Shari Hardies is here again to answer all of your questions.
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Q1.) My little boy (he’s 3) is very shy and I’ve been trying to get him to come out of his shell a little bit with other kids his age. I don’t want to push him to do anything he doesn’t want to, but I was wondering if there was anything you could recommend that would get him to open up a bit! Thanks!
A1.) Hi Concerned Mama, thanks for writing in about your little man. I appreciate your question and I can totally relate on the subject of worrying about your kid(s). I am constantly wondering about certain personality traits in my children and trying to apply clinical knowledge to the traits I see. What I can tell you is try not to worry about it, and don’t judge yourself if you do.
Your son is his own person and some people are just shy, it may just be a part of his personality. Unless there is any reason to believe that an event may have impacted your son and caused him to fear others, there are no concerns about shyness. I agree with you not pushing him to interact, great Mommy intuition! What you want to be sure to do though is to set him up for successful social interactions and provide him lots of opportunity for it. Having fun while socializing will reinforce that this is something worth doing.
For instance, take him to play dates that he is excited to be at. Discuss the toys at the play group that are there and which ones are for sharing and which are for playing alone. Sing songs about why it can be fun to share. Try to allow space for your son to be shy, please don’t apologize for this behavior in public. It is so easy for us to start to own our children’s behaviors and personality traits, I know I have been guilty of this a lot!
If your son experiences you apologizing for his shyness he could become shameful about his need to be shy. In general, let your son know that being shy is fine, but teach him that there is great benefit to playing with others and that he is an awesome friend to play with.
Q2.) Hi Shari,
I’m a huge music lover. I usually throw on music as soon as I get home from work and leave it on until I go to bed! It makes me feel all sorts of emotions, ranging from the happiest high to the most melancholy. I feel like it is pretty necessary for people to experience, but I wanted to know what your take on music and day to day emotions was. Thank you!
2A.) Wow Music Lover, this is a great inquiry! I appreciate your interest in the effects that music can have on people, it’s a fascinating topic with a huge amount of research available to study. I would really recommend looking into music therapy on the internet or even making an appointment with a therapist that specializes in music therapy, there are many of them out there and their work is nothing short of amazing (in my opinion).
As you so correctly stated in your inquiry, music does bring out many emotions in all of us. Music therapists in general have huge success helping clients who struggle to express themselves for a variety of reasons not only express, but process their emotions through music.
Music can be such a powerful trigger to emotion it may be worth a short discussion on using it to motivate positive emotions. I know I can hear a certain songs and be automatically transported back to a point in time in the past. Sometimes experiences like that can be very overwhelming. I know that when we are stable this can be a powerfully good experience, but that is not always the case. For some of us a song on the radio can bring back the emotions of a negative incident related to that song and ruin a whole day or evening.
Music is a powerful trigger, watch out for that. It does however work for the positive experiences as well, and that of course is wonderful! Love it when the best random song from my teen years appears out of nowhere, that’s the best!
Keep on enjoying that music and all the emotion that goes along with it!
3Q.) Hi there,
Especially as the weather gets warmer, I’m feeling like exploring. Do you have any recommendations for a 35 year old single mother of 2 to do outdoors? I’m definitely looking to be off the beaten path a bit 🙂
3A.) Hello Adventure Mom, I applaud your interest in getting out there, literally! I am not sure where you live and what is available but I will do my best to discuss some general ideas for Moms to do with kids over the warm months, and some just for you.
Often times there is a lot of historical value in our states, cities and towns that get forgotten about because we live there and have busy lives. Checking out the attractions in our own living area is something we often forget to do. I was shocked that even in my small city there are museums, historical homes, car exhibits and restaurants that are really fun. I know this isn’t true of every town, but the surrounding areas are sure to have some stuff to check out.
When I was in graduate school I was given an assignment to study a rural community. My boyfriend at the time (currently the Mr.), my dog and I drove a couple of hours into the mountains and found a pretty awesome little historical town. We stayed at a hostel and had a great experience. I think experiences like that are more attainable than we think, especially if you are looking for “off the beaten path”.
I like spending times at parks, I tend to travel to different ones throughout my neighborhood. I know my kids and I love to pack some snacks and blankets and spend hours at the park playing and picnicking. Parks are usually not as packed as indoor play spots and provide many options to enjoy the outdoors. You can play on the equipment, picnic, play sports or sit down games. It sounds lame but depending on the different spots that you guys can explore it may be a really awesome adventure.
If you are looking for a little mommy only time, I would really recommend doing some research in your area on the art and music scene. I am always so pleasantly surprised at how rich of an artistic community there is in most places and it’s usually not too crowded.
Other suggestions are local classes offered in your community. I have heard of outdoor classes that are offered by local recreation centers that residents can sign up for. There are art classes and yoga classes that take place outdoors or indoors. It’s always a good idea to take classes in something that interests you if you can, it will undoubtedly put you in touch with like-minded people and help you learn more about something you like. If there is nothing like that in your area, why not start a book club or a movie club. A hiking club would really help you explore different trails and areas near you.
I wish you luck in checking out new endeavors, enjoy the warm weather and your children!
Shari Hardies, LCSW, is a social worker and contributor to Sono Bello Style, that has a true passion for improving the lives of others. She will be answering weekly user submitted questions on the topics of dating, relationships and live.