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My 11 year old is very shy amongst adults and it's coming over as rudeness - help!

(7 Posts)
onthepier Tue 29-Sep-09 19:17:41

My 11 year old dd is lively, popular and chatty, (with her friends and even with other children we meet at the swimming pool or on holiday, etc).

The problem is with adults, even ones she knows well like grandparents, neighbours, my friends etc. They say hello and she just WILL NOT look them in the eye and say hello back. She won't say goodbye either, but if we're spending time with them for example if they're visiting us, she'll have them in the garden playing swingball, showing them things etc which is fine, it just takes her a while to warm up. All these people know what she's like and accept that she doesn't mean to be rude by not returning greetings.

The problem is though, if we meet another mum from the school in town or somewhere, she won't make eye contact or say hello, then we go our separate ways and I'm cringing as I feel it looks so rude! She won't even do it when I prompt her, and I've noticed a few people shake their head or sigh, it's frustrating for them as she does know them!

She did it the other day with a friend of mine, just blatantly ignored her and looked the other way when she was trying to tell my dd about this club she might be interested in. On the way home though, my dd said how good it sounded and can I sign her up, (which I now have done). I told her off for ignoring my friend and she just shrugged, so television was confiscated for that evening.

Any tips on dealing with this? It's different with a 5 year old, (the age her sister is although she's quite different), but just doesn't come over well for an 11 year old!

piscesmoon Tue 29-Sep-09 19:33:49

It is very difficult if you are shy. It is one of those things that comes with age and confidence and can't be forced.Confiscating the TV won't help-if she could manage it she would. Just set a good example yourself and hopefully it will wear off on her.I wouldn't draw attention to it-just try and involve her in the conversation in a natural way.

onthepier Thu 01-Oct-09 15:11:21

Thank you piscesmoon, my dd can sometimes be shy, but the infuriating thing is she also has this "can't be bothered look" about her, not with her own friends but with adults, almost as though she's thinking it doesn't matter if she doesn't bother with them, as she's off to school, off to a friend's etc and won't see that person again today. I however, then walk home with that person or have coffee with them etc, and have to explain/apologise for her indifference. Rather embarrassing!

PuppyMonkey Thu 01-Oct-09 15:18:06

Don't punish her for being... herself!!

Some people have brown hair, some people have big noses, some people are shy. If it's in her nature, it's in her nature - you can't just say: "stop doing that" and expect her to change or punish her until she changes.

Maybe just have a quiet word with people and say she is not being rude, she is going through a shy phase and can't help it. Most people go through that phase themselves and will understand.

I have a shy 12 year old - can you tell? Really bugs me when people think it's a thing kids should just snap out of. Much more complicated than that.

Bensmum76 Thu 01-Oct-09 15:24:31

I was extremely shy as a child and still can be in certain situations now, and I know people used to and sometimes still now think I'm rude. Its painful to be shy and very upsetting to think people think you are rude because of it. I would try to help your daughter with this, encourage her to smile politely if she has nothing to say, and maybe explain to her why people may think she is rude.
Its a difficult one but something she will grow out of.

deaddei Thu 01-Oct-09 21:40:49

Maybe have a chat about how her behaviour makes the other person feel...and how upsetting it is for you because you know what a lovely girl she is! Is she like it with teachers?
As puppymonkey says, it's part of her makeup, but she will have to make more of an effort as she gets older....she'll have to have job interviews etc (a long way off I know)

onthepier Sun 04-Oct-09 22:40:41

Deaddei, she can be like it with teachers but only the more formal ones. For some reason she seems to relate more to male teachers than female. For instance, there's a male teacher who takes her class one day a week and he normally greets her like this, "Hello Trouble, I'm not teaching you again am I?!" or "Monster's here again, OH NO!!" She loves all this, laughs and jokes and is cheeky back. He did tell us at parents evening she's a bit shy, but if he adopts a jokey tactic to relate to her, (and other shy ones), he seems to get results. That's perfectly true in my dd's case, as with more formal teachers she just doesn't seem to know how to respond.

Thanks for all your advice, have had another chat with her but I'm going to try not to comment at all for the next few weeks and see if anything changes. I did explain to her that she came over as rude towards my friend the other day, and she seemed genuinely surprised and sorry, as she DOES like her!

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