So Shy

Both of my girls are frightfully shy in situations with new people or in situations with lots of people.  Annika is slowly getting better, but it is taking forever.  When we get to church, for example, and are greeted by a variety of people that we know and that the girls are familiar with, Annika will still not say “hello.”  We’ve gotten her to the point where she’ll smile (Sofie just glares, which is what Annika used to do, but Sofie looks way meaner).  Now what?  I’ve tried using rewards (a star on the chore chart) as incentive, and sometimes, rarely, that works.  Now I’m wondering if I should begin giving consequences in situations where I tell her to say, “hello” and she won’t.  Any ideas?  What kind of consequences would be appropriate?

I feel like it is getting to the point where it comes off as rudeness.  Dave and I were both very shy children–we remember this about ourselves.  I don’t remember having to say hello to adults, I think I was just expected to be well-behaved and quiet.   I grew out of that quite quickly and by elementary school knew I had to be polite and say “hi.”  By high school and beyond, I probably became obnoxiously friendly, although I do often still feel shyness welling up inside me.  I want my children to be okay with being reserved or quiet, but I feel that it is important that they can at least smile and say “hi” to adults when prompted by Dave or me.  Help!


3 thoughts on “So Shy

  1. being that neither Bill, myself OR any of our kids have ever been shy =) I am not sure that I will have anything to offer…however, I am wondering if they are TRULY THAT shy do you think its a negative thing to MAKE them say hi?

    When you were little, did it make you sick to have to speak when shy? (I am asking these questions to understand…not at all b.c I think I know! =))

    like, could they handle just nodding there head for now? (Sofie anyways…since it sounds like Annika is getting better)
    i would imagine most adults who have any sense will know that your kids aren’t being rude…just shy. But, I also know, as their parent, we want them to exude politness =) Maybe just tell Sofie that you know she is afraid to say Hi to people, so until she is ready, she needs to nod her head or give a quick smile???

    who knows…I am sure I am not saying anything you haven’t already thought of =)

  2. Each of my boys were different but I am thinking of Grant for this write in. He was not interested in other people in his
    “comfort zone” for quite some time. Even Grandma Holt got the turn away, grab onto mommy until he was 2 – 3 yrs. old. Grant didn’t talk much either until that age. Cory was not going to talk to strangers. But honestly I can’t remember the boys holding out that long. I remember Grant went to Kindergarten barely talking… shy…. I believe you and Dave have been teaching and offering them the know how but honestly I think it’s going to come in their own time. Let them be hem huggers and when they come out on their own acknowledge it. I think most adults understand this reaction in children. I just wouldn’t coddle them in their shyness… like give them sanctuary in your shoulder/bossom :). Keep demonstrating your way of greeting. They asborb what you do and say.

  3. I love what Carla said above. And Grant, yes, he hardly would talk to Grandpa or myself. Today as a 17year old, he stops in and chats for over an hour. We love it!!!! I feel too, that the girls will open up, in their own time. And I agree too with Carla, that how they see you and Dave greeting and welcoming, they too will do that in time. They are still pretty young, grown up in some measures, but still young!!!

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