18 answers

Should I Suggest This Shy 8 Year Old Needs to Get Help?

My husband's niece K, has a very shy 8 year old daughter, T. She won't respond when said hello to by us or her other aunts and uncles. We see this child usually once or twice a year at least, so far this year it has been 3 times. I was a shy child too, but I was encouraged to respond to people that spoke to me, especially relatives. K never encourages T to respond, and always says "she's shy". We saw them this weekend and as I was talking to K, T was hanging all over her, like a toddler, and K never said a word. We were all patient and understanding when she was younger, but it seems like she should be improving. Should I suggest to K that she get some professional help for this child?t

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Shyness is not a problem, it is a personality trait.
I also have a shy niece who barely speaks to the extended family. It's clear she's just not comfortable in large social situations, and especially around people she only sees a few times a year. I would never suggest she get "help" for it.

7 moms found this helpful

Well I've always been shy. I'm the mother of a very shy son. And I'd like to say -- shyly ;) -- that I don't like seeing shyness pathologized. I get these dark, dystopian visions in which only one personality type is okay and everyone is regarded as deficient. Instead, I'd respectfully recommend that you step back and think of everything that's *right* with this thoughtful, observant little girl. Honestly, "T" will probably pick up on that and start interacting with you more if you do.

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Shyness is not a problem, it is a personality trait.
I also have a shy niece who barely speaks to the extended family. It's clear she's just not comfortable in large social situations, and especially around people she only sees a few times a year. I would never suggest she get "help" for it.

7 moms found this helpful

No. She's not your child. I'm sure her parents have noticed that she is shy. And, you know what? It's OK to be shy.

7 moms found this helpful

no way! That's just her personality. You cant' change who she is. I am SUPER shy. I always have been. I was exactally like her. Even in high school, I would not talk unless I HAD to. I did end up growing up and getting over it somewhat. I taught preschool for 5 years, got married had my own kids and now I am a pro photographer. But, even still, I don't like to be in a group of people. I prefer one on one interaction. I will not talk in a large group of friends. But, one on one, I can be your best friend.
She does NOT need professional help!

6 moms found this helpful

My daughter has always been shy.
But she is also very self-assured and confident.
Shy does not equal, being timid or insecure.
There is a difference.

BUT my daughter is also VERY wise, about people and social situations. She 'chooses' her friends and who to interact with.
We never made her be friendly with everyone.
We nurtured HER.
We nurtured her inborn talents and intelligence.
She thus, is very self-assured.
As she has gotten older, she has NATURALLY blossomed. She was even chosen by her Teacher, to be her tables "Leader" in class. Because, she is wise about kids/people and has good thought processes.
Sure she is shy, but she can do things. And her Teacher, recognized this. Her maturity, even if 'shy.'

We never, told my daughter to be anything, except herself.
We never made her feel weird, just because she was/is shy.
She is thus, always herself, and has good instincts and is wise about things. She is not a "follower" either, and knows herself. Very well.
AND... we also TRUST her very much. Because, she knows herself and is very good, about analyzing people. More so than most kids her age.
So, her apparent "shyness" was and is, a GOOD thing. Because, she is a KEEN, "observer" of people.

Being 'shy' is not the end of the world. Many Geniuses and successful people, were or are shy.
Do you know, that even some celebrities, say that they are actually 'shy'?

She should be nurtured for who she is. So she gains self-assurance. Not it being about how 'shy' she is.
To a certain extent, if a child is told they are shy or timid, they they may be. Because that is the focus... not it being about 'who' they are.

And if others constantly regard the child as 'shy' or that something is 'wrong' with her... kids can feel those vibes. They will then, not want to be around those people. Or feel, uncomfortable around them.

Einstein, didn't talk, until he was 3 years old. And he was said to be a socially awkward person and child. But he is a "Genius."

Being 'extroverted' does not make one child better than the other.
It means, nothing.

It is not your place, to comment on their child.

all the best,

5 moms found this helpful

MYOB. Not your place to say a thing.

4 moms found this helpful

Nope, don't say a word. If this were a child you saw every week, and she still acted this shy, then maybe you could mention something to her mom about it seeming to interfere with her socialization.
Maybe when they push the issue with their daughter it makes her retreat further into her shell. This is how my son is, if I try to push him out from behind me or force him to verbally recognize the adult talking to him, he just shrinks down and stares at the ground and it takes even longer for him to talk. If I start to answer questions about him in my own words and let him hide behind me, he usually steps out and joins in the conversation in a few minutes.
He HATES having all the attention focused on him, and the more I push him the more attention he feels is being focused on him and he just CAN'T make himself talk. If I threaten punishment, or tell him he's being rude (even in private, without others watching) it just makes him cry and retreat into his shell even more!
You don't know what is going on during daily life with this child by seeing her three times a year, leave it alone.

3 moms found this helpful

No. I disagree with her commenting in front of her daughter that "she is shy"... but there is really nothing for you to say. They are obviously "aware" that their daughter has an issue with being "shy".... and have chosen not to pursue any outside help, OR they HAVE asked their doctor(s) about it and were told not to worry. Either way-- you bringing it up will just alienate them from you, not serve to get your niece any professional help.

3 moms found this helpful

Unless you're ready to sever ties with these relatives (who might be highly offended at a suggestion their child needs professional help) I would accept her for how shy is, bless her heart, and realize it's a personality trait just like being loud and boisterous is.

I was once so shy I would cry when spoken to, even by relatives. Over the years I've changed.

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