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Shy to the point of rudeness??

(11 Posts)
BurnThePages Wed 16-Nov-16 12:44:47


Hoping for some advice please.

I don't like the label shy or rude, but I don't know how else to put it and I don't even know if it is a problem - but it can get a bit embarrassing at times.

My lovely little (4yo) DS is so unbelievably shy when he is introduced to someone new (or someone he hasn't seen in a while). Sometimes he will curl up into a little ball, other times he will frown and scowl at them and even start crying / whinging, he will hide behind me etc. Its as if he thinks they are going to harm him, and the person(s) look at me in puzzlement when he has this reaction as its so OTT. I never know how to handle it without saying "he's shy" or telling him no need to be shy / scared, and explaining who the person is. Mostly I try to ignore, as I know the more we focus on it, the worse it gets.

Just wondering if there is some magical way to encourage DS to be a bit more confident around people, or alternatively what I should be saying at these times??

claraschu Wed 16-Nov-16 12:56:36

I think you should just model friendliness yourself, and answer for him if you know he is not going to answer for himself. I would ignore his behaviour at the time and never ever say that he is "shy" in front of him (you already know this, but it's easy to forget in the moment). Also, I don't think asking him to answer at the time will ever get the right mood going for him.

When he is comfortable and happy and away from the situation, I would talk to him about exactly what he should do in order to make the other person feel comfortable. You can slowly raise his awareness that certain easy words make everyone feel more comfortable. Make it very simple.

With my kids I had a system of secret signals to remind them to say hello and thank you and such things. One signal was a gentle squeeze of the hand, and one was an exaggerated wink.

If you are really worried you could try to get him to do a little roll playing, if he would be amused by that, to raise his awareness. I would do it if I knew it was something that would make my child laugh, not if it would make him feel uncomfortable or criticised.

He will probably outgrow it, but helping him think of the other person, and just building his confidence and never labelling him shy will help.

Other people will understand and sympathise, not think he is rude!

BurnThePages Wed 16-Nov-16 13:03:24

Thanks so much for your reply.

I really, really try not to use the word shy, but yes, it does come blurting out sometimes, as I just can't think of anything else to say!

I will take all your suggestions on board, I think the role playing might be fun and helpful and also just a general chit chat. Also special signals - we already have a fair few, so I can add another smile

LuchiMangsho Wed 16-Nov-16 13:12:05

My child used to be painfully shy and still is. Although talks nineteen to the dozen at all other times. We have a rule that he has to say hello/bye and make an attempt to answer questions but if they can't, I will answer for them. You have to reduce the expectations and offer lots of praise when they do say 'hello' and 'bye' however quietly.

BurnThePages Wed 16-Nov-16 13:13:15

Luchi - how old is your DC?

I was never sure about whether to answer for him, I thought maybe I was taking away his chance to answer for himself in some way.

claraschu Wed 16-Nov-16 13:24:37

I had the same worry about taking away a chance to answer, but sometimes you give it a few seconds and then you just know they won't...

For the role play, you could be the child and act the way he does when he is being shy, and as long as this is light hearted and fun, you might make him laugh. You could also get safe friends to come in and greet him when you know he is more likely to answer because he knows them a little bit.

What I would do is just ignore his response at the time, so he doesn't feel pressure. Then later in the day tell him how great it is that he smiled, said hi, didn't curl up in a ball, etc.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 16-Nov-16 13:28:18

This sort of thing is really common, I think they mostly outgrow it quite naturally. Re answering for him - with my DD, if someone asked her something or the conversation was one that she might have opinions on but she wasn't saying anything I might have answered but then turned to her and said something like, 'what do you think, dd?' - or 'oh, do you remember the time when...' - a sort of intermediary rather than taking over IYSWIM.

If the adult is just looming over them saying something incredibly dull like 'havent you grown' or 'how are you liking school' hmm then tbh it's probably not suprising. It can sometimes be good if they hunker down and ask about something interesting (I remember being delighted when someone asked her something sensible about her dog and she delivered a solemn lecture! grin )

fuzzyfozzy Wed 16-Nov-16 15:33:05

I agree with a conversation with him so he understands you want him to say hello and goodbye, and hand squeeze is a good way to remind him. And leave it at that for now, when he becomes more confident move on to answering 'how are you' or 'how old are you'

LuchiMangsho Wed 16-Nov-16 17:57:26

Mine is now nearly 5. Going to preschool and school has made a big difference. He won't ever be the life and soul of a party as he is naturally shy but he is better.

LuchiMangsho Wed 16-Nov-16 17:58:45

If it helps I was painfully shy. My parents encouraged me to gently open up without pushing it. I still need my personal space now. But no one would ever describe me as shy!

BurnThePages Fri 18-Nov-16 10:23:26

Thanks for all the replies, will try out a few of these suggestions smile

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