Please don’t feel sorry for my child.
I used to be envious of the mums who would arrive at a birthday party with a confident child. Their child would sprint through the door, kick off their shoes and leg it to the bouncy castle completely oblivious to the crowd of children within the village hall that they hadn’t met before.
Amelie has never been one for hiding behind my legs on arrival at a birthday party but she wouldn’t just throw herself into a situation without sussing it out first. I used to get frustrated with it. “Go on, don’t be silly”, “it’s a party Amelie, go and have fun”. The more I made a big deal out of it the more she would become fixed tight to the chair next to the ‘grown-up’ zone where they were serving tea and biscuits through the village hall kitchen hatch. At the most recent party we were at a fellow mum party goer said to me in a sad tone, “Oh, is she shy? Why doesn’t she want to go on the bouncy castle?” Probably because your son Timmy is doing backwards flips off the bouncy castle walls whilst taking out several two-year-olds in the process!
Last night I googled ‘shy’ and within the definition of the dictionary words such as fearful, insecure and meek came up. I’m pretty sure Amelie isn’t these things. I know for a fact that she sits in the side wings sussing out what she wants to do and who is around her. Once she has spent a bit of time in the side wings that’s when she will ‘go off and play’. She might decide to avoid Timmy and his back flips or she might decide she will in fact go on the bouncy castle but stick to the back right corner.
Being ‘shy’ isn’t a weakness, it’s being smart, it’s a strength. It’s a sign that actually the child knows their own mind and if they don’t want to bounce on the castle then they won’t sodding bounce, simple. If a child is taking the time to decide what they want to do, who they want to talk to and sussing out what will make them happy within the situation they are in, is that a negative?
Think back to school – you had the ‘shy’ kids who would often be the ones to be seen by the rest of the class as ‘forgettable’ or not much fun. Then you had the ‘confident’ kids who made their presence known amongst their peers. How have those old classmates of yours turned out? Food for thought.
A girl I went to school with never spoke much and she would often be sat on her own. She wouldn't ever be seen at a party in the days where us teenagers would be knocking back peach schnapps or apple sours. She was too 'shy'. In hindsight I now see that she was actually just much brighter than all of us put together and had better ways of spending her time. She's gone on to be a top Consultant for the UK's leading children's hospital, saving our kids' lives. Does that sound like someone insecure to you? I think not.
Shy children are deep thinkers and bright thinkers. They are not weak or meek. Don't feel sorry for them, leave them be, feel sorry for the kids Timmy is knocking out whilst doing his back flips.
Children are all unique, whether 'confident' or 'shy' there is no right or wrong. We should just let them be who they are rather than moulding them in to each other. After all, the world would be a boring place if we were all the same.