Very shy 12 year old dd(14 Posts)
DS is shy, though he's only six. I've found it's because he doesn't always know what to say or how to say it. For example, we meet a dad from the school sometimes. He'll always say 'hello x' and DS will mumble and cling to me. A week or two ago I explained that, by not saying hello back people will think he was rude or didn't like them and said, if you like so and so's dad just say hello in a big voice. Two days later we saw the dad on the path and DS shouted 'hello Ben'. Ben nearly fell through the floor but didn't make a huge thing about it - he just said hello back with a quick thumbs up sign to DS.
DS was the same this week when he had to ask his teacher if someone had handed in his sun hat (I could have done it but I can't shadow him in class so he has to learn) So, we had a practice run through of what he could say, he decided what he felt most comfortable saying. Then we did a little chat about what to do if...- like if teacher didn't hear him or asked him to come back later, that sort of thing. He came out with his hat at home time and was so proud that his teacher had listened straight away and had sent him with the TA to check lost property - where they found his hat. Sometimes it's not being shy to speak, it's just being nervous about how to actually have the conversation.
I was a training officer BC (before children) and we'd do pseudo role plays for difficult conversations. The person who needed to initiate the conversation would explain the background and the colleagues on the course would act as the other person so the initiator could practice until the words came out properly and with the wanted effect. I've used the same thing quite a bit with DS (like handling a bit of bullying he had at school and how to make sure people shared things with him at the art table etc). Once he's got one scenario under his belt he seems to use that in similar situations so I'm not forever 'coaching' him.
If you're shy it's easy to convince yourself that you'd flounder about, people will laugh, you'll be ignored etc and having a little practice before you talk can help you relax.
If it were DS and I going to a shop when he was a bit older, for example, and he needed to ask for something I'd just go through what he needs to ask for, get him to practice a couple of times, talk him through how to get someone's attention (cos nothing puts off a shy person more than being faced with a busy assistant who's rushing about or a couple of chatty colleagues who ignore you) and then I'd stand back.
mrsmongoose she's 12, not going for job interviews yet! I was the same at that age and it gradually got easier, as beamur's dsd will attest.
Tbh I've realised after posting this to trust my own instincts a bit more. IMO, this is another situation where you do what's right at the time, not worrying what's going to happen in 5 or 10 years time or 'making a rod for your own back'. Children grow and change all the time and develop independence at their own rate. If they need their parents to help them with a particular thing at a certain time doesn't mean they won't be able to do it for themselves at a later date.
Thanks for all the input anyway.
Hi OP yes my two DS 14yr and DD 11yrs are quite like this. I didn't mind speaking for them when they were toddlers but I want them to start doing it now!
I suppose you have to weigh up each situation where she wants you to speak for her, some may be more important than others, some might require a lot more to be said or skill than others. Without putting any negativity on her shyness say that you want to help her, there is nothing wrong with being quiet/shy but at the same time you don't want it to hinder her in life and it could cause hinderance for her in situations where she won't speak up or ask questions. Tell her it also gets easier with practice! Hope that helps.
I understand that you don't want to penalise a personality trait, but actually this 'trait' is going to harm her in the long run. How will she go to job interviews? Forcing her to interact and build confidence will be better for her in the long run.
Thanks all. I do try and encourage her and get her involved in the conversation. beamur that's interesting what you say abour your dsd, it goes to show that sometimes time is all you need!
I didn't mean that you forced her. If it is a situation that isn't important then she has the choice and if she won't ask then she has chosen not to. If it is important then I would help her out,but not just do it for her. Start off but then draw her in, in the way that peggotty suggests. If she is 12 yrs she is increasingly going to be in situations where you are not around and she needs to be able to cope.
Yes it's not about her ignoring her personality traits but learning skills that will help her get by easier in the world. I am shy and have shy children (introvert is probably a better description as I think 'shy' has negative connotations) and I believe that's its important to teach them coping skills for a world that is largely extrovert. You can do this and still accept your dd, and nurture who she is.
I don't think you should force her to speak in situations she doesn't want to.
My DSD could be like this with adults she didn't know - was also shy with adults she knew well - and was paralysed in situations like restaurants, when she wouldn't speak at all - I used to ask if she wanted x (the thing on the menu she was most likely to like) and she would nod.
She is now 18 and a confident and well rounded young woman and is perfectly able to speak for herself. In your situation I would continue to help your DD whenever she needed it - especially if she has asked you.
Maybe if you start the conversations for her but then try and draw her in 'what do you think dd' or 'is that what you meant dd' ?
It's important to realise you can overcome shyness by learning certain skills and manners.. Teach her and she will feel more comfortable
I did think about that but I don't want to penalise her for having a personality trait!
If she won't ask she has to manage without.
I was very shy too but I think if she wants an answer she needs to ask. Don't make a big deal- just matter of fact- 'if you want an answer then you will have ask' and then ignore.
Anyone else with a shy preteen? Dd has always been shy, it's never been too much of a problem but now I'm noticing that as she's reluctant to speak to adults, she asks me to speak for her. For example, if she wants to discuss something with her ballet teacher, she asks me to do it. Asking for assistance in a shop, same thing.
I was similar at that age and eventually got over my shyness (a bit). I do feel a bit silly sometimes asking things on her behalf with her hovering in the background. I do try and encourage her but it seems a but mean to refuse to speak for her.
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