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Ask Dr. Rossi Your Own Question

Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Licensed Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  Certified Hypnotherapist, Parenting Book Author, 13+ years of experience.
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Have a 14-yr old daughter, she is a straight A student and

Customer Question

Have a 14-yr old daughter, she is a straight A student and she has 4-close friends and we can not get her involved in any extra school activities or sports. All she does is go to school and concentrates on her school work. Her and the 4-close friends she has are not very social and really do not do anything outside of school. My question is: do we force her to join a club to meet new people and be more social or do we just leave things the way it is?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 5 years ago.

Hi,

 

"do we force her to join a club to meet new people and be more social or do we just leave things the way it is?"

 

"Forcing" her to do anything would not be productive as she will see this as your idea not hers. She has to develop an interest in at least one thing/activity. Why is she not "comfortable" in joining clubs or sports at school is another issue. Is this due to some sort of anxiety (social anxiety, fear of failure), or is she more introverted? When did the behavior start (or has she been behaving like this for as long as you can remember?) The few friends that she has do not have to be her only circle of friends that she does things with. You may find out if she is engaged primarily in her school work because that is one area where she feels safe (good at) and uncertain of herself in other areas? Is she the only child and used to be in the company of adults is another question.

 

Volunteering may be something to encourage her to look into. She can be both productive/helpful even learn something along the way. If she is studious, you can present this opportunity for further learning and remind her that any sort of experience can come in handy one day when she will need to get a paid job.

 

There may be times when you would have to entrust her in doing something that lets her interact with others even if it is helping with an yard sale, etc. She may have not yet found out what truly makes her satisfied (school work is only one area) and the more she tries, the more she would learn about herself. You could try to show her that is one way of individuals gaining more self confidence in their abilities and gaining more knowledge in general by interacting with others. Firs, try to have her share what she already is certain of in regard to the reason behind her social isolation with peers.

 

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No other issues that we know of. She is the middle child, has a older sister 17 who is very outgoing, and a little sister 11 that is also pretty outgoing. Behavior has been as long as I can remember. We are very supportive of letting her do things that involve interacting with others, but she doesn't seem interested.
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 5 years ago.
She may be quite introverted or is avoiding interaction as a defense mechanism if she's too sensitive to others emotions as well as their criticism. She is old enough for you to talk to her about her goals (what studies are her favorite subjects, what does she want to do to enrich her life, her knowledge, and how she can contribute to the life of those around her. Social belonging is derived from the ability to share one's abilities/gifts with them. If she is good in her studies, the two of you can discuss and come up with at least one area in her life at the moment where she can share this knowledge/gifts even if it is volunteering with underprivileged children in your area (being a role model for them)
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No other issues that we know of. She is the middle child, has a older sister 17 who is very outgoing, and a little sister 11 that is also pretty outgoing. Behavior has been as long as I can remember. We are very supportive of letting her do things that involve interacting with others, but she doesn't seem interested.
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 5 years ago.

I am not sure what response is being sought out. The initial question was should you force her to be involved. I caution against that any sort of forceful behavior is to avoided. It is unhealthy and wold not really guarantee her full participation. Since I am not working with the child or the family directly, the information provided online is speculative and suggestive. She may even have traits of avoidant personality disorder.

If she is not interested, she is not interested and no amount of coaxing or otherwise will change her mind. She has to be encouraged to arrive at her own concision as to why it is beneficial to interact with others. You can only teach her that. I will opt out now so any other expert can share their feedback.