By Bridget Mwape
There are a few points about shyness in children which will help you better understand the best approach in dealing with your child. You will need to identify the nature of your child's shyness. Children are shy in different ways for different reasons. Understanding the nature of your child's shyness will help you develop a program geared towards your child's specific needs. Here are some tips to help you get started.
1. First of all, are you sure your child really is shy? Some children like to size up a situation before they jump in. Caution should not be misunderstood as shyness.
2. You'll need to find out the type of situations that make your child shy. Some children are shy only when they are in a group. Others become shy when asked to make a presentation in front of the class at school. Try to identify the specific skills your child needs to be more at ease in social situations which make them to be shy.
3. Don't call your child "shy". Studies have shown that often a child will grow to fit a label. Parental pressure on the shy child can cause anxiety and insecurity, leading to a worse problem with shyness. Don't push your child to achieve above his or her individual level. If you have to use the word 'shy' to describe your child always pair it with something positive, e.g. "John is a little shy around people but he is a brilliant pianist!"
4. Never compare your shy child with other children in a negative way. And never allow anyone else to hurt your child in this way.
5. Take your child's ideas seriously. By lessening the importance of a child's concerns you lessen the child.
6. Help your child identify talents and hobbies that make him or her feel special.
7. Seek out activities that offer an opportunity for growth and increased interaction with other children of his or her age. Encourage your child to get involved in activities with others. Don't allow too many isolating activities, like watching TV.
8. Never push your child to do things he or she would find unbearable. Rather, make suggestions, but realize your child may not be ready. Be patient.
9. You need not handle your shy child with kid gloves, but be aware of how he feels and show that you understand.
10. Seek qualified professional help if necessary.
Being shy doesn't have to mean that something is wrong with your child. It simply means that your child is uncomfortable in social situations. You can start your search for help by reading books, talking with other parents of shy children, taking classes, searching for information on the web or by speaking with your pastor. But if your child needs immediate help it's best to consult a qualified child counsellor.
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