For years, my daughter and I had the same conversation when I picked her up from daycare. Once the seat belts were buckled and the car was in drive, my daughter would ask, “What are we doing tonight?” The answer might be, “Visiting Mimi and Papa.” I could tell her that we were running to the store or the bank or the pharmacy. We could see any friend or family member in a 50 mile radius. The only unacceptable answer was, “We’re going home.”
Up until a few months ago, my daughter was a born social butterfly. She constantly wanted to be out and about, meeting people and running from place to place. This was the Brenna I knew and expected.
Then, something started to charge. Slowly but surely, my little girl stopped asking to visit her cousins or have dinner with her grandparents. She didn’t want to run errand with me, even if there was a chance of picking out a piece of candy in the check-out lane or getting a sticker from the bank-teller. More and more, all my daughter wanted was to stay home.
Now, our after-school conversations sound a little different. “Mom, do we have to go anywhere?” she’ll ask me as we drive home. It almost never matters what the activity is. If I say we’re going anywhere other than home, my little girl isn’t happy. She doesn’t throw too much of a fit if we invite friends to our house. But more than anything, my once-social little girl’s favorite activity is a night at home with her Momma playing with toys and reading books. She wants absolutely nothing else. Even birthday parties are just time away from the house, and she doesn’t care for them.
After months of this antisocial behavior, I started to get a little concerned about my daughter’s stay-at-home tendency. If I convinced her to go out with me, she always had a good time. She still played with her cousins and friends when they were together. I didn’t want to blow the whole thing out of proportion, but I didn’t understand the cause for the change in attitude.
First, I went to my normal resources. I asked my mom, my sister, my friends. Do kids just go through a homebody stage that I never knew about? Is this kind of antisocial behavior something that comes and goes, something to worry about?