Five Tips To Help the Shy Child

Millions of kids struggle with shyness.  They struggle in school and have difficulty with social acceptance.  As parents, you may eagerly want to help your child out of his or her shell but before you do consider these tips:


1. Don’t Label Your Child “Shy:” Your child may already be struggling with wanting to fit it and may already believe something is wrong with them.  Putting a label on their behavior or what just might be a personality trait can hurt rather than help.  Consider using other words like “cautious or discerning.”


2. Focus on Their Strengths:  Praise their positive qualities like how kind they may be to their pets or their patience with a younger sibling.  If your child is musically or artistically inclined, help them develop these talents.


3.  Encourage Your Child to Speak Up:  Include them in on family conversations and decision-making that is age-appropriate.  If is important to let your child know that his or her opinion is valued and that they have a voice.


4.  Don’t Compare Your Child to Other Children:  While you might have good intentions in saying, “Look how much your sister enjoys soccer.  Don’t you want to play to; your child might get the wrong message that your approval, love and acceptance may be based on performance and an outing attitude.  This may lead to them feeling more insecure.


5.  Encourage Your Child to Engage in Social Activities:  While a shy child should not be pushed to do this, they can be warmly encouraged to participate in activities.  Take them to activities they might have an interest in even if it is just to observe at first.  Soccer, t-ball, chess tournaments, swimming classes, and plays are just a few options.  Have them meet other kids and perhaps the adults in charge.  A certain activity may pique their interest; they might even connect with another child.


Your shy child is unique and special.  They need to feel that they are not alone in their feelings.  Let them know the famous people like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein once struggled with shyness and that celebrities likes Brad Pitt and Carrie Underwood are considered shy in their personal lives.  Their outcome in life or success need not hinge on this aspect on their personality. Most of all they just need to know that they are accepted for who they are.  Your unconditional love may mean the most.


Written by: Lyris Bacchus Steuber, who is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who specializes in helping children and adolescents cope with divorce, family violence, abuse, grief, school problems, depression and anxiety. Access more counseling and coaching resources from The LifeWorks Group (407.647.7005) by visiting their extensive posting of blogs and special reports designed to save you time by strategically solving problems at


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