Creating an Environment Comfortable for Shy Children

Shy children are of high prevalence in the world today.  A child demonstrating qualities of shyness typically struggles socially, the more drastic cases report more serious issues such as social panic attacks.  Clinical psychologist Renee Gilbert explains that of children in grade school, roughly one out of every five children show signs of shyness.  As these children grow older, this statistic increases as nearly half of children in adolescence exhibit the trait.  Many parents struggle with this their child’s shyness and often try to push their child out of this stage.  Researchers call the balance between a shy child’s temperament and the needs of their parent “goodness of fit”.

In order to find the best “goodness of fit”, parents should not expect their shy child to become a social butterfly overnight, but instead should help in stretching their child little by little.  One important note is that parents should avoid labeling their child as shy.  When children are labeled this way, they tend to become content living this role and later find it tough to break out of their shell.  Methods that have been proven to be helpful with shy children is by parents using personal coping anecdotes.  For example, a parent could share experiences of when they were once bashful and methods that they took to become more social.  Also, parents can explain to their child the benefits that come from outgoing behavior.  There are many more methods, and the most beneficial approaches are when parents share personal experiences with a child and most importantly help the child become more social at his or her own pace.


Additional Information about the Author:  I am Ryan Van Wagenen.  I am from Los Angeles, California and currently a senior at the University of Utah.  I will be graduating in May 2010 in Economics with a minor in Psychology.  This past summer I interned at Citi in New York and got the offer to go back and will be focused in Industrials Investment Banking.  In addition to business, the goal is to continue to focus on philanthropy and help with great causes like PCF.  The Prostate Cancer Foundation has done wonders over the past 20 years and is focused on finding a cure for cancer.


~ by Ryan Van Wagenen on October 9, 2009.

3 Responses to “Creating an Environment Comfortable for Shy Children”

  1. There is probably another problem facing kids with shyness. They might mistakenly be diagnosed with other more serious emotional problems such as depression, or they might be thought of as antisocial and rude by their peers and even teachers. More education in schools and traning for teachers and parents could help with resolving these side issues.
    Behzad Moaddeli

  2. well said Ryan, there’s nothing I can complain about with your post. There’s always more that a parent can do, but your well organized thoughts conveyed a good message.


  3. I agree. More training for teachers and parents that interact with shy children could definitely help these children feel more comfortable and develop socially. Thanks for the comments Behzad and Reuben.

    Ryan Van Wagenen

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