Q: Although my 10 year old daughter has many friends, does extremely well in school, and appears well adjusted, she prefers to spend time by herself doing solitary activities. What should I do?
A: First, I would have to know the answer to a number of questions such as: has she always been this way, or has there been a sudden change in behaviour; has something happened that you are aware of, such as a death in the family, that she might be grieving; is it possible that something has happened that you are not aware of; is there something going on in the family that she feels sets her apart from others or that she is ashamed of, such as divorce, alcoholism or family violence? If your child has always been this way and you can answer “no” to the rest of the questions, we are probably safe in moving along to the next line of thinking.
You say she is well adjusted so I am assuming that she is not painfully shy or insecure. Possibly she finds the pursuits of her peers to lack in creativity and stimulation—in other words, she quickly gets bored with them. If so, this sounds like a young girl who is a free thinker and does not feel a need to follow the pack. This is a positive, as it is this pack mentality that leads adolescents into experimental drug, alcohol and sexual behaviour. I am guessing that she is confident, independent and not afraid of “missing out”. She likely accepts herself and does not need others to make her feel acceptable.
I would continue to encourage her to join in some group activities, both structured and non-structured. Where possible, enroll her in groups that are a little older rather than younger than herself. Find activities that are more specific to her talents and interests and more likely to have other serious minded participants.
What you do not want to do is give her the message that she is not O.K. as she is, or that you are disappointed in her.