Many days I feel like I walk along a lot of very narrow, very high wires. As a mom (of more than one kid) I do a lot of juggling and negotiating and figuring. This week I took the girls to the park to get some energy out. Grace, the social butterfly, made friends with a large group of kids within five minutes. Abby, however, played spectator. This is the usual process for my two kids. On a good day Abby will jump on Grace's coat tales and play along with the other kids. She will often be in the background but she'll at least play. On bad days she will pout that she doesn't want to play with OTHER KIDS.
On this particular day Grace had the group playing superhero (within two minutes) and Abby wanted to be a princess. She asked if they wanted to play princesses and they all (in unison) said "NO". Abby cleverly responded with "well super heroes do need someone to save". :) They then ignored her. That's when my fine wire for the day appeared.
Do I urge grace to include her? Do I let them figure it out? Do I just sit and watch while Abby is on the outskirts for the millionth time? Do I give her the words to use to get involved? Do I let her learn on her own?
It felt like a bit of a lose-lose. I ended up letting her find her own way. She played "parallel" to them but never got involved. It pained me to watch her struggle socially... It always does. It's hard to explain what its like to parent a child with such social awkwardness. You feel like you just never win. She's not the shy or introverted type. Nor is she the typical awkward, goofy kid that just can't fit in. She just doesn't have the right tools to get involved with a group.
I guess the best approach is to keep the end goal in mind; a fairly well adjusted adult and do the best that you can.