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Old 07-28-2014, 07:38 AM   #1
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Finding balance with a very extroverted child

My son 7 is an extreme extrovert. He loves to be outside with the neighborhood kids, and is constantly on the move. He goes to summer camp for 3 hours in the morning and will come home and stay outside until forced to come in at night. The problem i have is I am concerned about the effect of spending so much time with peers. He has learned a lot of colorful language and attitudes since we moved here a year ago. We have discussed it on a basic level with him as far as imitating others , repeating language etc. We have also come with a plan for how to react when he hears things he knows are wrong or doesn't understand and how to react when neighbor girl starts bullying. Ugh. But he is only 7 . I don't want to ruin his summer but I don't like the over exposure to some of these kids. Am I over reacting? My husband wishes we hadn't renewed our lease but we couldn't afford to move and I am sure it wouldn't matter.


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Old 07-28-2014, 03:38 PM   #2
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I think maybe in the grand scheme of things youre over thinking this, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. As an extrovert he will seek out companionship, and all you can do is guide him and address behavior. If you try to keep him in you'll probably all be miserable. Can you set up play dates with kids you consider better role models?
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:43 PM   #3
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Re: Finding balance with a very extroverted child

How much is he is seeking companionship, and how much of it is that he doesn't know how to occupy himself? I ask because I am an extrovert, but even as a child, I could occupy myself for awhile alone. I have known some kids, though, that truly didn't know how to do that.

Also, as the parent, it is your job to help provide healthy relationships. You cannot keep your child in a bubble forever, of course, but at the same time, he is young enough that you do have the authority to decide who he spends time with. Let him know there are certain people, perhaps, that he is not allowed to associate with at this time. You might also need to simply limit how much time he has out there.

If possible, put him in a class or two. PP's idea of getting him with kids you approve of is also an excellent idea.
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Old 07-28-2014, 05:13 PM   #4
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Re: Finding balance with a very extroverted child

I stay very busy keeping my extroverted child in the company of peers I approve of. It is a lot of work, but I'd rather be running around taking her to see suitable friends than have her hanging around bad influences.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:33 PM   #5
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Re: Finding balance with a very extroverted child

I don't think being concerned is overreacting at all. There are some pros and cons to having so much peer time where parents aren't dictating which peers and what activity is happening. On the one hand, you've got the exposure to language and behaviors that may become a negative influence on him. But it's also a great learning opportunity at his age. The girl who bullies isn't a "bad person" or "bad influence" - she's hurting inside and hurts others because she's hurting. This is a great thing to talk about at home so that he gets some different perspectives on people, families and community.

Finding a balance between time outside with neighborhood kids, inside time and time spent at playdates or activities might work well for you. I want you to know that I struggle with the same thing in our neighborhood and have a 7 year old too! She spends a lot of time outdoors with peers - some more appropriate than others. But I try to focus on what kind of conversations we can have that will help her see a larger view of the world (not everyone follows the same rules, not everyone has the same family dynamic, some people are hurting, some people are not, some people don't know how to interact well, etc) and help her integrate these different backgrounds into her own social interactions and cues. Like, if she understands that the kid who cuts others down or throws sticks when he shouldn't or yells a lot is hurting - and that there are many people who hurt out there - that she then has some information and knowledge that will help her deal with these people when she encounters them in the community and I'm not there to assist her with them.

It's an ongoing challenge to strike a good balance but I think kids are more ready for these interactions then we sometimes realize.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:10 AM   #6
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Re: Finding balance with a very extroverted child

My son is a total extrovert as well. Do you have the parents numbers? Maybe you can call them up and arrange for 1 on 1 play dates at your home or go out and do an activity together. We have not yet bridged the play dates at home arena but now that my boys 7 he WANTS his friends to come over. You won't ruin his summer by setting boundaries as to when and who he can play with at this age. Also, some of the colorful words could be coming from tv if he watches any, and from camp. My boy learned soooo much from other kids when he went to camp last year and so this year, I opted out of sending him.
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