My son plays alone at recess

Is this something I should be worried about? Should I do something about it?

Julissa Sparks
Julissa Sparks
Healing Minds for Wholeness
  • It can be tricky to figure out if a child is truly satisfied with his lack of friendships. Parents can usually tell when their child is happy. But kids who are unhappy may be masking disappointment, perhaps acting out their feelings in an aggressive manner. Others may internalize symptoms, appearing sad or withdrawn. 
  • A parent may learn a great deal by asking the teachers questions such as whether the child works with others on group projects or if he eats lunch alone. A parent can also talk with the recess supervisor about what happens on the playground, and whether your child stays on the sidelines of play, unsure of how to join the group. 
  • Therespectfully is a difference between kids who are shy but happy and kids who feel isolated because they do not know how to make friends. Itis not necessarily that there is something wrong with that child, but they will in fact need help and suggestions for breaking into a peer group
  •  Ask a child if there is someone he would like to have over to play. If a mom or dad can make the play dates happen, or if they hit on an activity the child truly enjoys, the young person may begin to forge friendships on their own. 
  • I encourage well-meaning parents to choose words carefully. Use phrases like, "Hey, I noticed something," or "Let me help you be successful." By showing respect, parents should feel more comfortable nudging their children beyond their comfort zone.
  • When to seek professional help. When does isolation raise a red flag for long-term issues? True personality disorders are not typically diagnosed until adulthood. Still, professional counseling should be considered if the anti-social behavior is causing the child significant distress, perhaps keeping him from functioning in everyday activities. Also, parents should pay attention to how the child's social behavior changes over time such as social anxiety. 

The vast majority of children who define "quality time" as time alone are perfectly happy, healthy and normal. If the child is able to nurture at least one friendship, exhibiting what experts call "social reciprocity," then parents can relax, and can cherish that child who enjoys the pleasure of his or her own company. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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