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Shy Child

My young child is extremely shy

(this is raw unedited text, computer transcribed directly from the audio, without voice inflection, pauses etc. Sometimes this results in the text implying the opposite of the intended meaning.)

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Here is an email that I received. This is from George. And this is about his five year old daughter Maggie who is extremely shy so think in your own life. Will you ever shy I know I was a very shy kid at times in my life and my very younger years. Very, very shy, withdrawn. So his he's going through the problem with his daughter. Hi, Dr. Kenner. My five year old daughter Maggie is extremely shy. She's in kindergarten and takes longer to warm up to others and does not initiate conversation with kids. I work closely with her teachers even gave her a pet gerbil to share at school. You can tell this is a loving Papa loving dad, she began to talk more in class first did a whisper and then at a normal tone. I got so excited about her progress that she started regressing going backwards. So notice there's a principle in that when you are so joyous, oh my God, you're not shy anymore. You're speaking up. Sometimes we withdraw, we pull our head back into our turtle shell and don't speak. So that I think further on you are aware of that problem. So I watch up continue with George's letter about his daughter his question about his daughter. I watch her in the playground when I pick her up and she is walking around not talking with any of the kids. When I asked her, Why don't you play, she says I'm shy daddy. My concern is that she has internalized this label of being shy based on her experiences and what she hears others call her. I tried creating a behavior chart she earns a sticker for each day she plays with kids. She did it a few times felt proud of herself and didn't want to go didn't even want to go home one day, I emphasize how fun it was to make a connection and play with others. Things have worsened. Maggie is a very intuitive little girl and is aware of her social anxiety difficulties. When I now ask her if she's played with friends at school, she covers her ears and doesn't want to talk with me. She said it's because I'm just shy, shy, shy. She said she was shet sad at school because she doesn't have friends. My heart breaks for her. And I want to step in and do whatever it takes to have this go away. I think I may be the problem. I worry so much about it, that I put too much pressure on her to speak and be more social. Should I continue making playdates and planned friend activities for her? Should I back off a bit and let her be comfortable progressing at her own pace? Should she get professional help? I am desperate to help my child become more social. Appreciate your help. So number one, George. This is from George, kudos to you. You're an involved parent, and you're doing some very nice things. I love the pet gerbil. I love that you're tuned into your daughter's life. The fact that you are so worried. I think you're aware that that is a problem. You have a very good self awareness that the way we react as parents to our kids really matters. So when I think of how my parents saw me as a kid, when they saw me as shy, they would say Come on, Ellen get on stage with us and dance with us. When we went to one big event, man, all I wanted to do is crawl under the table. I didn't want to get on stage and dance with my parents and Nipsey Russell and my siblings. It was I was shy. I didn't want that. We'll fast forward now I'm not shy. But what your parent how your parents see you can play a role in how you see yourself. It's like a mirror and it's not an indelible mirror. Certainly not I certainly have turned around. So I want to give you some tips on how not to how to be your child's best friend in terms of helping her deal with this problem . . .

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So I want to give you some tips on how not to how to be your child's best friend in terms of helping her deal With this problem number one, you don't want to say, Oh, good, you finally spoke to someone. I told you, you could do it. You're taking the credit, credit, and it's becoming a huge deal in her life. It's omnipresent every time she sees a friend. It's not what are they like, but Oh, dad wants me to connect with people. So then if you back off a little bit while still being loving and supportive, and maybe listen to her, you know, what was tell me? You could tell her about your day. This is a very good thing that parents do they just tell one or two funny, age appropriate stories to the kid you won't believe what I saw today, I saw a deer in the woods. And oh, well, guess what I did Daddy at school and you got your kids, your kids will start talking with you more. You can not she said, You know, I had a hard time I didn't talk with people today, you can say, you know, I've had times like that to honey. That's normalizing her shyness, rather than making it be unique. You know, everybody has a shy period of time, not a big problem. You know, when you're ready, you'll connect with kids at your own pace. That was incredible, because that's giving her confidence that she can take charge and that I as the dad and backing off a bit. Now, I haven't backed off. That was a parenting skill I just use, I can show her a new picture of herself, but with a very light, broad brushstroke, no bells and whistles. If she spends a little time and has good time at a playground, I might save sounds it looks like you had a fun time today. And I might keep that in my repertoire. My mental photograph book of Maggie no longer shy. There is a phenomenal book that I want to recommend. You can go to my website, Doctor And the book is how to talk so kids will listen and listen. So kids will talk. Chapter one is phenomenal on listening to failings. Chapter Six is a gift for you. The title is freeing children from playing roles. For example, the messy kid, the stubborn kid, or the shy kid, how do you help a kid see themselves differently? And can you maybe she can overhear you saying something nice about her. Or she's in a situation that works better? That with a baby and she's very outgoing with a baby because the five year old doesn't feel intimidated by a baby. And you just as a light brush stroke. Gosh, you know, you guys were good buddies. You just created an image of her as good as being capable of having a good buddy. You can also show her movies or read books to her. That way you don't give her the message. It's just a fun movie. Maybe Finding Nemo if Nemo is a little shy or the movie Tangled or beauty in the beast where Belle. The heroine is such a beautiful role model for young girls. I know she was my one of my daughter's role models. Or you can read a Berenstein Berenstein Bears book about about how to how to deal with social issues that might be a little difficult, I think big sister in the bully or something like that.

And here's a little more from Dr. Kenner . . .

Blind?! Good heavens, they expect one blind child to teach another when a house full of grownups can't cope with the child? How can an experienced half blind Yankee school girl manage right improvement now we have two of them to look after, you'll be quiet. I was agreeing with you. You talk too much. Why say anything?

And that's from the movie The Miracle Worker but in your own family, or maybe with your grandparents or maybe in a family of a friend. You hear parents that type of sarcasm going back and forth. And the parents don't listen or the grandparents don't listen, or nothing you ever say is good enough? How do you deal with a person who can never be pleased? Dad had dad knows best or mom knows best? And you don't? You're there just to sit and listen. How do you cope with that? Well, there are many different ways sometimes you do feel trapped in a family and some people go underground and they shut their mouth and then they don't know how to speak up in a relationship necessarily in their own relationship or it does damage that they don't count on with, with friendships or romantic relationships further on. So how do you deal with that there are definite skills you can learn whether you're your parent is now in their 60s 70s or 80s. So whether you're the parent and maybe you're hard on your kids and you want to turn that around more.


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Here's an excerpt from the selfish path to romance the serious romance guide book by clinical psychologist Dr. Ellen Kenner and co author Dr. Edwin Locke, who is world famous for his theories on goal setting:

White lies are usually told in order to protect the listener from bad news or pain. If you tell white lies to You're a partner it implies that your partner is incapable of facing reality and has to be protected from it a degrading view of your partner. It's a serious problem if your partner does not want to face facts. This does not mean you should be tactless and saying things that are gratuitously hurtful such as that was a stupid question. In such situations is not lying to say nothing, unless your silence can be taken to incorrectly imply agreement with something important, saying nothing is often appropriate. For example, if your spouse asks, am I too fat? You can first actively listen by reflecting the thoughts you're concerned about your weight. This invites your partner to elaborate.

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