With a nickname like Loudboy, you’d think in social settings that he’d be loud and boisterous too….not the case. I’m wondering if any other parents out there have dealt with a shy, unconfident, sensitive child. My five year old, Loudboy, is very sensitive and sweet, but can be painfully shy and unconfident. I’m not sure what we can do to help him through this stage. At home, and with familiar friends, he is very LOUD and has no issue being himself. In a group at school, he tends to be very quiet and clam up. I think he’ll end up just fine, but as a parent it’s sometimes hard to watch.
This week, Loudboy is “child of the week” in his Kindergarten class. That means he gets to be first in line, help the teacher with tasks and his parents were invited in to share a story and talk with the class. That parent was me, and he wanted me to read: Bad Dog Marley – a kids version of Marley and Me. When I arrived at class, the entire class was on their animal rug ready to go. He got a HUGE grin on his face and I could tell he was thrilled that I came to his class and he could show off his dad. His teacher then had Loudboy and me sit in the front of the class. She was asking him questions about his family and he would very quietly respond after contemplating each question for 10-15 seconds.
T: “What do you like to do with your family?”
LB: “go to a hotel” I added camping.
T: “What do you and your dad like to do together?”
LB: “play video games and wrestle”
T: “What do you and your sister like to do together?”
T: “What do you and your mom like to do together?”
LB: no answer so I whispered “Crafty things” into his ear and he echoed that since I didn’t think snuggling would sound very cool.
T: “Dad – what do you like about Loudboy?”
Me: “That he’s sweet and has a great sense of humor”
T: “He certainly does like to have fun, and has a great sense of humor”
I then got to read the book. The kids laughed at the best parts (the dog pooping and peeing were a big hit) and then they got a chance to ask questions. The teacher prefaced the Q&A saying, they don’t have to be “What is your favorite ___” questions. So of course, 9/10 questions were “What is your favorite __?” Here’s some I liked:
“What is your favorite snake?” – really kid? I can barely think of three snakes, Loudboy couldn’t think of one.
“What is your favorite alligator?” even worse than the previous one. I don’t know kid, freshwater? alligator belt?
“What is your favorite color?” Real original.
“What is your favorite food?” – answer: Salmon patty. Yep, we have that kid. Loudboy will put away 2-3 salmon burgers (quarter pound) at a sitting.
“What do you like to do when camping?” answer: go to the beach
“What is your favorite animal?” answer: dolphin. Really? I never knew
“What is your favorite dog?” no surprise: Dum-Dum
“What is your favorite movie?” Stumped Loudboy on this one. after watching him think for about 30 seconds, the teacher moved him along to the next question.
We wrapped up the session and he walked me out. It was a really sweet moment and his big sheepish grin was enough to know what a difference me, as his dad, can have on his day and on his life. He’s one of, if not the youngest, kid in his class and one of the smallest as well. He really is a special little guy but I worry about him fitting in and having confidence since I too struggled with that as a small-sized kid growing up. It’s not easy when your friends are extroverted and bigger and more confident and you’re so shy you don’t even stick up for yourself. There’s a lot of crying in our house by him since he takes everything to heart if he accidently hurts someone (or the dog) or breaks something and feels so bad about it. I’m hoping he bucks up a little, but how do you get that point across in a way he’ll understand?