All about the mind

5 tips to help your shy child

This post is brought to you by Disguises.com.au

Shyness is not an uncommon trait. In today’s society where being outgoing and gregarious is rewarded, it’s hard to be a shy kid or adult. I wasn’t a shy kid  to begin with but after a few bad experiences at 11, I went into my shell. I became a super-shy teenager. As a psychologist, I have a soft spot for kids and teens who are anxious. It’s probably because I have a deeper understanding from a personal standpoint of what it is like. It’s not just the research that says you can overcome shyness and social anxiety but my own personal experiences. In that way, it makes me a better therapist.

If you have a shy child, here are some things you can do to help them cope.

Empathise, not shame: Empathise and validate your child’s fears. Shaming them or telling them off for being shy is the worst possible way to help them manage their shyness. Punishing them for not socialising is also not the answer.

Role playing: For some kids, shyness or social anxiety can be due to a fear of saying the wrong things in a social situation. To help them get over this fear, it is helpful to role play social situations with them at home. You can do this with dolls and toys or even pretending to be their favourite Harry Potter characters.

Gradual exposure: Avoidance is the automatic response to something we fear. A shy child will tend to avoid social situations and giving in to that avoidance, only makes the shyness and anxiety worse. Instead, you can start gradually exposing your child to social situations. It could be a small play date at your home with three other kids and then slowly work your way up to your child being able to attend parties at others’ places. The more success they achieve in the beginning, the quicker they will climb up their fear ladder.

Model confident behaviour: Children look up to their parents as role models. If you are shy yourself and avoid social situations, it may be harder to motivate your child to face their fears. On the other hand, if you can socialise at parties or host get-togethers, they are more likely to follow your lead.

Teach them about quality over quantity: In the end, remind your child that having one or two good friends is better than having ten friends who may not mean a lot. While they can learn to socialise with people, it doesn’t mean they have to befriend all of them.

Of course, if your child’s shyness is more than just shyness and is closer to social anxiety, it would be beneficial to have them see a child psychologist so as to help them manage their fears.

Have you had to deal with shyness in yourself or your children? 

What did you do?

Do share!

***Linking with Grace for FYBF and Sammie for the Ultimate Rabbit Hole***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

SANCH_sig1

 

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  • Venice
    December 11, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I turned into a shy person when I was around 4 or 5 years old. An incident involving other kids shaming me caused me to withdraw into myself and stay that way till some few years back. My parents didn’t exactly ‘push’ me to socialize but they would always encourage me to make new friends, meet people and talk to others – I didn’t like that, preferred doing it my own way, which was not much 😀 I’ve only recently started to venture a centimetre from my shell. Some bad associations in the recent past have again affected my action to open up with people. Still learning though. Also, thanks for this post – some of the points you mentioned, I learnt them on my own – especially the 3rd and 5th point.

  • Venice
    December 11, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    I turned into a shy person when I was around 4 or 5 years old. An incident involving other kids shaming me caused me to withdraw into myself and stay that way till some few years back. My parents didn’t exactly ‘push’ me to socialize but they would always encourage me to make new friends, meet people and talk to others – I didn’t like that, preferred doing it my own way, which was not much 😀 I’ve only recently started to venture a centimetre from my shell. Some bad associations in the recent past have again affected my action to open up with people. Still learning though. Also, thanks for this post – some of the points you mentioned, I learnt them on my own – especially the 3rd and 5th point.

  • Vishal Bheeroo
    December 12, 2015 at 2:47 am

    That’s great and practical ideas. I’ve been a shy child and even at this age, I do get conscious and can be socially inept at times.
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…Hindi baatein: Kahani sunane waleMy Profile

  • Vishal Bheeroo
    December 12, 2015 at 2:47 am

    That’s great and practical ideas. I’ve been a shy child and even at this age, I do get conscious and can be socially inept at times.
    Vishal Bheeroo recently posted…Hindi baatein: Kahani sunane waleMy Profile

  • Michael Noker
    December 15, 2015 at 9:22 am

    My mom pretty much ensured that I would never end up being a shy person. She was always a very outgoing, warm woman who could make new friends in the Walmart checkout line. I had that example to live up to, so shyness wasn’t an issue. I think that’s one of the best things I ever learned from her, as my energy is responsible for a lot of my success up to this point.

    When you’re raising kids, one of the most important things you can teach them is the skill of confidence and how to be engaging. Connecting with people is getting harder to do in today’s world, but it’s still crucial to our mental health, so it’s becoming more important than ever. Great post!

  • Michael Noker
    December 15, 2015 at 9:22 am

    My mom pretty much ensured that I would never end up being a shy person. She was always a very outgoing, warm woman who could make new friends in the Walmart checkout line. I had that example to live up to, so shyness wasn’t an issue. I think that’s one of the best things I ever learned from her, as my energy is responsible for a lot of my success up to this point.

    When you’re raising kids, one of the most important things you can teach them is the skill of confidence and how to be engaging. Connecting with people is getting harder to do in today’s world, but it’s still crucial to our mental health, so it’s becoming more important than ever. Great post!

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