I'm a 42 year old single father of a 13 year old daughter. She's always been a very shy kid, never had friends and refused to try and seek contact to her peers. However, she's a brights student, reads a lot and has remarkable plans for her age ("definitely wants to do a PhD and work for National Geographic"). She never really seemed to mind not having friends and actually found it stressful when I pushed her to activities than when she stays home with her books and drawings. Our therapist said I should let her choose if she wants to make contact to others or not so I don't push her anymore even when it breaks my heart seeing her spending every day alone. Lately, she started to seek a lot of affection from me and I'm not sure if it's normal for a 13 year old to behave this way towards her father. It started with panic attacks and run away atempts. During the panick attacks, I took her in my arms until she calmed down. It took a few minutes, but after that she wanted to stay in my arms for at least half an hour. Then, she started to "partly run away". She literally just ran away few meters behind the yard to the forest and waited for me to come. I sat down next to her and we talked and I also gave her a hug. As she again wanted to stay in my arms even after our talk I started to suspect she literally just runs away because she knows I will hug her afterwards. I talked to our therapist, and she said, I should show her more affection during the day. So I did and the run aways stopped. However, now she hugs me at least ten times a day and when we watch a movie she wants to be in my arms the whole time. I don't mind but I'm concerned. I also know that she told the therapist that "her biggest fear is that I'm disappointed in her because I would rather have a daughter that is just like all the other extroverted kids with lots of friends and that she doesn't feel good enough for me." I didn't answer anything to that statement and that's the reason I'm writing in this forum. Because she's right. Well, I'm not disapointed in her but I would wish for her to have at least one friend. She on the other hand doesn't seem to mind being a loner, she's only worried I don't accept her this way. I tell her so often that I'm proud of her, that I love her, that I'm here for her and I've never refused when she wanted to hug me. But I just don't understand her. I don't understand her wanting to be alone all the time (She talks to people, but is very shy and polite and doesn't pursue longterm friendships) and especially I don't understand her wanting so much physical affection from me. I'd be thankful for some suggestions why she's behaving this way. Our therapist said she's not autistic, not an asperger, she's just this way. My parenting style is something between authoritative and free range. We don't have any rules and she never gets punished (but she actually also never missbehaves). Her mom left us 12 years ago and we don't have any contact to her.
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