Thursday, March 14, 2013

Too Shy?

Cora is often a study in contrasts.  

Although we learn to compare and contrast in school, pitting one thing against another in order to define it, most of life and most people aren't this black and white.

Cora is sometimes a social butterfly, especially from a distance.  She may peek out bashfully from lowered lids, waiting to make sure you aren't going to get too close, but once she decides you're okay, she downright glows.  She sends out smiles that can make awkward 14 year-old boys and crotchety old men grin in spite of themselves.  She can flirt with the best of them: blowing kisses, waving, and initiating long games of peekaboo. 

But that's all with grownups.

With children it's another story.  She is scared of them.  If there are kids around, she is most certainly in my lap, arms around my neck, watching to make sure the little rascals don't get too close.  Occasionally she'll warm up enough to scoot around a little after a toy, or hold my hands and walk around the room, always making sure I'm still within touching distance.  After being put in the child care room during a seminar this past weekend (even though she was with adults that she knows and likes), she is much more nervous now.

It seems that all the other kids her age are less nervous in one another's presence.  They seem more willing to play, alone or with others.  Even if they're just a foot or two away from mom or dad. 

And I'm starting to wonder if this is just a phase.  Stranger danger began for her at 6 months old, and is obviously still there.  But is this something more?  Should I be concerned about her coping skills?  Is it a sensory issue?  Is it because kids are fast and loud and she is still fairly slow and less loud?  I can understand that.  But she is most certainly going to be around other children in life.  And heck, preschool is less than a year away.  Is this a real problem?

Or is this shyness just her personality? 

I don't want to automatically try and fix her.  Yet at the same time, I want to encourage her to explore her world, to make friends, to develop attachments with people other than close family.  I know that she is still quite young, but I definitely see that her interactions are different than most other kids (typically-developing and not).

Other moms out there:  have you experienced this with your kids?  Any suggestions?  When did you decide it was a problem or why did you decide that it wasn't?


  1. I think it is more typical than you realize. Hailey seems to intimidate other kids her age. She is too much of a "in your face" type of child. Other kids seem to back up from her. I would give it a little time. I wonder if she is just shy.

  2. Cora sounds like Colin and me! I always clung to my mom every time we went to a play date. Colin, at 5.5 years old, is outgrowing it. My, at 34.5 years old, am a shy person still but don't need my mom anymore:) I was so nervous about Colin starting preschool last year. But he proved me wrong and blended perfectly in with the other kids. I think Cora is just fine. Don't worry about it too much - easier said than done, I know!

  3. As you may have noticed, Adara is pretty much gregarious impersonated. Corwin is my shy one. And he reminds me so much of me in social situations that I just sometimes want to push him out there in a way I could never push myself.... That being said, I think you also may be on to something with just how overwhelming it can be to be in a boisterous, moving room when your a quiet still one. Which she won't always be.... Does she have an easier time one on one? If so just fill her up with success in those moments for now, and take the deep mama breath of trust. A year is a long long time in the life of a 2 year old!

  4. My youngest daughter was always shy and stuck close to me or her Dad. She was never interested in running off or playing with other children. When she went to preschool she would play by herself rather than with others. Her kindergarten teacher expressed concern...But I was never worried about it. I knew it was just her personality. We just let her be who she was...Never pushed her to go out and play like the other kids, if she felt comfortable she did, if not that was ok too. She outgrew it. She is eight now and is NEVER quiet, always on the go, not shy at all anymore. She just needed time to blossom. Cora will be ok, she just needs more time :)

  5. Owen loves older kids in particular, but enjoys being with other kids in general. He has always been this way, but his father is very much an extrovert, so I wasn't surprised. I was always a shy person or slow to warm up as a children and teenager--not so much anymore. I think that's just Cora's temperament and as she gets more comfortable with people, she'll be OK.

  6. With my experience with my son, he was always around other children so that wasn't an issue. But what was an issue were men, any male that was not his Grandpa or one of his uncles was not allowed within a certain distance of him. It was kind of bothersome but Brendon grew out of it within 3 months. It is kind of touch and go and gets rough sometimes but I think she will grow out of it as well.

  7. What if you invited a friend with a child her age over to your place? Maybe being in her own environment where she feels safe, she would be more willing to accept another child around? Once she got use to having one or two other children around, maybe invite over a few more until you are at about 3-4 kids (with their parent) over to your home. Once she feels safe and secure around other kids at her house, with those same kids, make a playdate somewhere not at home, reduce the number of kids, going back to only 1-2 extra kids to be around her, and then work your way up. It make take some time but I know she can do it :)

  8. I wouldn't worry about it! It sounds like it is her personality and probably quite typical for an only child. Good suggestions by the last reader, make playdates at home and gradually increase the numbers.
    But most of all don't waste your precious time with your daughter by worrying! She will develop in her own time...truly. Once she starts going to preschool she will start to get used to more kids around.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me!