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To think that being shy holds you back?

(51 Posts)
AngryFeet Sun 17-Jul-11 10:45:03

I am shy. Painfully so in my younger years. I got more confident in my teens and am even more so now but with new people I struggle and tend to come across as awkward. I have a good group of friends from my teens luckily but I have never really managed to make good friends in jobs or at baby groups/the school gate.

DD is also shy. I suppose it would make sense that she has learnt that from me but I doubt that as I am confident in front of the people she sees me around. She is in Y1 and is doing very well but the only negative brought up was her lack of confidence in speaking up, putting her hand up to answer questions and coming to the teacher when she has questions etc. Apparently this is holding her back. She has a couple of close friends but is not invited to many parties. She is very kind and good hearted (I know I am biased but honestly she is).

Her best friend is very confident. She does better academically and is very popular. That is all fine, some kids are better than others at certain things. The thing is she is a spiteful little girl, always putting DD down and teasing her and leaving her and others out when she fancies it. I was pleased they were good friends in reception but this year her nasty side has come out and I have had to meet with her teacher several times regarding her unpleasantness to DD. She is always telling my DD what parties she has been invited to "Oh but you are not invited are you?".

So why is she the more popular of the two? It always seems to be like this. I remember it myself at school. The bitchy girls were the popular ones. It seems bloody unfair. And it's not like they then end up struggling in later life. They always seem to be the ones who go on to be successful. I have a very happy life but I have never been successful in my career (even though I did very well at school).

All I can assume is that confidence is everything and shy people are held back because of their shyness.

Anyway I love my DD as she is and would not want her any other way. I just would hate her to be held back because she isn't outspoken, bossy or overbearing.

(Please note I do realise that not all popular people are nasty pieces of work so not offence intended here!)

PonceyMcPonce Sun 17-Jul-11 10:48:03

I think it can hold a person back, just because their abilities and niceness can be overlooked.

Drama classes seem to work wonders from speaking to other parents. Not to change your child's character, but to help them to realise, they can speak up when they want to.

FreudianSlipper Sun 17-Jul-11 10:55:23

yes from my experience it can at times i am far more confident than i was but in certain situations i am still very shy

people often mistake shyness for lack of confidence, i have never lacked my own abilities, i am not a push over as some have thought and it has not stopped me doing anything but its a struggle that it would be nice not to have to fight and it can at times make you an easier target for bullies

ds is shy, i do worry about it though i try not to. he is going to start going to stagecoach (dram/dance and other activities group) i think it may help. he has no attachment issues, he is not a nervous child but i feel it will help him build confidence in interacting with other children it has helped other children i know

worraliberty Sun 17-Jul-11 11:01:12

I think confidence comes with age so I wouldn't worry too much.

I disagree about it holding them back academically, as I know a lot of very shy people who are in very well paid jobs...computer technicians/accountants etc.

She's only young and has plenty of time to blossom.

MumblingRagDoll Sun 17-Jul-11 11:24:20

I am naturally very shy...and my DD1 (nearly7) is also. I leaned to fake it....somuch so that I eventually became an actress.

Now I'm older I'm a writer which is so much easier on me as I never have to force myself to socialise.

I have found that play-acting with my DD has helped a lot. When a child in her class began to pick on her a bit...pushing and so forth, I play acted the scene again with her at home.

We would swap roles....I always kept it funny and silly....she would take on the role of the agressor and show me what had happened...then I would respond in a suitable way. For eg. "No! Don't you dare push me!" in a loud voice.

She loved it.....and then I would be the agressor and she could try out the response.

She's almost 7 now and MUCH better with confidence. 5 is to young to label your DD as shy....she's little....encourage her to respond to this bully's nastiness with comments such as "I can't hear you!....What? What party? Must have been only for show off's!"

And teach her to laugh at herself a little....lots of humour at home really helps them.

lottieladybird Sun 17-Jul-11 11:46:50

My husband is very shy, but in some ways it is the making of him. In our relationship he is very kind and thoughtful. In work, because he holds back a little, he can analyse the situation before speaking and he is generally regarded as being very controlled and strategic. He has done well. In contrast, I am not shy and I've always been ashamed of my mouth blurting out without thinking iyswim.

Academically, as your daughter gets older, she'll have more written (thinking) work to do I guess and not so much speaking out in class type work, so she'll thrive when that time comes.

Agree at 5, it is too early to label her as shy. Can you encourage her when you're out and about and see other children at the park etc to go up to them and say 'Can I play with you?' or something like that. I used to do that as a child and kids would always respond well.

HeyYouJimmy Sun 17-Jul-11 11:51:10

Interesting thread OP. Is it possible that shyness could be in the person's genetic make-up which may be passed down the generations?

The reason I ask this is because you state that you don't act shy, so I would assume that if your child doesn't see shyness in the house or around other people known to them, and are still very shy, then I'd be thinking possible genetic trait.

I've never come across anyone who is shy intentionally IYSWIM. I believe shyness is a trait which is uncontrollable, but the sufferer can learn how to handle it.

I used to be very shy (I still am in certain situations) and although I couldn't control when I would be shy in some situations, I learnt how to deal with it.

Bumblequeen Sun 17-Jul-11 12:00:47

I agree shyness can hold you back. As a child I was shy but cheeky. I was bullied throughout secondary school and had few good friends. This knocked my confidence and I hardly spoke as I felt I was less than. I always envied the popular girls who were either pretty, very fashionable or outspoken. I do voluntary work with young people which has helped my confidence.

I struggled at college at university and made friends with the quiet crowd, shying away from the popular who probably did not even know of my existence.

I got to the point when I did not want my shyness to hinder my progress in life and I came right out of my comfort zone. I joined a tap dancing and drama class. I signed up to assertive and personal development classes at work.

My dh has been such an encouragement. My dd is very confident in all environments. She exvels at nursery and is a leader. I feel at ease knowing she will settle at school and easily make friends.

Bumblequeen Sun 17-Jul-11 12:02:48

Apologies for spelling errors. In a car whilst typing my message!

Tchootnika Sun 17-Jul-11 12:07:41

Bumblequeen - drama classes! Good idea.
OP - if you can find a good after school/weekend drama club or class (a fun one, rather than schmaltzy showbiz affair), then this might be a good idea. A good drama teacher should be well able to include shyer children - and help develop their confidence, as well as highlighting skills that are often stronger in quieter children (listening, awareness of others, etc.), so this could be helpful.

Clara35 Sun 17-Jul-11 12:15:44

Both my dh & me are shy & my dd age 7 is painfully shy. I would love to be able to give her confidence as shyness does hold you back. It stops me trying new things or joining in & dread having to speak out when on a training course at work. Remember every school report of mine stating I didn't participate in class discussions! My dds teacher put in her report this year that she is lovely kind girl who unfortunately doesn't have a lot of self belief. Brings a tear to my eye when I think of it.

PenguinPatter Sun 17-Jul-11 13:38:48

I though there was a high genetic heritability with shyness.

DH and I are both shy - unsurprisingly the DC are as well. DH has better coping strategies than me - perhaps because he is just shy rather than me shy and lacking in confidence.

My older DC are described by the school as quiet but happy and have now got the confidence to take part in discussions - the school has been brilliant there.

I will be looking out for drama classes especially for the middle DC who seems worse - I think having been able to hide behind older and younger siblings when out and about. I've also been less good at insisting he is not labelled shy - and he has taken that label on board. They are not told their school reports say they are quiet - it their nature and I do not wish them to think it is unacceptable.

I do not think shyness has held DH back much - he feels the fear and does it anyway - though he can and still gets in a state before hand. It holds me back much less now - DC are a powerful motivator plus they are good ice breakers - that is something DH has in his arsenal.

FreudianSlipper Sun 17-Jul-11 13:44:59

both me and my ex are shy

we have both been successful, and very god at hiding it, but it is a struggle. i can now really see it in the ex when he is in a situation he is not comfortable with and ds acts exactly the same way they seem to shut themselves down they look uninterested and bored, maybe ds is feeling this but i know with the ex that is how he is when he feels uncomfortable

Empusa Sun 17-Jul-11 13:48:45

It's funny, by mum is pretty shy, whereas my dad is really really not. Somehow I've ended up as shy as mum and my brother as outgoing as dad!

I used to feel like it held me back, but I've started to realise that it just gives me a different perspective on life. It's very different to more outgoing people. I'm more likely to stand back and people-watch. Where my dad and DB are so in the middle of it all, they miss things.

Also, despite (or maybe because of) my shyness I'm more confident, I don't feel the need to make people like me. Whereas my brother's extrovert nature covers up the fact he's lacking in confidence, and desperately trying to get people to like him.

I also agree with the drama lessons, IME naturally shy people do better at drama due to not trying to stamp their own personality on characters. Plus there's the advantage to them usually watching other's quietly - makes for great character basis. On top of that, it's really nice to step outside yourself for a bit and appear extrovert without feeling like you are at risk. I know I cannot stand in front of a crowd and talk as myself, but am in my element on stage.

WriterofDreams Sun 17-Jul-11 13:58:33

I think it really depends on how the child feels about the whole thing. Does he/she actually want to be popular? Children who are not very sociable by nature are often made to feel by adults that they are not good enough - they are pushed into making friends and participating when they genuinely don't want to. Not being sociable is seen as a Very Bad Thing whereas I think if you genuinely prefer your own company then that's fine, as long you're happy that way. The lack of confidence "shy" people often have comes from their parents and teachers IMO, the "don't be shy" brigade who make them feel like there's something wrong with them for not wanting to dance across the floor and have everyone looking at them. In order to be successful it isn't essential to be loud and noticeable - often it is the quiet people who are content to work hard that get ahead, just in a less obvious way than "popular" people.

kickingking Sun 17-Jul-11 14:00:01

It can hold you back. I was shy and now still have issues with letting people walk all over me.

As a child, I went to ballet, gymnastics, Brownies, etc. - had all the opportunities any little girl could have asked for - and yet was still the type who would be given a lift to a party by my mum and find I couldn't get out the car because I thought everyone would laugh at me blush

It is interesting that people keep mentioning drama. I have wished many times that I had done drama instead of the activities mentioned above. All my 'confident' friends from school did GCSE Drama. I wish I had now.

PJFanClub Sun 17-Jul-11 14:35:16

There's an interesting article in She this month about the "Highly Sensitive Person" which is a genetic trait thought to affect 15-20% of the population and is often confused with shyness or sensitivity.

I wasn't able to find the article online but there is a similar one here

LesserOfTwoWeevils Sun 17-Jul-11 14:51:45

Completely confused. confused
Could someone please explain to me how you can be "shy but confident"?
As far as I know, after decades of suffering it and reading research on it, shyness = lack of confidence!
I am desperately shy—because I have no self-confidence.
Do you mean "introverted" when you say "shy"?

smallwhitecat Sun 17-Jul-11 15:02:03

Message withdrawn

FreudianSlipper Sun 17-Jul-11 15:08:50

confidence within yourself

shyness is about social confidence. i have travelled by myself, gone on holiday by myself, worked abroad, worked in a very bullyish environment and dealt with many things that have come up in my life knowing i have the confidence to get through it

but i would rather avoid parties as on a personal level i lack confidence, have been the target for bullies as they see shyness as a weakness but i know many outgoing people who do not have the confidence to step out of their comfortable life even if they are not happy in it but socially they are far more confident that i am

Tchootnika Sun 17-Jul-11 15:11:27

Have only had chance for brief 2nd look at this thread...
... but something that I'm very much liking about what's being said here is that there are in fact positive aspects to being 'shy' (I'd go particularly with what Empusa has already said about acting skills and apparent shyness - also other posters' positive interpretations of what can be seen as shyness.)

Would like to have time to say this more accurately, but IMO, 'self-doubt' is, in many ways, a much under-rated virtue.

Clara35 Sun 17-Jul-11 15:12:58

I agree with you lesser, shyness & lack of confidence go together IME.

smallwhitecat Sun 17-Jul-11 15:13:30

Message withdrawn

Tchootnika Sun 17-Jul-11 15:15:43

Clara35 - yes, but could that be in part because quietness is often seen as lack of confidence, therefore quiet children are told they lack confidence, therefore it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Andrewofgg Sun 17-Jul-11 15:18:08

Being shy does not hold you back . . . the Pope is a Protestant . . . and bears in need of a shit would not even think of going into the woods.

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