Do children need other children?

March 26, 2007 6:54am CST
My first daughter had very little child company as she was growing up (until she started playgroup at 3) and she is a confident, well rounded and bright 5 year old with loads of friends. My 2 year old has been going to toddler group since she was a baby and playing with her sister and other children and is far less confident. Do you think children benefit from being in the company of other children, or is it the adults in their lives that turn them into confident little people?
15 people like this
54 responses
@sunshine4 (8710)
• United States
26 Mar 07
Children definitely benefit from being around other children. If a child is just with adults all the time, they don't get to experience the socialization skills needed when they are older.
3 people like this
• United States
26 Mar 07
This is not meant as an insult toward you in any way!! I love the arguement that people pose about socialization skills that toddlers build in school or groups. I have seen children that young beating on each other over a toy. I would hope that these are not the kind of skills we want our children to learn. Our socialization skills grow and mature as we do. I would like to have my children grow into confident adults who can deal with people in many situations. I can say with great honesty and certainty that we are doing that. I can't tell you the number of people who compliment our children and how they behave and interact with them. A high school teacher was over the other night and even commented on how well she acted when she was introduced to him and the other people who came over. She even held the door for them when they came in. These are not skills they learned from their friends (and if you knew the kids around here you would understand) these are skills they learned at home. ** Again this was not meant to be directed at you just the general concept of preschool teaching our children socialization skills.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Mar 07
oops meant to say that was my younger daughter who I was talking about
1 person likes this
@mmiller26 (1932)
• Canada
26 Mar 07
This is a great question! My son was with me or his father pretty much 24/7 until he started school. He had playdates occasionally, and he was with a sitter for a short time when he was two, but all-in-all my husband and I raised him ourselves without outside interaction. My son is incredibly smart, confident, outgoing, etc. He knew his ABC's, 123's, shapes, colors, and even knew how to speak some spanish by the age of three. He's incredibly bright, so much so that instead of going into junior kindergarten when he was 4, they moved him to the senior kindergarten so he wouldn't be bored. But when he got into school, he started coming home with a foul temper and a foul mouth, and he's learning a lot of attitude from the other kids who think it's cool to behave that way. The other kids are having a big impact on who he's becoming and it bothers me. Yet I know that to boost him academically while stunting him socially isn't good either. And that if he wants to know how to interact with people when he grows up he needs to learn these skills now. Still, I hate that he has to learn to "toughen up" because he really is the most kind, gentle child I've ever seen. He shouldn't have to develop that thicker skin to deal with his peers.
26 Mar 07
Really there is no reason why he does have to toughen up. Just teach him to ignore the children who are rough and play with the gentle ones instead.
1 person likes this
• Germany
26 Mar 07
I am absolutly sure that children profit from other children. If they don't have other children to play, they will be lonely
2 people like this
• China
27 Mar 07
agree with you
@lonewolfnan (4367)
• Canada
27 Mar 07
Today (Mar 26)an announcement was made indicating that grade 6 kids who went to daycare have more problems working/getting along with their peers than their counterparts in the largest study done to date.I guess we are still finding out ALL the effects of daycare.I think it is a combination of adult AND peer interaction that makes for a confident child.
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
I believe children need other children, it's building up their social well-being. Parents train their kids, kids cope up and enjoy the company of persons their age. However, I'm amazed that your 2 year old mingle with other toddlers.Usually, children that age would want to play alone. I'm not saying they are aloof, but they enjoy "solo time" and they always claim than everything belongs to them (mine attitude). Ofcourse, children benefit greatly from mingling with other kids, they become independent and confident. They learn how to function within a group. And you could also gauge how they deal with other people (when growing up). Adults contribute to building up confidence by letting them children work independently. I'm not a parent yet, though, but I've got a lot of experience dealing with children and this response is also based on what I have learned in nursing school.
@PunkyMcPunk (1477)
• Canada
26 Mar 07
I live in the country. The youngest person that my son had interaction with was my 20 year old brother. Gabe is now in Junior Kindergarten and is the most popular child in class. Not that this is my goal. Actually I am very suprised by it. I thought he would be alienated because of his adult mannerisms and speech. In fact it has helped him to become a leader of sorts amoung his classmates. I was worried so that summer before school began I made a huge effort to get him out there at the park and beach to interact with children his age and it seemed to have worked.
2 people like this
@kathy77 (7488)
• Australia
26 Mar 07
Oh yes children do benefit a lot from being in the company of other children and especially around their age I find. I think that both applies when we have smaller children around us. And I do think that once your younger child starts going to playschool as well, as tolder group are very different to playschool.
2 people like this
• United States
26 Mar 07
I really think it depends upon the child. All of my children have had playgroups since they could walk. 2 are shy and 2 are not. I also think that first kids are smarter because they get all of the attention from mom and dad and learn more.
2 people like this
@bluewings (3857)
26 Mar 07
I think it takes both adult and children of their own age.The adults can love them and show them how things are done and their friends from their agegroup shows them that there are others like them who are falling and learning about life.They can understand each other better without exchanging any words and that's a beautiful language.However, the guidance ,company and love of adults is equally important when they need them around.
@mskzalameda (4036)
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
yes i do believe that children need other children wherein they can learn so many things bad or good it depends on the child if he will adopt this traits and apply it on his everyday lives. this is the start of the child's societal activities. here, he will learn the knowledge of things outside his home.
2 people like this
@joluha (344)
26 Mar 07
I have a very confident little two year old who doessn't mix a great deal with any other children but I do beleive it helps them to mix with children as well as adults..if my little boy talks to an adults he always get a response, however, when he tries to talk to other children they often ignore him and he seems quite upset by this - like why are they not talking to him..it's often because the other children don't converse so good. He has a little friend who has just started coming over to play and loves to be around him because I guess they are thinking the same things where as adults have to "try" to think like a child. I think it's nice to have a balance of both.
@rosie_123 (6118)
26 Mar 07
Well I think it depends a lot on the children - every one reacts differently - but as an only child, I have to say probably not as much as many people seem to think. I had no company from other kids really til I was 4, and went to Nursery, but I know I was pretty confident too, and never had problems mixing with other kids or making frends. My only problem, as I reacll, was a tendancy to get bored in the company of other kids, becausd I had been bought up with only adult conversation and company, so kiddies games bored me silly! LOL! I'm sure your younger daughter will be OK with time though - she may need just a little longer to find herself.
@cdparazo (5769)
• Philippines
26 Mar 07
I think it's the adults in the child's life who would make the child more confident. However, there are children who are innately shy by nature and needs more work to get them out of their shell. My daughter and my niece grew up together and both were exposed to the same environment, school and have the same friends. However, my niece came out very shy compared to my daughter inspite of our constant affirmations and encouragement. I would really say that children benefits from being in the company of other children since would learn how to relate to others at such very early age. They would also learn how to handle conflict, aggression and even competition. In effect, they would come out more intelligent emotionally and socially.
@KissThis (3008)
• United States
26 Mar 07
I think that every child needs to socialize but you really need to know your childs personality so that you can help them in a tough situation.Children who don't socialize as much have a tendency to be lonely.
@yanjiaren (9050)
26 Mar 07
It really is so different with every child. We are three sisters..growing up with the same parents but each of us hamndles situations so differently and confidence wise I really berlieve itis the combination of the child's character with the environment combined. I don't believe it is just external factors
2 people like this
@imadriscoll (2235)
• United States
27 Mar 07
I think that you could put twins in the same situation, give them the same amount of parental support and encouragement, give them the same amount of time with other children and they still might turn out completely different. I think that outside forces as well as internal forces determine the outcome of the personality of a child. Birth order could be an outside factor that plays a part in the way that your children end up too. If the first born is confident, it might "benefit" your second child to be timid ... perhaps you pay extra attention to them when she displays timidity?? My three children are all so very different even at age 3, 2, and 1 that I think personality is based on many different things including the way that they were created.
1 person likes this
• Canada
27 Mar 07
I think its the community as a whole that helps us mold our children into the beings they eventually become... I know that most of the kids that are the only child are a little different than if they had siblings...i think having a sister or a brother is more important than having alot of adults around them... They say that a child's personality is formed at as early as 18 months..maybe earlier, this just might be her personality, and it may have been the influences of other children and adults around her.. Your youngest daughter has a older sister, and she may be feeling that shes in competition with her, hard to say...I think any child would benefit from other kids and adults as long as its positive and not negative...
1 person likes this
• Philippines
27 Mar 07
it depends with the kid..try everything to know what suits the kid best toimprove her self esteem.
1 person likes this
@mamasan34 (6522)
• United States
27 Mar 07
Children do benefit from being around other children at that age. This is where the learn their social skills and put what you teach them into action. Children are all different in their own way, like you said, one child is very confident and the other isn't. I would talk to her and find out what the problem is, maybe there is something you can do to help her fix that problem. Is she just shy? or is she lacking self confidence? My friends daughter is deathly shy and it is very hard for her to speak up and make friends easily. Her father is the same way as well. My daughter used to be very shy as a child and she grew out of it, now I can't get her to be quiet! LOL, so maybe she will grow out of it as she gets older.
1 person likes this
@rapolu_cs (1184)
• India
27 Mar 07
Yes children need other children which increases their IQ and they feel more free and comfortable with the things around them and even they learn love effection to others and moeover they learn how to share and how to get out of a problem by themselves. But in some cases they even become more mischive by the bad company but it totally depends upon the kid as his age and mostly we should help them out by choosing their best company and good company,this even depends on parents also,it benefits a lot than the diseffects and moreover they build very good selfconfidence.