Being shy

As we were rushing out the door to go to a party last weekend, Curly-locks suddenly stopped in her tracks and tugged on my arm.

With a determined and defiant face, my darling almost-three-year-old declared, ‘I not be shy today mummy!’

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I was a little speechless because I didn’t know where this had come from.

What had brought her to say this and in such a bold voice?

As a shy person myself, her statement stirred up a mix of emotions in me. I know how difficult and sometimes paralyzing it can be being shy. It broke my heart to think she may have been going through some sort of internal battle which I was not aware of.

At her tender age, she has already picked up on the negative connotations associated with being shy and decided that it was something she didn’t want to be.

Curly-locks is an absolute hoot. She is playful, funny and cheeky. She is creative, inquisitive, a deep thinker, generous and loving. She is determined, sensitive and clever. She is happy.

She is also shy.

All it can take is a friendly hello or a smile from someone she doesn’t see regularly or doesn’t know and she hides behind my legs or gives them the Lady Di look, you know the one where she has her head down and looks up through her eyelashes?

I’m not sure how much of this is part of being a toddler, how much of it is her personality, how much is learned behaviour, or how much of it is inherited from us. Dave and I have joked in the past that with both of us being shy our children really have no hope.

In the past, I’ve apologised to people on Curly-locks’ behalf and remarked ‘Oh, she’s just shy’.

I always feel uneasy after I do this though. What’s wrong with being shy? Why do I feel the need to apologise?

I know it’s hard being a toddler – period. They are learning about and dealing with so many new emotions as well as struggling to be heard and understood. It’s not an easy time. The last thing Curly-locks needs is to have my preconceptions of shyness forced upon her giving her a complex.

I feel guilty, although it’s not only me and Dave, for calling Curly-locks shy. In times when she has felt timid, or scared, we have placed a label on her, on those feelings. She now associates those yucky feelings she has in social situations with this word. She sees shy as something to be ashamed of and something she doesn’t want to be.

As parents and shy people ourselves, we need to lead the way for Curly-locks. We need to show her how special shy people can be and that it doesn’t have to be a negative attribute.

If Curly-locks continues to be shy like her mummy and daddy then that’s cool with us. We may be quiet and reserved and take a little longer to get to know, but we are also down to earth, good listeners, deep thinkers and creative. We are cautious and analytical. We’re like a good book that you have to read right through, you just don’t go to the last page to find out the ending.

The next time Curly-locks hides behind me, I will not draw attention to it. I will allow her to be herself – the special little person she is.

Are you shy or have shy people in your family? How do you deal with it?

26 comments on Being shy

  1. Me
    June 4, 2013 at 3:09 pm (5 years ago)

    I totally get what you are saying because I too am really shy. A and I went through K’s whole school career and didn’t really talk to any of the other parents because we were shy. K is not shy (or at least doesn’t show it like we do !!!) – I have a blog post to write after she said to me the other night “Mom, I don’t want to grow up like you” – those words were absolutely golden for me to hear – I don’t want her growing up shy, I don’t want her growing up insecure and unsure of herself !!
    Have the best day !
    Me

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm (5 years ago)

      I really look forward to reading that post!!! I wonder why it is that she is not as shy as you. It really is so interesting isn’t it?! Anyway, thanks so much for dropping by. I’ll be sure to check out your blog. Have a great day too!

      Reply
  2. Becc
    June 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm (5 years ago)

    I have this issue too with second guessing myself. I wonder if my son has inherited it from me. I know he knows the answer, but he doesn’t want to say it just in case – exactly me!
    It could also be another form of shyness.
    It is so very confusing to know how to go about the problem. I am sure we do project our shame or guilt at the traits that we may or may not have passed down.
    I hope that you find the solution that works for you guys. I hope to find one too.
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 4, 2013 at 7:24 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks Becc πŸ™‚ Yeah I hope you find the answer too. Shame there isn’t a guidebook on all of this πŸ™‚ Have a good night.

      Reply
  3. Min@MinsMash
    June 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm (5 years ago)

    I was very shy when I was younger too. I’m not as shy now. Only one of my three kids seems to be a bit shy. I wouldn’t worry about saying that she’s a bit shy in front of her. Sometimes we can beat ourselves up too much and feel guilty unnecessarily. Life is easier for those who aren’t shy but there is nothing wrong with being shy either. It may be just a toddler thing or it may be her personality. Don’t worry too much. Best you can do is boost her self confidence with lots of encouragement and praise πŸ™‚ Min xo

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 4, 2013 at 7:26 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks Min πŸ™‚ We are definitely very good cheerleaders here πŸ™‚ That’s good advice not to worry too much. I’m still getting used to this parenting gig. It’s a big learning curve isn’t it?! πŸ™‚ Thanks for dropping by again x

      Reply
  4. Miss Cinders
    June 4, 2013 at 6:15 pm (5 years ago)

    I totally know where you are coming from.

    Husband is very shy, and so is Miss 10… and actually so is Mr 8 if he’s out and about.

    I’ve just learnt to deal with it. If they don’t want to be involved in things I try to let them know it’s okay. I used to go places prepared just in case either of the kids just wanted to sit with me. Taking pencils and a colouring book, or something of the like for them.

    I don’t apologise anymore, I just say that they’re shy and leave it at that πŸ™‚

    MC x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Miss Cinders.
      That’s a great idea to take along extra things for them to do if they’re not into the group thing.

      When I picked Curly-locks up from daycare today, her teacher said Curly-locks has decided recently that she no longer wants to participate in art – something she used to love doing. I asked Curly-locks gently why this was and she replied that she was too shy and there’s too many people. We’re lucky her daycare teacher is very understanding and let her do her own thing.

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by. I’m off to check out your blog now πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Zanni Louise
    June 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm (5 years ago)

    It might just be her age…my daughter goes between being outgoing to being shy. But there’s an interesting talk about introversion by Susan Cain you might enjoy. Puts a new spin on ‘shy’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0KYU2j0TM4
    I was once pulled up when working at a children’s book store, for asking a little girl if she was shy. The parents pounced on me for labelling their little girl. I felt bad. Your little one sounds so sweet. x

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 5, 2013 at 10:02 am (5 years ago)

      Yes, it sure can be a sensitive topic. Thanks for the link. I will check it out as soon as iinet hurries up and sorts out their Internet problems this morning :/ have a great day!

      Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 5, 2013 at 10:32 am (5 years ago)

      I love this clip, Zanni Louise. Love it! Thank you x

      Reply
  6. Clare
    June 5, 2013 at 7:42 am (5 years ago)

    It’s good to recognise different feelings so rather than saying Curly is shy when she is hiding behind your legs ask her if she is feeling shy instead. Then you can work together to come up with strategies for what to do in situations when she is feeling shy.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 5, 2013 at 10:22 am (5 years ago)

      That sounds like a great idea, Clare. Very thoughtful. Thank you.

      Reply
  7. iSophie
    June 5, 2013 at 9:11 am (5 years ago)

    What a little sweetheart! I agree, shy isn’t anything to apologise about. If everyone was the same, how boring would that be! My littlest boy will hide behind my legs, not out of shyness, but he would rather just not talk to people sometimes, and rather shoot them daggers from the safety of my legs.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 5, 2013 at 10:17 am (5 years ago)

      Lol. I’m sure my little darling is shooting them daggers too! That’s very true that it would be very boring if everyone is the same. Good advice thank you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Josefa @always Josefa
    June 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm (5 years ago)

    I think we need to encourage our children to feel confident about who they are – whether that be within their shyness, their confidence – whatever it may be. And they change SO much. Keep an open mind mummy – you never know what the next phase may be xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm (5 years ago)

      That is so true, Josefa. I’m noticing new personality traits all the time. Thank you x

      Reply
  9. EssentiallyJess
    June 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm (5 years ago)

    I get this cause my kids can be shy too, though I don’t feel bad for apologising. I tell them that it’s ok to be shy, but it’s not ok to be rude, so if someone says hello, their basic responsibility is to say hello back. It’s still a work in progress with some of them, but it’s working!

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 5, 2013 at 7:11 pm (5 years ago)

      Ah interesting. Thanks Jess. We haven’t spoken about rudeness in our house yet. Might bring it up next time we are talking about manners. Glad it’s working for you πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Emily
    June 6, 2013 at 9:35 pm (5 years ago)

    I really like this post. My girl is very outgoing, and 90% of the time will talk to anyone and everyone. But she has shy moments too, and I have to bite my tonge to stop myself pushing her into the situation. I figure that there are times I don’t want to be overly social either, so why push her?

    At this age, anyway. I like what Jess has written – as the kids get older, there’s a certain level of ‘social responsibility’. Shyness doesn’t excuse rudeness – hadn’t thought of it like that.

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 6, 2013 at 11:10 pm (5 years ago)

      Thank you, Emily πŸ™‚ Curly-locks’ cousin is very outgoing also. Like really outgoing. I have seen her on rare occasion be shy though. At the same time, I’ve seen my shy little angel do something amazingly brave for someone like her – walk down a massively long aisle as flower girl. They are such interesting creatures aren’t they?

      Thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. Emily @ Have a laugh on me
    June 7, 2013 at 9:20 pm (5 years ago)

    I was INSANELY shy until I went to high school, and even then it took a lot for me to get out of my shell! I think kids that are shy should not feel bad for being so, nor should their parents. As long as they can still have some lovely manners then who cares! Emily

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      June 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm (5 years ago)

      That’s right, Emily! That’s interesting to know you were very shy as a youngster as you seem far from it now πŸ˜‰ As long as I can see my little sweetie is happy, I’m not going to worry about it. Thanks for dropping by!

      Reply
  12. mummywifeme
    mummywifeme
    June 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you so much for visiting. I’m truly glad you’ve found my blog helpful. All the best with your project πŸ™‚

    Reply

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