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7 year old still clingy, advice please!

(11 Posts)
sweks Sat 11-May-13 23:02:05

Our 7 yr old DD has always been quite shy and does not like big groups of children and very quiet at school. I kind of hoped she would grow out of it but she just seems the same as when she was a toddler! It has come to a head today when she went a friends birthday party. It was a friend who she has known since she was 3, and it was held at her house which DD has been to on numerous occasions. She has been saying all week how she wanted me to come with her, so after a discussion I agreed. She did not join in with games/activities, hardly spoke to anyone even though the girls are all in her year at school and even cried saying she wanted to go home. I tried to encourage her to join in but don't want to force her if she isn't comfortable. None of the other mums stayed. And a couple of them asked why I didn't just leave and let her get on with it. She did the same at a party a week previuosly too.
I really am not sure how to deal with this shyness, or whatever it is. She is like this in other situations too. Sometimes I think I should just make her get on with it and wonder if she is putting it on a bit.
Any ideas on how to handle this?

Glenshee Sat 11-May-13 23:15:41

I like this book: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Shyness-Breakthrough-No-stress-Child/dp/1579547613

And this one: www.amazon.co.uk/Unwritten-Rules-Friendship-Strategies-Friends/dp/0316917303 - this one isn't about shyness specifically but it describes different personality types (the pessimistic child, the sensitive soul, the born leader etc), and it shows how every (every!) personality type has it's challenges and so it helped me to start appreciating my child more for who he is.

For us the biggest difference came through attending speech and drama classes, which DS has to go to. (So it's not a matter of choice for him but it's something he has to do - and I reward him for going and doing his best).

sweks Sat 11-May-13 23:27:50

Thanks glenshee, I will definitely check out those books. I have tried getting her to go to a few activities, and I did try stagecoach but she cried, didn't join in. I completely understand that everyone has there own personality and try to respect that of her, but find it so frustrating that she doesn't engage in social situations and activities. I feel she is really mising out. I also get upset at other adults responses to her behaviour and it makes me worry that I am not dealing with it in the right way

JugglingChaotically Sun 12-May-13 07:40:21

DD2 was like this. We did lots and lots of play dates. Got early to parties so not walking into busy full rooms - and chose which to attend - craft and other ones that kept them busy. Missed all disco ones as they totally freaked her out.
Stagecoach also was too much. Did short activities like tennis in groups.
I stopped staying. Left quickly or better still arranged with mother of DDs friend that she would drop DDs and I would pick up.
Now DD goes anywhere, loves parties, camps etc.!!! (Still not a disco fan!!)
Don't rush it but encourage DD to do little things without you staying then build up.

JugglingChaotically Sun 12-May-13 07:42:26

One other thing. I never went on school outings as DD would cling to me but joined in well if I wasn't there.

sweks Sun 12-May-13 08:44:33

Juggling .. That gives me hope! How old is your DD2 now? She sounds similar, doesn't like discos at all, the school organises 1 a term and she never goes. The only activity she does is swimming which is a small group and she knows the teacher really well now, and of course I am not allowed in with her so no choice but for her to get on with it. I will try more play dates and look for smaller group activities. I guess the question is, how much do I push her. If she is crying and not wanting to go, should I make her do it? Or is that really mean?!

JugglingChaotically Sun 12-May-13 15:27:35

DD2 is 12 now. Does school plays, choir, goes on camps and is very sociable!
In fact those at senior school with her would be amazed.
She really cracked in year 5 but was much much better in year 4 too so hang in there!
DD2s best friend moved schools at end of year 2 which make it worse. So I did lots and lots of play dates, was very hands off and left them to play. Also in holidays did lots where we did picnics and tree climbing and stuff with DD1 and friends of both girls too so in small groups and I focused on DD3 and dog!! Tennis camp was good as local and small groups and only 2 hours.
Anything short and local where they have to follow direction and therefore no need to worry to do about seemed to help.
Did lots of car shares to swimming and any sports things. Anything to get her into groups!
DD1 did brownies which was very friendly.
Might be worth a try. (I didn't with DD2 but only as I couldn't get logistics to work!)
DD2 did build confidence and learn that she could cope on her own.
In her own time she was fine. More than fine. Better than most on the year 6 school trip - she didn't know why they were homesick - which made me smile as I had been so worried!
Good luck!

Lousmart Sun 12-May-13 16:06:37

Hi, I can relate to all of this with my 6 year old dd, although she has improved a lot recently. It was rainbows that has done it I'm convinced. Consider brownies if you can, they really do build up a lot of confidence within girl guiding.

I was the same as a child, nobody can believe it of me now. Us shy and quiet ones do get over it in the main.

Your dd will too, honestly grin

Lousmart Sun 12-May-13 16:15:02

Oh, and can I add, it is the reaction of other adults that drives me potty. I found myself justifying her behaviour, she's tired, she's hungry, she's this and that. I've got better at that now as I realised it wasn't doing her any good as it is her personality. Now I say (especially to judgy folk!) 'oh, my dd likes to take time to get to know people. She's likes to take time deciding whether she likes you or not' that usually shuts a judgy adult up. I wouldn't say it to a child!

Someone once said not to call them shy within their earshot too, as they then start to believe it of themselves. Not sure about this theory though.

Good luck, she will be fine grin

sweks Sun 12-May-13 20:46:35

Thank you all! That's great advice and I will take it on board. I had thought about Brownies ... I was one and really enjoyed it, and I think DD would enjoy it too. Lousmart you made me laugh at response to judgy parents, might try that one smile
I feel much better to know she will probably grow out of it with a bit of help x

JMarkus Sun 12-May-13 21:33:55

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