Oh, he's a little embarrassed

Oh, he's a little embarrassed
Oh, he's a little embarrassed

Here is the scenario: a romantic evening at the restaurant. The children are being looked after. Barely seated, the waiter, who is surely a very good person, arrives with a surplus of energy to explain the specials


You kindly ask him to come back in a few minutes, you would like to take your time. 60 seconds later he comes back to see if you want something to drink.

We have all experienced this moment. We just want to relax and take our time and our server makes us feel like there is a fire in the kitchen. (small confession: I was this server when I started in the restaurant business and I assure you that the intention is good).

Which brings me to another moment that we have all experienced. A stranger approaches you while you are with your young child. He makes faces at her, tries to get her attention and after about 15 seconds says to you:

"Oh, he's a little embarrassed. »

Really? Because he or she did not react in less than 15 seconds to a stranger, it makes him or her a little embarrassed…

This is an extreme example but not that much.

And it's true, some children are more shy than others. When we see some childrenEntering a group class for the first time and doing everything without even an adaptation period, we come to wonder why not mine…

And as a leader of children's lessons, I often hear this sentence:

“But you know, my child is embarrassed. »

I was one of those children. At my first gymnastics class at age 4, I took the first 5 classes sitting on my side without moving once. When my parents asked me why I didn't participate, I answered:

“I'm watching, good! »

And yet, I was still very excited to go to class. And it was only from the 6th week that I started to participate.

27 years later, I still like to take my time. I like to analyze, observe and go at my own pace. I can even seem at first glance, rather cold as a person.

But no one would say I'm embarrassed.

I was therefore in a very good position when I started teaching Sportball lessons in the fall of 2011 to really understand “shy” children.

My stuff may not work for you. They come from my experience teaching the sport to thousands of young people over the past 8 years.

Let's go!

1: I hate the word embarrassed.

To say that a child is shy (or a “little monster” in the other extreme) is to attribute to him a character trait that may seem unchangeable to him. He says to himself:

“I'm embarrassed and I'll always be like this”.

It may even happen that he acts to confirm this character trait.

If a parent in one of my classes says, “my child is embarrassed,” I completely ignore the remark. Then I approach the child as follows:

Me: Hello Mathieu, I'm coach Olivier. (kneeling)

Mathieu: (hides behind mom or dad)

Me: No problem Mathieu, you want to take your time. I'll leave you a nice orange ball and you'll be able to play with mom. See you sometime! (then I leave without the slightest disappointment)

Mathieu: (usually takes the ball and goes to play with mom or dad)

What I just did:

  • I presented myself at his height
  • I didn't put any pressure
  • I told him he can take his time
  • I gave him space
  • I gave him something (ex: ball to play) as an anchor

Then I come back a few minutes later and my chances of interacting with Mathieu have just tripled (according to my invented stats).

I never say the word embarrassed. Because I remember as a child all I wanted was to take my time. And respect me.

A child can be shy, I grant you that. But tell him:

"Don't be embarrassed"

or telling everyone that he or she is embarrassed doesn't help the situation. Your child takes his time. He goes at his own pace. We must not impose ours on him.

"So what do I do,I'm patiently waiting for it to be ready?"

In my sports classes, I recommend on the contrary to be proactive. Participate and repeat the keywords. Follow the instructions. Do the exercises. It may take a few lessons, but he'll definitely join you.

And that doesn't mean that your "shy kid" will be embarrassed all his life.

One day, he may become a children's course leader or better yet, the slightly too intense waiter who won't let you relax at a restaurant with your partner…

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