How Do I Help My Insecure Child?


Eve, my youngest, has always been shy. She didn’t even talk until a bit later than our other children.

They say still waters run deep, though, and that’s very much the case with Eve. If she hurts herself, she’s more likely to clam up and turn away then run up to you crying. As a parent, it’s disheartening to see that your own child doesn’t always share important things with you.

She’s having a particularly tough time just now. Her big sister, Jenny, is leaving nursery to join school after the summer. This means that shy Eve will be in nursery without her big sister. Not great for an insecure child.

Insecure Child Insecure Child

Worries

We’ve also recently been to see a consultant who told us that Eve needs a small operation to remove a suspect vein from her near her collar bone. It’s quite a lot for a three year old to take in when she’s already got nursery worries to contend with.

She doesn’t tell us that she’s worried, but she has had some behavioural changes recently. When Emma leaves to go to her Zumba class, Eve insists on a dozen hugs and kisses before she goes. She still bursts into tears when Emma closes the front door. She’s also been getting upset when I go to work in the morning.

On top of that, she’s started to misbehave as well. She’ll try and steal toys from her sister, or push her off the sofa. She’s not a mean child at all. When I come in from work, she’s always the first to run up and give me a hug & say hello to me. She’ll also share things readily as well. It just seems that lately she’s been a little more of a handful.

Insecure Child Insecure Child

Reassuring

For our part, we are trying our best to manage the situation. We’re trying not to discuss Jenny going to school in front of Eve. We’re starting to give Eve more choice over things, like meals and clothes she’s wearing, so she can feel like she has a sense of control in her life. This is simply because we reasoned that she may be feeling like she’s got no control over things recently.

I’ll repeat my mantra with regard to young chidren’s behaviour – everything is a phase. This will pass. She’ll have the operation and be fine. She’ll go to nursery in August without Jenny and she will be fine. We know this. It’s all about reassuring Eve that it’ll be fine, and that’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s a difficult balance to reassure a three year old. You don’t want to belittle her but equally you don’t want to make a big deal of what she’s worrying about as that may inflate things in her eyes. Truth is, short of being there for her, and answering any questions she has (which isn’t many) all we can do is second guess what she’s worrying about and talk to her, letting her know that things will be okay.

I think it’s time to revisit Supernanny to see what she has to say on the subject.

21 Comments

  1. Iris Tilley
    13 May 2016
    Reply

    Can you not act out what she’s worried about using her teddies or puppets and make it all lighthearted showing her thats what they would do and things really are ok failing that grab a funny video that might be acti,g out her worries, but try not to worry too much it will pass ????

  2. 13 May 2016
    Reply

    Oh my heart goes out to you, and her, she reminds me very much of Megan, who’s older sister Eva starts school in September also. I worry how she will cope without her although she has started to step out of her shadow a little. I’m not sure what to suggest as we are at a loss here too, I hope that she gains some confidence and you find a way through. Xx

  3. We really don’t know what goes on in those little heads! Especially when they refuse to talk and tell us. I hope the surgery goes well x

  4. 13 May 2016
    Reply

    This must be so hard for everyone involved. I hope the surgery goes well and is soon over. Maybe her sister not being there will force her to come out of her shell a bit?

  5. 13 May 2016
    Reply

    Bless her I realky don’t know what to suggest. It’s so hard to know what is going on in there heads also tough on you wuth not knowing what to do.

  6. 13 May 2016
    Reply

    Oh bless her. My only advice is to treat everything positively and never share any worries within earshot. Hopefully not having her beloved big sister at nursery will see her grow in confidence and bloom. Hope the op goes well x

  7. 13 May 2016
    Reply

    Bless her, it must be hard for you to see. You sound like you are doing the right things by trying to talk to her and not talking about changes in front of her. Hopefully her confidence will grow when she realises that she doesn’t need her sister at nursery x

  8. 13 May 2016
    Reply

    Oh bless her. Don’t really know what to say. I hope nursery are working with you to help her gain her confidence

  9. This must have been hard for you to write. I hope it all goes well and she regains her confidence.

  10. 14 May 2016
    Reply

    Aw poor Eve, perhaps if she won’t talk to you, then a worry doll would be helpful? She can tell her worries to it and then they go away? x

  11. Fi Ni Neachtain
    14 May 2016
    Reply

    It’s so hard when your child can’t or won’t express their worries with you. My son is the same age as Eve and it can be hard to know why he’s acting out, etc. as he’s only just begun to speak properly. I hope everything goes well with her operation.

  12. Msrgaret Gallagher
    14 May 2016
    Reply

    Your doing a grand job
    Positivity is certainly the best
    Children are more resilient than we give them credit for -if they see us reacting they react too x

  13. Susan Ward
    15 May 2016
    Reply

    Love and patience are key with any child.

  14. tracey ryder
    15 May 2016
    Reply

    “Izabela Peters makes amazing children’s tent and teepees!”

  15. 16 May 2016
    Reply

    This made interesting reading. My daughter is insecure as well, but she isn’t shy. Far from it. Being shy or introverted is ok, and probably won’t change. It sounds like you’ve got this all sewn up to be honest. PArenting is a long game and she’ll be OK. I think have of it is about letting her know you are there for her and preparing her for the changes. It will work out

  16. 17 May 2016
    Reply

    Bless her, this can’t have been an easy post to write. I hope the surgery goes well.

  17. Marion Weir
    17 May 2016
    Reply

    I think all any parent can really do is let them know you always there for them, its a tough job. Your doing a great job 😀

  18. Isabel O
    21 May 2016
    Reply

    I think young children really find change so hard, bless them. You seem like you are doing all the right things, she’s lucky to have such lovely parents. 🙂

  19. allison sullivan
    8 August 2016
    Reply

    aw poor little one,i can sypathise our youngest daughter now 6 went through this around aged 2 years old till she was around 4.she didnt want me going to work ,she didnt want to stay with her dad she wanted me to hold her hand all the time all give her hugs every second to the point if i even tried to go in the car she was hysterical.she did settle a little when we started nursery and we spoke to the staff of our concerns and the assured us it would be a phase that would end itself and true to their word it did but it did take 4 years.i do hope she gets better in time for you and she settles better with out her big sister.xx

  20. Allison sullivan
    8 August 2016
    Reply

    2 years not 4 years xx from my comment above

  21. 18 September 2017
    Reply

    I see this is an old blog post. I hope things have sorted themselves out by now and it did turn out to be a phase. Very tricky situation this. Not something we’ve had to deal with too much as a family. I really don’t know what to say other than I hope things are better now.

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