Join Date: May 2005
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Is the shyness affecting her quality of life? Is she unhappy? Shyness is not necessarily a bad thing.
If it were affecting her quality of life, then I'd say start by pursuing it with her daycare teachers. See what their opinion is.
|I know one of the little boys' mother has told me that he wants to talk more to my dd, but she doesn't talk to him. I've seen her point blank ignore this little boy when I was waiting once for the teacher, and he seemed to genuinely want to talk with her, but she just kept looking away from him.|
Hey everybody, Miss Information PM'd me because she had seen my article about having been a shy child. I hadn't been looking at this forum so hadn't seen the thread. I'm going to put most of my reply here rather than PM in case it might be helpful to other moms too.
Shyness and introversion are not the same thing. Here's an article on shyness with some good advice about social situations. Important point: Introverts prefer solitary to social activities, but do not fear social encounters like shy people do. "If you see two people standing by a wall at a party," Carducci says, "the introvert is there because he wants to be. The shy person is there because he feels like he has to be." Read that and Caring for Your Introvert and see which one sounds more like your daughter. (I added these and a couple more links to the bottom of my article.) Does she need a lot of alone time at home? Does she talk much about other people and their activities, or is she more "living in her own world"?
Based on my own experiences at school, I think that doing well in written work and following instructions will make teachers aware that she is learning. Expect to hear some concern from teachers if she doesn't speak when they ask her to. (I generally did respond verbally when that was expected of me, unless I was put in a really really difficult spot, so I don't know what would have happened if I had refused to speak at all.) It sounds like she has a good environment for "warming up" to school, and after another year there she may make a lot more progress than you expect. Yes, probably someday she will have a teacher who just doesn't understand and treats her poorly. When that happens, you will cuddle your daughter on your lap and practice active listening, and then you will schedule a conference with the teacher and (instead of ripping her to shreds, as you will want to do) you'll patiently explain that the harsh approach is not necessary to motivate your child and give concrete suggestions about how to work with her.
I like the idea of setting up one-on-one playdates (once your kids are healthy!) with kids who interest your daughter. That worked well for me.
Did you talk with her about this? Maybe there is something about him specifically that bothers her, and you could help her work through it. Maybe he's happened to approach her when she was preoccupied with something else, and she didn't realize she was hurting his feelings by not responding.
It's not so bad being an observer. All through preschool and elementary school, I rarely did anything on the playground but walk around observing the other kids. I grew up to become a developmental psychologist.
I am unclear as to why you want to put her in an early intervention program. You don't indicate that she is suffering on the academic side or that she has any emotional problems. She is just an introvert (or possibly just plain shy). There is nothing wrong with either of those things, certainly nothing that requires professional intervention.
I would simply find a school that fits her personality rather than trying to get her personality to fit the school. Not all children (heck, not all people) enjoy doing group activities. It sounds like she would do really well in a Montessori program, for example, or some other school that uses developmental pedagogy focusing on individual rather than group activities.
Incidentally, just to underline the fact that shyness and introversion really are two different things, my DD is extremly shy BUT also an EXTRAVERT. She cowers behind me in new situations but once she is comfortable in a group, she participates big time.
I prefer saying "you are feeling shy" to "you are shy". She seems comfortable with the word as a way to let you know what's going on with her, so I would just subtly correct the usage:
dd: I didn't talk to him 'cause I'm shy.
mom: Oh, you were feeling shy? Well, sometimes you do feel shy and don't want to talk, but sometimes you just talk our ears off, don't you?
Let her know that she can feel shy and it's okay, but she can feel talkative or outgoing (at home, with grandma, etc) and that's okay, too. Sometimes we're happy, sometimes we're sad, sometimes we're silly, sometimes we're mad, etc...
|Right now, I do a lot of montessori sensory and practical life things with her at home, but I never really thought about actually putting her in a M school. Maybe it's something I can at least look into. I have 1.5 years yet before I have to make a decision|
It's a Delight-Filled Life.
All of what you describe sounds within the realm of normal to me. Rather than "get her evaluated", I think you should work on "finding help for us to get along together and at school." Look for a family therapist who can meet with both of you (or the whole family) and help you learn effective tactics for coping with your daughter's behavior while also helping her learn more effective ways to express her feelings and to feel safe in public.
Ok i have now read your full explanation and I get it. It sounds like she is incredibly sensitive and is indeed, as you put it I think, incapable of "emotional self-regulation".
I think you really do need to help her through this because she will have a very hard time in life if this is not nipped in the bud. Not only will she be very disappointed all the time but no one will like her. Now that I have read the whole thing, I would actually KEEP her in a play-based, group environment at school because I think that she could use as much group interaction as possible.
I would not put her in anything like Early Intervention because it does not sound like she needs help academically or with motor skills or anything like that but I would definitely get her some counseling with a good child counsellor or child psychologist to help her deal with her emotions when things don't go her way.
Hope this helps and good luck!
|I probably should go through some of the posts I've made about her on another message board, and compile them to get a complete picture of her. If I do take her to a psychologist, at least I'd have a pretty accurate history of some of her episodes. I don't want to find out what's "wrong" with her or to medicate her. I want to find out exactly who she is so I can help her.|
|She is incredibly INTENSE...LOUD...NEGATIVE...DEMANDING...PERSISTENT ...
but at the same time, can be incredibly cuddly and very empathic.
|Strong reactions from others wound her deeply. Even just being firm or raising our voices or telling her she did something wrong or hurtful will end up making her run from the room in tears.|
|It would be a 60-40 chance she'd wake up either crabby or peaceful. And often she would have gotten locked into her emotional state.|
|Right now, most times, she wouldn't use her words to communicate her needs (and she was quite capable of it, because she's been speaking in complete sentences since age 2).|
|She often wants to be babied, and only recently has been wiping herself when toileting.|
|She's teetering on a meltdown right now because I'm not addressing her needs, she's at a puddle on the floor crying because I'm not jumping up to get her fish crackers. Well, technically there are fish crackers in a bowl, but she doesn't want those crackers, she wants her own crackers.|
|So, while to some it may be normal. I don't think it's very normal.|
|That's why I look for answers and help. Because it's that, or... well I don't want to think about the or. I've wanted to run away from mothering because of dealing with this. Seriously. Walk away for good and find a new life without kids. Not a good situation for either of us.|
I'm glad it helped, even if only to know there are other souls commiserating with you.
DD1 had a play at school today and the kids created their own costumes, etc. Well, I knew I'd better get there a little in advance because dd1 had been grumbling and griping and saying "I quit the play" and "I hate my costume", etc for awhile now and then alternately being very excited about it. Unfortunately I did not get there early enough to circumvent the meltdown, but I did get there in time to sop it up and fix the costume and paint her face and get her happy and then "tra, la, la, la" nothing had ever been wrong and she was the star of the show (at least in her eyes). She has no stage fright what so ever, but gets really anxious about things being "right" (in her eyes) so once she was satisfied with her costume, etc., it was okay. She actually did really great and loved it and all the kids were wonderful, but both teachers were saying to me as soon as I got there, "so glad you're here" in a very meaningful way. Oh that girl!
I think giftedness can probably 'cause some emotional issues. I think dd1 is certainly bright, but her verbal and auditory abilities are so far ahead and have always been so far ahead of her writing and reading skills that she is very easily frustrated with trying to sound out words. "That's a baby book!" I think she wants to just jump right into reading chapter books and skip the learning to read stage. She was an early talker, too, and just would listen and tell stories all day long.
Hope things get easier for you and connections closer .
I would not be afraid. Growing takes care of a lot of it. We have a dear boy from Bangladesh who sounds a lot like your DD. Or at least, he was last year. He used to cry every day and hide in a corner, and never, ever spoke. He didn't speak the language, poor little guy, and his culture is probably quieter than that of the rest of my rough and tumble kids. Now he is cheerful, sweet, still a little shy, but loves to chat. He's light years better. Maybe your dd is on the same path.
"Normal" and "typical" are not the same thing. I think your daughter is within the range of normal but toward the edge of that range. It's not only abnormal people who sometimes need special attention and help to function optimally. Your feeling that something is off-kilter here and needs attention is completely warranted.
By suggesting family therapy, I didn't mean to suggest that the problem lies with you or your parenting rather than your daughter's natural temperament. What I'm thinking is that at her age, therapeutic techniques for her alone are pretty limited, so things that you and she can do together may be more effective.
It sounds to me like there are two separate things going on in this one little package:
1. She is shy or introverted or experiencing some type of social anxiety.
2. She is emotionally highly sensitive and explosive.
Those two things interact, and both are involved at once in some situations, but they're different.
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