Shyness In Children

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What is shyness?

Liz wanted to enter the mess hall. All the other kids were already seated in groups, munching their lunch, chatting happily. Liz was afraid that people would look at her, so she hung outside, trying to muster the courage to enter. But her heart raced inside her rib cage, her palms sweated and she felt a warm blush cover her face. So she left.

Shyness during childhood years.

Shy children like Liz suffer from ‘approach avoidance conflict. It means that they do want to approach others, but at the same time, are too afraid to do so. As a result, the shy child may have bad approach skills, lower social skills and feel that everything they say is dull or stupid. Hence, shy children may have low results in tests that require face-to-face interactions, and may be perceived as less intelligent than they are due to their fear of talking. Thus, a vicious cycle may begin that only enhances the low-self esteem of the shy child. During later childhood and adolescence shyness becomes increasingly associated with loneliness, depression, social anxiety, and low self-worth.

The shy ones may feel tiny in relation to others, or wish to disappear all together.

Mitch’s switching into objects in “The Two Tuba Switch” is a way to stretch shyness a bit to make a point.

Shyness – nature or nurture? Both.

Shyness runs in families. About one fifth of the babies are born with a tendency for shyness.

Shyness may be caused by any single or repeated incidents that makes us feel uncomfortable or unworthy (new day in preschool /school, peer mockery, bullying, etc).

Modern age factors.

Increased crime which forces children off the streets, smaller families, increasing use of computers, video games, and TV as a form of non-human means for fun and play. These changes which may also be a convenient for a shy person may also enhance his shyness.

How to improve matters in a nutshell?

Parents must be supportive of their child’s temperament helping them feel better about themselves. At the same time, they must not be over protective by helping the child engage in successful social activity. Mutual activities such as reading together Children’s educational books about shy children and how they cope is another good way.

Parents must never ever, let their own childhood memories and frustrations interfere and get in the way! Love your children for what they are.

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