Originally Posted by Petie1104
Maybe my issue is just that I'm not shy, none of the other kids are shy, so I'm having a hard time understanding him. I wish I could help him with this but if I ask him why he does these things, then all of a sudden he'll curl up and hide from me. It is so aggravating to me, simply because I've got three that won't stop talking, and then it's hard to get him to talk to me when I want to understand what is going through his head. I'm used to telling children to stop talking, not begging them to start talking.
I do have to say, he does do a little better if it's one on one. So Spring Lily you have a point there. But even then, one on one, it takes about 5 to 10 minutes for him to warm up to any stranger, and then he'll answer questions but he won't actually start a conversation with them. I haven't had him near a stranger one on one long enough to see how long it would take for him to start a conversation. Me, I'm the annoying one that will start a conversation if I've got 30 seconds available. I just need to get some perspective on him and how he sees things. Why is this world so scary to him?
Bolding mine. I'll put this as gently as possible, but if you ask him why he does these things, how can he do anything except feel awful about himself? He will only see he is not as good (read extroverted) as you and his siblings. This can backfire and make him clam up even more and be more introverted. And if you keep telling him, or other people when he can clearly hear you, that he is shy, then he will only become more shy, not less so.
Maybe because you and your other three children are so social, you have extremely high expectations for extroversion. Maybe your son is slightly shy, or a little shy, but because you are such extroverts, he seems an introvert, when in reality he is only an introvert in comparison to the rest of you.
You say it takes him 5-10 minutes to warm up to a stranger. In my book this is not shy, this is normal. Many kids hold back, watch the scenes unfold, and only join in after 10 minutes, or even 30 minutes, or maybe only after having met the person a few times first. Many people enjoy one on one a lot more, or even 2 or 3, but are not overjoyed when presented with a huge group of 30 people. It does not make them afraid of the world, it only means they enjoy a few people they know better than 30 strangers. So what may be best for this type of person would be a few consistent play dates with 1 or 2 other kids. I encourage you to step back and accept him and respect him the way he is. Stop trying to change him. It will only hurt his feelings and damage his confidence, knowing he is never quite measuring up to your standards.
I have one very social extrovert. She gets every social cue, is very popular, tries everything and knows the world is at her feet. I have one thoughtful, introvert. He misses some social cues, has a few close friends and does not like huge gatherings. He will not be the first to run up to strangers and say hi, I am X, lets do Y. In fact, he may be the last. But when I coaxed and encouraged him to join in, it only backfired and made him feel bad. When I backed off completely, and let him slowly join in, at his own pace, and respected that he would know what he was / was not comfortable with, he blossomed. My boy who used to sweat in pure terror on walking into a room with 50 people will now watch a few minutes, eventually play with the other kids, and by the end will have built a fort for all the kids and will be directing the play. He is not going to be the the first to start up the football game, but he is loved and he will be one of the first picked for the team. He has his friends and is happy. Part of it was age. He is much more extroverted at 6 than he was at 3. But I think part of it was letting him be the person he is, and respecting that completely. Let your son lead. He will do it, his own way.