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#1 of 5 Old 07-03-2011, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!

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#2 of 5 Old 07-04-2011, 06:58 AM
 
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I just want to say that a 3 yr old with a sophisticated vocabulary relative to her peers WILL feel very lonely in class. It may also be hard for her to understand adults' expectations when they coo and talk to her in baby language. It may also be hard for her to navigate social conversations because she is operating on an older mental age, but doesn't have the social experience.  If it's any help, I find it useful to teach my two boys phrases they can use to get themselves out of social situations, or just how to make a polite excuse when they do not want to continue the conversation in a certain way. That helps them a lot.

 

 

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#3 of 5 Old 07-04-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whooshk8 View Post


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.


I would respectfully suggest if the system or "rules" aren't working, then it may be time to move on to something else that works better. What works in a classroom of children may be very different than what works with a bright/sensitive single child at home.

 

Personally I'm not a big fan of the forced apology. I don't think it teaches kids to really understand other people's perspective and to want to be respectful of them. It teaches kids that apologizing is something to be forced on people and that you should say it whether or not you really feel it. Over the long term this can lead to adults who feel like apologizing is all about losing face and that's not great for adult relationships. What we've found is that by being very gentle and encouraging about taking breaks, responsibility and apologies flow easily from that and they are more meaningful than any "sorry" through gritted teeth.

 

To me the value in a time out is teaching the real world skill of recognizing that sometimes you are emotionally or physically spent and you need to take a break to calm down. If she's already calmed down before the time out starts it is instead is sort of treating it like a kind of jail time to be served. When that's happening over half an hour after the incident that seems like it is adding so many extra layers of stuff to be upset about. Most likely the original half an hour of upset relates to the fact that she's intense and hard on herself. Adding the punishment is like adding fuel to the fire.

 

So, I have two suggestions. The first would be to try to shed your years of training about what works and to consider some different methods of discipline. Some suggestions would include books by Jane Nelsen, Alfie Kohn, and also the book The Explosive Child by Ross Green. I would also suggest the book the Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by James Webb. It is a really good book and there is some helpful information about discipline.  Since following "the rules" hasn't really been working, there is really no loss in trying something new.

 

My second suggestion is that you may want to post some examples of big tantrums and see if we can figure out a pattern or something else that can change. As I'm sure you know prevention is a big part of avoiding problems at that age. It is sometimes easier to spot how to do that in a classroom with structure and routine, than at home.

 

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#4 of 5 Old 07-04-2011, 08:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whooshk8 View Post

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.

from ur words what i translate is she does not like crowds.

 

she is 3.

 

she has time. my friends son could not do so till he started first grade. his parents followed his direction and didnt take him to most crowded places except for a few times when it was unavoidable.

 

so what i say is dont push the issue. friend's ds was also shy in public but the opposite with dd. so they spent a lot of time together. its only really in 3rd grade has he changed completely. quite the social butterfly i must say. looking at him now you can never beleve that he was who he was. 

 

give her space. give her time. just coz she is the way she is at 3, doesnt mean she will be that for the rest of her life. 

 

they go through many changes. dd at 3 refused to go to one sunday school. i was church hopping trying to find my home. i didnt force her. finally i found a temple where i was comfortable and finally at 4 dd told me i could take her to sunday school. 

 

tantrums are a way to process emotions. i dont think she really knows what's going on when she is throwing a tantrum so making her apologize is pointless. make sure you have followed the 3 golden rules to make sure you can reduce the number of tantrums .1. enough food in her belly 2. enough rest/sleep 3. enough exercise. 

 

3 is the beginning of tantrums. i think it peaks at 3 or 4, by 5 they have far more intense tantrums but not that many. roar has given you some excellent advice which i completely second. 

 

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#5 of 5 Old 07-04-2011, 10:24 PM
 
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You have already received some very wise advice. I second everything Roar has said: parenting is different from managing classrooms of other people's kids, as you've discovered. It's a most humbling experience. Everything you though you knew about raising kids means nothing once you're actually doing it. The dynamic is different. The struggle between love and anxiety and control and letting go and holding tight ... it's just a whole different kettle of fish.

 

I completely agree also about forced apologies (which are, IMO, more about control than contrition and repentance). And I wonder about the purpose of the time-outs you're using. I'm not a fan of punitive parenting myself. I tried a few stabs at it when my eldest was very young, but she responded with the kind of tenacious fury you're describing and I quickly realized it was not working. I reached instead for Jane Nelson and Alfie Kohn and things got SO much easier and better between us.

 

My dd was also shy to the point of muteness. At 3 I put her in preschool to try to help her come out of her shell a little and she tolerated it fine. But over the course of a few months she got more articulate and more self-aware, and finally she came out with a comment similar to what your dd said about Sunday School. She said "I don't like preschool. There are too many kids, and they're aggressive. And it takes up too much of my learning time." She admitted she had never liked preschool, but she knew she was supposed to like it, that I wanted her to like it, so she was scared to say she didn't. We ended up pulling her out of preschool and honouring her own social-emotional-developmental timetable for group activities.

 

It doesn't seem to have stunted her development. It kept her happy as a youngster and when she was ready she blossomed socially. At 17 she is having the time of her life at a prestigious full-ride scholarship orchestra program on a university campus, she is moving away from home to pursue her professional dreams, she has travelled with friends for months in the third world. In short giving her the security she craved as a youngster filled her up with the confidence to soar on her own when she was ready.

 

I would encourage you to listen to your daughter: she is telling you that at age 3 she needs the intimacy and security of family rather than large-group experiences, and she is telling you that parenting approaches based on control and punishment are not working for her. 

 

Good luck!

 

Miranda


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