Help Your Child Overcome Social Shyness

All people experience social shyness at some point in their life: temporary social shyness is very normal for most adult & children. In children, social shyness is normal around 5-6 months and at 2 years of age.

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While social shyness is a normal part of developments, shyness can become a problem if it interferes with relationships and social situations. If your child is 3 years old or older and is experiencing frequent social shyness, they could use some help in overcoming their shyness.

I grew up as a shy child and can tell you that is was difficult. I was so quiet in school that I did not receive the help I needed from teachers and suffered with poor grades. Social shyness has negative effects in a variety of aspect of a child’s life and requires the parent to become active in helping their child in this area.

Before discussing what can be done to help the shy child, let’s first define what social shyness is. Social shyness can be defined as

What causes social shyness?

Inconsistent parenting, overprotective parents, lack of involvement by parents, teasing or criticism, lack of experience, heredity, shy disposition, learned behavior, low self-esteem, trouble adapting to new situations.

What things can help the child overcome social shyness?

Below are some ideas in encouraging your child to overcome social shyness. While these are just some ideas, it may be a good idea in some situations to obtain professional help if the issues causing the shyness are serious in nature.

1. Patience - Don’t expect shyness to get better overnight. It will take a lot of patience, love, and practice to help the child overcome social shyness.

2. Be Kind - Don’t criticize or make fun of other people who are shy. By doing so, the child will turn that criticism onto them.

3. Don’t put so much focus on “being shy” but on positive ways to being social.

4. Be positive - Help your child avoid isolation by encouraging interaction between themselves and others.

5. Avoid “rescuing” your child - That is, encourage them to speak for themselves and come out of their shell on their own as much as they can. Don’t “push them out” but encourage them to act on their own.

6. Allow your child to experience a variety of situation and avoid isolation them. If possible, role play some situations your child may find him or herself in so they can feel more confident in themselves.

7. Praise your child and let them know they’re special and loved. A hug and a pat on the back goes a long way in creating positive self-esteem and confidence in one’s abilities.

8. Get your child involved in activities they’re good at. Being good at something creates confidence and self-esteem.

9. Organize small play-dates to help your child interact with others.

10. Teach your child assertiveness and positive ways to stand up for themselves and their needs.

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