I need an instruction manual for this kid!

Last week, we had a bunch of friends over for lunch.  My “innie” daughter who is old enough to know better (almost 7) hid behind my leg.  And refused to speak to anyone.  And ran up to her room and shut the door.

With a house full of company, it seemed out of the question to throttle the child.  People tend to frown on the throttling.

Even though I was mortified, I tried to remember that it is not about me.  So, if it’s about her, she’s acting rudely.

“You need to go down stairs, make eye contact, and say hello . . . in a voice loud enough for someone to actually hear.”

“NO.”

Okay.  Plan B.  I’m trying to remember how uncomfortable it is for introverts to do all of the above listed things.  However, her behavior is rude and she just needs to try a little harder.   No excuses.

“Go do it now,” I say firmly.

“NO.”

Plan C. . . Dang, I don’t have a plan C!

I try this.  “People feel that you don’t like them if you do not speak to them or make eye contact.”

No answer.

And so, I give up for the moment because I have 18 people in my house and I have no idea what to do.

Some days I feel like such a failure as a parent.  Why can’t there be an instruction manual for each kid?

Don't take my picture, either.

DON'T take my picture. NO, I am NOT being rude.

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3 Comments on “I need an instruction manual for this kid!”

  1. Torrie Says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I have an introvert too. What to do? Hope it’s just a phase. The funny thing is, when it’s just me and her, she refuses to stop talking… even if I beg her to!
    See you tomorrow,
    Torrie


  2. Hi Melissa,

    I did the same type of thing when I was a child. Introverted kids sometimes take it as a personal affront when a “cast of thousands” suddenly appears in the living room, even if you’ve warned them that company is coming over. Because introverted children, and children in general have a hard time getting their thoughts across, especially if they feel pressured, they might have a hard time explaining to parents why this is such a problem.

    It’s fine to expect your daughter to use some basic social skills, like greeting guests, shaking hands and being somewhat social with guests. Prepare her by letting her know exactly who’s coming and how many. Also let her know that you’re expecting her to display some small token of recognition and politeness to your guests. Even introverts have to learn social skills. But also let her know that you totally respect that this isn’t her favorite situation to be in.

    Maybe you can allow her to retreat to her room after introductions and some small talk. It sounds like you’re really trying. I know it’s hard for extroverts to get introverts – and it sounds like you’re giving it your best. Thankfully, your daughter has a mom that is caring and loves her – that’s quite obvious.


  3. Thanks for your comment. I really struggle with the balance of what to expect (basic social skills) and what to let go of (letting her be in her room.)


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