Parenting a Shy Child

Many children are shy – it's not uncommon at all. However, dealing with a shy child as a parent can be difficult. While there is no shame in being shy, if you continue to let your child be shy, they can later be robbed of important life opportunities. For this reason, it's important that parents find ways to help bring their child out, helping them to overcome the shyness that they are dealing with. Of course, it's easier said than done to help your child get over being shy. Here is a look at tips and advice that parents can use to help out when it comes to parenting a shy child.

Why Is Your Child Shy?

The first thing you need to do if you have a shy child is to ask yourself why your child is shy in the first place. There are various reasons that your child may be shy. Take a look at when you notice your child being shy. Are they shy all the time, only shy when meeting someone new, shy in large groups, or shy when having to make presentations? If you are able to figure out the situations when your child is shy, you will be better able to overcome this.

You also need to consider the fact that your child may be dealing with more than just a bit of shyness. Various medical conditions and other conditions may be confused with shyness in a child. Your child could be dealing with a problem like Asperger's Syndrome, autism, anxiety, or even learning disabilities. Take a careful look at your child and their actions. If you think there may be an underlying problem other than shyness, make sure they get the professional attention that they need.

Be a Role Model

Another important tip for parenting a shy child is to be a role model yourself. You may be surprised at how much your child learns from you. They learn by watching what you do, so it is important that you are a good role model for them. When you are in social situations, be friendly to others, introduce yourself to other people, and compliment strangers, friends, and family members. There are some things you should avoid too. Don't criticize other people in public, don't berate your child for being shy, and don't avoid people because you are nervous. This only sends the wrong message to your child. Even if you are a shy person yourself, to help you child, you need to overcome that and work on setting the example for your child. Not only can this help your child learn important social skills, but it can help you overcome shyness in your own life as a parent.

Start Early with Social Skills

Good social skills don't just randomly occur in children – they are taught. This means that you need to work on these skills with your children, and the earlier you begin, the better. Shyness increases as children age, so you need to start young with your child. Not sure how to encourage social skills in your young child? Start out by having play dates so your child gets the chance to interact with other children at a young age. Take time at home to practice social skills, such as giving compliments, introducing people, or even shaking hands with others. Teach kids about friendship and how to be a good friend. These are all simple ways that you can teach young children important social skills that will help them to overcome shyness later in life.

Help Your Child Learn About Respect and Tolerance

People who are shy are often more judgmental – of themselves as well as others. If you are judgmental yourself, this will teach your child to become this way as well. When you are criticizing others, you are teaching children that when they go out, people are going to judge them as well, which leads to even more shyness. This causes them to withdraw into their own world of shyness. It is important that you instead teach your child about respect and tolerance for other people. Teach them to respect people even if they do have shortcomings. Let them know that no one is perfect, but people are worthwhile and should be tolerated in spite of imperfections. Compliment other people instead of tearing people down.

Also, you need to avoid referring to your child's shyness in a negative way, which is a way of judging your child.  While shyness should not be an excuse for behavior, you need to avoid labeling your child as shy in a negative way. Instead, find ways you can compliment your child while helping them to overcome the shyness that they are dealing with.

When You Need Help

There are some cases where your child may simply be dealing with shyness. However, there are times when this can be a more serious problem, such as severe social anxiety disorder. Sometimes children can go beyond simply being shy and they may become depressed, lonely, isolated, and they may even feel hopeless. In some cases, this may lead to panic attacks when they are put in social situations. This is not a simple problem to ignore. If you feel that your child is dealing with more than simple shyness, do not wait to get help. It may be a good idea to find a good psychologist that is trained in treating these problems in children.

Parenting a shy child can be tough, but if you work on it as a team with your child, they can overcome shyness, which will be helpful later in life for them. Use these tips and ideas with your child and remember, if it seems that your child is more than just shy, get the help that your child needs.

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