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Does anyone else have a painfully shy child at school and what do you do

(16 Posts)
singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 09:10:59

I have a dd 7 who has just started p3. She has always been painfully shy despite my best efforts to change her, anyway she has always only had one friend at school and this friend is now discovering other friends which often leaves my dd on her own. We are only 3 days into school and this is really upsetting her with tears both last night and this morning. What can I do. I have told her to ask other people to play but this is not in her nature. I hate to think of her on her own at school. What would you all do?? Thanks

singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 09:16:33


singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 09:26:18

No one??????

whatdayisit Sun 24-Aug-08 09:39:18

I was very shy at school, but I learned to enjoy my own company. I had 1-2 close friends, but was quite happy to go to clubs etc on my own if there was something I wanted to do that my friends didn't. It has stood me in good stead for adulthood TBH.

You say "depite your best efforts to change her" I would stop that immediately and leave her be. If she's lacking confidence the last thing she needs is a mum who wants to change her. She needs to learn that it's OK to be who she is and OK to be on her own. If she is lonely at lunchtime, are there clubs she can go to, or spend the time in the library? i.e places where she is occupied, so does not feel out of things in the same way.

FWIW I now understand that most people are shy, some learn to out on an act better than others. I know lots of people who have more "friends" than I do, but not many who are more content with their lot than me.

singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 09:45:52

Hi, I am not trying to change who she is as she is a lovely child, I am just trying to make her more confident. i.e telling ehr to speak to other children. Trying to make her go over and introduce herself to other children when we are at soft plays etc. I was painfully shy until about 3 years ago and I know how miserable and scared I was at school; It breaks my heart to think of my baby going through the same. I am now better than I ever have been. There are no clubs etc during school hours. I have had her at a few after school and she goes to gymnastics on a monday (which she does by herself as she wont speak to anyone). I am trying to get her into drama in the hope that will help a bit.

Miaou Sun 24-Aug-08 10:08:50

I have a very shy 11 year old, but up until last year we were in very small schools (under 20 pupils) so it wasn't so much an issue as they all played together anyway. Now she is at a bigger school, although still very quiet, she is very comfortable in her own skin. She still tells me she is lonely, but acknowledges that that is mostly because she can't bring herself to move outside her comfort zone and speak to people other than the ones she knows very well.

Although it is hard for you to stand back and watch her being alone, I think it's important that you don't pressure her into being like everyone else. In reply to whatdayisit you said that you are not trying to change her but you are trying to "make her more confident". Confidence comes from within, and pushing her to speak to strange children at soft play etc is not going to give her this confidence I'm afraid!

Keep on with the structured after school stuff. Dd1 is a real tomboy and does swimming club and scouts. These structured activities give her the opportunity to be around other children without having to speak to them grin - sometimes just removing the need for eye-contact can work wonders (dd1 finds it easier to talk to people if they are working together on a task, for example). Could your dd go to brownies, dancing etc? FWIW dd1 is terrified of drama, again because it means drawing attention to herself; she dreads it at school.

Re. playtimes at school - could she take in a skipping rope, a tennis ball, jacks? Then if no-one is playing with her, then she has something to do rather than wander around feeling lost. And also someone might come along and ask to play with her.

singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 16:22:37

Hi, they have toys which they put out at school. More things have came to light regarding school and I think it is a combination of things that are making her upset at the moment. I really want her to be more confident but I suppose I cannot change who she is, I am just terrified that she is going to be just like me!!!!!!!! Did anyone elses child change when they went into p3 (dont know what this is in english schools). Suppose they are babied to a certain extent in 1 and 2 and then it must change. She also has a male teacher this year and she is a very women orienated child.

singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 16:25:37

Is there anyone else on, I posted too early this morning after all of this came to light with dd and I was feeling crappy.

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 24-Aug-08 16:28:07

Sadly I don't think there is anything that you can do, other than make sure you're not undermining her. The more she senses that you're trying to sort her shyness out the more mortifying it will get for her.

It took me until I was in my 40s to decide I wasn't shy any more!

singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 16:30:23

I am 30 in November and I am only just strting to get over it. I was pandering this morning but thinking about it now and seeing what other people have said I have told her that the rules state she has to be at school so she will just have to learn to deal with it. I could and probably will make myself ill with worry for her, I will not sleep tonight for stressing about her going to school tomorrow but I will not let her see it is bothering me.

singyswife Sun 24-Aug-08 16:43:46

Anyone else with experience/

onwardandupward Sun 24-Aug-08 20:21:43

Just to drop in, very gently that

" the rules state she has to be at school so she will just have to learn to deal with it." isn't true in the UK...

If you work or whatever, it's probably not a runner, but if she is really really unhappy in the big social situation of school at this point in her life, then Home Education is perfectly legal. I can't work out the p3 bit - does that mean you're in Scotland? If so, these are the people to get in contact with.

As I say, it may well not be what she is after at all, and it may not be practical for your family even if that is what she'd prefer, but I just wanted to make sure you knew that education is compulsory, but school isn't

singyswife Mon 25-Aug-08 11:13:23

I dont work (well I do sometimes I am sessional worker)but even so I could not home educate and I dont feel that she would ever learn how to socialise etc if I kept her caccooned at home IYSWIM. Thank you for the advice though.

AbbeyA Mon 25-Aug-08 15:41:42

I was like that at her age. The important thing is not to get anxious on her behalf because it will be counter productive.
I would find time to talk to her teacher in the near future. Tell her of your fears and she can probably get your DD to integrate more. For example she could find her a partner that she thinks that she would get on with, sit her next to a likely friend; it might just be a little thing like ask your DD to do a special job with another child.
Could you get friendly with another mum and arrange a play date and then help your DD by doing a craft activity with them or baking some cakes etc.something that doesn't leave your DD having to instigate games.
Something like Brownies are good. I used to be a Beaver leader and we had a real mix of boys, some came not knowing anyone and so I used to do a lot of getting to know you games.
A lot of schools in my area operate a playground friends scheme. There is a bench where those who want a friend to play with go and children in the top juniors organise something. There is no shame in it because even the very sociable find themselves at a loose end some days. The playground friends have training and wear a special hat, they have to be specially chosen-could you suggest it to the school?
I gradually overcame the shyness but I was probably about 26 before I felt remotely confident! What I have discovered is that people often feel the same and are pleased if you make the first move, but 7 is too young for that!
The important thing is not to keep her cocooned-it is a very gradual thing.
I think that engaging the help of the teacher is the first thing to do.

singyswife Tue 26-Aug-08 11:03:48

Hi thanks for that AbbeyA. She was happier today because her one friend was back. We have a meeting with the teacher for a settling n discussion on 7th Spetember but I may contact the school before then. The school do have a friendship stop as they call it but it is only for the tiny kids (first year) and she was saying the other day that she was sad about the fact that she cannot use it any more. I think I will contact the school regarding this but without her knowing as she would be horrified if she knew. Thanks for the advice.

AbbeyA Tue 26-Aug-08 21:50:09

If the school already uses the friendship stop then you could suggest extending it.
It all depends on how sympathetic her teacher is, but it is well worth asking for her help. Often there is a classroom list of jobs, changed weekly and it is fairly easy to engineer a suitable child to be with her on the rota. It can be very helpful if it is a job like sharpening pencils where they can sit and chat with just the two of them.It is actually very common to have shy children so she won't be alone.

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