Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Lonely Boy

I took a personality test once and I came up sanguine. Off the charts sanguine. Give me a group of friends where I can be the center of attention and I am in heaven. Par - TAY!

Hubby, however, is more meloncholy. He likes to hide in a cave, go to movies alone and have his solitude. He likes being alone.

Brother didn't get much from me. He got his dad's beautiful eyes, his nose, his love of sports, his frame, his hair, and even his fingernails. But when it comes to being alone, Brother would rather die a thousand painful deaths. He loves to be with his friends. Let me rephrase that...he lives to be with his friends. So you can imagine how being homeschooled affects his social life.

There are a few kids in our neighborhood that he has befriended, but each time he plays with them, I am bothered by the things I hear and see. So, I try to keep playtime with these kids limited to our front yard, where I can supervise. But I can't always supervise, and I'm feeling iffy about these kids, so most times I refuse his request. Which doesn't go over well with him.

I understand his feelings. When I don't get to be around other adults, I start to climb the walls. So I feel bad when I see him moping around here, aching for another kid to hang with. Someone other than his sister, who doesn't like to play soccer or baseball. Several times a day I catch him looking out the window or opening the door, straining to see what's going on down the street. In the afternoons this group of kids can be seen jumping on someone's trampoline or riding their bikes down the road. No one invites him.

This breaks my heart.

What can I do? I invite other homeschooled friends over every other week or so. He sees his church friends on Sunday. We meet friends at McDonald's. So, is once or twice a week enough for my little party boy? He would say "no". He would gladly spend all day, every day, just chillin' with his homies. I try to play soccer with him, and encourage him to trade playtime with Sister. You know, play paper dolls with her for a while and she can play soccer with you. But she's no Mia Hamm. The girl has zero athletic ability. And she doesn't like to be pushed or get dirty. He may as well play soccer with the tree out front.

Most times, he and Sister play great together. They put on shows, play with Brother's castle, dress up in their costumes and act out stories. But is it realistic for me to expect that to be enough for him? How do I find the balance that will still allow his family to be the biggest influence in his life while feed his need for peers? What's the answer?



thebarefootpoet said...

Look, I'm barely into this parenting thing and I'm not sure how I'll feel about all the issues you're facing. I do know this, I played with lots of friends growing up, including ones that my parents were leary of. They controlled some of the times and places more with certain friends, less with others. I had a lot of friends, a lot of guy friends, but my dad was and remains my single greatest earthly influence. I don't think that with parents that are as engaged and involved as you and hubby are you would need to be concerned about his greatest sphere of influence. I hope he always has a special relationship with his sisters, but he needs time with boys, lots of time, this I believe.

owlhaven said...

I think you're wise to choose his friends carefully while he is young. As he gets older and you're confident of his good decision-making skills, he can broaden his horizons. One thing, though, about extremely social kids is that SOME of them are very easily led by peers. Depending on the friend, that can be good or bad. So in rethinking the friend dilemma, assess your kid. Is he a leader? A follower? A pleaser? Will he stick up for what's right, or will he cave? The answers to these questions may help guide your decisions...

Mary, mom to many

jesprincess said...

I was homeschooled ya know. And I think I'm a people person. Is getting involved in a co-op or something an option for you guys? That was really nice for me as a kid. From the time I was about 6 or 7 until I was 11 we went to a homeschool co-op 1 or 2 times a week. It was nice for me to be around other kids but also to be around other kids that came from the same sort of place I did. Shared the same sorts of values and didn't think HS was weird. They also had the same worried parents. Just an idea. (Big cheesy toothy grin.)

holly said...

I do not homeschool my children, but I can respect those who do. I understand you need to help your son choose his friends. I try to do the same. I try to encourage those friendship that my children enjoy and I approve of. I try to get together often with these kids so that those friendships can become stong. I have a group of "church moms" with kids my kids age....we meet at the park and go to the pool in the summers. It's wonderful. I get to enjoy adult convestation, and the kids get to play with kids they like and I approve of. On another note if you have an Academy sporting goods store where you live they are selling Supermom tshirts for mothers day. Since the group of women I hang out with have never met you we refere to you as suppermom. This shirt would be great for you. (It looks like a superman shirt)

joyfuljourney said...

Wow, you have gotten some great advice! Barefootpoet - you amaze me! So wise. I needed to read that your father was your greatest influence, no matter what your peers had to offer.

Owlhaven, I look forward to reading more of your wisdom. I've learned to surround myself with wise mothers - and I think I've just found another one!

I, too, have a son who is like me -outgoing. He goes to public school and loves the social interaction. But, there are days I cringe because of words or attitudes he comes home with. But because we believe it is God's plan for him to be in public school, I have to pray and deal with it.

Supermom, you are a wise mom who is so real. I have no doubt that Brother knows deep in his heart that there is no other place he'd rather be than right there with you in the role of precious son and loving big brother!

jessica said...

I am much like your son... it is all I can do to stay home some days. My solution is to hang out with friends at the park and pool (Holly is one of those!)at McD's or anywhere I can make it happen. Do you have church friends that you could hang out with more often... or homeschooled friends you could invite over weekly? During the summer, Holly and I try to have a schedule so that the kids can know what is going to happen and they are much happier. You might try it!

Michelle- This One's For The Girls said...

My Anna is much like your son-- such a social girl. I'm involved in a once-a-week homeschool co-op, but it doesn't totally do it for her because the co-op is an hour away and so we don't do anything else with any of those kids.

To add insult to injury, our older kids are in school, and so she hears about all of the fun they have "up at the big school."

In the end, I think it's OK to be lonely (some.) But I struggle with feelings of guilt too. I substitute up at the school on Fridays, and everytime I do it, I feel reassured that we're doing the right thing with her. But then I struggle with feelings of guilt that maybe we should have my 10 year old son back at home.

All in all, though, we pray about each child and my husband plays a heavier hand than I do in the decision about who stays and who goes.

God is in control. :)

jjofar said...

Have you ever looked into once a week bible studies for you that offer childcare? I am in one right now and it is a good two hours away from mom with other kids. It is also a wonderful time for me. Cool's FREE! We brought these mounds of snacks at the beginning and that was it. You don't normally have to be a member to enjoy. It is a great way to meet people from other churches in your area. I am so far away here in CO from family, it was a great way for me to meet a few other moms.

michele said...

In our community we have soccer teams. Maybe if he joined one of those, he would get to play and it would be a controlled atmosphere.

This is actually one of the chief reasons that I choose not to homeschool. I wanted the girls to be around kids of their own age during the day and to make lots of friends.

That and I lack the patience to teach children (I think I lack the patience to teach women :-)