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5 ds struggling with shyness

(8 Posts)
averyoriginalusername Tue 23-Feb-16 20:32:01

We have just come back from a meal out all together and it's become fairly clear we are out of ideas on how to help our ds overcome his shyness. Our greeter offered to show ds a magic trick, ds ran behind his chair and started shaking his head, then another waitress came over once he was calm and offered him some colouring, he shrunk himself right down in his chair and refused to look at her whilst telling me no. Several more attempts were made throughout but he didn't respond to anyone.

A little background he has always been VERY awkward, for 3 years we battled him never sleeping (which he grew out of), for the past 2 years we have poured all our energies into overcoming his pickiness with food which is sort of always ongoing. So eating out is rare and a treat. If he tries new foods or overcomes any anxiety over food (different things touching/ a new herb etc) his incentive is dessert. I'm guessing because the food thing has been the focus for so long his shyness has been overlooked.

He hates talking to new people specifically grown ups. It doesn't have to be strangers it can be relatives and certain people he is terrible with, (I mean hide behind a chair and make no eye contact with terrible) can be male or female, young or old-he isn't biased in anyway basically. So friends/waiters and waitresses/ shopkeepers/ children's entertainers/ santas- everyone gets a very distinct cold shoulder from him. There is no way for said person to cajole/blackmail/bribe him (most people try). He won't respond to reason or punishment either from either parent. It's starting to become awkward because he is coming out of that 'aww so cute-he is just shy' stage I'm aware he should know better. Manners are hugely important for us as a family and even a smile from him would be a big improvement.

I would appreciate any tips, or similar experiences. I'm starting to think we should just stay in so I don't have to spend the entire time apologising to everyone that speaks to him. I'm guessing some people will say take dessert away if he is rude but this won't work in most cases as we are still using this to encourage new foods. Sorry for the long post!

Eelus Tue 23-Feb-16 20:55:12

Don't have any advice but my 5yo DS is similar. We don't live near family so only see family members a few times a year. He gets on great with my DM and although he won't talk to my DF he is comfortable around him. He struggles with DHs family and other members of my family, won't speak to them or interact with them. Several of our local shopkeepers all know him by name but he runs behind me when they speak to him, even when they are offering him freebies.
We live in a friendly community where people know each other and are very friendly, but he never responds to anyone.
One of our neighbours has a DD in his class, she is very loud and outgoing and if we end up walking back with them (which I try and avoid) he literally runs away from her and she chases after him calling his name. I have finally (after lots of blackmail) got him to say goodbye to her (she used to stand at the end of our path shouting 'bye DS' repeatedly as we walked along the path and went on the door with DS blanking her), he now says bye through gritted teeth.
He is very stubborn.
He is definitely worse when DH or I are there, refused to say morning to the nursery staff for his whole year in nursery.
However, he is fine in school, chatty, polite, well behaved and has lots of friends, so we try not to make too big of a thing of it, I'm just hoping he grows out of it.

MattDillonsPants Wed 24-Feb-16 04:50:49

OP look up Selective Mutism. It's very treatable. xx

GlassJar Wed 24-Feb-16 10:21:12

How is he at school, do they have concerns about how he is able to communicate with classmates and teachers?

I would say go easy on him, the manners thing is so hard but trying to force politeness will probably increase his anxiety and make it worse. Small steps is key, don't expect too much, be led by what he feels comfortable with and try and make things relaxed and fun (easier said than done sometimes!).

averyoriginalusername Wed 24-Feb-16 19:48:11

Thanks for the responses

I'm glad he isn't the only one if I'm honest, i was really worried we weren't focusing enough on it.

I'll have a quick google on the selective mutism thing cheers!

I've seen him ignore teachers when he is with me, but nothing has ever been mentioned about it by a teacher, they just say he is quiet, that being said I know it's not something a teacher would necessarily notice as they have a class full of children. I only ever discuss academics with teachers at parents evening I think everything else is up to me (I was raised by teachers-I know how hectic it is) I'm realising now this is actually odd, he has a parents evening next week so I'll mention it.

GlassJar Thu 25-Feb-16 12:11:55

The teachers should definitely have noticed if he's not communicating well. I'm pretty sure it's something that's assessed and 'marked' as part of the Early Years curriculum.

Definitely ask them about it, and whether / to what extent it is affecting his learning. I think there's a greater emphasis on things like group communication / presentation type stuff in the curriculum these days, so if he's unable to cope with those it should be something they are aware of and taking steps to support him with. Having said that some schools will be much more on the ball with this sort of support than others, so make sure you know what's going on. Good luck smile

eversomuch Tue 01-Mar-16 23:39:20

Might he be highly sensitive (google highly sensitive child) or just very introverted? My DC are like that - they take a long time to warm up to people (even people they know), are easily overstimulated, and find many social situations exhausting. Does your child seem to need a lot of quiet down time?

You say you've poured all your energy for the past two years into dealing with his picky eating (which, btw, is often characteristic of a highly sensitive person), and before that with sleep issues, so have overlooked the shyness. It sounds a little bit like you might be pressuring him about these things, and that can make it even more uncomfortable for him. Apologising to everyone for his behaviour can make him feel like there's something wrong with him when it really just may be his natural temperament, to be reserved/introverted.

I'd suggest easing off a bit, focusing on praising him when he does make progress or respond well in a social situation and letting grown-ups know, in a subtle way, that he'll warm up to them when he's ready. With my kids, I also make sure not to put them in situations I know they won't respond well to -- so we don't do noisy crowded birthday parties, but instead opt for small play dates with just one or two kids they connect with.

LongDivision Wed 02-Mar-16 11:17:49

I was a shy child, and the worst thing my very sociable mother did was to try to force me to talk to people. The best thing that she did was to model sociable behaviour and conversations, so that years later, when I developed more confidence, I knew what to do.
I also can't imagine that any reasonable adult would judge him to be rude - he's still quite young and I'm sure it's obvious that he's shy!

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