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How do I get my tween daughter involved in school activities?

My daughter is 11 and she is a bit shy. I would like to see her get involved in ANY community or school activities. I have suggested art classes, sports-every one of them, music, student council etc. and she refuses to join anything. Her friends are involved but she will not. She does not hang out with other children after school because they are all involved in something. We live in a small community and I believe that being involved in outside activities is healthy. She just wants to be with me.

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Asked by momsfaith63 at 8:18 AM on Dec. 31, 2012 in Tweens (9-12)

Level 3 (16 Credits)
Answers (14)
  • Maybe she should just try going as a "guest" of one of her friends to one of the club meetings/activities. Once she checks it out, she might like it. Does she have friends over or go to their houses? If it's extreme shyness or possibly something else, you may want to talk to her Dr. about it.


    Answer by mrsmom110 at 8:23 AM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • Thanks for your reply. I will try the guest suggestion. She does have a few friends over and they are very nice girls. We moved to this community a little over a year ago and I think she still feels like an outsider. She has been invited to go out with many of her friends but her middle school only has maybe 45 kids in each grade. (grade 5-8) I've discussed this with her teachers and they have been very supportive but still no interest on my daughters part.

    Comment by momsfaith63 (original poster) at 8:36 AM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • It must be hard to try to make new friends. Sometimes they need a gentle nudge from us. And before they know it, they're having fun. GL :)


    Answer by mrsmom110 at 8:42 AM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • Being involved in outside activities IS healthy, but only if someone wants to be. Some people just really don't have any interest in group activities like that. You've suggested "everything", but if you think about it, that's not really reasonable. You don't join activities that don't appeal to you, do you? What activities does she enjoy? Figure out what activities she enjoys (if you don't already know) and then find a way to turn those into group activities. If she enjoys photography, see if there's a photography club in the area, or get a group of her girlfriends together with their cameras and take them on a hike or to a park to take photos. If she likes to read, encourage her to start her own book club.

    But also consider that she might just be one of those people who enjoys having a very small, select circle of close friends and not being part of a big group. There's nothing wrong with that. I promise. :)

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:47 AM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • Perhaps you could consider joining something as a family. The YMCA, a gym with youth or family classes, a church or a community center class you could do together- scrap-booking or photography- something that might interest you both. Then you have the opportunity to meet family friends! She may not be interested in being social at school- I never was- but she may enjoy spending time with you and in turn meeting new people with you.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 8:58 AM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • I would tell my dd she's going to do something and she can pick or I will pick for her. I'm not big in kids sitting around the house. Make her a list of options and tell her to pick.

    Answer by missanc at 9:21 AM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • Whatever you do just be cautious... pushing her outside her comfort zone could be disastrous... and have to opposite effect!! Think of her feelings as well. Just b/c you think it's a great idea or activity doesn't mean it's right for her (says someone who works with HS kids, & has for years!).


    Answer by Crafty26 at 10:17 AM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • Thanks for all of the ideas. I think I will start with her being a guest with one of her friends and maybe make a list of some of her interest and see what happens. Our community, as small as it is, offers a variety of activities. I guess I don't want her fear to stop her from trying new things. I'm not a big fan of children sitting around the house after school but I don't want to force her into something she really has no interest in. We did take a pottery class together but there was only one other child. She liked it and there was no long term commitment so this would allow her to do something else's if it comes up. Thanks again, all of the suggestions are helpful.


    Comment by momsfaith63 (original poster) at 2:41 PM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • Are you sure it's fear, though? Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to say I know your daughter better than you do, because I don't, of course. But I'm one of those people that everyone thinks is afraid to talk to people, or afraid to try new things, when the reality is I just prefer having a small circle of close friends, and I don't like big crowds or activities that push me too far outside my comfort zone.

    If you think it's fear holding her back, sit down and ask her. Ask her if it's fear that's holding her back, and if so, what she's afraid of. Maybe then you could help ease those fears. "Okay, you're afraid of looking silyy. Well, so what if you do? I bet at some point everyone in the group will end up looking silly for something. This'll be your turn. Besides, looking silly is a good way to laugh at yourself and break the ice with them." And if it's not fear, good to know so you don't cause resentment by pushing. :)

    Answer by wendythewriter at 5:38 PM on Dec. 31, 2012

  • Don't underestimate the power of perr pressure. I know we all think its terrible and a bad thing, but most forget to think of the flip side of the coin. I was "peer pressured" into joining Key Club when we moved and I ended up loving it. At my old school, I was one that everyone picked on, so I choose to stay away from social situations, just to stay away from the bullying. And, just so we are clear, I am in no way saying that is what is happeneing to your daughter.
    You said yourself that the girls she has over are nice girls, so you could always just wait it out and see if maybe they draw her into something.

    Answer by spiritguide_23 at 3:07 PM on Jan. 1, 2013

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