If someone says your child is shy, it’s rarely intended as a compliment and you probably don’t take it as one.
Shyness is Not an Illness
Shyness is a personality trait.
Some of the nicest people are shy. Shy people tend to be attentive listeners: they are private folk who exude a quiet dignity without saying much. Many shy people have an inner peace - if the extroverts would be quiet for a moment they would notice it. Shy people can be deep-thinking and cautious and slow to warm up to strangers; they study a person to see if the relationship is worth the effort.
Shy people often have an inner peace and their shyness is one way of protecting it.
Yet, parents naturally wonder what to do about their child’s shyness. Is it just a passing phase? Should the child be encouraged to become more outgoing? ls there a more serious underlying problem?
Here's how you can help:
Recognise that you are blessed with a sensitive, deeply caring, reserved child who is slow to warm up to strangers, approaches social relationships cautiously, but generally seems to be a happy person.
Never label a child ‘shy’ - it makes them feel something’s wrong with them and will probably make them even more shy.
Don’t try to reason or coax your child out of their shyness. They will likely react against you. Just create comfortable situations that let their social personality develop naturally.
Tell your child ahead of social situations what’s expected of them - a simple, "Hi" and quiet polite behaviour. Give them time to prepare, and don’t ask more than you can reasonably expect. Keep the attention off the child.
Be patient. We tend to think of shyness as a social handicap, yet shy children tend to grow up into sensitive, empathetic adults.
If we look at what shyness really means, being a shy child is not such a negative quality after all. Shyness can be a help or a handicap to a child, depending on how it’s handled.
We live in a world that’s loud, fast, and busy. Unfortunately, it can be overwhelming for the shy people among us.
We need to remember that the world is a gentler and quieter place because of them.