Shyness in children is exhibited when he or she feels inhibited or finds himself in unfamiliar situations. It is also observed when the kid is interacting with others and feels nervous when they perceive that they are on ‘show’. They feel shy and begin to stammer or reluctant to speak if they have to converse with strangers. They are more at comfort when they can be a viewer at the sidelines rather than being a part of the action.
Effects of Shyness in Children
Too much of shyness can affect the child’s life in a major way:
Hindrances in Social Development - The much needed practice of his social skills gets hindered. He in fact loses a lot many opportunities to interact socially. As such he also ends up having lesser number of friends.
Poor Participation in Extracurriculars - Since his interaction gets limited, his participation in school extracurricular activities too are less and often nil. Any activity like sports, drama or music that require interacting with each other is avoided by the kid and his skills in them unfortunately never get tested.
Fear of Being Judged – Shy child is always under the fear of being judged. As such he never expresses himself fully or at all. This reduces his self esteem and gradually as he withdraws from all activities, he begins to feel insecure and unimportant.
Stress and Anxiety- He is always under stress of what others might be thinking of him. Thereby he becomes prone to anxiety disorders at an early age.He also manifests a lot of the physical effects of anxiety like excessive sweating, stammering, trembling of hands and feet and blushing.
Causes of Shyness in Children
Hereditary – There is no reason to entail that shyness is a hereditary disorder. But genetics do play a role due to the fact that if one of the parents had been a victim of extreme shyness in his or her childhood, there is a possibility that their kid might also be shy, but also grow out of it with the help and in due time. Basically, the aspect comes down as an inherited part of the genetic makeup of the kid.
Personality – It is often observed that sensitive and emotional kids happen to be all the more shy too.
Copied Example – Children learn by copying their parents. Now if the parents happen to exhibit shyness, the kids will also learn to be shy as they accept their parents as their first role models.
Family Environment – Young minds always seek emotional and physical security. So as a parent, if you happen to be inconsistent in your care-giving, the child may not feel the desired secured sense of attachment with the family. They remain anxious most of the time and are prone to shyness. Then again, if you are extremely overprotective towards your kid and always guard him while he is faced with any new situation, the kid will show signs of shyness. This is because, he will never feel the confidence to take on any challenges and feel lost whenever confronted with any sort of unfamiliar surroundings.
Imperfect or Inconsistent Social Interaction – This can happen due to a number of reasons. If the kid happens to remain cut off from social get-together for a considerable amount of time, due to health reasons for instance, he might be initially shy to meet and talk to people. But a bit of support and encouragement can readily help them grow out of it.
Criticism – Often parents and teachers criticise the child in an inappropriate manner. For minor faults they might end up scolding the child a lot or compare him persistently with his siblings or peers who make them feel disgraced or unimportant. Even teasing and bullying results in shyness.
What parents need to understand here is that most children do feel shy at a certain point of time or during certain events, which is perfectly normal. As they grow accustomed to the environment or become mature they usually grow out of it. But it is a sure cause of worry if the kid feels shy all the time, so much so, that he is unable to be his usual self for the most part of the day. Professional help might be required, but in most cases, parents can effectively help their kid to overcome the shyness, with a little help, support and patience.