Shyness is quite a common phenomenon in children. It is a reluctance to open up and interact with people, for fear of embarrassment or just irrational fear, that comes from subjecting oneself to the unknown. I will discuss the causes of shyness and suggest some ways in which parents can help their children in getting out of their shell and develop into confident and balanced individuals.
A bit of shyness will always remain and it may be even good for them at times. Though shy children may be easier to manage, extreme shyness, if not overcome early, may stall the progress of a child in the future.
Such children, who do not overcome their shyness while growing up, become lonesome adults later, with poorly developed social skills. That is why, it's very important that extreme shyness be overcome early or it can lead to low self-esteem and overall inhibition of personality development.
Shyness may arise from a variety of 'nature' and 'nurture' factors. Majority of causes are related to how these children are nurtured while growing up. Here are some of the reasons for extreme shyness.
Extreme Emotional Sensitivity
Some children are born to be much more sensitive and vulnerable than others. They need to be handled delicately. Insensitivity to their feelings makes them go into a shell. They are too scared to subject themselves to new things, for fear of getting hurt.
Imitation of Parental Behavior
Children learn everything through imitation. If parents themselves are not that outgoing and shy by nature, then shyness in their children is highly probable. That is because parents are role models.
Insecurity can lead to shyness. Children who have abusive parents tend to be insecure and shy by nature.
Harshly Criticizing and Dominating Parents
Another reason might be overcritical and dominating parents. Children are pushed into a shell when they are criticized so much, that they fear making mistakes. This fear of making mistakes leads to shyness, as they want to shield themselves from criticism.
An overall low confidence in personality can be the reason for shyness in a child. This low confidence may have been induced by peer pressure, comparison with siblings, or even bullying in school.
When a child is subjected to prolonged isolation from society, he/she never gets an opportunity to learn social cues and develop social interaction skills. When such a child is subjected to a social interaction suddenly, it makes him/her very uncomfortable and shy. That bad experience further diminishes their confidence of interaction, which isolates them even more.
How to Help Children in Overcoming Shyness?
The good news is that shyness in children can be successfully overcome. As parents, you need to be patient with children and firstly understand what is the reason that the child is overtly shy. Here are some ways of overcoming it.
Encourage Social Interaction
Encourage your child to meet new people and make friends. Give him an opportunity to know other people in the family and school. Encourage participation is sports and other activities.
Reach Out and Let Him/Her Open up to You
A shy child needs to be delicately coaxed into opening up. Be a friend to your child and don't mock his insecurities. Nudge him into opening up to you, by bonding with him/her first. Do some great fun activities together.
Make Them Feel Secure
Let them feel secure and know that you are there for them. Teach him/her that it's okay to make mistakes. Make them understand that everybody fails at the start and it is okay if they take their own time in learning things.
Lead By Example
Be outgoing, yourself. The child will naturally learn to shed his shyness, by seeing you open up. You are their role models.
Give Him/Her Opportunities to Grow
Encourage them to do things on their own. Let them build confidence through small victories. Be thrifty in criticism but generous in lauding their small achievements.
All they need is a pat on the back and a small nudge to get out of their shell. Hope this article has given you an idea about how shyness can be overcome in children through love, support, and dollops of encouragement.