July 31, 2004
I forced my 10 year old, who is painfully, worrisomely shy, to go visit a girl from her class, and then, when it turned out that the girl was going to visit another friend, I made her go along. I made her go despite her "stomach ache" and her "hurting legs" and all the other psychosomatic illnesses that occured. Cruel, but victorious. She stayed and played for about three hours and admittedly had a good time.
Not that it won't be hard to get her to go next week. Yes, I going to make her go again. And again. And again, till she no longer complains.
Joking aside, this is a serious problem for her, and I can relate. I have a hard time often relating to people face to face; I've always thought it had to do with my hearing difficulties, and the fact that I have an overall oral comprehension problem. There are times when someone will say something to me; oh, say, Would you like more whipped cream on that? And though all the words make sense, my mind will sometimes take a little longer to comprhend the question than normal. I also have a great deal of time stating what I want, and my tongue gets twisted over the most simple of statements. Writing is much easier, more natural to me, even though my grammar and spelling are atrocious, my feelings are easier this way. I guess that is one reason I love reading so much.
Back to my daughter. I remember hating being pushed out the door when I was young, but unlike my daughter I really didn't have fun; I was always nervous and on edge. One thing about my E, is she is not as concerned with how people think about her. I don't know if it was how we raised her or her natural state, but she is fairly strong in doing what she thinks is right.
But her shyness; her fear of others. I wish I understood where it was coming from.
I have tried to talk about it with her; she knows the girls like her, she knows that they will help her learn Hebrew, and she doesn't mind if they come here and play. She doesn't know why she is so shy. She just isn't good about meeting the girls, putting herself forward. (If this was just a "since we moved to Israel thing, I would think "language problem." but she is shy with girls who speak English, and was shy in USA also.)
So I force her out the door and I feel cruel. She has a decent time, and I feel "I did the right thing" but then again I worry that maybe I'm pushing her too much, or not enough, or that I should be doing something else.
And I just don't know; I don't think any parent really does. I kind of feel that no parent really knows how well of a job they have done until their great-grandchildren are buried and I hope not to be around for that.
So does anyone else have shy kids? Was anyone else shy as a kid? Anyone have any advice they want to kick my way?