Just how often did you tell yourself or other people that your child is uncommunicative because he or she is shy? Think again before you say so the next time, for you may be mistaken in a much larger degree than you think.
Is Being Shy an Excuse Not to Say Hello and Goodbye?
Too many people use this excuse too often, but it doesn’t mean they are right. What we are accustomed to call shyness is actually a more complex – and insidious – phenomenon. Whenever the little one – who is not so little any longer – refuses to say hello and good-bye, socialize with other kids or try out new games, we hurry to exonerate the poor mite and take the pressure off him (or her). What actually happens is we comply with the child’s desire to withdraw.
Shyness Prevents the Kid from Getting Social Skills
While the child doesn’t know what he feels himself, he begins to tag it as shyness – something that can be used to get away from being sociable, polite and interactive. He realizes he has got a good excuse for not doing something and he keeps using it. With time, he begins to lose any social skills he may have had, develop a habit of withdrawing from people and activities, and, consequently, doesn’t build up confidence in dealing with people and situations.
Why Is “Being Shy” Bad for the Following Adult Life?
This settles down into a pattern of behavior that precludes his maintaining a healthy social life. It is easily pardonable in kids, but as they grow up, it becomes less and less acceptable, resulting in bullying in adolescence and escapism in adulthood. Moreover, such people become susceptible to alcohol and substances which can provide the same kind of excuse for being unsociable in the grown-up world.
What Causes Shyness?
What we call shyness may often be the result of an underdeveloped pons, in which case many unfamiliar situations and people are basically regarded as threatening, and the child succumbs to the primitive desire to run and hide. He doesn’t stop to consider whether his reaction is in keeping with the situation.
Having picked up from the parents that he is just shy, the child accepts his reactions and goes on to behave in the same accepted fashion, neither he nor the parents realizing that he’s missing out on an important stage of development.
How to Make Your Child More Sociable?
At times the loving parents are only too glad to let the kid hide behind their backs, speak for their children and let them fail to react or respond properly. Does it have to become a recurring pattern in their lives? Or can we do something to turn back the tide? Yes, there are ways to avoid the pit.
- Talk to the child explaining to him that retreat and withdrawal can become addictive and he or she must learn to come in terms with situations and people – this way they will learn to be comfortable and confident.
- Tell the child that you will not speak for him and you would like him to face social situations instead of clinging to you or hiding behind you.
- Use Teddy bears and other toys to play out a social situation at home (before family gatherings, for instance) and put your child through a drill practice to enable him to greet relatives properly and reply when asked standard questions.
- Whenever a new situation arises, introduce and incorporate responses of the kind “it’s worth trying” or “let’s give it a go.”
- Generate situations in which your child will be called upon to display his abilities before other kids or adults to help him build up confidence and encourage his involvement in social events related to his interests.
- Praise the child every time he succeeded in displaying appropriate behavior in any of the above situations and express your satisfaction at his creation of a brain map that helps him build trusting relationships and share his individuality with others.
After all, isn’t that just what you want your child to be?