Every time you watch your neighbours little boy talk so confidently, you might wonder, “Why is my child so shy? Why can’t he be as social and smart as the other kids on the street?” Well, you aren’t alone! That’s how most parents of shy kids feel. According to statistics, 20% children are born shy. Almost all children feel shy at some time or the other. While some children get-over their shyness as they grow, others carry it into adulthood. Reasons could be many, but if you are struggling to understand why your child does not want to talk or interact with others, ask yourself these questions and you might find an answer.
1. Am I or anyone in my family shy?
Genetic research suggests that shyness could be inherited. If your child is extremely shy, he or she could have possibly inherited the trait from a shy parent or family member. Look back and see if you were a shy kid yourself, if your spouse or any of your siblings are shy by nature. More often than not, you will realise that it is indeed a genetic trait.
2. Are we having a poor parent-child interaction?
Parents who do not give enough time to their children or those who do not positively encourage children to become independent, often find their children shy and introverted. Such kids frequently suffer from anxiety and nervousness when exposed to unfamiliar situations and surroundings. In extreme cases, they can even exhibit signs like trembling and stammering while interacting with others. Take sometime to look at your schedule and see how much quality time you have been giving your child and what kind of interactions you have had during that time.
3. Is my child getting enough exposure?
When children are not given enough opportunities to learn and explore, they grow up with low self-esteem and shy away from situations they haven’t been exposed to. Kids fail to take initiatives due to lack of confidence, and confidence develops with exposure. Are you doing enough to give your child a well rounded exposure? Sometimes parents tend to get over-protective, and even paranoid at times, which hinders a child’s over-all exposure to the world outside. It can get tricky as lack of exposure may lead to shyness, and shyness in-turn resists exposure of any kind. Even though immensely talented, shy kids usually prefer to let go off opportunities that could highlight their talent.
4. Is my child getting bullied?
Children who are constantly subjected to bullying by friends or family members, often shy away from mingling with others for the fear of being teased. The more they shy away, the easier it is for others to bully them. This turns into a vicious cycle unless intervened. It always helps to sit and have a friendly chat with your child to find out if bullying is the underlying cause for the subdued behaviour.
5. Are we not socializing much?
Children whose parents do not socialize much, find it difficult when it comes to moving or interacting in a social gathering. Many a times, children who do not exhibit appropriate social skills get labelled as “SHY” and such children, although not shy by nature, may begin to feel conscious of this label and slowly internalise it. As a parent, do you socialise enough or display social skills that your children can pick from you? Even simple things like greeting people in the neighbourhood could be great gestures that can teach your children about social interaction.
Deep rooted or just a changing phase, shyness is a very common issue and it does bother most parents, unfortunately the problem has no quick fix. However, a little support and acceptance from parents will make a big difference to the child’s self-esteem.