Raising Children

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By Rebecca Teti

Monday: Parenting

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Terrible toddlers? Trying teens? Something in between? This weekly forum is the spot to share your questions and struggles about all things related to parenthood.

Please join us!

Rebecca Teti


  • My three year old has not socialized much outside our family and her grandparents. We just moved and found a great group of moms, but she is SO timid at playdates. Basically she plays with me or all alone. It makes me so sad! What can I do to encourage her? I want her to learn to play with her peers and not just adults and babies! Did I wait too long and might she feel awkward socially around peers forever?! I am just so sad about this! She is a bubbly non-stop talker at home! Then we go out with kids and she seems SO uncomfortable! :(

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 8:06 AM by Jen

  • Jen, several of mine were like that--couldn't take them anywhere! I will say, some have grown out of it completely, and some are just quiet, non-socializers. So for starters, I wouldn't worry too much--she's still at a tender age, and may come out of the shell with time. How is she if you have say one other pre-schooler over--does she do any better with that, in her own territory? Not all mine did, so that can be painful as well, to invite someone over, and then your child is unwilling to play...but I was just wondering, if small groups, or her own home makes a difference. Maybe others will have suggestions as well. Just know some of us have been through similar--and have come out just fine!

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 8:23 AM by Mary Therese

  • Have faith Jen. I would suggest a play group that encourages group participation - you and she participate with other children and moms in a more structured way. We did a toddler story time at the library. Where the child sat on the mom's lap. The children occasionally got up and put an item on a felt board, but then returned to the safety of mom's lap (if that mattered to him/her). I saw it really made a difference with those who were a little more reserved. There was a song and then play time. The structure helped the children feel more relaxed and know what what to do. Maybe you can find something like that - so your daughter gets the hang of playing with others and finds her own comfort zone.

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 8:45 AM by Kristine

  • Jen, my son turns 3 in April & is very similar. My oldest son is 4 (in preschool) & was the opposite--very outgoing & bubbly. Well, we found that he was getting a little overwhelmed @ larger playdates. We started asking 1 friend over & then gradually increased to 4-5...he does fine now but he still is shy around kids he doesn't know. :) I think she will be fine & is just being a little bit shy & possibly overwelmed (overstimulated might be the correct term??)...:) Don't worry!

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 10:02 AM by Avk

  • Hi Jen-- My now six year old was like that until he was about 3 1/2. Eventually, he grew very comfortable around other kids, but even now, when there is free play time in kindergarten, he usually chooses to sit in a corner with a book. He does great at play dates and at parks and stuff, but he needs his down time, too, especially in large groups. My 4 year old still takes a very long time to warm up when there are lots of kids around. His preschool teacher told me that only in the last few weeks does he seek out other kids to play with. Before that, he would participate in the class and follow the teachers' directions, but he preferred to play by himself. I don't think your daughter's behavior is unusual for her age. Those of us who are introverts get zapped (and sometimes intimidated) by large groups--it's not a comfort zone--and I think it's ok for your daughter to react the way she's reacting.

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 10:25 AM by MR

  • This is my first time reading and posting since the website change, so I am not really sure if I am posting on the right day for the topic. I am also not really sure what I am looking for, encouragement, advice, insight maybe. I will be 40 this summer. I am a homeschooling mom of 5, ages 3 to 13. Lately I have been really longing for one more child before it is too late, even though I have been very content in the past. My husband and I currently practice NFP to avoid conceiving for several reasons (financial hardship and his health mainly), and do not forsee these reasons changing. I get terribly ill during pregnancy, and as hard as it was at 36, I can't imagine how it would be now. Also, I will be starting to homeschool high school next year. Yet, I am still feeling really sad at the thought that my youngest is my last. I can't discern if my feelings are just the normal realization that I am getting older and facing a new stage of life, if it is because my kids love babies and are asking when we will have another baby, if it is because I am lucky to have a circle of friends who are also Catholic and have large families and would be so happy and supportive if we did have another child, or if it is the Holy Spirit trying to tug me towards a child that is meant for us. It is so hard to figure out. Can anyone relate to this?

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 11:28 AM by Anon

  • Anon - I think lots of us can relate to this including me. Here are some questions to ask: What does your husband say? If he says he can go either way and leaves it up to you then the next thing to check is if you have help when you are pregnant and really ill. Do you want another child enough to give up homeschooling if you get too ill to homeschool? Do you have extended family willing to help you? Sometimes when you are in conservative Catholic circles (like homeschooling groups) you feel peer pressure to have a very large family just like if you are in the secular world there is pressure to have a small family. I have been in both situations and neither allows you to be objective about your own situation. Not everyone has the same circumstances as everyone else and you have to make decisions based on your own circumstances. Just do what you think is best for your family as a whole.

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 12:27 PM by Anon2

  • I agree with Anon2. Your husband's thoughts / perspective is a great place to start. I'd also think about how much responsibility this will place on your husband, 13-yr old, and 3-yr old. Can they pick up slack when you are sick? Will your 13-year-old benefit by being more "needed" or is her plate already full? How about your husband's plate? If its any consolation, my husband and I recently discussed this same scenario. He ended up saying it was up to me - could I manage the home and kids while having morning sickeness, etc.? He told me exactly where he would be able to pick up slack and where he would NOT be able to! It helped me get perspective I wasn't able to have on my own.

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 12:53 PM by unknown

  • Thanks Anon2! Those are some good points to think about.

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 12:54 PM by Anon

  • Thanks to you also unknown!

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 12:56 PM by Anon

  • Hi, all! I am wondering how you all handle toys with small parts while you still have babies in the home? My oldest is getting to the age where she is very bored with chunky toys. She is ready for "real" legos, not the duplo ones that are safe for ages 1-3. She also enjoys games with tiny pieces. But I am having a hard time keep these games out of reach of the younger ones. Just yesterday, the baby popped a tiny toy acorn in his mouth. It was just the size of a fruit snack and I was glad I noticed before he chocked on it (worst case possibility) or ate it (better case possibility but still not great)! So do you have a certain time of day when the older ones bring out their small parts toys, or a certain room, or what? I feel bad only letting my oldest bring out her favorite things for one hour while the littles sleep.

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 4:48 PM by Anne

  • anne, I also struggle with what to do with the tiny toys. I have two older elementary boys and two little kids(3 and 1). I decided to allow the older ones to have legos provided they follow the rules of keeping them in their room and up off the floor. Same rules goes for games with tiny pieces. They have a lego table and plenty of shelves and plastic bins to store all the sets in. If I find any pieces in the other parts of the house they get confiscated and sometimes just thrown out. This keeps the toys under some control and requires the big boys to be responsible with their toys and take good care of them. It has worked to keep the tiny toys out of the rest of the house. The struggle I'm having now though is training the littles to respectively stay out of the big kids space. The little kids aren't allowed in the big boys room but that doesn't stop them from trying desperately to get get in and get into all the tiny pieces.

    Posted on Mar 11th, 2013 at 8:57 PM by kp

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