Parents of slow to warm up children, take heart! - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > Parents of slow to warm up children, take heart!
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 09:47 PM 09-17-2010
Ds is the quintessential slow to warm up child. He was the child on the sidelines at every single birthday party as a preschooler. He would finally decide he might want to try something about 10 minutes before the party was over. He didn't want to do any classes. He wouldn't stay in the church nursery until he was close to 5.

We had him try a few things (one disastrous soccer class at age 3, which we stopped after a few weeks), soccer in 1st grade. But really, he didn't want to do anything.

Last year (3rd grade, age 8), we saw a little progress. He asked to do soccer and didn't mind it. We encouraged him to try the school's after school program and told him that he could quit if he wanted to. He tried it and liked it! By the spring, he was enthusiastic about baseball.

This year, he's in 4th grade (age 9). Not only is he asking to do sports, he's beginning to volunteer for things! He wanted to volunteer for library helper at school. When our nursery attendant at church asked him if he wanted to volunteer to play with the kids during service, he said "yes!" Last year at this time, his answer was "no." In the spring it was "maybe." Now we're up to "yes".

I'm convinced that AP has helped him blossom. Part of it is his development, of course, but partly it was listening to his needs at the time. We gave him the space and the connection that he needed to become confident. We didn't always get it right; it's such a fine balance to walk between listening to your child's needs and encouraging them to try new things. Sometimes we went too far one way or the other.

But if you're convinced that your clingy, slow to warm up child who always says no to everything will stay that way for life, take heart! Ds still needs lots of time to think about things. His first reaction will always be: "let me think" and not "yes". But we've learned that now. And we know to ask again. If it's "no" 2 or 3 times, that means "no". If it's 'no', then 'maybe', that's probably going to become 'yes' eventually.

AllisonR's Avatar AllisonR 08:09 PM 09-18-2010
He sounds lovely.
madskye's Avatar madskye 11:26 AM 09-19-2010
That's great!
shahjehan's Avatar shahjehan 11:34 AM 09-19-2010
Thanks for sharing this! He sounds like a great kid, and gives me hope for my 4 yo DD to blossom more. I think all these slow to warm up kids will do great as teenagers when they say no to peer pressure and impulsivity, right?
Neera's Avatar Neera 09:40 PM 09-20-2010
Thanks. That gives me hope. We were recently at a party that dc had been waiting for and then was the only or probably there were 2 of them that didn't particpate in any of the activities. There were like at least 25 or more kids.
OkiMom's Avatar OkiMom 10:42 PM 09-20-2010
Thanks! Ive been being told a lot lately I should "make" DD go do stuff more because she is slow to warm up to people/new situations. My heart and mind says no so I haven't but Im glad im not the only parent that doesn't force their kids into new situations. Shes 3.5 now and she reminds me so much of me when I was younger I know eventually she will grow into a more social person.
I do kind of wish she would talk more to other people since people keep asking me if she talks. Most people outside of family and close friends have never heard her say anything.
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 03:06 AM 09-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by OkiMom View Post
I do kind of wish she would talk more to other people since people keep asking me if she talks. Most people outside of family and close friends have never heard her say anything.
People in our neighborhood thought the same thing about ds. He was actually amazingly talkative at home, and had some really profound insightful statements/ questions. But no one else ever heard them. A number of our neighbors have commented this summer that he's "really coming around" because he's able to converse more with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neera View Post
Thanks. That gives me hope. We were recently at a party that dc had been waiting for and then was the only or probably there were 2 of them that didn't particpate in any of the activities. There were like at least 25 or more kids.
25 or more kids would have been a complete disaster for ds -- he would have been completely overwhelmed by the noise and the numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shahjehan View Post
Thanks for sharing this! He sounds like a great kid, and gives me hope for my 4 yo DD to blossom more. I think all these slow to warm up kids will do great as teenagers when they say no to peer pressure and impulsivity, right?
I can only hope, though my similarly slow to warm up brother was very easily led. But I think that ds is more cautious and more confident. He has no problem walking away when other kids are playing something he's just not interested in.
OkiMom's Avatar OkiMom 09:17 AM 09-21-2010
Lynn, my daughter is also amazingly talkative at home. She never shuts up, she has fallen asleep in the middle of a question then woke up a couple of minutes later to finish asking it. I laugh when people ask me about her speech because honestly she never stops talking when its me and her or DH, me, DD2 and her. Her newest non-stop topic is babies "Mommy, why does that baby drink a bottle but I never did?" "mommy how can babies breath in their mommy's tummies?" "Mommy, why does it take so long for the baby to come out?" "Mommy if its a girl can we exchange her for a boy?"
Neera's Avatar Neera 12:40 PM 09-21-2010
[QUOTE=LynnS6;15865660]



25 or more kids would have been a complete disaster for ds -- he would have been completely overwhelmed by the noise and the numbers.



QUOTE]

I realized that but she is not always like that. She wouldn't, but now has started talking a lot to people. Now, she'll smile at strangers sometimes (women only). She loves her doctor and told her so. We seen the doctor a dozen times; not someone she knows from a long time. She talks to staff at the library and is a favorite of one of them. She'll play with the neighbors kids and even gets rude with the older girls, since she doesn't really know how to play properly yet. Earlier she wouldn't be able to get a word out. But, then she has these moments of freezing up. She did this at parks at the start of summer - just sat and watched other kids. We tried the daycare for a couple of hrs a day and she never played in the backyard as was reported to me. So, I guess I have a mixed sort of child.
Alison's Mom's Avatar Alison's Mom 03:33 AM 09-22-2010
Thanks Lynn, for sharing your experience. My 5yo DD is like this, too, and it has been frustrating at times because not only does she not want to participate, she gets really snippy and rude toward DH and me if *we* try to talk to people at a party, with her hanging on to us, and telling us repeatedly that she wants to go home.

I think she would be happiest either to hardly ever leave the house, only go places where there were no other people, or only a small number of people whom she all knew well, or having 1 friend over for a playdate. Most other scenarios take at least lots of prepping, then being really really patient with her as she warms up to the new environment, and even then we get plenty of rude comments and mean remarks from her. It's hard because DS is opposite and will just jump head first into anything that looks fun, and he misses out because it's so impossible for me to take them anywhere together (like Science World, the Zoo, etc) unless DH is with us, because when we get there, she doesn't want to do anything and sulks.

It's frustrating when every other child is having fun in the bouncy castle, and my kid is being totally rude towards us, and not allowing us to mingle with the other adults at the get-together. . . .

What I've tried doing is empathizing, saying that I realize she feels uncomfortable because she doesn't know all the kids, etc, but that we are not leaving for another X minutes, and while we are there, she can choose to participate and have fun, or not try to do anything fun. Usually she does come around, but like you said with your DS, it's usually when the party is almost over. Sigh.
K1329's Avatar K1329 01:22 PM 09-24-2010
That's wonderful! My dd has slowly warmed up over the years, too! It's amazing to watch them gain that maturity and confidence.

Referencing the party posts - it always helped dd to be one of the first to arrive at a party. She could get comfortable and relax before everyone else arrived and didn't have to walk into an overwhelming situation. For a long time, we got to every party a few minutes early!
moonmama22's Avatar moonmama22 01:41 PM 10-01-2010
My 6yo ds has always been like this too. Super chatty, non-stop, at home, but SO shy and withdrawn most of the time in public. He would love to stay home most of the time, and just have friends over our house. Sleepovers have been few and very difficult, even at his grandparent's houses. However, I have seen a lot of improvement in the last year. He loves soccer and baseball, and has been slowly feeling more comfortable in his classroom, where he does not have any of his friends from last year...

Thank you Lynn, and other pps for sharing your experiences. It can be so frustrating and it is nice to know others are getting through it and making positive changes!!!
tryingfortwo's Avatar tryingfortwo 04:52 AM 10-09-2010
Thank you so much for posting this (and replying to my other threaad, directing me here ) It is exactly what I needed to read right now, and I will be showing DH as well. It's one of those things where you just need a glimpse into the future to know you are on the right path - but without that glimpse, you wonder if you're doing the right thing. I'll continue to let DS (3.5yo) decide what he's ready for, and support him in his decision.

One question, maybe other parents of slow-to-warm kids can answer it here. Often I want to explain DS's reluctance to participate, just so that other people aren't trying to pull him into something when I am okay with him staying on the sidelines if that's what he wants. I really don't like to label him, but I don't know how to say he's slow-to-warm or cautious or whatever. And I really don't want to say shy, because I actually don't think he's shy at all - just very cautious. Should I just let it be and not say anything at all? That he just needs some time to get comfortable with things? Just curious how others handle this, if at all...
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 04:38 AM 10-10-2010
Thanks!

I usually said "He takes a little time to warm up. He likes to watch." I could tell that ds was learning a lot through watching because it came out in his play. He likes to observe and he's very observant. I think it helps me to remember that being observant is one of his strengths. What I wish I had was a magic ball to let me know when to push him into participating and when to just let him be!
LynnS6's Avatar LynnS6 04:22 AM 10-12-2010
He volunteered on Sunday to acolyte at church. This involves standing in front of the whole congregation and helping serve communion, so this is huge!

This is the e-mail I got from his Sunday School teacher. She's taught him since he was 2. He didn't talk to her at all until he was about 5!

"Mr. B. who coordinates the Acolytes (training and scheduling) came to Sunday School today to talk about this way to serve. Two classmates already serve; one is trained and going to be scheduled soon.
And to my astonishment, the only other child in class to express interest in acolyting -- rather enthusiastically I might add -- was your son!

He was very excited about being trained and scheduled. I'm excited to be able to see him in such a grown-up, leadership role! "

People who know him know how huge this is. They're all thrilled.

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