Getting Past Shy: How You Can Help

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School days are here and lots of new introductions. Here's how to help your quiet child.

Some scientists argue that shyness is due to genetic predisposition, but many psychologists point to strong experiential factors – past experiences of rejection or fears of future failure.

“Shyness robs kids of opportunities in life,” says Renee Gilbert, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist. “While many children outgrow shyness with time, for those of us who carry our shyness forward into adulthood, life can become one series of missed opportunities after another. Anything you can do to ease your child’s shyness will decrease the number of opportunities your child misses over the course of his life,” she adds.

Ways to Help Kids With Shyness

REMINDERS OF THE GOOD
Highlight your child’s past successes in numerous ways. Frame a photo of his best piano recital, showcase awards or trophies in a place of prominence. Creatively remind your child in strategic moments about things he’s done that were not shy.

PROVIDE OPS FOR SOLO SUCCESSES
Social confidence is largely based on self-confidence, which can be increased through solo successes in art, music, grades, individual athletics, writing and responsibilities like taking care of a younger sibling or pet.

SHARE YOUR CHILD’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS WITH OTHERS
Once your child hits a major milestone, be sure to praise his effort rather than the final result. You can share the accomplishment with friends and family and ask them to send complimentary responses, or post the piece on a Facebook page or blog.

More Ways to help your child:

  • Model confident social behavior yourself
  • Teach social skills early
  • Emphasize creative problem solving
  • Help your child identify talents that make him feel special

 

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer.

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