VERY Shy Daughter

Updated on April 17, 2008
K.L. asks from Story City, IA
6 answers

My daughter just turned 3 a few months ago and we have noticed the problem she has had with strangers is getting a lot worse! And by strangers, I mean people we are around when we are all out together...we never leave her side! If we are in a store and she is walking, if someone she doesn't know gets close to her, she starts to freak out and clings onto me or her dad and whines. And god forbid if someone were to say hi to her...she flips out! Like the other day, we were in a restaurant and the manager came over and said hi to her...Kenzie yelled 'no' and fell down onto the seat. I was so embarrassed!!! And she does this everywhere we go!! What can I do to get her over this fear? She is okay around other kids, but when it's an adult, she doesn't like it! HELP!!!

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answers from Iowa City on

My daughter is just like that lol. She is 4. I was also the same way. The best advice I have for you is to slowly introduce her to a variety of situation with you there as backup. You have to push her comfort level just a little, but not too much only you will know what that limit is. Have her do small things like hand the money to the cashier at the store, stay at the gym daycare for a 1/2 an hour etc. It is a gradual process. Shy people usually grow up to be confident people, but also people who are very picky of who will be in their lives. I have only a few close friends & I consider that a good thing. Above all remember there is nothing wrong with being a shy (cautious) person & do not label her as shy.
Btw my son is the complete opposite of my daughter & I get embarrassed by him frequently (example he wanted to kiss the cable man). So there are definitely pluses to having a shy child :)

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answers from Minneapolis on

my daughter was extremely shy too..she wouldnt do gymnastics (i had to sit with her the whole time), wouldnt talk to the school screener for school readiness etc...i never did anything special about it, but lowered my expectations that she was going to talk to people, join in with other kids etc...this made it less stressful...dont care about adults giving you a dirty look etc if your girl doesnt respond to them. i just knew if we went out or even went to big family gatherings that she would probably stick by my side. she needed the time to adjust to the situation and the person and then she was okay.

she is now in kindergarten and has no problems with shyness...actually around 4 1/2-5 she did a 180 and now can be pretty personable to adults, new kids and adjusts to new situations. i know there are tons of books and resources about shyness...just love/accept her for who she is and dont be embarrassed because she doesnt interact with adults that well. i know some parents have the problem of their kids being too friendly and they worry because they know their kids are trusting and would walk off with any stranger who seemed to be nice!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I thought my daughter was shy, but I found out that she's "highly sensitive." This is based on the book, "The Highly Sensitive Child" by Elaine Aron. She talks about people who are very/overly attuned to their environments and therefore easily overstimulated. They are cautious going into new situations until they get a "read" on things. Once they feel comfortable, they're great, but until then they need to hang back to get their bearings. (Among many other traits.) Her book helped me help my daughter so much!

She has a website with a test to see if your child might be highly sensitive rather than shy--or both.

I hope that helps!


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answers from Minneapolis on

I have a daughter just like that. She is five now and I got her into pre school and it has helped out a lot (the teacher asked if she was mute). She would scream at people if they talked to her or act like no one was talking to her. She would even do this to some relatives that we don't see a lot. I know just how embarrassing this is. We worked a lot with her to let her know its ok to say hi back and screaming is not ok. We told her that it hurts others feeling to be screamed at. It took a long time we are just making headway this year. She is just fine with other kids. Sometimes I wonder if it is from being home with me and not enter acting with others at an early age? Who knows I love that I am at home during the days.
Good luck it does get better

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answers from Des Moines on

I have a 4 1/2 yr old son that was extremely shy until shortly after he turned 4. I was always making excuses for him (ie. telling people "he's just a little shy") then not making him do what ever he was uncomfortable with. I found out I was just feeding into the shyness. Instead of telling him it's ok, I started telling him, "your not shy anymore" and "look what a big boy your being", whenever I saw the littlest bits. This has worked well and at cookies etc. the other day, he actually went up and ordered his own cookie and payed for it! It's normal to be shy. Just try to encourage her in the right direction and good luck.

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answers from Lincoln on

I was the same way when I was her age. I think possitive affirmations are really important. Never critisise the behavior this will only make it worse. Let her know she is safe and it is o.k. she will grow out of this hopefully if she is able to gain confidence in her self and is allowed to do things on her own. Dont force just kind of guide her and put her in situations where she can be around a few people at a time. Children are very sensitive and listen to their intuitions more than we do,so let her go at her own pace. We are there to protect and lead them.

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