Is it my fault she's shy?


When I was a child, I can remember feeling nervous in big groups. I would get very anxious about whether or not I would fit in, and I would panic and think about all the things that could go wrong. For a large period, I was terrified of going out or taking the bus or having to use the phone. Usually, once I acclimatised I was okay and I was quite good at smiling and pretending my heart wasn't trying to break out of my chest.

This reflects pretty heavily on my personality as an adult. I have pretty severe social anxiety and don't have very many friends at all- I've always panicked about what people think of me, reading between the lines and creating a situation in my head which leads me to believe people don't want to be around me.

In a lucid moment, I always know I'm being ridiculous and as I was as a child, I'm still very good at forcing myself to just get on with it.

The hardest part of it all, is seeing my toddler be shy. Once a super outgoing pre-walker who had no sense of "stranger danger" in the slightest, Isla is now terrified of new people and experiences. I take her to the soft play and she is very anxious about playing with other children.

You can see that she really wants to join in and be a part of it all, and she talks furiously about going to meet new friend and asking me if she can play with the boys and girls.. it's just once she's beside them she panics and runs back to me.

She is similar to how I was, and once she gets used to a new place or being around someone new, she can relax... but it's heartbreaking when she sobs into my lap and I don't know how to reassure her.

I honestly believe it is my fault. What if she has picked up the vibe from me? I've only taken her to toddler group twice and that is a new development that took me 24 months to be brave enough to do. Can she tell I'm terrified? I worry my own anxiety and shyness has stopped her getting socialised outside her circle of friends and family. I do try very very hard to make a point of being friendly and chatty to everyone we meet so she see's they aren't frightening.

I'm doing everything I can now. Isla recently had her 2.5 year review with the health visitor team who were shocked by how advanced her speech and mental development is. They said she is on par with a four year old but in order to keep her from playing up and struggling in future, I needed to try offer her more situations to "get it all out" and use her skills. So I took the plunge and have finally started taking her to toddler group every week.

It's a small step, but I'm already seeing improvements in her- she is keener on other children besides the ones she already knew, and she was even brave enough to play away from me at our last session.

If anyone has any tips or just knows what I'm going through do share in the comments or tweet me. I need some reassurance that it isn't forever and she won't always be shy...!

Thank you for reading.

Steph xo

13 comments:

  1. It must be so hard as a parent, there is so much to worry about. I think you've done the right thing by getting her to a toddler group, and well done for facing your own fears to do so. There are three of us, two very loud outgoing brothers and one very socially awkward one. No difference in parenting, just different personalities.

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  2. I think you take her to toddler week is not a small step but a huge one and I think it will be good for both of you. Being a parent is hard enough without worrying if you child is picking up on your social anxieties or not. You're doing great

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  3. It is not your fault at all hun! I too am shy, although many might see me as confident but like you I am socially anxious and avoid a lot of social situations because they make me nervous x

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  4. I was the same as a child & Sophie definitely shows traits of it so I worry about the same thing. She has developed lots of confidence recently & is a similar age to your little one so maybe it's just a development stage? x

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  5. She is still quite young and you may find she comes out of herself yet - is it she at pre-school, that can really help with confidence

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  6. Kids are all different and they deal with things in their own way. I think just let them progress at their own rate because worrying about targets causes considerable stress for everyone.
    (hubby helping out)

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  7. It's not your fault. Kids are just different and they grow at their own pace sometimes.

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  8. I was always shy and my Daughter is too. She is a lot older now and coming out her shell a little more.

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  9. Of course it's not your fault. It's amazing how much kids blossom as they grow up! Just be patient :)

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  10. I was very shy as a child (and still am) and so was my eldest, however she grew out of it when she started school. My little two are so different and have never been at all shy. It is not your fault at all x

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  11. Honey it is not your faulyt, but maybe she may suffer from anxiety because she does not go pre-school?!?!? Maybe get out there the two of you and go to more classes, I know it can be daunting, but i promise once you are both out there, you will love it.

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  12. Not your fault at all. Mine are quite shy too and I hate social situations every one seems so loud and confident these days lol

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  13. All kids develop differently and have their own personalities. There is nothing your fault

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