Many parents are very concerned about their children's shyness. They strive to get strangers to greet, force them to be with other children ... But the best way to help shy children overcome or lose shame It is by proposing different games or very simple resources such as those that we propose below.
- 'Mom, leave the room that I'm ashamed to undress in front of you ...'
- 'Dad, you can go; I'm ashamed to ask the lady for ice cream ... '
- 'I am ashamed to go with my brother because he falls to the ground when he gets angry ...'
- I don't want to go, I'm ashamed, I don't know anyone ... '
- 'Close the door, mom, I'm ashamed that my sister sees me bathe ...'
- 'And does this child not speak?', 'I'm ashamed ...'
It is possible that, on more than one occasion, your son or daughter has verbalized any of these expressions to you. It is also possible that in some other times, the samples of shame were not verbal, but it was her own body, usually indiscreet, that showed her without words and without control.
Flushing, looking down, running away, being speechless, etc. they are samples that, in reality, are telling us: Mom / Dad I'm ashamed ...
Let us remember that a shy child is one who shows his shyness in a specific situation and at a certain moment. However, a child with shame is one who faces any situation outside of his comfort zone and this supposes an effort or difficulty for him to relate to adults or to his peers.
Let's also remember that shyness is neither a problem nor a diseaseOn the contrary, it is a defense mechanism against the unknown. If we teach to manage shyness, we will be moving forward so that shame does not occur.
And what do parents do when faced with a shy or ashamed child? Far from helping him get through the moment, he usually comes out with some of these expressions that, the truth, do not help him much.
- And this child, who was so embarrassing?
- Speak or is it that the cat has eaten your tongue?
- Don't hide behind me, life will teach you not to be ashamed ...
- You keep on like this and we go home.
- He'll get over it.
- I'm fed up or fed up with so much nonsense ...
And it is that, parents we do not always know how to manage this issue as it well deserves. In the first place, we are going to try to practice empathy with our son or daughter and with their shame (surely you have felt it at some point too) and secondly, please, do not force.
As indicated in the study 'Children's Social Development, A Checklist' (by McClellan and Katz for ERIC Digest), there is evidence to show that forcing shy children to have social relationships is counterproductive, as it makes them feel uncomfortable. Over time, you will stop enjoying things as good as a party with friends or a family outing, so it is best not to force yourself. In addition, when we force, we are forcing the child to do something for which he is not yet ready and for which he does not yet have the appropriate strategies to succeed.
Here are 5 resources to help you play with your son or daughter as you teach him to overcome or lose shame:
1. The animal of shame
During an accomplice conversation, in a suitable place and when their mood is ideal (that is what parents know when it is), we will maintain the following dialogue:
- If your shame were an animal, what would it be?
- What does shame do for you? (I might say, protect me, give me security ...)
- And if I wanted to get close to that animal, how would I have to?
- What should we do so that instead of being protected by shame, you could protect yourself? How can I help you achieve it? (Maybe it is necessary to help him turn him into another animal with stronger qualities).
2. Draw shame
We take paper and pencil, and we are going to draw the shame. What would it look like? Have the child paint it as he imagines it. Later, we will add objects such as a funny mustache or a superpower cape or an exclamation with a motivating phrase.
3. An anchor against shame
We are going to make an anchor. Make the child comfortable and with his eyes closed so that he can get into a situation as soon as possible, even lying down, tell him to bring to his mind a situation in which he felt safe and without shame. Give him some time to think about it ...
[Read +: Tips to initiate children in meditation]
When he tells you that he already has it, tell him to describe it. You can ask: What do you see? Who are you with? Can you describe the place? What are you talking about? Describe the situation and describe how you feel ...
When you are in that state of tranquility, confidence and security, we are going to ask you to anchor. This is: make a fist with your thumb inside and squeeze for a few seconds. What we are trying is that the child anchors that state to that point of his body, so that when he feels ashamed he will make a fist with his thumb inside, that is, he will activate his anchor and if he is well anchored, the state of security and without shame, he will come to him. If he is not well anchored, have him repeat the situation or security state, as many times as he needs, until he is anchored.
4. We read a story or a poem about shame
Tell him a story, where there is a protagonist with shame and show him how the protagonist overcomes his shame. For example, 'The unhappy bear' or 'Teo's nightmare'.
5. Visualization is a very effective technique
Sit in a quiet place, and with your eyes closed, visualize and propose to the child a hypothetical situation of shame for the little one. Talk and train on what it would be like to get out of it gracefully. Repeat as many visualizations as situations show you and thus, the next time your shame occurs you will know how to manage it.
The path of emotions needs training so that our children learn to manage them. With these simple exercises, we will be empowering our children to face their mood on certain occasions and of course, the obstacles they may face. Also, to tell them again as parents: 'I'm here for what you need!'
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