"shy" 4 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So, ds1 seems to have heard somewhere that he is shy. I'm not sure, but I can certainly see that coming from my mil. In any case, he seems to be clinging to that label. My dh took him to and picked him up from his preschool summer camp yesterday. Ds1 told dh that everyone had snowcones, but he didn't. He said that they asked him if he wanted one, but he was too shy so he didn't answer. I'd really like to get him to think of himself some other way. I was/am "shy" and introverted and it is painful to see how he acts sometimes. I really think that if I can come up with a way to talk to him about it, things could be a bit different. I don't want or expect him to be crazy extroverted, but he is definitely holding back and keeping himself out of things more since I discovered the word shy. I guess I'm just asking for any advice on how to talk to him about this that doesn't involve pushing him to do things he doesn't want to do. I could tell him that it's okay to take a little while to warm up to people and situations, and that I'm the same way, but I'm afraid that will just get him to be more attached to the shy label.

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#2 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 10:46 AM
 
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My dd was very shy from birth and still is to a degree at almost 5. It seems more situational now. I know one thing that seemed to help her was when we were about to do something new (like meet new kids) I'd say "You are going to have so much fun and remember that you don't have to be shy--you can be any way you want to be." etc.etc. andit seemed to work. She just started chattering away!

Obviously this won't work for extremely shy kids, but I think for those who teeter in and out or who think they're shy b/c others put that label on them for being quiet and reserved----well....it might work for them.

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#3 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 11:20 AM
 
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Some "well-meaning" person told my oldest he was shy when he was about the same age?Maybe younger...ANYWAY, I simply told him that he's not shy, he's cautious! He of course perked up and asked what cautious meant. I told him cautious means you can pick who you talk to....you don't have to talk to everyone just because they want to talk to you.

He didn't suddenly become outgoing, but he seemed more....settled...in his own personality once I gave him some affirmation. Now, at 9 yrs old, he's quite a leader in his group of friends, but still not really chatty until he gets to know you.
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#4 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 11:25 AM
 
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we talk to dd about "feeling" shy. it's not who she is, but how she feels sometimes. if he can distinguish the difference, it could help him a lot.
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#5 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 11:33 AM
 
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I could have written the OP!
My DS has never been super-extroverted but was never, per se, "shy" until, somewhere around the time he turned four and transitioned from PT daycare to kindergarden, he picked up the label.
I find it so tough, as well, since I'm naturally introverted, but I've made myself appear open and friendly and outgoing. It is also hard because I want to honor his desires and needs while still teaching him that if someone acknowledges him (by saying "hi" or waving) that he needs to at least respond in some way.
Anyway, I've started saying to him, "well, it's ok to be shy, but I don't think you are shy because you have no problem talking to X,Y, Z" and then I remind him of unshy ways in which he's behaved. It seems to work.
FWIW: It really annoys me when people label our kids and then they internalize it. GRRRR . . .
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#6 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 11:45 AM
 
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Best proven way to solve this problem is to show ds1 a role model who is bold. Contrary to your expectation, this should not be some outgoing dude in high school, but rather a kid who is ds1's age. Let them hang out for a time period and watch him change.
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#7 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the replies. We are going back to soccer practice again tonight. Last week was his first time and he said he was shy and ended up missing turns to do things. I'm going to try to emphasize the fun part of it and if being shy comes up I'll have to figure out whether I want to switch it to cautious, or focus on it being a feeling and not who he is..

Marie-Mom to two boys and a girl.
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#8 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 04:06 PM
 
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How to Talk so Kids will Listen has a chapter on helping children move past labels. The main idea I've used from that is to notice positive things dd does and comment on them to DH when I know she can hear. So if she was talking about being shy, I might say "DD said hello to two people at the store today!" or something else that shows she is not always shy.
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#9 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for mentioning that book. I lent it to my mom and I've been meaning to get it back. I'll have to reread that chapter. Soccer went pretty well tonight. I was very positive about it. Had to go out on the field with him and kind of lead him into starting, but after a while he was doing things without anyone having to give him an extra push. Another boy cried and sat with his mom for a while and I could tell that Desmond was concerned about him. He mentioned the boy on the way home and I said he'd have to be extra nice to the boy to help him feel comfortable and he agreed. I just hope other kids and paretns will look at my son that way, too, and want to help feel comfortable rather than focusing on his sometimes odd habits when he isn't feeling up to something. Anyway, I'm rambling.

Marie-Mom to two boys and a girl.
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#10 of 12 Old 06-19-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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In addition to cautious, we often say that our son "needs time to warm up" -- because once he knows people, he can be quite chatty. He just needs time to watch and listen before he throws himself in. The world needs listeners too, or those extroverts would never have anyone to talk to!

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#11 of 12 Old 06-20-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobica View Post
we talk to dd about "feeling" shy. it's not who she is, but how she feels sometimes. if he can distinguish the difference, it could help him a lot.
WORD!

I use this for my 4 year old who is like - the first one in the spotlight. Even she has times where she is FEELING shy (or cautious) at the moment. As do I and I'm pretty extroverted.

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#12 of 12 Old 06-23-2007, 12:15 PM
 
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My daughter was shy, when she was 4 years old.
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