Shyness in children: Understanding why and how to help them

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Shyness in children: Understanding why and how to help them
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Shyness is not an illness.  However you need to know how to be there for your child if they are shy.  You need to listen to them, understand them and try and help them through their shyness. In this article we’ll also look at what could encourage your child to isolate themselves so you can spot the signs.


Shyness is a combination of a number of different elements such as:

  • Fear;
  • Lack of confidence
  • Wanting to make a good impression;
  • Fear of other people’s judgement.

Shy children will try and exclude themselves from social situations.  They will be so scared of not saying the right thing that they will never answer. The will be very afraid of being rejected and not being likes by others.  On top of all that of course, they won’t talk about it with their parents.  As a parent you need to be vigilant and look out for the signs.

It is not an illness but…

A child that suffers from extreme shyness can lead to real social phobias, constraining anxiety or even the fear of school.  Health problems can also develop such as ulcers or stomach crises.  These psychological effects are the first to look out for and halt before the problem becomes a normal reflex for the child.  In other words, if the child is extremely shy all the time

Shyness at school

It is important to make your children understand that a fault is not a problem.  That a bad grade doesn’t change anything.  These elements simply show the child has not understood something.  It not serious at all.
As a parent it is important to be observant.  Children often fully express their shyness during times of learning.  If they close themselves off without saying much and worry about failure this can in fact block their learning processes.
Speak to learning support discretely so that they are aware of this extreme shyness.  Teachers will look out for the child in their classes. However it is possible that some may miss the signs.

Woman sitting alone and depressed
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Shyness in day to day life

Your child can be scared of not doing the right thing in school however their shyness can also impact their daily life.  In fact fighting anxiety that they can feel in front of others is even more complicated. It is therefore important that you show them that you can please everyone and it is not a fault of yours. Otherness can seem scary and can worry your child.

Shyness can manifest itself with red cheeks or shaking which make you more worried and isolated. The child can then stay in a viscous circle that stays even further away.

Stress is visible

  • Clumsiness ;
  • Stuttering;
  • Jerky breathing;
  • Body agitation;
  • Sweat;
  • Oppression in the chest;
  • Red marks on your face and patches on the body;
  • Stomach pains ;
  • Tremors

These elements can make the child feel even more isolated.  It is therefore very important to be on the look out for any tell tale signs.

What should you do?

The most important thing to do is to talk with your child’s teacher so that they are aware that you are worried. However do not speak to them in front of your child.  They can feel even more uncomfortable and shut themselves off even more.
Try an understand where this shyness might come from.  It can have several roots that are important to know.  If could be a comment made by a teacher, school friend or a member of their family.
You could try and take your child to see a psychotherapist. It will help hem to come out of their shell and perhaps give you a better idea of what is bothering them.

In conclusion

Be there for your child.  Make them understand that if they are shy it is not a problem but they that they should try and get through it.  That shyness should never prevent them from whatever they want to do. That they should live their life and not run away from it.


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