I see shy guy?

Fellow parents, I need your advice.

I am an introvert. Nature says so, Myers-Briggs says so. As a child I was like a black hole of being social. My wife is an extrovert. She is a supernova of personality. Together I think we make a good team. Our kids, to my surprise, have always leaned towards the extrovert. I have seen no sign of them being shy at all. We often joke that they’ll be stage producers, actors or choreographers. They sing and dance, instantly make friends at the playground and are generally just your average happy, outgoing kids.

Or so we thought.

C has something of his father in him it appears. Last week was vacation and we took the boys for our annual trek to Disney. When we got home on Sunday we started talking about going back to school and sharing our vacation stories. M was keen to tell everyone that he had rode all but one of the roller coasters he had seen (and even then it was only his height that kept him off the last one…). C mumbled something non-committal. When we asked him what was wrong, he just mumbled something else and walked away. Odd, I thought.

Walking to school yesterday I again asked if he was going to tell everyone about Disney. “No,” was his simple answer. Sure enough, he shared nothing with anyone yesterday, not even the classmate. Why? Well, after several rounds of questioning we realized that he doesn’t like talking in crowds. He doesn’t want to be the center of attention and will therefore not call attention to himself. (M, on the other hand, was regaling random strangers in line with his opinion of how scary Tower of Terror was…)

Suddenly certain things make sense. We never wanted to bring anything in for show-and-tell, we never talk about vacations, soccer or things we did over the weekend. He’s shy! Well, okay, he has social anxiety. He’s like his daddy! So, he has no problem in one on one or small group situations. He’ll talk to anybody, unless (apparently) you’re in a group over a certain size.

K doesn’t understand. I do, but am unsure how to connect the two. I was shy in numbers or one-on-one. How can you be one and not the other? I took me until I was in my 30 to overcome my shyness and social awkwardness. Do we try and overcome it now? Let it run its course? K wonders if we can beat coax it out of him.


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