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Old 03-22-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
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Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

My son is a very sweet and loving boy. In fact, other parents (strangers) often comment about his good behavior, etc, on the playground. He is quick to help little ones and will approach anyone from any age group and be sociable. It sounds like a blessing, but he is very talkative and less physical.

He will talk to people of all ages... from toddlers to parents and even teens. But often he will talk about something in a video game or a movie without much introduction. It seems like he's trying to find something to talk about, but that's just it. He just keeps talking. About himself. Yes, he says...Excuse me...but then it's all about what he did or what he saw or...Have you ever seen... or ... You know about this game or that book... It is offputting to other children, but the adults seem to love his conversational style.

There is a part of me that wants to interrupt and say...They don't know you. They don't care...but that seems so harsh. How do i break it to him that the kids just want to play? They don't want to know your life story. The kids his age are like...Whatever. Bye.... Watching this rejection is painful. They will just go back to playing and he will keep trying to engage them in conversation that they just aren't interested in.

Do i step in and direct him? I don't want to ruin his self esteem and i want him to continue being friendly and somewhat open. But not to the point where it is overwhelming to the other kids and they leave him in the dust to go back to what they were doing.

He also loves video games. He is extremely smart and has a great vocabulary. He's been reading past his level since age three and his comprehension is great. He even reads with tons of inflection and feeling.

Physically, though, he is not like the others in that his muscle tone is slack. There is no power behind his physical play. When he runs, his arms are loose. He doesn't exert himself like the others. They're sweating and out of breath. My son is not.

How do i get him to want to be more physical? He wants to talk too much and i don't want to discourage his style of being friendly and playful. But i really want to tell him that nobody cares what he ate for lunch. JUST GO PLAY AND GET INTO IT!

I really want to help him because i hate to see him flounder like this. But he doesn't know how to listen to others when they do respond. He just keeps talking. And most kids find his conversation tiresome. They end up just ignoring him.

Don't get me wrong, when we go to the park (we live 50 feet away from one, literally!) he will want to stay for hours. But he's so busy gabbing that he doesn't know how to do the monkey bars. Heck, he just learned how to jump off the steps a foot in the air. He's SEVEN.

Example: Kids make up their own little clubs. The boys want him to do a series of physical things like jump, then kick, then spin, then duck. An initiation of sorts. Well, my son just isn't coordinated. They tell him...No, you can't be in our club... It's devastating to him. He comes over trying not to cry and i just coach him and we practice together until he goes back to demonstrate his skills. Most times, they send him away repeatedly.

Instead of finding someone else to play with, he will repeatedly try until they let him in out of mercy and plus they know i'm watching. The kids don't upset me. I know they are establishing the social food chain and i understand that it's human nature. But sometimes, they are cruel.

So do i tell him the things he's doing wrong or do i let them KEEP telling him? OH, it's so hard. My heart breaks for him. I usually just hang back and watch. When i give him advice later, he usually gets embarrassed and i end up consoling him because he's so sensitive. He feels like he did somethign wrong, even tho i praise him.

I know this is such a long post. I just need some advice. How do i give him social pointers without crushing his own style of friend-making? How do i exercise his body and help him with coordination? I have heard a lot about sports and group activities where there is direction from an adult, something that requires concentration maybe. But what sport is that?

I am open to suggestions. I need to help this boy in the right ways, encouragement, etc. But i can't just let him keep talking people to death. He needs to shut up and run.

Please help. I love my son more than anything. I am more apt to let him work it out. But the few times my husband comes with us, he's so disappointed to see this happening and he thinks i should intervene somehow. We don't know what to do. Please help.

Thanks so much....

 
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:41 AM   #2
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Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

I just saw your post and although I am definitely no expert, I feel compelled to write to you. I feel for you and understand how painful this must be for you. First, it sounds as if your son is extremely bright. It sounds as if children his age don't understand him. Maybe that's why he talks so much, he can't connect and then he talks a lot instead. Do you think you could find some kids that are older than he for him to play with? I know that it must be hard to know what and how much you should say to your son about this. If I were you, I would coach him a little to listen when kids talk and then try to talk about the subject that is being talked about. But, the bottom line is that it really sounds as if he is intellectually above his peers and can't relate to them. I wouldn't push him to play with kids that just rejected him , but that's just me. As far as sports go, sign him up for any sports. Anything is good so that he can exercise his body. Ask him what he would like to do (baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, etc) and then sign him up. Do it as soon as possible because at age 7 there is still no real competition, later the kids get better in the sport and are more aware of who is good at it and who isn't. Doing sports will also expose your son to other kids and he may make a few friends that way. You don't mention what his situation is like in school. Does he have friends there?

 
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herbysgal (04-12-2012)
Old 04-12-2012, 09:20 AM   #3
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Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

aleksia,

thank you so much for your reply. i really appreciate it.

fact is, all these things are happening at school, too. i was just dropping by yesterday to pay for his aftercare and lo and behold, two boys kneeling at the table leaning forward on their elbows into joey's face. They were making these nasty faces in tandem and talking smack. About what, i don't know.

when i came to the table, joey looked relieved. i talked to joey like he was the coolest kid on the block...hey, bud. just stopped by to say hello. hope your day is awesome. Who are these two guys?...

He told me and i said...good to meet you, guys. hope THE THREE OF YOU are having a fun time. Joey has told me about you. So, these are the guys?...

I let them wonder if I was going to BLAST them. I think they knew i busted them. I didn't say a word. I just wanted to make my presence known without any threat and treat joey like a respectable BIG BOY.

There's one boy who tells Joey where he can and can't sit for lunch. I HATE IT. I told Joey that this boy is bossy and that he can sit wherever he wants. Joey looked at me like i had three heads. I suggested he tell the boy that he will NOT adjust his seating for this child. Standing up for himself is horrifying to Joey. I try so hard not to interfere and yet tell my son what a great kid he is.

His self esteem is in the toilet, I think.

PS. Almost wish i could post a pic. He's considered an attractive kid. I know ppl are screaming....SO WHAT?!... But read the studies: it makes a difference.

What i'm getting at is he doesn't have physical characteristics or speech qualities that would make him a target. I think its because he will almost give his food away just to have a best friend to sit with at lunch. He's internally a doormat. I feel so bad for him. I'm somewhat reserved in that department as I HATE rudeness and unnecessary confrontation. But i WILL speak up after a bit. I'm sure Joey has observed this.

Last edited by herbysgal; 04-12-2012 at 09:32 AM.

 
Old 04-12-2012, 10:05 AM   #4
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Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

Yes, it's strange how even young kids know instinctively whom they can boss around and whom they can't. I think you handled the incident at the school very well. Have you spoken to your son's teacher about this? She may have some ideas. I know that some people would disagree with me, but I always tell my kids to stick up for themselves. I tell them to never let other kids boss them around. The reason is that being bossed around can become your life where kids boss you around, then when you are older other people boss you around and then you find a girlfriend who does the same. I think you are doing the right thing by trying to build him up and telling him that he can sit wherever he wants and does not have to listen to other kids telling him where he can or can't sit. This is a painful issue, I really feel for you. Do you have other children as well? I think sports may help your son. He is only 7 and if he gets good at a sport, that will increase his self confidence. Especially for boys sports is a big thing. I think if you practice positive reinforcement with your son his self esteem can increase. I know what you mean about good looks, studies do show that it does make a difference, but the bottom line is that it is what is underneath that counts. I know many unattractive people with great self esteem and a couple of stunning people with no self esteem.

 
Old 04-12-2012, 11:07 AM   #5
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Wink Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

Beautiful comment re: the "looks" department. Very true. In correlation with that thought, i thought i'd mention his appearance for the sole reason that perhaps he might've had a physical characteristic that played into this. I have psoriasis and i sometimes feel people are distracted by it. Trust me, it's minimal and i have NOTHING to complain about compared to some. But it can make me feel unattractive and discouraged at times.

Regardless, your comments are so insightful and warm. I honestly feel better equipped just by talking about it with you.

I am going to pursue the sports thing for sure. In addition, I work 2 miles from the school and can pop in there anytime. Maybe i will just stop by every now and then to make my presence known and keep it "cool" for Joey.

I'd hate to resort to bribery, but the Mousetrap game that the kids love at aftercare is missing some pieces. Maybe I should bring a new one in. Gain some favor for Joey? "Hey, Joey's mom is cool = Joey can't be that bad"? Kidding! (sort of)... Thanks again.

You know, i've never written on a forum in my life. You've made this easy and encouraging.

 
Old 04-12-2012, 12:41 PM   #6
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Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

I think it's a great idea to bring the mouse trap game. You may want Joey to give it so it is from him. Believe me, I'm "wining and dining" my kids' friends, baking for them, my house is known as the one with home baked cookies. Maybe it is bribing, but who cares, the main thing is that my kids have a good social life. I've been through a few things in the social department and know all too well how painful it is when your child gets excluded. For kids this kind of thing can leave lifelong scars so that's why I try to be on top of it.
I know that a lot of parents feel that you shouldn't interfere in your kids' relationships with other children, but I do frequently tell my kids to stick up for themselves. If you learn that as a child, you won't allow anyone to boss you around as an adult.
As far as sports goes, it is good in so many different ways. If your son meets other kids there, he won't be as dependent on his friendships in school. The more kids he knows and makes friends with, the less vulnerable he'll be because he'll know if a friendship in school doesn't work out, he has his friends on the outside. I think it is great that you are thinking about all this when your son is only 7. It is a great age to start sports because as I mentioned, kids are still too young to focus on who is good and who isn't.
I also think it is great if you show up in school now and then. The other kids are going to know on some level they can't be mean to Joey because you may show up there and see it. And, Joey is probably going to feel more secure knowing his mom comes to school now and then.

 
Old 04-12-2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

I believe you shouldn't do anything about it. It's a, let's call it, a "phase." During his life he'll go through these. Such as teenage girls go through "OMG I hate you mom" phases, your son will go through things such as this. The best thing is to let him do it, he'll learn from the "rejection" of other children that this is not how you make friends. Trust me.

 
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Old 04-13-2012, 10:19 PM   #8
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Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

Yeah, I don't think you're doing your son any favors by constantly being there and holding his hand. If he has a problem, he'll let you know. But if you are constantly there, "feeling so bad for him," then he's going to feel like he is doing something wrong, and THAT is what is going to send his self esteem into the toilet.

Your son is the male version of my oldest daughter. EXACTLY the same situation. Difference is, I don't tell my daughter she is doing anything wrong. I do tell her that some kids are just raised differently and don't know how to handle having a civilized conversation, and I have let her know that some kids are just rude because they are mean rotten spiteful little maggots, AND that some kids seem like they are rude, but really, they're just so into their playing, they don't pay attention to what you are saying. Then I tell her, you can keep talking and hope they get some of what you're saying, OR you can quit yapping and just play already! She usually chooses to keep talking....

Thing is, she is the happiest kid on the earth. I think it's because I don't disapprove of anything about her personality, or tell her anything about her personality is wrong. Other kids tell her she talks too much, but I've taught her that not everyone is going to like her, and she isn't going to like every single person that she meets.... BUT that there is good in all of us, and even if you don't like a person, try to find out what is good about them and focus on that when they are around.

Could your son have ADD? He sounds so much like my daughter and my daughter does have ADD.... I think the talking so much and lack of impulse control sounds like classic early ADD symptoms. Maybe if he were being treated for ADD, he might reign it in a little with the yapping?

My daughter isn't being treated by a doctor, I'm treating her at home. We cut out all artificial foods, processed foods, fatty and fried foods, etc.... no dyes, lots of whole grains, fish, nuts, fruits and veggies, etc.... plenty of sleep, good exercise, and good outdoor time. It helps.

Anyway, I think you should let your son tell YOU if there is a problem and don't stop in to check up on him so much. If you're worried, let the teacher know to keep an eye on him, but you stay out of it. Boys lose a lot of cool points when their mommies step in to fight their battles for them!

 
Old 07-10-2012, 07:11 PM   #9
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Re: Help with Son Age 7 and Social/Physical Issues

I definitely think you need to help re-direct his play. As a guidance counselor and mom, I think its our responsibility as parents to model appropriate social behavior. I think allowing him to continue with what he's doing - although charming to adults - is not developmentally appropriate, and sounds like is impacting his ability to connect and relate to his peers. Try doing some role playing with him to help teach him what's appropriate. You could also try setting some limits when you go to the park, no story telling! And then reward him when he does a good job. Or try to teach him to "catch himself" in the act. He probably isn't even aware that he's doing it.

You talked about not wanting to dampen his self-esteem, and I don't think you will. I think the question you have to ask yourself is what will happen if you don't do anything? How will his self-esteem be once he becomes aware of the fact that other kids aren't engaging with him?

Good luck! It'll take time, but he can learn how to interact reciprocaly with others :-)

 
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