Seeking out adults as conversation/play partners?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by whatamess, Aug 29, 2010.

  1. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    My 5 (almost 6 year old) does not play in the manner I think he should, with peers at school or in other circumstances. He seeks out adults for play and conversation. We recently were in a situation where easy child had multiple, daily opportunities to interact with children his own age and he still sought out the adults in the group just to 'chit chat' and to play. We were at the beach the other day and he asked to play with a group of 4 boys who ranged in age from 2.5 -6. I was happy and eager to watch his play unfold. Within minutes he was plopped down next to the two mothers of the boys, engaging in conversation and convincing them to play 'kitchen'.
    I was told recently that at his age it is still common for children to parallel play (which is what he does at school). From what I know, parallel play occurs most often with toddlers and young preschoolers. easy child will be six in a month, the majority of his play (I feel) should be interactive. Do you think so too? Do you have a child who seeks out adults over children?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    How was his early development? Did she have early, precocious speak but other oddities?

    He may be perfectly normal, but I'm thinking possible Aspergers. Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) does run in families. in my opinion it's unusual not to interact with his peers at his age. How is his eye contact with strangers? Does he know how to have a give-and-take conversation? Does he have any obsessions? If you're worried, see a neuropsychologist.

    Good luck!
  3. keepongoing

    keepongoing Guest

    My boy who is ten does that and always has. Here is why: adults do make allowances in conversations with kids that other kids don't make. They go along with the kids topic of interest, they keep talking with a kid even after they get bored with the conversation, they repair where there are breaks.
    In my experience kids who talk more to adults do that because it is easier and less stressfull than conversations with their peers. My son is an Aspie and even though he is very socially interested, has a great vocabulary and speaks well, peers are 'turned off' by him dominating conversations with his topics and his lack of finding the right tone or saying the right thing. I did not notice this until he was about 6-7, initially it was very subtle but peers pick up on it. Now that my son is ten it is very obvious.The other issue is of course that my son does not fully understand social norms- one of them being that you sould seek out your age-group. He will talk to anyone no matter age or dress or context.
    I am not sure if your five year old has something mild on the spectrum or if you are suspecting it. It might even be too mild to be worth a diagnosis but I think that kids breaking social norms or having trouble being accepted by peers is a bit of a red flag. Of course there are also those kids who are wise souls and might be a bit different but will grow up into these perfectly composed successful adults.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It is something that happens a lot more with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in some form. It also happens a lot with very bright kids, but if he is very bright and NOT also having Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), then you should see other areas of advanced progress. And it sounds like you're not seeing that.

    I would definitely get him evaluated.

  5. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    When my oldest son was in elementary school he all so had a difficult time playing with kids his age. He would play with kids much younger then he was or much older, never his own age, and he enjoyed adult company more then kids. Like you I was concerned and tried several different strategies to teach him social skills, none worked. His IQ scored higher then most, and I think he liked the maturity of adults better. At school or with groups of kids he would just sit by himself on the side and rarely participate.

    He is now in high school, and in the last year has finally learned to socialize with his peers. In a parent teacher meeting one of his teachers had tears in his eyes when he told me the story that the kids were talking and he had to say, "easy child stop talking and sit down". He then realized, "Hay! I just told easy child to stop talking!". So he can grow out of it.

    It is hard to come up with good ideas you can try, when nothing I tried worked. Looking back, I think that a friendship with older kids/adults, is better then no friendship. If he learns to be close to an adult, as long as it is a healthy relationship and you are involved he will at least continue to build his self-esteem.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Think about it this way - for the majority of his life, he will need to be able to get along with adults.

    When I was a kid, I would converse with adults (when they let me - a few did) or I would seek out the company of younger children. When I was 11, my friends at school were three years younger.

    difficult child 3 is the same. I really think he hasn't got what it takes socially to get on with kids his own age, but adult conversation doesn't change as the adult or kid gets older. That makes it easier. Kids who change as they get older can be too challenging. Younger kids are more like he was used to, and you could find as he gets older (and has more opportunity) that he chooses friends among the very bright, but younger children.

    Very much a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) trait.

  7. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    Little guy had very limited peer interactions from age 2-4 (at that time big difficult child was brought home to be schooled due to mistreatment at school). Little guy's interactions with adults are not 'bookish' or perserverative (what I imagine a child with Asperger's conversation might look like). Little guy does have anxiety issues and it has been suggested to me that it is just 'safer' to engage adults than peers. I am trying to discern whether this is an issue that will dissapate with exposure (Kindergarten starting this week) or if this will require some assistance like a social skills group.