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Shy 3 year old, advice please

(9 Posts)
luckyjames Tue 14-Jun-11 13:56:52

My child is 3 1/2, an only child at the moment. Always been spoilt by the family as he's the only child in the family. It took me a while to take to motherhood, i couldn't adjust. I use to get frustrated if he didn't eat and i certainly got really frustrated when he used to wake up so many times in the night. This led to me being a very negative person for a while. I then went through a difficult period with my partner where although we didn't argue, didn't get on very well. Then we had a family bereavement. Everything is finally ok now and i am much more positive and happy. But i am fearing that all the negativity has made an impact on my son. He is very outgoing and happy at home with me or family. If i meet up with friends and there is one or two other kids to play with him, he is happy and plays well. When there is a larger group, he tends to stay well away from everyone and plays by himself. We sent him to a nursery once a week when he was 2.5 yrs old to give him more interaction with children but unfortunately made a mistake with choosing the nursery and sent him to one which didn't seem very warm and loving to the kids. My son used to cry every time and say he doesn't like nursery. He also wouldn't speak there, choosing to point/nod instead. After 6 months, there was no improvement and we pulled him out. He has since started a nursery which is more warm, loving and happy and attends 4 days a week. After 6 months, he now talks to the adults and plays. My concern is, he plays by himself and doesn't seem to want anything to do with other children. I went pass the park they go to and he just sat on the swing on his own while most of the other children played together except the very young ones. If other children hit him, he doesn't say or do anything. He tells me he doesn't like playing with certain things at nursery but i guess he does it because he is told to, he's too afraid to speak up. Could this be because of my negativity in the past? could it slowly change now that everything at home is better? How and what can i do to help him? Has anyone had similar experiences and what happened after all? I feel like such a bad mother and i feel sooo hurt inside!!

Tgger Tue 14-Jun-11 14:05:54

You are not a bad mother! You are very sensitive to your son, which is great. Children are quite resistant you know and there are far worse stuff that kids go through than the stuff that you describe which is part of the parcel of life really.

My son was similar at this age, but now a year on is a LOT more confident and outgoing. A lot of it for him was age, that simple. Some of them just don't get the playing with others thing until a bit later- DS did play with friends we knew really well at 3 but wasn't until 4 that he made his own friends/had confidence to speak up at nursery.

Don't fret about the past. Concentrate on now and the future and it's looking good. Your son is loved and has a stable family environment. Anything else is cherries on top ;-).

lingle Tue 14-Jun-11 14:19:56

yes it can change.

here's how I see it. It's not that your past problems caused him to be shy. But perhaps they stopped you from being able to act on the problem.

take it slowly, don't make him anxious, start from where he is, not from where some random friend tells you he should be, and definitely not from where other children seem to be, try not to compare and remember that your overriding goal is for him to experience social success so don't go in at levels he's not read for yet smile

myproblemblob Tue 14-Jun-11 15:37:38

My son is 3.5 too and is super shy, When we are out and someone asks him a question he either hides his head or just doesn't say a word.. He has been going to nursery since April and the teachers say he only talks a little and doesn't really talk to the other children but will play along side them.

He is my 3rd and the other 2 were so confident at this age it has made me worry more as I panic what he will be like in a class of 30 at school . I had no worries about my other 2.

Sorry I have just talked about my problems but I feel like I'm the only one with a child that will not talk to anyone so wanted to let you know you aren't alone

marytuda Tue 14-Jun-11 20:48:51

I don't think something like shyness has anything to do with experiencing "negativity" in babyhood. I speak as a shy person myself; one of 4 siblings, all very different, and mother of 3 3/4 yr old who also never speaks at nursery or in any large group, or to strangers (just nods etc.) but talks & sings non-stop alone with me or very trusted people. I don't worry so much about his development since I know he CAN talk perfectly well, but I do worry a bit about his future, yes, in a class of 30 and beyond. I'm just assuming primary teachers are well-used to this, will spend plenty of time working in small groups, and won't assume a quiet child is subnormal in other ways.

londoner01 Tue 14-Jun-11 22:45:36

I have a very similar situation, my DD is 11 now, but has had a very tricky childhood, we have been through a lot as a family in the apst few years and I certaainly havent oozed enthusiasm and positivity or confidence. She has always been very shy and attatched to me. Looking back, I should have enougraged her more, and been a better role model, I didnt fill her with confidence. I feel awful but am trying my best to turn my guilt into positive energy to change things.
She is still very shy and quiet. With friends she can be loud at times, and at home certinaly isnt shy but her reports from school are filled with the words 'shy' 'quiet' 'does not participate' to my anger last year one ended 'for such a painfully shy girl she has done well'... I feel anger any primary teacher would view a child with such negitivity.
The worst thing you can do is label you child and pass on your worry leadin them to thinking they arent how you want them to be, it is a spiral downwards if they start believing they arent good eough and arent 'right'. Fill them with praise and show them they are your everything and perfect, dont make assumptions abotu what he will or woulnt do- let him choose give him encouragement but dont push anything just let him be who he is and love it, and that will pass onto him.
Most children grow out of their shyness, my niece was just like DD but at 18 is a confident, very 'on track', down to earth, loves a night out and all over lovely girl. Most primary teachers know how to bring children out of themselves. But dont push it, if anyone labels him shy say 'hes fantastically calm and observant' or if anyone says hes quiet say 'he is very keen to hear others views' or if anyone says hes reserved say 'he is very caring'.

luckyjames Wed 15-Jun-11 12:48:42

Thank you all for your kind, lovely positive messages. I will relax and just enjoy being with my son. I will praise him positively and most of all, stop worrying!! Thanks again

Boosaphena Wed 15-Jun-11 20:19:45

I haven't got time to read all replies so sorry if I'm repeating someone else... I asked my daughters pre-school about this as felt she was being v shy. I was painfully shy as a child and remember too well how I felt. Any way they said up until 4+ children tend to play side by side rather then with other children. So although it looks like they are lonely, actually they are learning from those around and slowly building up their confidences to move onto the next stage. It normally coincides with school that behaviours change and they play with a buddy or groups.
I had severe pnd and feel v guilty about any possible impact this may have had but feel reassured by what I was told. Hope that helps

mathanxiety Wed 15-Jun-11 23:36:30

4 of my 5 were shy, and they have remained so in their varying degrees. I don't think there's anything you did to cause it, and I don't think there's anything I did to make the unshy one of mine the way she is. The worst thing you can do is put a label with any sort of negative connotations on the shy ones. Some people are shy. Some are not. Vive la difference. It's fine to be shy, but not fine to think there's anything wrong with you for being shy. Takes all sorts to make a world.

I never made the DCs speak with strangers who struck up conversations with them when we were out when they were small, but I encouraged them to raise their hands and answer questions in class, answer when called on, ask questions if they didn't understand material (I don't think they ever did the latter).

DS went to a lovely playschool at four (in the US) with a small group of children, a warm, caring teacher and TA, yet insisted on eating his snack apart from the other children every day, and would only nod solemnly at the teacher if she spoke to him. He fell head over heels in love with her all the same, drew her pictures of our new car (but wouldn't discuss them). He (very) gradually made friends with a group of boys in his class and they are still good friends at age 18. He's not the life and soul of the party as far as I know (haven't been to any parties he has attended...) but he's happy within himself.

DD3 was a really cranky baby and grew to have an uneasy acceptance of preschool but settled in in school from about age 4-5. She is still shy but loves the drama club she joined in school and her outgoing alter ego gets free rein there. She is the life and soul of the party at home and with her little group of close friends, but has always been very quiet in class.

Accept the shyness, and don't let the shy ones think you're disappointed in them or that there's something not right about them. Concentrate on their strengths.

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