Does your little boy hide behind your legs when a stranger speaks to him? Do not you come over to play with other children? If that is the case, you will be interested in this article in which some keys are given to confront the shyness of young children.
Are you born timid or is it done?
The latest scientific studies point out that shyness has a genetic origin. Specifically, the presence of a certain variant of the 5- HTTLPR gene predisposes to show certain behaviours related to shyness.
So, if we are born with that variant of the gene, we will inevitably be shy? Absolutely not. Children who are withdrawn as children can become open and extroverted adults, since social learning influences a lot and a very important role for this to become so we have parents, as we will see later.
Is it bad to be shy?
We are all shy at some point and it is normal for the child to be withdrawn with strangers or new environments. A measured dose of distrust can be healthier than a child who goes with the first one.
In addition, it is normal for young children to be afraid of the unknown and need the figure of their parents to feel safe. Only from 5-6 years of age is when some attitudes of extreme shyness can become a problem.
Parents, sometimes, wanting the best for our children, we think that we would like the child to be in a certain way, or that it would be better for him to relate more. But is it okay not to accept him as he is? The first thing that parents must recognize is that shyness to a reasonable degree is not a problem and that behaviors like playing with a few children are not negative, as they can even help create special relationships (adult capacity). it will allow to have true friendships).
However, if the child is isolated or shows excessive anxiety when interacting with others or when facing new situations, it would be advisable to consult a professional to analyse the situation and propose guidelines for action that help you feel better in social situations.
What can we parents do?
Accepting the child as he is, not labelling him or comparing him: if the child is shy, we should never label him as such and less in front of others. For example, if the child is hiding, instead of saying, “Is he shy,” we can say something like this: “Sometimes it takes time to get used to new people. When it’s done to you, you’ll feel better to talk. “This way we avoid putting a label on it and we give the child a chance to interact when he is more comfortable. And of course, we should never compare him to others .
Provide interaction experiences : you have to expose the child to different social situations and variety of people since childhood (go to the park, excursions, activities,)… This does not mean that you are being pressured to relate to others, but rather that you are provided with opportunities for interaction. What you do not have to do is force him to carry out activities that are very difficult for him to face, you can make suggestions that maybe the child accepts or not (you have to give him time and be patient). It is also not good to speak for the child to avoid embarrassment, as we steal an opportunity for interaction, in addition to reinforcing a shy behaviour.
Be a good model: parents are the child’s guide, so when relating to others we must show appropriate social skills that will help in their learning.
Promote their independence and autonomy: overprotection promotes shyness, which is why children should be given autonomy, responsibility and the opportunity to make decisions.
Improve your self-esteem: highlight what you do well, show interest in your concerns, interests and show you our physical and emotional closeness.
In short, young children should not be forced to be social, but comfort them with a smile when they feel insecure and transmit confidence and appreciation. The important thing is that they feel loved and safe. Do you agree with this? What is your experience?