Shyness in Children: When Parents Needs to Help Emotionally Withdrawn Children



What is shyness?

Frida wanted to enter the mess hall. All the other kids were already seated in groups, munching their lunch, chatting happily. Frida was afraid that people would look at her, so she hung outside, trying to muster the courage to enter. But her heart raced inside her rib cage, her palms sweated and she felt a warm blush cover her face. So she left.

Shyness during childhood years.

Shy children like Frida suffer from 'approach avoidance conflict’. It means that they do want to approach others, but at the same time, are too afraid to do so. As a result, the shy child may have bad approach skills, lower social skills and feel that everything they say is dull or stupid. Hence, shy children may have low results in tests that require face-to-face interactions, and may be perceived as less intelligent than they are due to their fear of talking. Thus, a vicious cycle may begin that only enhances the low-self esteem of the shy child. During later childhood and adolescence shyness becomes increasingly associated with loneliness, depression, social anxiety, and low self-worth. Ways to help child overcome shyness depends on his/her situation and individual needs.

The shy ones may feel tiny in relation to others, or wish to disappear all together.

Mitch's switching into objects in "The Two Tuba Switch" is a way to stretch shyness a bit to make a point.

Shyness - nature or nurture? Both.

Shyness runs in families. About one fifth of the babies are born with a tendency for shyness.

Shyness may be caused by any single or repeated incidents that makes us feel uncomfortable or unworthy (new day in preschool /school, peer mockery, bullying, etc).

Modern age factors.

Increased crime which forces children off the streets, smaller families, increasing use of computers, video games, and TV as a form of non-human means for fun and play.  These changes which may also be a convenient for a shy person may also enhance his shyness.

How to improve matters in a nutshell?

Parents must be supportive of their child's temperament helping them feel better about themselves. At the same time, they must not be over protective by helping the child engage in successful social activity. Mutual activities such as reading together children's educational books about shy children and how they cope is another good way.

Parents must never ever, let their own childhood memories and frustrations interfere and get in the way! Love your children for what they are.

Parents may not be fully aware of what is happening to their children's and their everyday activities. After coming home from work, parents usually do some household chores and prepare themselves for dinner, while their kids do their homework after arriving from school. Conversations would usually begin at dinner time, asking them questions about how their day at school was. Kids may share their quirky experiences to their parents, but teenagers would seldom do the same. 

Adolescents would rather keep the details to themselves, and just share random events from their school.  Many parents may be unaware but high school life may be found by their children to be quite a challenge.  Peer acceptance is critical for most teenagers.  In campus, they have opportunities to build new friendships.  For some teens, school is also about facing up to the difficulties of bullying. Other students from school or even their so called “friends” could tease and bully them by saying negative things about them in front of many people. Sadly, this scenario is considered as normal for people their age.  At this stage, your children may be emotionally sensitive and choose to remain secretive about the issues and situations that they face in school. 

In case one of your children is having difficulty sharing stories, opening up, or is showing symptoms of depression --- that child may be having problems with self-esteem. It is not uncommon for teenagers to experience a form of inferiority complex since the adolescent years are really about establishing self-identity and building their own sense of self-worth. They may also have feelings of resentment, alienation, and unhappiness.  These are only some of the reasons why children hesitate to share their experiences to their parents and other adults. 

For parents who think that their children might be suffering from an inferiority complex, it is best to see and know the signs that your child may be experiencing. Your child knows what they are capable of, as well as their shortcomings. Bullying tends to point such negativity into the young adult, and perceives any form of criticism as a personal attack. Feeling bad about themselves, they usually have trouble feeling good with anyone else. They look hard for possible flaws and shortcomings of other people to try to convince themselves that they are not so bad after all. 

Response to flattery can come in two ways: desperate in fishing for compliments, while others may refuse to listen to anything positive since it would be in contrast with their own feelings. Another sign is how they project their weaknesses unto others in order to lessen the pain of feeling inferior. If blaming is carried to the extreme, they might think that others are actively seeking to ruin them. People, who feel inferior likes to win games, but tend to avoid such situations because deep down, they believe they cannot win. They have beliefs that they themselves are not as interesting as others, and would think that other people would feel the same way about them. These are the most common signs of having inferiority complex, and parents should really take the time to help their children deal with it.  Guiding children and teenagers in terms of their emotional and psychological growth is critical to the quality of their life. 

In order to overcome such inferiority complex, these young adults should develop a strong sense of determination to change their present mentality. Initially, they would require a little initiative, be daring and should give up their inhibition. Parents should remind them that they do not need to be afraid of any body. Try to develop their positive thinking and make them express their views, in case they do not like anything. Always remember that everyone is unique in this world, and individuality is best in leading a good and happy life.

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