Shyness is often misunderstood because it’s not one, single emotion, but many emotions together at the same time. The two main emotions that exist in children that are shy are fear and embarrassment. Children who are shy also tend to lack self-confidence and are extremely self-conscious: they try to avoid being in the spotlight because they are scared of what someone might say to them or think of them. Children who are extremely shy can miss out on a lot of great experiences and events in their lives.
How do you know if your child is overly shy?
Symptoms of being shy are:
- Lack of interaction with people in general.
- Speaking in a soft tone of voice.
- Hesitant to try out new activities, especially contact sports.
- A child who is overly shy will always seem sad and will never step out of their comfort zones.
- Being reserved and alone most of the time.
What causes children to become extremely shy?
There are several causes to shyness in children – some are known and can be overcome, some not. Some causes of shyness are:
- Research has shown that some cases of shyness exist because it runs in the family. What has not yet been confirmed is whether shyness is a passed on genetically, or if it is learned from parents or other family members. The way a parent behaves around their children affects them not only while they are growing up, it will continue to affect them when they are young adults.
- Being bullied in school turns out to be one of the biggest problems parents and educators are facing today. Threatening, teasing, and criticism can break a child’s spirit and eventually cause low confidence and self-esteem. When children have low opinions of themselves, they expect other people to have the same opinion about them. Being shy is a vicious cycle of emotions.
- Frequent or constant exposure to new situations can also trigger shyness in children. Because they do not have as much experience in dealing with new situations as adults have, they tend to pull away from the situation and distant themselves from what’s happening. The difficulty of coping with these new situations will cause them to withdraw.
- Children often tend to withdraw from activities and avoid interacting with people because their parents are not around to guide them. When a child feels their parent is not interested in them or what they do, they will stop wanting to interact with people. If they can’t even interact with their parents, their role models and from whom they receive guidance on what they should and should not do, they will feel that other people feel the same as their parents and do not want to interact with them. A decrease in parental involvement will lead to a child believing he is not worthy of attention from anyone.
- And just as much as no involvement can cause shyness in children, so can over-involvement and over-protectiveness. When parents are over-protective, the child will not have an opportunity to be independent socially. They will always have their parents around to take care of them and make sure they are fine. When the time comes that the parent can no longer always be present, the child will not know how to act. Overly protective parents cause more harm than they might think: their children will always be dependent on them. Once the child needs to step up and out of their comfort zone, they are not able to.
The negative effects of being shy
Shyness can affect children in several ways and is sometimes even carried through to their adult lives. Some of the negative effects of being shy are:
- Lack of Friendships: When a child is overly shy they avoid people in general and may never make great friends. They are not in any social or physical activities and try to stay away from having to interact with people. Children with shyness tend to be lonely because of their withdrawal from social activity.
- Shyness may be caused by bullying in school, which can also lead to more bullying in school because the shy child cannot or will not stick up for themselves, making them easy targets.
- Communication skills in children that are overly shy are usually also underdeveloped because of their social withdrawal.
Preventing is better than curing
There are several techniques parents can use to prevent their children from being shy, but one of the most important tips on preventing shyness is to identify shyness. Once signs of shyness appear in a child, it’s extremely important that parents address it immediately, before it becomes worse.