Some children are just shy. But shyness should not prevent them from performing well at school or being too afraid to speak up and out when necessary or from participating in activities they usually enjoy. Overcoming shyness is a learned behavior. It takes self-examination, and intervention and help from family and friends.
Kathy (Name changed for privacy)
When Kathy failed a class because she was too shy to talk in front of her class, this required intervention. Kathy’s teacher warned her throughout the school year that oral participation was a requirement for passing grade in her high-school English class. Even though the threat of failing lingered over her head, Kathy still withdrew.
Before Kathy’s reluctance to speak in class resulted in failure it was her teacher’s responsibility to preempt this. By contacting Kathy’s parents early on and bringing this to the attention of the school’s psychologist may have helped Kathy overcome her shyness.
Later Kathy was diagnosed as being depressed. She was unhappy at home and felt insecure and unloved. Although her mother loved her very much Kathy somehow perceived that she was alone. She therefore became very shy and unsure of herself and her abilities which prevented her from blossoming into her full potential.
Through the intervention of her mother and help from the school psychologist, Kathy learned how to express herself. This was key in helping her to overcome shyness.
When shyness is okay
Your children shouldn’t feel that being shy is a bad thing. Some kids are just not as outgoing as others. This feeling of shyness is just as prevalent in adults. It often takes time to warm up to others, but once that barrier is removed most become the outgoing people they really are.
As long as shyness does not prevent children from participating in normal activities and social gatherings, usually there is nothing to worry about.
How to overcome shyness
Sometime shyness does prevent children from doing things they would really like to. The onus in on the authority figures in a child’s life to make sure this doesn’t happen. If you or someone you know wants to put the shyness on the back burner, then here are some steps that they can take.
- Join a club or group at school. Make sure you join a club that you’re interested in. For example if you love art, then join the art club. The same with mathematics, sowing or singing, there are a variety of options. By joining an organization you are meeting with people who have the same interest and that makes it easier to start conversations.
- Start doing thing with people you already know. If you don’t have siblings, try a relative that you enjoy spending time with. Instead of doing something at home, try going to an activity where you’ll see others. If you can, go with someone whose personality is the opposite of yours. This way they can help or show you how to interact with others and bring you into the conversation.
- This may sound funny, but one way to overcome shyness is to always look your best. Don’t go outside with clothes on that even you don’t like. Take a few more minutes to spruce up your hair and to put an iron to those jeans. This way at least you don’t have to give a thought to how you look. You look great!
- Be self-confident and love yourself. Body language says a whole lot even when you are not aware of it. Walk with your head up, not towards the ground. The compliments that you always hear from friends and family, well believe them. You’ve got wonderful things going for you.
Overcoming shyness is a process it doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen. Sometimes shyness is linked to nervousness and anxiety. Also, over time you’ve accepted that you are shy. It could be that your mom, dad or even a teacher described you that way. But if that’s not you, then it time to re-define who you are.
If you need help, then ask for it. This is so difficult for people to do. Often help is so near but many are afraid to ask. You are not the only person who walks into a room full of strangers and sometimes friends who’s attacked with immediate feelings of anxiety. The trick is to not let it overwhelm you.
Share these feelings of anxiousness with your parents or someone you trust. They will help you put it into perspective. Breathe. Take a deep breath and tell yourself to calm down, and expect the best. Often your preconceived notion of disaster never comes close to happening.
It’s okay to be uncomfortable
Everyone experiences the feeling of being uncomfortable, especially children and teens. However, there are times when it just can’t be avoided. Because you’re uncomfortable doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing. By dealing with your feelings, instead of immediately excusing yourself from the situation will help you to overcome shyness.
Some events that have started out pretty bumpy will end up being some of the best experiences of your life. Hang in there, sometimes you have to take yourself out of the equation. Just as you are preoccupied with yourself, others are doing the same thing.
Decide to overcome shyness. Decide that being shy will not define who you are. Everyone needs a mentor, a positive person to emulate. Find your mentor. It can be someone you admire from a distance or someone in your immediate circle. It can be a behavior, a faith or an attribute. Whatever you choose it must be something that empowers you to overcome shyness and to reach your full potential.