How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Steven Olsen Your Own Question
Steven Olsen
Steven Olsen, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1765
Experience:  More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Steven Olsen is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Hi, we live in Toronto, Canada.I have 3 kids, 2 girls and a

Resolved Question:

Hi, we live in Toronto, Canada.I have 3 kids, 2 girls and a boy.My son, who is the youngest, is 13 years old.His 2 elder sisters 20 and 19 years are full of life, confidence and not shy at all. However, the boy is quite shy, does not have a lot of confidence. Although, after my pursuation he started liking karate and now goes to the club regularly, but seems like he does not have interest in life. No music or dancing.When he smiles, does not seem coming from inside. Likes to play viseo games. Physical health seems ok, he is average in school.
My question to you is; Is there any thing we as a family can do to change his attitude or more importantly his mood and confidence? Please help.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Steven Olsen replied 6 years ago. is a challenge.


I am the same age as you and have three children, exactly the same order as you, although they are younger. I couldn't resist this question as it seemed to match so well to my own background as a parent and as a developmental therapist.


Youngest children are often very different than their siblings and there is a huge developmental range and fluctuation of character. Some are, like your son, very introverted and shy, almost sanguine.


I suspect that you feel that something might be wrong with him, perhaps a mood based issue or depression. That is a remote possibility; however, I believe from what you are describing that this is a normal developmental process involving an introverted child. In children, depression is often marked by irritability. I am not seeing that trait here.


Teen boys develop very slowly and quite differently than their female counterparts. For a girl, 14 is mature and 17 is almost adult in 85-90% of the cases. For a boy, brain maturity wise at 14 he is more like a ten year old girl. In time, near his 22nd year of life he will catch up. Many introverted boys at 14 are outgoing and dynamic men by 25.


You are doing an excellent job in providing self confidence exercises for him. Martial arts are a terrific tool for this. Remember, that it isn't his reaction that matters in the immediate but the development of maturity in his brain that is occurring behind the scenes. You are providing it but are not yet seeing the fruit of your efforts; you will.


The absolute best guidance here is that this will be a slow process. There isn't one outstanding thing that will change him, but rather a slow and steady exposure of opportunities to grow...too much forcing of expectations is harmful and you are being patient with him, which is excellent.


Truly I think you are doing well. He is simply cut from a different mold than his sisters. More than 8.3 million combinations of genetics took place when he was conceived. Some traits surfaced that are more subtle but you won't know fully with a boy until he is in his early 20's.


Again, you are doing well. It is the steadiness and variety of opportunities that will make the difference.


My best, Steve


Steven Olsen and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mental Health Questions