I am so grateful for your posts! I have an amazing 3 year old, who seems like she is going on 13 sometimes! Everyone is always praising me for how brilliant she is (reading simple words before 2, a vocabulary that amazes me, etc.), but raise their eyebrows at how painfully shy she is. I have tried encouraging her to socialize with kids her age, demanded it at times, and allowed her to stay by my side the whole time. Nothing seems to bring her out of her shell.
Someone once told me, "Just because she is shy, doesn't mean she is unhappy. Let her be shy." Unfortunately, the other day on the way to her very familiar Sunday School she told me, "I don't want to go to church. It's too crowded. When I am in crowds I feel even more alone." It broke my heart.
She is SUPER social with a few select friends she has had for years, but anyone else, even people she has seen a thousand times, she is mute, almost rudely so.
I also deal with INSANE tantrums. She is a very good girl, and doesn't need discipline as often as her peers, but when a time out is required, or any act that has a control element, she goes nuts! She is very independent and is infuriated by demands. I am an ECE college professor and an elementary school teacher, who can control a class full of wacky kids or direct teachers on how to care for their own kiddos, but feel embarrassed when I can't handle my own little girl. At home, I make her calm down before the time out begins (sometimes up to 30 minutes), and even then she will sometimes refuse to apologize at first. I am always consistent. I follow all of the "rules," but boy is it a big production. And in public....I get many stares.
She also gets very focused on things and can't be pulled away, as many of you explained. My husband is the same way, and was told he had petit mal seizures as a kid, which I think was really ADD.
I don't want to label her with something just to have a name, but I do want to know how to help her!