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How does a child acquire aplomb?

(14 Posts)
Barly Wed 26-Mar-14 11:59:26

How can you teach your son aplomb, you know, the sort of self-confidence that comes with a certain friendly calmness and self-confidence when talking to people?

Our five-year old is often extremely shy when he meets people, even friends of his if he hasn't seen them for some time, or when he sees them unexpectedly (schoolmate downtown). He's not actually scared but even if he grins, he'll try and hide. He says please and thank-you as much and little as any child, but often doesn't even answer if others greet him or say good-bye, let alone go first.

Otherwise, even when an older child bumps him in the schoolyard, he might stand there and make some aggressive growling sounds, shake a fist in the air or confront the other child verbally. Doesn't actually hit, though, or bear a grudge for long. So I don't think it's a matter of general self-confidence.

I can't quite believe some people "just have" aplomb or sovereignty.

poorincashrichinlove Wed 26-Mar-14 12:12:10

He's 5. Perhaps you're expecting too much. I would think that aplomb is linked to emotional intelligence and that grows and develops with life experience and good guidance

Barly Wed 26-Mar-14 12:16:40

Yes, you're probably right. It's not that I'm afraid he won't be a "good boy" - whether through nature or guidance, he shows a lot of empathy and such. I just don't want him to suffer from everyday situations, or from unnecessary anger where he can't change anything.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 26-Mar-14 12:16:52

I don't think you need to worry.

He's clearly going to grow up with the most magnificent vocabulary.


I'd be happy if my 5yo boy didn't still like to run round naked saying ' look at my willy, look at my bumbumbumbum you poopoohead'

I can only dream of worrying about aplomb.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 26-Mar-14 12:24:20

'How does a child acquire aplomb'


The sort of behaviour you describe is entirely within the normal range for small children.

Barly Wed 26-Mar-14 15:21:20

Ah, well, I'll see how it goes then. :-) I hope it doesn't bother him too much in the meantime.

Concerning the normal range - I'm not worried, but I do see that while some children can be a bit shy first when you're visiting, most or all are far more relaxed about greeting and answering greetings and such, and don't hide behind the sofa for half an hour.

(Only as an aside, I wonder about those who went to the sort of education at home and in school that really made children understand they're worth nothing, not just getting pudding last and being quiet unless spoken to, but with beatings by parents, teachers, the next form and those who were stronger in their own year. Some were broken for life, or mistreated their wives and mistresses and looked down on others later, but there were also a good deal of genial, self-confident people. Probably despite this.)

poorincashrichinlove Wed 26-Mar-14 20:07:26

I'm not sure what you mean by your last post OP. Are you wondering how some people overcome adversity and abuse (neglect)? Quite a different question to your original posts, if so.

CoilRegret Wed 26-Mar-14 20:09:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThreeBeeOneGee Wed 26-Mar-14 20:14:42

You get free aplomb with every pack of gravitas.

Serious answer: it develops gradually over time. The first year of secondary school seems to be a turning point.

ZeroSomeGameThingy Wed 26-Mar-14 20:14:57

I hope it doesn't bother him too much in the meantime.

Of course it won't bother him - he's just doing what comes naturally. OP he'll have years and years and years of thinking before he speaks and only acting in a pre-approved fashion. Let him be a child....

Is there someone in particular that you wnat him not to be like?

KnittingRocks Wed 26-Mar-14 20:21:05

I have a 4 year old and a 5 year old who are both very confident in social situations but I'm not sure whether it's anything I've "done" or whether it's just what they're like.

The only thing I would say is that I'm a natural extrovert whereas my mum and older sister are both crippingly shy - and I mean absolutely crippingly to the point it has restricted their lives and left them both very lonely. This has probably informed my parenting.

e.g. I have never said to anyone in front of my children "oh he's shy" if they don't talk or don't engage with the person talking to them and I've also encouraged them at every opportunity to engage with people. So for example they order in restaurants, pay at corner shops etc.

No idea if this has made any difference but I know I would have struggled with them being shy because of my own upbringing.

Hope some of that makes sense blush.

CoilRegret Wed 26-Mar-14 20:41:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Barly Thu 27-Mar-14 10:39:03

Thanks for all the input!

Someone in particular that I want him not to be like? - Not any concrete person, just don't want him either to develop inside or outside aggressions because he lacks the calmness to ignore, say, people who bump him inadvertantly (or actual bullies), or to develop fears and end up always feeling one down.

Again: Apart from what I described above, he's not like that now, and I don't think he will be, just don't want to mess things up. And those moments of shyness can't be very pleasant to him, some people can be quite insisting if they don't see that.

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