A great concern for many parents is that their children are shy. But what does shy even mean? Many ‘shy’ children are actually sensitive. This means that they are very aware and affected by the environment around them. Other ‘shy’ children are just introverts, they just want time to themselves to renew their energy. Some are just so absorbed by their own projects, they are not very interested in social interaction.
The first thing a parent can do is to nurture the child by noticing and responding to their needs and fears. Children who are highly sensitive need nurturing parents to become leaders in their group. Parents can help their children by helping them calm themselves. This helps them deal with their fears in any situation.
Parents should never shame their kids by calling them ‘shy’, especially not in a social surrounding where there are other people around. They should empathize with their worries, acknowledge their feelings, avoid negative judgement and help them feel good about themselves. Empathizing with children will in turn teach them how to empathize with others as they grow up.
Modelling confident behaviour is a very good way of helping socially worried children. When children see their parents talking to others confidently, offering help to people around them and exhibiting a relaxed attitude, children learn that too.
Anxiety and nervousness are things every individual feels. Most adults know how to deal with bouts of anxiety. Children don’t. Parents should remind their children that it is ok to feel nervous. They should brainstorm with their children with ideas on how to deal with their emotions during these situations.
Parents should never push their kids to perform. This only helps in making them feel even worse than when they first started out. Many kids enjoy performing for their grandparents or any audience, some kids simply hate it and they should not be pushed.