My 3 year old has just started the whole etiquette of making friends and is developing his social skills, he had a ‘bestie’ at nursery. Unfortunately, he was a year older than my son and is moving on to big school, and leaving my son behind. So, just as he is starting this whole friendship challenge, he has experienced the loss of friendship already and no, I am not going to stalk parents of said child for play dates, hehe. I have to say it has made more of an impact on him than I had ever anticipated, before he didn’t care and now he does. I wasn’t expecting to deal with this so soon, as I thought the boy was staying on until the end of summer, so we are quite unprepared. In one way I am reassured my boy is developing normally on an emotional level and not completely detached, but again I am left with how to deal with the consequences and how to help encourage him to make new friends.
Rather than give lots of advice and tips here, as I don’t have any at the moment. I have compiled what may be a few useful links and will update my blog with what has helped us the most.
Introvert mum, extrovert son
The challenges of being an introvert mum with a potentially extrovert child and helping them make friends, keeping them reassured and helping their confidence grow when you are not the best example to lead from is a difficult one.
I was painfully shy as a child, and to be honest I think that was my natural disposition as well as life circumstances contributing to it. My personal belief there is nothing wrong with being the quiet reflective one. However, my shyness was so painful that at times it was an obstacle for me.
I am not so shy now, although have momentary relapses from time to time, but have little time for small talk, which yes maybe selfish of me. I am a loyal and committed friend with of course imperfections to anyone that enters my life, but I do like my alone time to ponder, collect thoughts and unwind. My son on the other hand has shown himself to be the opposite, loud, VERY LOUD and attention seeking at times (not saying that in a derogatory tone, sometimes I admire his spirit), he is very funny, and his sense of humour will probably get better with age and full of boundless energy (alas what it is like to be young). The few things we do have in common is stubborness, passion and a fiery temper, although that is probably a family trait. I am not as shy as I once was, I can still be socially awkward and blunt, I have emotional intelligence and can be perceptive, but am hardly a social butterfly. I can be socially clumsy, do not enjoy it and find the whole thing draining, see there I said it and found the whole baby playgroup thing on maternity leave put me out of my comfort zone. Plus, I have never been one for endless baby talk and becoming a mother hasn’t changed that, ok, only a wee bit hehe. So, bearing this in mind it is a great challenge to me to encourage my son to be the opposite of me and flutter his social butterfly wings.
Again I have started to look for tips and advice on the Internet for introverted parents of extroverted children, and will report back my findings and if anything what I have found of use. Of course, this will be an ongoing project for sometime.
Preschool Friendship Update
Friday 9th September 2016
My son got over his friendship loss sooner than expected, if only adults could get over things like that as quickly hehe. After a few difficult weeks, he appears to have settled back into nursery, and is making friends and is having fun again. He no longer talks about one particular friend anymore, but seems content. I suspect the next big changes such as moving to his big kids bed (fingers crossed goes smoother than I am fearing) and primary school, but that is still another year away, so have time to think about that and prepare for it.
The things we tried to do is lots of fun activities to distract him when he was spending quality time with us, not dwell on his loss and focus on the positives of making new friends, and all the fun things he does at preschool. To be honest, I was a little taken back about how upset he got and how it negatively affected his behaviour for a while, but pleased to say it didn’t last. Once again wish I could say adult friendship loss was so easily forgotten.