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Really, REALLY sensitive child...

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My daughter (6) has always been shy. I was (am) shy all my life, so I guess I don't see it as a big deal. My husband however, gets all worried. Normally, she will shy away when someone talks to her and just answer really quietly, or nod her head. I did the same thing.

Well, Sunday she went to my nieces birthday party. I couldn't go because it was during my other daughters nap, so hubby took her. She knew where she was going, had been there before. But when she got there, she got overwhelmed and cried the entire time. They had to leave after an hour because she wouldn't stop. I asked her about it and she says "I just want you to understand. And not be mad, because it is silly". I promised I wouldn't be and she said it was "because there were too many people there" and "she didn't know them and got scared".

As a shy kid myself, I get it. I STILL get anxiety when going somewhere with a lot of people, especially if I don't know them. But hubby was upset, embarrassed, and well... Pissed off. He keeps telling me we have to do something. What do you do?? I can't make her not be shy. Getting mad at her will do nothing. Forcing her will make her more scared and resentful.

The thing is, she goes plenty of places and has no problem. We belong to the YMCA and they have child watch while you exercise. She has gone in twice, no hesitation, and made friends both times. One time was even with a male teacher in a gym. I am just unsure of why it is such a big deal. I kow he was embarrassed, it is embarrassing when she flips out and everyone is looking at you and won't leave her alone, which makes it worse.

The only thing that bothers me is I can GUARANTEE that his family blamed it on homeschooling after he left, which is billsh*t! She was SO much worse in public school! She wouldn't talk to anyone, now at least she will say hello to people and answer them.

I'm not sure what I'm getting at here, I'm just frustrated and don't know what I'm "supposed to do" to help her. I want her to be confident, and outgoing, and all that, but it isn't her. I take that back, she is confident, but not outgoing.
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by on Dec. 13, 2011 at 9:42 PM
Replies (11-17):
by on Dec. 13, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Have you guys ever thought to see a family counselor? Maybe it will help her with the anxiety and your hubs with understanding your daughter? My hubby isn't my daughter's bio dad...she just turned 3 when I met him. It took him a little to understand what kind of person she was...heck it took my mom 18 years to understand me...he's not alone :-(

by on Dec. 13, 2011 at 11:27 PM
I know what they all need for Christmas. From your dd, give them a book called Your Personality Tree.
It explains the different personalities in a really simple way, and shows that none of them are wrong. Of course she was worse in public school. And they all (you too) have to atop saying she is shy. She's not shy. She is an introvert. She enjoys intimate relationships, not gaggles of girlfriends. This is normal! She will blossom the more you nurture that. She will be able to handle those emotions eventually. It's just like when a baby is passed from person to person. They get lost and confused and just want to be quiet and rocked until they feel safe again. Poor girl. Your husband has to understand that he has to embrace this. If he doesn't, he is going to push her away and make her feel broken. Shell spend her life trying to be accepted by men. (not guarenteed, but likely) I am so sorry that they won't just leave you and her alone. Your dh needs to step in and stand up for you. I hope that this gets better. Hugs!
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by on Dec. 13, 2011 at 11:36 PM
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Maybe you should work with it rather than force it? She walks into a room and needs time to get the lay of the land before jumping in- I know lots of adults like that. Help her figure out how she wants to get warmed up, like having dad or you stay with her and interacting with you as her wing-man. Maybe at a distance with you and the adults and then checking out the kids. When she feels she can jump in with the kids, then she gives you the heave-ho and joins the group. She can check in whenever she needs to. Maybe in that way she can identify why and when she feels comfortable and can help to create those conditions or at least she can see why she doesn't feel okay. Help give her the tools to feel more in control.

by on Dec. 14, 2011 at 8:31 AM

Lots of good advice offered by all these mothers.  I would also suggest reading THE HIGHLY SENSITIVE CHILD - Elaine Aron  and TOO LOUD, TOO BRIGHT, TOO FAST, TOO TIGHT - by Sharon Heller.  I have  2 boys with varying degrees of this problem - can't handle surprises - anxious in new situations (at least the older one no longer barfs from anxiety!!).  The younger one hates loud noises, heat, crowds, etc.  It's called "sensory defensive."  These books offer coping skills.

The girl, btw, is super social and out-going - she helps the boys deal with new situations!  <S>

by on Dec. 14, 2011 at 8:31 AM

As a child my Father got very angry when we kids spilt milk at the table.  As a result, when he was at home, we were under so much stress about not spilling the milk, that it became a self fulfilling prophesy. One day my Dad figured it out, and changed his behavior at the table.  You know, we relaxed, and quit spilling milk so often. 

  If your little girl is more likely to cry in crowds when her dad is present, perhaps she is feeling similarly. All kids want to please their parents, and when they don't, they blame themselves.

Because the majority of the population are extroverts, society assumes there is something wrong with introverts. As a result introverts often get the false idea that something is wrong with them.

  However in the book  "Please Understand Me", by David Kiersey,  they explain that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert..  Introverts have fewer friends, but those relationships tend to be much closer.

Here is an articale based on that book:

Understanding the Extrovert And Introvert

by on Dec. 14, 2011 at 8:35 AM
Thank you all so much for your responses. I'll be back later to reply, but I wanted to let you know I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and advice :)
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by on Dec. 14, 2011 at 11:44 AM

There is nothing wrong with being understanding and catering to her feelings.  Maybe try a social skills group?  I have taken my son to these and they are pretty helpful for giving him confidence and modeling ways to join in a group or talk to other children.  Usually they are facilitated by a therapist or Psychologist.  My local Children's Hospital runs one.

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