Helping Your Child Conquer Shyness
You and your child are very excited about attending a birthday party. However, when you arrive there, he will not talk to anyone, looks at the floor and clings to your leg. He acts like he does not want to be there at all. Does this scenario sound familiar?
All children can experience shyness at some point. Shyness, or feelings of discomfort or inhibition in social situations, is a common issue with young children. As a parent, you want to see your child grow socially and developmentally. You may be worried that shyness will cause your child to miss out on activities and friendships. While, researchers suspect that there may be a genetic component to shyness, past experiences may also play an important role.
Parents and others who work with children frequently attempt to involve shy children in activities because they know that shy kids are missing out on social and developmental experiences. However, it is also important to help these children overcome shyness, because some of them will not outgrow it. Some become shy teens and adults.
There are no precise guidelines for when you should seek professional help for your shy child. If shyness is particularly troublesome or if the shyness causes significant social impairment, like refusing to speak at school, or refusing to join groups, a professional evaluation may be needed.
Ordinarily, shyness should not interfere with your child's ability to grow and develop socially. Social anxiety disorder is generally overlooked in childhood and thought to be extreme shyness, or even depression. More often than not, social anxiety disorder develops at an early age, not during adolesence as is commonly thought.
Last reviewedOctober 2013by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.