My child is shy. How can I help her to feel more comfortable?


As a parent, it can be difficult to see your child struggle with shyness, particularly if you are outgoing. It is important, however, to avoid labeling your child or making him/her feel like there is something wrong with being shy. Instead, acknowledge your child’s feelings and help your child overcome his/her fears by encouraging them to practice strategies for dealing with shyness. For example, help your child brainstorm how to handle situations that make him/her feel nervous, model confident behavior when you interact with other people, and provide your child with daily opportunities to interact with others. You can also help your child cope with new situations by talking to him/her beforehand about what to expect, what he/she will be doing, and who else will be there.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

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