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Is this normal behaviour for a 4yr old girl or should i seek guidance?

(21 Posts)
Mandymoo Tue 20-Feb-07 19:23:05


I have posted numerous times on here before about my dd - briefly she is very shy, doesnt join in at groups, parties, doesnt talk to any of the other children in her pre-school class (she's been there for 18 months) blah blah.

I am tearing my hair out atm.

I just feel she is not like any other child i know.

She scowls at her friends when they ask her to play, sits on her own at groups and sulks, permenantly has her thumb in her mouth so she doesnt have to talk to anyone. Its driving me insane.

Yeah, i know she is who she is and i cannot change her. BUT surely there is something i can do to make her more socially "polite".

I try to make conversations with other mums as i dont have many friends, but as soon as they children start to play, dd becomes very aloof and sometimes even rude and obviously the other mums then have to explain to their children that dd doesnt mean to be unfriendly blah blah. I find it very awkward.

Anyway, any advice please? She starts school this year and i want to deal with it before then if possible.

issyissyissy Tue 20-Feb-07 19:25:46

Have you spoken to the staff at her pre-school. I wondered what they had to say about her behaviour. IE what is she like when you are not there, how do they or the other kids interact with her

Mandymoo Tue 20-Feb-07 19:27:55

the other children basically dont have much to do with her as in the past they havent got any positive reposnses. I cant blame them.

I have spoken to the staff and they say she is coming out of herself a bit. But christ she's been there for 18 months! If she cant speak to her classmates after that much time surely there must be something wrong somewhere? How is she going to manager in a class of 30 when she starts school? I am so worried,

dinny Tue 20-Feb-07 19:31:44

what's she like out of school, Mandymoo?

Mandymoo Tue 20-Feb-07 19:32:45

at home, i cannot stop her talking! which is the frustrating thing. At groups, friends houses etc she is pretty changeable but most of the time she is quiet and prefers her own company.

issyissyissy Tue 20-Feb-07 19:35:04

If the staff have not said much more than that they are not too concerned.
What is she like at home when friends come over or if you go to them?
One other point is that if there are real probs when she starts school the staff will pick up on them v. quickly. Could you perhaps have achat with them before she starts there?

dinny Tue 20-Feb-07 19:36:08

is she unhappy that she's alone? sounds as if she is pretty content and it is just the way she is...? my dd is really selective about who she plays with/likes - think she will be a person with only a few friends, whereas I am really gregarious.

Mandymoo Tue 20-Feb-07 20:00:04

she does seem happy to be on her own which is fine - i just feel very lonely!!!

dinny Tue 20-Feb-07 20:01:35

oh, Mandymoo, sorry to hear that, you sound lovely! can you join a class? I met so many nice people through my yoga class when I was new to our village.

derlor Tue 20-Feb-07 20:04:39

my son now 7 was EXACTLY like this pre school then i read a book called 'bringing up boys'(i'm sure this method will also work for girls!!) It said to encourage shy children by rewarding unshy moments.
you start off with people known well to your daughter ie friends relatives and when she sees them encourage her to simply look them in the eye and say hello. if she manages this then reward her with LOADS of praise but also 'prizes' ie. sweets or 10p for piggy bank. If she doesn't manage at first then just encourage again next time. Eye contact is the key for some reason so you need to show her exactly what to do prior to her 1st human encounter!!
You have to stick at it and constantly encourage this eye contact and get her to say hello loud enough for the person to hear her. Once she is happy and comfortable with this then move onto people she doesn't know so well and start process again. it sounds simple but i can assure you it works a treat, took about a week all in for my son - he is now a confident happy outgoing boy, Best of luck Lorna

karabiner Tue 20-Feb-07 20:09:06

mandymoo - just to say you are not ds is very much the same and the same age and starts school in september too. i fear how he wil get on at school too.

it try to arrange playdates at home, at parks etc but cant keep on inviting the same children to play when ds shows little interest in playing with them.

i just tell myself he needs time to develop. he is hapyp alone though but i too feel lonely and my heart goes out to him, it really does.

Mandymoo Tue 20-Feb-07 20:09:22

thanks for your message - it makes a lot of sense. I do praise her when she speaks and joins in etc but deep down i just feel she should be doing those things anyway IYSWIM. But i will give it another go.

Mandymoo Tue 20-Feb-07 20:10:27

Karabiner - thanks for your reply.

I feel awful for even posting this as she is such a good child and hardly ever plays up. I just get so frustrated.

Maybe its me thats the problem and not dd.

derlor Tue 20-Feb-07 20:15:58

Mandymoo and Karabiner - i really feel for you both i remember how upset I used to get watching my son go through this. Though it is so sad to see their unhappiness i also fully understand your frustration - PLEASE try the technique i suggested as i am certain it will work i was AMAZED at the results. Let me know if you have success. L

climbingrosie Wed 21-Feb-07 08:25:42

I just wanted to add that my DS was similar to this, not shy, just selectively mute so he never spoke at nursery and doesn't speak to anyone he doesn't know. I understand your frustration as it is VERY annoying at times, especially as DS went through a phase of never ever answering a direct question asked to him, even by family members!! ..and it wasn't shyness, it was more like he was exerting his power by choosing not to speak. He has been at nursery almost a year now and still doesn't respond to direct questions like "Good morning, how are you?" from staff, but they tell me he does interact with other children now and talks to staff members on his own accord, telling them stuff etc. They do not seem to think he has a problem, as you said it is just their personality.

The advice derlor gave is pretty spot on and similar to what I do with my son. I also tried not to let him know it bothered me or try to force him to talk etc., the few times I tried to push him to answer someone he just retreated further into himself. He also never stops talking at home. Try not to worry too much, as someone else said if the school think it is a problem they will be onto it pretty quickly and let you know.

grannycrackers Wed 21-Feb-07 10:35:06

my dd, 3, is exactly tlike this, and chooses not to speak, just like your ds, climbingrosie. she has been at nursery (2 mornings a week) for over 6 months and every time i collect her she has a small treat. she can have a second treat if she has spoken to anyone, and she got it last time because she squeaked! when the staff were saying goodbye, she started smiling and squeaking at them. we were trying not to laugh, but it is real progress as i think it's a small step from a squeak to a word they've all heard her speaking well, cos as soon as we're out the nursery door she starts chatting away. i think it's a control/power thing, like when a photo's takenshe wiil not smile. she eiother has her mouth wide open or looks very serious. she's very funny 'though, dread to think what she'll be like as a teenager - maybe like my mil who was expelled she was so naughty

MorocconOil Wed 21-Feb-07 14:14:43

My ds 5 also behaves a bit like you have described. At the end of last term as he was leaving his teacher said that she hoped he would 'lighten up' abit over christmas. She was referring to the fact he doesn't smile alot for things like photos and didn't want to dance at the party etc. It upset me for a bit as I didn't like the thought he may look miserable all the time at school. In reality he is quite selective about what he smiles/laughs about and who he wants to talk to. That's probably not such a bad way to be. Like others have said I think it is a bit of a control thing for him too.

bluejelly Wed 21-Feb-07 14:29:00

My dd was difficult and shy at 4-- she is now 7 and the transformation is incredible-- much more confident and friendly. School has helped a lot.
Try not to get cross and frustrated. Agree with the other posters who said 'reward the good, ignore the bad'. There's really not a lot else you can do other than keep praising her, exposing her to new experiences etc.

Am sure she'll get better in her own time.

sunnysideup Wed 21-Feb-07 15:04:21

mandy, you've already had lots of good advice on here, I just wanted to add, don't stress yourself by thinking that you have to 'sort' this before she starts school. I think you are doing all you can anyway, specially if you do as suggested here and perhaps reward her for times when she does join in etc. And school itself may bring her on in leaps and bounds - at DS's school and I would assume in most reception classes, the whole first term is basically focussing on social skills, friendships, listening skills, ds had always been talkative and sociable with adults but hadn't been fussed about playing with his peers, and suddenly he was all about 'friends' and parties etc etc etc!

I simply couldn't have brought about this change myself and I don't think you can either, school will hopefully help more than you can currently imagine. Good luck.

Mandymoo Wed 21-Feb-07 19:18:48

wow! thanks for all the great replies. I will definitely try the reward thing again and see how it goes. I will also try and not get so frustrated about it. Thanks again.

Davenid Wed 21-Feb-07 19:22:33

praise her for who she is and try not to put ANY pressure on her to mix/be sociable

I can almost guarantee she will grow out of it - and she will be more confident more quickly if you show her you love her for who she is

(dd1 was like this btw and now has millions of friends - she still doesnt like big groups and we accept that about her and don't try and force her)

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