from our vision for them. Sometimes these are small moments like a child playing ping pong instead of soccer and sometimes they’re large moments like a child telling you she’s gay or not going to college. As scary and unexpected and potentially sad as these instances might be for us, they’re also evidence that we’re doing exactly what we’re meant to be doing as parents: teaching our children to think and act and choose for themselves.
Don’t think I didn’t google “antisocial behavior in children” and “preschool loner” and “what if your child would rather play alone…” What every article kept coming back to was: know your child. Being a loner is different than being lonely.
An INability to socialize is distinct from a preference not to socialize. So I bite my tongue. I ask whether she did any fun activities rather than who she played with. I try to get out of my own head and recognize that already… at the ripe age of 4… my daughter can make her own choices and decide what makes her happiest.
Please refresh my memory and remind me of this post when this is what my son wears to the grocery store in a couple of weeks…
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