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  • How to help shy child advice please

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    Last edited by Sirena89; 18-06-2021, 23:30.

  • #2
    I know your heart is in the right place so I am saying the following in the kindest way possible, but perhaps that child doesn't feel like they are missing out? What you might view as missing out, the child might view as observing and easing into a situation.

    And maybe they are content with talking to their peers and don't feel the need to engage in conversation with adults?

    Also, putting aside inborn personality traits, at only 4.5 years of age they are just barely aware of the rules of social etiquette.

    You need to ask yourself: Was the child actually visibly sad at not participating in sport? Or did they have a straight face, and combined with the non-participation the assumption was that the child was sad?
    Bare in mind that just because the parent or another well meaning adult said the child was looking forward to the sports activity, it doesn't mean that they were. The parent could be lying to save face because they don't want to be seen as the mum or dad with the awkward antisocial kid.

    I'm genuinely not having a go at you with my response - Like I said I think your heart is in the right place... I just want to give a different perspective.
    I am not an early bird or a night owl.
    I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.

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    • #3
      i would agree with the above. i was a shy kid and it was really painful to me when adults would highlight the fact. it always felt like so what? i’m happy this way, why make it into a big deal?

      is it a possibility the child is neuro divergent and therefore isn’t overly social because of this? there may be history to which you’re not privy.

      i would continue to treat the child as you have been, friendly, inclusive etc. but beyond that there’s not much you can do and really, if there is an issue (medical or otherwise) it’s up to the parents to get it investigated.

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      • #4
        Are you close with their parents, is it something they've mentioned? Are they concerned? Do you spend enough time with the child to reasonably think that you have a good sense of what's going on?

        You're family and care about this child, so I think it's reasonable to think about it and want to help, but I think you have to tread carefully at the same time - hopefully you have a close enough relationship with the parents to talk about it without them feeling criticised or attacked in some way. I'm a big believer in the whole "it takes a village" approach and talking, in a loving way, if you have a concern about a family member you care about.

        As for if and what help the child needs, that depends on whether the shyness is beyond what is normal for kids. If it is veering towards something like selective mutism then help from a professional can be useful, particularly before they start school. But lots of kids are just reserved, and that's fine - perhaps the parents could ask the child's childcare educators for their thoughts (if they go to childcare)?
        Last edited by Kalina; 18-06-2021, 19:32.

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        • #5
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          Last edited by Sirena89; 18-06-2021, 23:34.

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          • #6
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            Last edited by Sirena89; 18-06-2021, 23:36.

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            • #7
              This was my daughter. She was painfully shy to the point where I had to remind her to even say Hello when people spoke to her. She didn't like to engage with adults at all. It was somewhat embarrassing as a parent as the older she got, the ruder it appeared. Well, she is now 17yo...... she is outgoing, is in the leadership team at her school and her career aspiration is to be a nurse. She has done a number of work placements at hospitals and she is always complimented on her personality. Please don't worry, I am almost certain she will be ok.

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              • #8
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                Last edited by Sirena89; 18-06-2021, 23:37.

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                • #9
                  I don't think there are easy answers, and I do wonder whether asking for input from the child's teachers (the parents asking, if they haven't already and if they're concerned) might shed some light.

                  Our society prizes extroverts like the very fact of being outgoing is a virtue, and I think in some ways they generally get an easier skate through life. Nobody ever says "I really love the way I struggle with social situations". But I think it's important for the parents to work out whether their child is just an introvert, which is completely fine (more than fine in my opinion), or whether there is more to it.

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                  • #10
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                    Last edited by Sirena89; 18-06-2021, 23:40.

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                    • #11
                      I would say they couldn't and not so much they wouldn't. Both of those situations sound like they are anxiety driven - the urge for the child to leave once their safety net does, indicates that somewhere in their gut instinct they feel unsafe. Unfortunately there could be a number of reasons as to why that might be the case. Some kids are naturally more anxious than others and some only freely participate once they've observed the situation enough to know how it all runs/what to expect.

                      Is your sibling worried about your niece or nephew? I'm guessing they probably have an inkling that their child is on shyer side as they are quick to intervene.

                      In another comment you mentioned that were an introvert. Well high five lovely cause I am too.


                      There is a small chance that your niece/nephew might also be introverted and this isn't something you or even your sibling can change. It's something your niece or nephew will have to navigate on their own terms, if they feel being introverted is disruptive or not beneficial to their existence... Although I've never met an introvert who was truly unhappy being one.

                      The best you can do is continue to be a source of comfort to this child. Try not to express disappointment when they can't respond or participate as this will only further alienate them from you. If it is anxiety, once they see that you too can be a safe spot free from judgement, they will open up to you. You just might end up being their favourite auntie ever.
                      Last edited by MissTwiggley; 18-06-2021, 21:12.
                      I am not an early bird or a night owl.
                      I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.

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                      • #12
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                        Last edited by Kalina; 18-06-2021, 19:31.

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                        • #13
                          How to help shy child advice please

                          I have an acquaintance who has a child with selective mutism caused by severe anxiety. She only speaks to her Mum, older sister, younger brother and very very rarely her Dad. Her grandparents have never heard her speak. She will not speak to her Mum/sister/brother in front of anyone except her Dad and often then she doesn’t speak to them if Dad is there.

                          She had been at school for 3.5 years now and her classmates and teacher have never heard her speak.

                          By all accounts she is a little chatterbox at home to Mum/sister/brother.

                          OP, I’ve no idea how you bring it up with your family member. Only up will know how they’re likely to take it. I just wanted to mention selective mutism. Maybe read up on it and see if it migth be what you are noticing or if you can find any hints/suggestions etc.
                          Last edited by GirlsRock; 18-06-2021, 18:06.

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                          • #14
                            [MENTION=22334]GirlsRock[/MENTION] could you please edit your post to delete the quote bit? I want to delete that bit when the OP sees it, it's not my story but I wanted to mention it because of the similarity in age and the benefits of early intervention in this particular case.

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                            • #15
                              Please private message me @Sirena89.
                              Last edited by MissTwiggley; 18-06-2021, 21:12.
                              I am not an early bird or a night owl.
                              I am some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.

                              Comment

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