Shyness Occurs in Most Children: Overcoming Introversion

Overcoming Shyness in Children Overcoming Shyness in Children Image: Mintchip Designs- Pixabay

Shyness in childhood occurs to a greater or lesser degree in most children, but for some, it can be an overwhelming social barrier. What symptoms should we look out for? How can we help a child overcome his shyness?

Shyness is a term used to describe the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or discomfort that a person experiences when approaching other people.  This is especially evident in new situations or with people outside the immediate environment. It is believed that shyness is due to hereditary factors and the environment in which a person is raised. It may also be a personality trait, but can also be influenced by certain stages in life, such as childhood. In fact, all children present degrees of shyness during their growth.

Being shy is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as the degree of shyness does not turn into anxiety or social phobia. A certain degree of shyness can actually be beneficial. It makes us more cautious and often forces us to observe our surroundings a bit longer, before participating. The key point is how to deal with it to get the best out of each child. It is important to strengthen their self-esteem.

Identifying  Symptoms of Shyness:

It is often not easy to detect symptoms of shyness in children since most respond to internal symptoms (thoughts and emotions). Observation by parents, teachers, and even friends, is a key factor in identifying children with shyness problems. Look out for the following signs:

On the other hand, it is important not to confuse these with these other types of behaviors in children if…

They are quiet and shy around people they do not know or when faced with new situations.

They have friends, albeit only a few.

They do not like to be the center of attention or interact with people in large groups but can do so perfectly well in smaller groups.

Tips to Help Overcome Shyness:

Below are a few tips to help a child cope with his shyness so that he can gain self-esteem:  “Say hello”, “don’t hide”, and “go play with the children” are common reactions by parents to their child’s shyness. Parents should not insist that they be open when they are not prepared. The best thing we can do when the child acts shy is not to insist, nor force them; the more we pressure them, the less we are actually helping them to overcome their shyness.

Avoid overprotection. Overprotective parents speak up on their child’s behalf and come to comfort him every time he seems withdrawn. This, however, does not help the child gradually overcome his shyness. It is also not advisable to avoid potentially uncomfortable situations for the child since social isolation only increases the problem.

Do not label. Labels on minors are dangerous. It is not advisable to shield the child’s attitude from others with the classic “he is just very shy.” When faced with a new situation, it is better to let him slowly relax until he accepts it as normal. 

Sociable parents, sociable children. Children observe how their parents adopt sociable behavior and attitudes in the face of new circumstances. If the parent appears comfortable when meeting someone new or arriving at an unknown place, they will learn and assume this is the way to approach new situations. 

Opportunities to network.  Joining a team sport, or going out with other families with children their age can help.  Inviting a friend to sleep or eat over, or going out frequently to the park are more options parents can use to get their children comfortable with the unknown. It is important to accompany them at the beginning to provide the security they need. Little by little, let them adapt naturally to new circumstances. Shyness in childhood occurs to a greater or lesser degree in most children but can be an overwhelming social barrier.  Work with your child and patience, patience, patience!

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