Who's that on stage?: Overcoming Shyness

My youngest son Evan used to be quite shy.  He was always the kid who hid his face in my shoulder when cashiers and adults talked to him while out in public.

He would cling to my leg when we went to friend's parties and ask to leave.  The first 6 months we homeschooled he refused to leave my side and talked to very few people.

Many people thought I should put him in school to make him socialize.  Many people told me that he needed more time away from me and that he was using me as a crutch to hide from the world.

I was pretty confident that in time he would grow and become a bit more social on his own... but I often wondered... was I hampering him or helping him?

  • I always let him take things at his own pace assuring him I was right there and would not leave unless he asked me to. 
  • I never forced him to talk to people if he wasn't comfortable.
  • We started arriving to parties just a couple of minutes early to make sure we were among the first to arrive as I found his shyness wasn't nearly as bad when he was approached by his friends one at a time or in small groups.   
  • I assured him it was fine to be shy and he didn't need to change in any way.  
But slowly he did. 

Yesterday was Evan's first ever soccer practice.  He's young enough where they just play games, learn ball handling skills and have small scrimmages.  He was not at all intimidated by the crowds of people and went running off onto the field to join the fun.

He had a blast and did really well.

The older two boys were not happy to be dragged along, but they soon found some other boys their own age and wandered off to talk and have fun together.  I sat there marveling at how grown up they all seemed.

Alec had spent part of the early practice trying to reassure a little boy who was scared to play that soccer was a lot of fun and helping him feel more comfortable being on the field.  It was really sweet.

I'm noticing a lot more lately how social they all are, how comfortable they are just being themselves, and how willing they are to help other people; even complete strangers!  I love it. 
Once home, the boys wandered outside to play and there was a huge party next door that we were invited to.  All the boys were anxious to go.

My husband had walked over with them, when I heard Evan crying.  He was sitting on the dock in our backyard sobbing.

He was afraid to go to the party because there were too many people.  They have a huge family and lots of friends so there are often around 100 people.

As social as Evan has gotten, large crowds still intimidate him. 

I assured him we'd be right there if he needed us.  My husband carried him next door and within minutes he found some school friends and took off playing.

The theme of their party was "rock star" and they had a stage set up.  I was amazed as I watched all three of my boys take a turn on the stage singing, dancing, and soaking up the applause.

Ian made up his own song, as he often does, repeating the same few words over and over again.

Evan, who I was later told, was the first one on stage and said that they were going to "rock this house!" and broke out some of his best moves for dancing.

Alec took turns singing and dancing.  They had so much fun.  They made many new friends and played baseball, bounced in the bounce house and got their hair "punked."

I knew Ian would perform, and figured Alec might take a turn as well but I was totally shocked that Evan went up on stage.

They all seemed to love it too, which is even more amazing.

More and more I am seeing his shyness fall away and his true self emerge.

He is approaching kids at parks and playgrounds and making new friends.

He volunteers answers and talks to adults at museums and zoos willing to share all that he has been learning.


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