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Please suppose that a kindergarten teacher notices that a child tends to separate himself from the other children and this behavior is getting more severe as time passes. The teacher decides to inform it to the child's parents. Does the self-made sentence below work here and sound natural? If not, I was wondering if you could tell me how a native speaker would say the same thing:

  • Your child seems to be a loner and I have no idea why he keeps isolating himself from the other children.
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    I suppose you mean severe instead of serve? – Glorfindel Dec 24 '16 at 11:31
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    And the sentence sounds absolutely natural to me, but I'm not a native speaker. – Glorfindel Dec 24 '16 at 11:32
  • @Glorfindel yes you were right. Thank you for pointing to the typo. I'll edit my context. :) – A-friend Dec 24 '16 at 11:52
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    The direct object of inform is not the fact but the person(s) to whom the fact is told. "Inform it" is ungrammatical. "The teacher decides to inform the child's parents of this behavior". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 24 '16 at 12:17
  • Thank you @TRomano. I'll try not to repeat it again. :) – A-friend Dec 24 '16 at 12:18
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These kinds of sentences are always very difficult to tell parents. Your sentence is a little harsh especially using

I have no idea why...

Usually it is expected that a teacher would be able to observe the reasons for most behavior based on his/her experience, and the teacher will try to soften the language

He plays with the other children some of the time.
He's very independent and plays by himself.

Unless it is a severe case, it's usually up to the parents to read the signals the teacher is sending and ask followup questions.

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As others have mentioned, your example is perfectly fine. However both "loner" and "isolate" are harsh terms that many teachers might refrain from using, because it implies extreme behavior. Instead they can soften their advice to the parents with something like:

Your child seems to have trouble making friends.

Your child seems not to have many (or any) friends.

Your child seems to prefer to play by himself.

Your child keeps to himself most of the time and doesn't seem to want to join the other children.

Your child seems to prefer his own company and doesn't like to play with the other children.

Your child doesn't seem to want to participate in group activities with the other children.

And so on. Notice I use "seem to" and "prefer" to indicate it's my personal observation or impression and not necessarily an objective fact. Even if it is true, teachers know that parents can be sensitive about their children and couch their advice in careful language to avoid confrontation or even legal repercussions.

Additionally the language focuses on the behavior and not the cause of the behavior. Saying a child is a "loner" implies that the child's fundamental personality is to want to be alone. But the behavior could be due to any number of external factors, from bullying, to developmental issues, or even abuse of some kind. It's safer (and more accurate) for the teacher to talk about what she has actually observed and not jump to any conclusions.

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