How To Build Confidence In Your Shy Kid

Shy Kid

There is nothing wrong with being a shy kid – or adult. In a world full of real housewives and Snooki’s and basketball wives, it’s actually a refreshing quality when one comes across a shy person or child. It’s not a bad thing. The problem with being shy is that so many people view this as a negative quality when, in fact, it’s actually a lovely personality trait. It’s for this reason that parents who cock their heads to the side and give me a half smile while saying, “I’m sorry. She’s just so shy,” bothers me to no end. Please don’t let your body language, tone and demeanor suggest to your child that being shy is a negative quality; it’s lovely.

Those who are truly shy tend to be very avid listeners. They’re not boisterous or outgoing, but they’re not anti-social. In fact, the only anti-social people in the world are those who are actually labeled anti-social. Shy is certainly not the same thing. Perhaps the biggest misconception about shy children is the fact that they haven’t enough self-confidence or even positive self-image. According to the dictionary, the appropriate definition of shy is “Reserved,” though it could also encompass the realm of nervousness or timidity. While it is important to help our shy children learn to let go of their feelings of timidity in a large group of people, there is nothing wrong with having a child that prefers to be reserved in public – nothing.

However, if your child is more along the lines of timid and nervous around others, it could mean he or she has some issues with confidence. That means that your job becomes to help your child build her confidence so that she is less timid and less nervous, more confident and her shyness is a positive rather than a feeling of negativity. That said, we have a few expert recommended suggestions for helping shy children overcome their nervousness and timidity.

How do I know if my shy kid needs help with his or her shyness?

This is the first thing that you have to ask yourself; is my child’s shyness helpful or a handicap? Is my child merely uninterested in being loud and crazy and the center of attention, or is my child actually terrified of being around people he or she doesn’t know, large crowds and does he or she have any inner issues that might cause this?

If your child is shy to the point that he or she is merely reserved, it’s fairly obvious. This is a child that doesn’t have an issue being in a classroom filled with people, in a public setting or in a group. This is a child that prefers to be quiet, pay attention and observe rather than be in the midst of the loud activity. Your child is a happy shy child. However, if your child avoids eye contact, gets nervous or fidgety or verbalizes a desire to avoid crowds, social settings or other people, it could be something else. Additionally, a child that uses his or her shy label as a reason to explain poor grades or a lack of social skill might be hiding behind the label out of laziness and unwillingness to do class work – and that is a problem.

Accept your shy kid

The first – and most important – thing that you can do to help your children learn to build confidence is to accept them for who they are. A shy child is not a problem so long as it’s not affecting their life, their grades or their feelings about themselves. So you’ll never have a boisterous child; that’s not a bad thing. Learn to accept your child for the person that he or she is, and see how far that goes. When children feel accepted by their parents, it goes a long way toward helping them build confidence.

Be a good role model

Your children need to see a good role model in their lives to be able to live a life filled with confidence. Your job is to show your kids that being who they are is a good thing. Did you know that every time you stand in front of the mirror and hate your reflection, your kids learn that type of behavior, too? Did you know that their confidence is partly developed based on the example that they see in you? When you live a life without confidence, your kids learn to do the same thing. Be confident and model that behavior to your kids. It goes a long way.

Let your shy kid speak for herself

According to Dr. Sears, a pediatrician with a very successful and popular parenting website, sometimes the worst thing for a shy child to have is a loud parent. It’s not that there is anything wrong with you, but it is an issue. When kids are shy and they have a parent that speaks for them, it leads to further shyness and can actually develop timidity in a child. When an adult speaks to a child and his or her parent interjects and begins answering questions for the child and not allowing the child to speak, it is sometimes a much bigger problem than people care to admit. Your child needs to learn to speak for herself and you need to learn to let her. It’s how she builds confidence.

Don’t force your child into social settings

If your shy child is really that nervous around others, you cannot force her to overcome this by forcing her to join a team or head to a birthday party. What you can do, though, is encourage her to make new friends – one at a time. Invite a friend over to play with your child so that she can get to know other kids, become more comfortable around them and more confident in her own socialization skills. This is a simple method that goes a long way toward helping children learn to become friendlier and less nervous. Remember – being shy is not a problem.

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