Normally parents worry about the socialization of the child with his/her own age group. In fact it lends the child with an opportunity to interact with the people of all ages. They play with the children of their age group in the evenings and also interact with the people of all age groups with equal confidence and surety. They naturally move into this process of socialization when they are ready. If we look at life, we see that dividing children into different age groups is a very unnatural situation and not an ideal one.
Another worry parents have is the exposure to ‘on stage presentations’ which is not possible in a home schooling situation. In fact what I have found is that if we don’t make a big deal of the need for such things, the children don’t have a fright for talking to people or presenting anything when there is a real need to do so. In a real situation when they need to do such things, they just do it without any problems. All they need is the self confidence and conviction in what they are doing. If we have been able to preserve that, we really don’t have to worry about anything else. What ever problems they will come across at that time, they will also find solutions to them. Of course there is no problem in going in for theatre workshops or participating in On stage presentations if that is what the child wants to do. It is only best to wait till the child is ready for that.
My child clings to me because he/she does not have any company of his/her age. How can I solve this problem?:
I can tell you one thing from my experience that most often, the child clings to the parents not because the child is deprived of companionship of her age. It is the child’s genuine need to seek her parent’s company, Only a parent can provide that companionship to the child especially when the child is small and till the child demands it. The best way to help the child socialize is to go at the child’s pace and as per the situation permits. Generally if we don’t make it a big issue and provide the child with our companionship instead, it does not become a problem for a long time to come.
It is a huge responsibility to learn together with the child at home. You have to be a parent, a teacher, a bread earner and a companion, all at the same time. It does get tough for a parent when there are no other children but then you have already made a tough choice.
Generally one reason for which the parents want their children to socialize is the fear that if they don’t socialize, they will not learn to relate and interact with the others. They will not be able to share and accommodate other’s needs. This is actually a needless worry. When children receive loads of love and acceptance and they know we are there for them in all their ventures at their terms, the rest takes care of itself. They become very comfortable relating to anybody and anything because they grow into individuals who are very comfortable with themselves. They are very sure of themselves and are not easily threatened by disagreements. They would know how to resolve conflicts if we have set an example for them by dealing with the problems and relationships in a calm and positive way.
So I feel it is not much about how we find friends for our child. It is more about how we relate to our child and how we lead our life. However I think today, home schooling is much easier because there are so many families, though spread apart by distance. Still it is possible to have get together at regular intervals so that you and your child can meet like minded people. And if you have a child in the neighbour hood with whom your child can relate to and it is possible to make it every day affair, it does help because it is like a breather for you which you desperately need when you are with the child twenty four hours a day.
However when the children are nine years or so, it becomes easier to find their companions and it is easier for them to adjust.
My child does not want to go out to play with the other children. He is missing out at learning social skills. How can I make my child go out and mix with the other children?
Each child is an individual. One might be more inclined towards socializing as compared to the other. What helps is to accept it as it is, to let the child be and wait till the child is ready to mix up with the other children or people. Some times children do not want to go and play with the children in the neighbour hood. It does not help to push the child to do so. May be the child is just happy being by himself. Or may be the child experiences some aggression from those children. Or may be the child has some health problem. So it helps to look at the situation in a very rational way. If we are able to pin point the real reason behind why the child does not want to go and play with the other children and try to deal with it, it will help the child to be comfortable with the idea of socialization.
‘If I wish to home school her will her social skills get affected? ’
In a home schooling situation, it is true that the child will not be going to a place every day where there are many children of her age with whom she can spend some time. But then she will have time to be friends with the people of different age groups from the neighbourhood or the learning situations she selects for herself. However, I have a question on how positive the social interaction is in a schooling situation.
Also, it is important to consider, why is it that you don’t want to send your child to the school? Definitely there are some aspects of the system which you just can’t put your child through. If you are so determined to keep you r child away from these influences, then you can definitely see that socialization is a part of growing up which you can have in various other ways. If not through schooling, you will find other ways of socialization which of course won’t come as easily as in a schooling situation, but will be much more enriching.
One thing that I always feel is that when the child relates to the other people in an environment of freedom and caring, only then the skill of socialization develops. And a school situation does not provide any of them. So, even though, children are put together day in and day out, majority of us are still at a very rudimentary level so far as our social skills are concerned. Many times, I think that we all need to seriously rethink about what we mean by socialization and social skills.
Will she be not missing the mischief, happiness etc of a normal school?
Do you want your child to be a part of the mischief our youngsters get into these days? Are you happy about the things our youngsters derive happiness from? Happiness derived through mischief is actually a kick and not real happiness. Real happiness comes from a contented self. When the child has high self esteem and self confidence, sensitivity and sensibility, every thing related to life leads to a kind of satisfaction that leads the child to happiness. But these are the very things that a child is robbed of in a school situation. Perhaps we need to look at how do we define happiness?
Will she be able to mix up and attend college later? could she make friends easily then?
Well! If she grows with full freedom and unconditional acceptance, in a sensitive and caring environment, she is going to grow into a balanced and mature human being who can form relationships very comfortably. She will also be mature enough to see what kind of people she is comfortable with and what kind of people she would like to avoid. If she is not comfortable with any of them, she will still be comfortable being alone as long as this is a conscious decision for her.
What is important here is that we as adults don’t blow this whole issue of socialization out of proportion. We respect their decisions as they are growing. If we are able to understand child’s position and share our opinion or reservations with total respect to the child, the child is able to look at our suggestions without feeling threatened. What makes the child social is the child’s own comfort with herself.