How to raise a shy child

Shyness is nice, and
Shyness can stop you
From doing all the things in life
You’d like to
-Ask, The Smiths

Hiding behind Mum or Dad’s legs, observing a game rather than joining in, avoiding eye contact with others, blushing when spoken to, talking in a whisper — these can be familiar observations of a shy child. While shyness isn’t generally cause for alarm, it can bring about distress and anxiety in social situations, particularly those the child can’t avoid (such as going to school).

If your child is shy, you may be straddling the line between honouring who they are while encouraging them to try things out of their comfort zone. How can you raise your child to thrive in this extroverted world while ensuring they stay true to themselves? Firstly, it’s important to understand what shyness is and how it differs from introversion.

What is shyness?

In the bestseller Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain defines shyness as being “the fear of social disapproval or humiliation, while introversion is a preference for environments that are not overstimulating”.

Not all introverts would be considered shy

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