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Shyness During Childhood

Is your child quite shy? Does S/he avoid eye contact with adults? Or even hide behind furniture, and refuse to shake hands or converse with anyone? Do they also cling to you whenever you are at a party?

Shyness is a characteristic, not a weakness. Many children were shy as children but became more social as they grew older. Children are not shy because they wish to be. It's just a normal behavior to feel nervous in new situations or around other people. Kids are sensitive and attentive listeners. They need to investigate their surroundings and the people around them before reacting. However, sometimes shyness can be due to lack of social interaction, intensive criticism by parents, teachers or peers and fear of failure specifically for kids who were pushed always beyond their limits.

Whatever the cause of your child's shyness, the advice is always the same: Always support your child to feel at ease in any situation.

Here are some tips to consider if you have a shy child:

  • Request that your visitors or relatives approach your child calmly. Allow them to wait until your child makes the first move.

  • Do not leave your child alone with the other children at a party. If you stay with him/her, then S/he might feel more at ease. Support your child and participate yourself in kid’s activities. S/he may be interested to interact more effectively with other children.

  • Do not make any comments about your child's sentiments while S/he are at a party. It will make her/him feel even worse.

  • Let your child stay next to you during family gatherings. Don’t push her/him away. S/he will feel more at ease communicating with the group in his/her own unique style.

  • Prepare your child in advance of any party, gathering, or visitor. Allow him/her to be prepared emotionally for the presence of others.

  • Do not ask your child to do an impromptu activity in front of people, such as playing the piano or singing a rhyme. It is preferable to let him/her perform whenever S/he feels like it.

Remember, the harder you pull, the further your child will retreat. Keep your child comfortable, praise him/her when S/he behaves well, and encourage him/her to meet and engage with others.

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