My reserved son-what to do?


#1

My almost 6 year old son is quite reserved in a number of areas and I’m a little concerned about it. He is not comfortable saying “I love you” to me or any other family member. When we pray he doesn’t want to say the words out loud, but he always reminds me to say prayers before he goes to bed or before we eat meals. He asks me to ask Jesus for something for him and when I encourage him to talk to Jesus himself he gets upset and says he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t like to sing out loud but loves to listen to music. I know he is a loving little boy but I don’t understand why he’s so reserved. His father and I are affectionate with our children and I have made sure that we always express our love for each other. His younger sister and brother are more like what I would expect, they say I love you mommy and have no problem being vocal or expressive about feelings and love to say their prayers out loud. At school and with other kids my son is a chatterbox and is very active. His teacher was surprised when I asked if he speaks up in class or if he talks to the other kids because she said he’s the only child in the class who can talk to anybody about anything and that he’s an excellent listener and quite bright. I’m confused and not sure what to do, I admit I’m worried he’s going to be one of those teenagers who withdraws to themselves and doesn’t communicate with me or my husband. Am I over-reacting?


#2

Some children are naturally very reserved. It’s just part of their nature. Perhaps he just feels ackward living in an affectionate family when he didn’t inherit the affection gene. I think you said he is the oldest. That might be part of it too.

I would be concerned about his communication when he gets to be a teen. But that’s a concern for all children, affectionate or not.

You don’t say if he has a problem being hugged or hugging back. Is this an issue too? Or is it just that he doesn’t like to SAY affectionate things? Does it seem to make him uncomfortable when others say they love him?


#3

Maybe he does not understand Jesus is real and that he is listening. I only say this because mine know there prayers but I have not seen or heard of them praying. my oldest is 6 and then 3 more. And I also notice that even though we pray and home before meals out in public they need to be reminded. Also at 6 I bet he is tring to make sence of a whole lot of things and affection and prayers might be harder then others because we can’t see Jesus or feel him yet.

Teddy


#4

You don’t say if he has a problem being hugged or hugging back. Is this an issue too? Or is it just that he doesn’t like to SAY affectionate things? Does it seem to make him uncomfortable when others say they love him?

He enjoys being hugged by me, my husband, his siblings, his two grandmothers and my brother, and he doesn’t so much as hug back as he kind of leans into us, but if it’s anyone else like my two SILs or my aunts, he squirms away from their embrace or refuses to give them a hug if they ask for one. He sometimes plays a little silly when one of us tells him that we love him.


#5

Actually he sounds kind of like a BOY.

Many (not all) boys are kind of squeamish about PDAs (public displays of affection). He may tolerate it from his immediate family but not be able to handle anything more.

Have you asked him why he doesn’t want to pray out loud? He would probably answer he just doesn’t want too or he doesn’t know. I’m wondering if he doesn’t really want to know the answer because he doesn’t want to disappoint you. Perhaps he just doesn’t want to be ‘on display’ or feel he’s performing.

There are some children who are always wanting to ‘perform’ to gain parental approval. There are others (even very young children) who feel like they are being used to make the parent look good when asked to do something like speak in public (even if its just prayer around the dinner table.) Such children are more likely to speak up if it’s their idea and not the parents’.

Your son sounds like he is very bright and probably quite observant of people. But he probably keeps most of what he’s thinking to himself.

I suggest you just back off a bit and see what happens. When you ask him questions, make sure you are really asking for the truth and aren’t trying to lead him to the answer you want him to give. For instance, if you ask him to pray and he says no, take him at his word and don’t show disappointment.


#6

He enjoys being hugged by me, my husband, his siblings, his two grandmothers and my brother, and he doesn’t so much as hug back as he kind of leans into us, but if it’s anyone else like my two SILs or my aunts, he squirms away from their embrace or refuses to give them a hug if they ask for one. He sometimes plays a little silly when one of us tells him that we love him.

The more that you try to “get him” to hug, say “I love you”, etc. the more he’ll probably resist. It would probably help to simply stop bringing it up as an issue. If he feels less pressured, he may find ways to be more affectionate. I would especially NOT pressure him into hugging aunties, gmas, etc. I read somewhere that when you tell someone that you love them, there should not be an expectation to get an “i love you” back. Tell him you love him often, but don’t act like you expect an answer back.


#7

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