Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Overcoming “Shy” Behaviors

For the past several months, Jase has acted more nervous in bigger crowds of people. For example, if we enter a room and there are several people around (even if he knows them), he acts embarrassed and doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He will also not respond sometimes when people are talking to him in public. (Like if we see a friend of mine out in public and they try to talk to him, he won’t talk back.) I know sometimes people feel like they know him better than he knows them because of social media, so I was trying to be considerate of his feelings, but also felt like his response might be perceived as rude and disrespectful. I wasn’t really sure how to handle it. I tried disciplining for it, ignoring it, talking for him, etc. I finally reached out to two wise women in my life to seek their perspective & suggestions. I also try to avoid labels, so I hate to use the term “shy.” But often when he wouldn’t talk back, the other adult would say “Oh he’s shy!” I didn’t really know how to handle that aspect either. We are definitely still working through it, but I wanted to share their tips/responses because their wisdom was so helpful for me.


- Acknowledge we understand he might feel nervous, but tell him that we love him too much to not let him enjoy being friendly to others. Let him know that he doesn’t have to have long conversations with others, but it’s rude not to say hello when one of mommy & daddy’s friends says hello to him first. It is part of teaching him to be kind to others and esteem others better than themselves. (Phil 2:3)

- Practice/role play at home. Pretend you are someone new he is meeting & have him look you in the eye, shake your hand and introduce himself. Do it often until he becomes comfortable doing it, giving him plenty of opportunities to find it painless with me & Jon.

- Remind him of our expectations before we go in somewhere (especially if we know we are going to be around others) & encourage him that we will be right there with him.

-Give him phrases to say. It may just be that he doesn’t know what to say, so give him one or two lines. “Hey there, I’m Jase…how are you?” or “Hi, I’m Jase, nice to meet you.” He doesn’t ever have to give hugs/kisses, but needs to speak back when someone addresses him to say hello.

- If someone suggests he is shy, be sure to say something positive about him after that comment (like what a great big brother he is) so it gives us something positive about him to focus on.

-Remind others that he just turned 4 years old during conversations. “Yep, we just celebrated his 4th birthday a couple weeks ago! We had a fun pirate party, didn’t we Jase?” (He looks much older than he is, so sometimes people expect him to behave like a 5-6 year old.)

- Let him hear you praying for him thanking God for making him such a friendly young man.

- And one of my favorites…Pray for the Lord to fill in parenting gaps! Such a great reminder. I am not doing everything perfectly as a parent, and my time is divided, so ask the Lord to fill in those gaps. He is faithful!

I know each child is going to have their own personality. Some are naturally going to be more outgoing, extroverted, and friendly, and I am so thankful the Lord created each of us uniquely! However, “shy” behaviors that err more on the side of disrespectful shouldn’t be tolerated. Like one of the ladies reminded me, our goal is to raise a confident gentleman, and therefor we must discourage any selfish behaviors that will hinder that development.

Again, we are still working through it, but I feel confident this is going to help us redirect & shape him.

**Thank you Mrs. Willette and Mrs. Jan for your godly wisdom!


Kelley said...

Those are wonderful ideas to help him through this "phase" and prepare him to be outgoing. I have issues with shyness and such, and those ideas would have been helpful growing up. I will have to tuck these in my back pocket for someday! You're doing a great job; praying for Jase to overcome his shyness.

Anonymous said...

My older daughter is more of an observer and is a bit nervious in unfamiliar situations. I use the line "It's ok to be quiet, but you still need to be polite." It validates who she is, and sets the expectation that it's not an excuse or that she's allowed to not participate.