She is not shy. She is not rude. She is not weird. She is not antisocial. She is not a snob. She is not any label you want to put on her.
I am not naive, I know my ten year old doesn’t always answer people when they ask her something. I am more aware than anyone that she struggles with new people, new situations and changes to routine. I know it can be frustrating, or maybe even make you feel a little uncomfortable. I know you may have to put in some extra effort when getting to know her, but please stop saying “Oh she is so shy isn’t she!?”
My daughter is unique, aren’t all children? Unique is a great thing, yet people seem to constantly want to label people into categories like ‘shy’. I understand that it may not seem like a problem, and I know it is tempting to do, I sometimes make the mistake myself of labelling people, wanting to put people into little categories. I remember when my older child would turn away from some well meaning stranger trying to tell her how ‘pretty’ she was and I would feel bad, (like somehow it seemed like I was not raising her properly, with manners, yes I was failing as a mother). I would apologise and explain, “I am sorry, she is shy!” Why!? Why did I feel the need to say that? Why should my 2 year old want to smile politely at a stranger who is invading her personal space?
I know there is a big difference between a two year old, and a ten year old. Believe me, I get frustrated when she is asked a question and she closes up and goes into her shell, but it really doesn’t help when someone (no matter how well meaning) says ‘oh you are very shy aren’t you!” I don’t want her to carry that label with her, I don’t want her excusing her behaviour by simply believing she is shy. She is actually not shy. She gets overwhelmed, and confused by new people, but she is not shy.
Once you know her, once she is given a little space to see if she feels comfortable she is just as loud, chatty, fun loving and adventurous as any other child. She is hilariously funny, she is a fantastic friend, she is smart, cheeky, and creative. Don’t judge her so quickly, just give her time.
I will continue to help her become comfortable in this fast paced world, I will encourage her to speak up for herself, and to stand up for who and what she believes in. Ask anyone of her massive group of friends if she is shy and they will say no. She needs a moment longer than many children her age, but she is not shy, she is simply herself.
Thank you for joining me, I wold love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to leave a comment below,