8 WAYS TO HELP YOUR SHY CHILD
By M. Sue Bergin, '79
8 Ways to Help Your Shy Child
• Don't label your child as shy. Children tend to live up to labels, both positive and negative.
• Resist the instinct to overprotect your child. Sheltering him sends the message that he isn't competent and can't handle himself.
• Be on the lookout for situations in which your child can interact socially without being overwhelmed. For example, invite friends to your house rather than push your child to go to other children's homes.
• Foster a close friendship for your child. With at least one friend, she can more easily break into social circles and situations.
• Provide modestly challenging social exercises to give your child practice dealing with his fears.
• Talk to your child about times when you have felt shy and how you coped. You don't need to draw a moral from your story. Just provide her with a model of overcoming an urge to withdraw.
• Provide unconditional love.
• Read books to your child about other shy children and how they overcame their fears. Knowing that other children experience what he does and triumph can relieve anxiety and provide a model of success.