Parenting shy children can be painful for any parent. Your child may be the sweetest, kindest child at home, but he freezes when faced with public situations. If your child exhibits shy behaviors, accept his behavior and take time to prepare him for new situations.
Observe his behavior for patterns. Perhaps certain situations, people or times of day prove to be socially challenging for your child. With your observations, plan a course of action to help your child learn confidence and social skills.
At home, encourage him to make eye contact and speak clearly. Enlist a person with whom your child chats easily to meet you at a familiar location to chat with your child.
Introduce your child to one new person or situation at a time. Consider allowing his best friend to tag along to new places like camp or a party.
Before exposing your child to new people, discuss in detail what he can expect. Talk about the room’s layout, people who will be there, what your child will do and actions he can take to ensure he has an enjoyable time.
Encourage him to at least say hello to new people. If he refuses further attempts at conversation, accept his reluctance to talk. Rather than make excuses for him, affirm that it is okay to not talk right now because maybe next time he will feel like talking.
Do not ridicule or criticize your child. Everyone feels nervous and shy sometimes. Share ways you handle new situations. Additionally, do not allow him to become a hermit. Invite new friends over to play, and purposely visit new locations. Be sure to balance new experiences and people with plenty of opportunities for your child to be comfortable at home with friends.
Parenting shy children can cause anxiety for both the parent and the child. Accept your child’s emotional preferences and provide opportunities for him to reach out of his comfort zone, try new activities and meet new people. No matter what, love him just as he is and encourage him to see himself in a positive light.