My mother tells stories of my older brother and how shy he was as a child. He used to hide under her skirt when they’d go to the store. He’d cling to her leg when they visited her friends. He was more content to sit at her feet with a toy than he would be to run off and play with the other children. My middle child seems to be falling into a similar pattern.
Most people will tell you – most people who really know my son – that my first grader is nothing close to being shy. He’s the kid who would build model cities in his classroom and then explain to all his classmates every detail of his work. He’s the same boy who demands I roll the window down in the car so he can scream at people in the next car not to smoke.
Yet, when my first grader first encounters people he doesn’t know, he often dives to hide behind or under the nearest object. With a new babysitter – he might hide under the table, for example. Today, he came to my office for the last 15 minutes of work. He refused to look any one of my coworkers in the eye. He would not say hello. He walked past them and kept asking questions about this and that. I told him he was being rude and that he needed to at least say, “Hello.”
When we got in the car to drive home, I asked him why he wouldn’t talk to my friends at work. He said, “I’m shy!” I explained, again, the fine line between being shy and being rude. I told him he can say hello and then go hide if he needs to.
My big brother managed to conquer his shyness issues and I doubt anyone who knows him today would ever think he’d struggled with it. Like I said before, my boy is nowhere near shy once he’s met you. In fact, his kindergarten teachers last year said they had a hard time getting him to shut up!
How do you get your kids to get past shy behavior and make a proper introduction?