Being shy is a trait of our personality that is due to the set of hereditary factors and the environment where we grew up. Shyness can occur to a greater or lesser degree when we are children.
Shyness means that little ones can experience discomfort, and even apprehension when they experience new situations that occur outside their environment. In addition, the simple fact of being around other people can affect them depending on the degree of shyness they present. How can we help the child to overcome his shyness and overcome all the obstacles it poses.
Being shy is considered a habitual reaction and a logical response of the child to the unknown. Thanks to the studies carried out by the psychologist Jerome Kagan we can affirm that 20% of children are born with a predisposition to be shy. In addition, we know that throughout their maturation children begin to feel like one more and what is around in their environment also counts. So:
- Shyness can appear from the child's first year, at the moment the fear of separation from your attachment figure arises.
- Over 3 years when facing a new social context When the school period begins, shyness can be accentuated.
- Between 5 and 6 years is when socialization begins in full swing. Children begin to care what others think, they begin to avoid behaviors that prevent them from criticizing, so they will take into account everything around them before carrying out a behavior that can have a positive or negative impact on them.
- Already in adolescence this behavior is much more latent.
To help children, it is key that parents, teachers, and even friends observe the little ones and be alert to some signs or behaviors such as:
- Prefer being alone rather than being part of the group.
- Fear or anxiety when expressing an opinion in the presence of other people.
- In the presence of other children it is shown reserved and distant, It is difficult for him to start conversations with other children, he never shows initiative to do any activity.
- Problems related to your self-esteem such as: feeling inferior and not knowing how to defend oneself. In addition, problems such as stomach or headaches may appear as a way to avoid certain situations.
It is important to be aware of these signs and for parents, teachers and all the adults in the child's environment to communicate what they are observing in the child's behavior to prevent shyness from increasing and leading to anxiety that makes it difficult to establish of social relations.
The most important context for the child to overcome shyness is the family. Everything that happens within the family nucleus influences from early childhood on the later development of the child's character and qualities. So, the family is the most conducive environment to help the child overcome shyness since it provides security, emotional stability, tranquility, etc. Some tips to help your child overcome shyness are:
- Avoid overprotection
Speak up for the child, comfort him every time he is withdrawn, avoid all situations that may be uncomfortable for the child, etc. They are all situations that can have a negative effect and that guide the child towards a social isolation that increases the problem.
- Do not force behaviors
Phrases like 'say hello to ...', 'play with those kids' and insisting that they engage in behavior they are not yet ready for can backfire. So it is better not to insist, not force, or force them to do what we want.
- Avoid labels
Labels can be dangerous. Parents often use them as an excuse to shield the child. It is better to let the child relax and face new situations little by little, than to excuse him with the phrase: 'he is very shy'.
- Positively value the child's behaviors
Acknowledging their positive attitudes to shyness helps children trust their abilities and feel more confident in future interactions.
- Lead by example
If parents are sociable when faced with new situations, there is a greater probability that their children will learn to behave the same in the same circumstances. Let's not forget that the example is the best tool to educate children.
Stories and poetry are very useful resources for children to observe through their characters the different behaviors and ways of being. Here are some stories that can be very useful for shy children.
- Teo's nightmare
The protagonist of this story is a boy who dreams every night of something that makes him feel very ashamed. Luckily, your mother will give you some clues to help you learn to overcome this unpleasant situation.
- I am very embarrassed
This is a short poem that, throughout its verses, points out to children what the 'symptoms' of shame are. This makes it easier for them to identify it and implement the different tools that we teach them for these moments. When we are ashamed, we feel very hot on our face, which sometimes turns red; we find it hard to speak and we stutter; we feel a tickle in the belly ...
- The unhappy bear
This is a poem that tells children about a very shy bear who preferred to stay in his cave than to go outside. However, he was very envious of other animals when he saw them playing with friends. Due to this situation, he felt very unhappy.
- Nadia's story
This story tells us about Nadia, a girl who, out of shame and because she does not trust herself, does not believe herself capable of fulfilling her dream of being a cook. Will he be able to realize that she can do anything she sets her mind to?
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