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One of my sons has problems dealing with situations involving uncertainty.

Or tasks where he just thinks isn’t sure he has the right answer.

He can sit for many minutes when deciding among many imperfect choices or when he’s in a situation where there’s no specific right or wrong answer.

Like he’s frozen.

This behavior has puzzled me for several years now. No amount of coaxing, threatening or pleading seems to help.

Yesterday, I think we had a bit of a breakthrough though.

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Every once in a while one of my boys will say something to the effect of “I don’t want to do that. I’m shy.”

This really rubs me the wrong way.

I’ve heard the term shy since I was a small kid.  Sometimes used to describe me, many times to describe others.

I really don’t like that word.

Why?

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Yesterday, after telling my boys for the 10,000th time to finish their piano lessons, I sent both of them to timeout. Outside. Apart. When it was in the 90s. (Chill out, they weren’t in the sun and it was only for 10 min)

Now for many parents, this may sound like it’s not much of a punishment at all, but my boys tend to like staying inside more than outside, and they definitely like playing with each other more than being alone. In fact, they really don’t seem to know what to do with themselves when they’re outside alone (that’s a story for another day though).

Anyway, after I had sent my first boy outside for a period, I heard him crying a bit so opened the front door.  He was pretty freaked out and rambling on about bugs, and insects with wings, and all sorts of stuff related to creepy crawly things.  After talking with him a bit, it appeared he has at least a partial phobia to insects (My wife confirmed this to me later).

I decided to try an interesting approach with him based on exposure therapy, I’m hoping will help him get over his phobia.

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