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My child is shy: why is my son or my daughter shy?

There is no simple or unique explanation for shyness. the desire to do well seotud a lack of self-confidenceare often a source of shyness: the child is both eager to please and very afraid of displeasing, wants to “ensure” while being convinced that he is not up to the task. Suddenly, he reacts with withdrawal and avoidance. Of course, if you yourself are not very comfortable in society, there is a good chance that your child will reproduce your own distrust of others. But shyness is not inherited, and this character trait can gradually be overcome if you help your child cope.social anxiety.

A shy child is afraid to face the judgment of others and this anxiety is often accompanied by a feeling of being misunderstood. Ask him regularly how he feels, listen to what he has to say whether you agree with him or not. Paying attention to him will boost his self-esteem, and the more he expresses himself with you, the more natural it will become to communicate with others.

Dramatize shyness in girls and boys

Shyness as a defense mechanism doesn’t have to be negative. It is a deeply human trait with which we traditionally associate certain qualities such as sensitivity, respect and modesty. Without idealizing it, explain to your child that shyness is not the worst fault and that it is important to accept yourself as you are.

Tell him about your own experience as well. Knowing that you’ve been through the same kind of ordeal will make her feel less alone.

Very reserved child: Outlaw negative labels on shyness

Sentences of the type ” Excuse him he’s a little shy Seem harmless, but they make your child believe that it is an irremediable trait that is part of his nature and that it is impossible for him to do otherwise.

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This label can also be used as an excuse to stop wanting to change and to avoid all the social situations that are painful to him.

Do: avoid talking about your child’s shyness in public

Shy children are hypersensitive to words that concern them. Talking about her shyness with other moms after school will only make her embarrassed and make the problem worse.

And teasing him about it can only reinforce his shyness.

Even if sometimes his behavior irritates you, know that the harmful remarks made in the heat of the anger imprint very strongly on the head of your child and that he will then need all the more positive judgments to get rid of them. .

Do not rush your child in his relationships with others

Constantly encouraging him to go to others may add to his discomfort and increase his fear. The child will feel that his parents do not understand him and he will then fall back even further on himself. It’s better go there in small steps and remain discreet. Overcoming your shyness can only be done gradually and gently.

Shy behavior: Avoid overprotecting your child

Giving up enrolling your child in a sports club so that he does not suffer from his shyness will have the opposite effect from that sought. This attitude makes him think that these fears are well founded and that people indeed judge him and are malicious. Avoidance increases fear rather than decreasing it. You have to let him learn to cope with his relationship problems so that he takes his place among others.

And above all, remain intractable when it comes to politeness. His shyness should not be used as an excuse not to say “hello”, “please” or “thank you”.


Suggest scenarios to your child

You can rehearse scenes from everyday life or school life that scare him at home. His situations will appear to him more familiar, and therefore less distressing.

Set him small challenges, such as saying hello to a classmate a day or ordering bread from the baker and paying. This technique will allow him to gain self-confidence and push his daring a little further with each good move.

Valuing your shy child

Congratulate him as soon as he achieves a small daily feat. Shy children tend to believe that they will not succeed or will be judged badly. So with every effort on his part, use and abuse compliments that emphasize the positive action he has just accomplished. “I am proud of you. You see, you managed to overcome your fear"," How brave you are “, Etc. It will strengthen his self-esteem.

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Overcome your child’s shyness thanks to extracurricular activities (theater, karate, etc.)

Contact sports such as judo or karate will allow him to fight against his feeling of inferiority, while artistic creation will help him to exteriorize his emotions and sufferings. But enroll him in these kinds of activities only if he wishes, so as not to suffocate him or risk outright rejection that could lead to withdrawal. Theater can also be a great way for him to develop his self-esteem. Improvisation lessons for children exist in particular to allow them to be less reserved and at ease in everyday life.

Shy child: how to avoid the isolation of your child

Birthdays can take on the appearance of a real ordeal for the shy little ones. Don’t force him to go if he doesn’t feel it. On the other hand, do not hesitate to invite other children to come and play with him at home. At home, on familiar ground, he will overcome his apprehensions more easily. And it will surely be more comfortable with only one buddy at a time, rather than with a whole bunch of friends. Likewise, playing with a slightly younger child from time to time puts them in a dominant position and may give them more confidence with other children their age.

Psychological help is necessary if his inhibition leads to an attitude of regression and developmental delays. In this case, seek the opinion of those around you and in particular of his school teacher.


Psychological help is necessary if his inhibition leads to an attitude of regression and developmental delays. In this case, seek the opinion of those around you and in particular of his school teacher.

The opinion of Dr Dominique Servant, psychiatrist at the Lille University Hospital

His latest book, The Anxious Child and Adolescent (ed. Odile Jacob), offers simple and effective advice to help our child no longer suffer from his anxiety and grow up reassured.

6 tips to help a child overcome their shyness

To help him gain self-confidence, offer him “tags”, suggest small scenarios by showing him how to behave and offer to play the stage, as you would before a job interview! This will gradually release his anxious tensions. This role-playing technique is particularly effective if there is no audience other than you and him. The goal is not to bring your child into the Florent course but to give him enough self-confidence so that he dares to speak in class or in a small group.

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Kui afraid to phone, prepare with him the three to four short sentences that allow you to introduce yourself and start a conversation. Then, ask him (for example) to call the bookstore to ask if they have the latest comic he wants and to inquire about the store’s opening hours. Let him do it and especially do not cut him off in his conversation and it is only after hanging up that you will show him how YOU would have done (unless his call deserves congratulations!)

If he blushes as soon as it is necessary to speak in front of a “stranger”, offer him, during an outing to the restaurant, to address the waiter to order meals for the whole family. He will learn to have confidence in himself and will dare to “push the limits” a little further next time.

If he has trouble integrating into a group (at the sports club, in the day center, in the classroom, etc.), play with him a scene where he will have to introduce himself, giving him some tips: ” you walk up to the group of kids where you spotted someone you know and ask them something. When he answers, you stay and take your place in the group, even if you don’t say anything. »You will have thus helped him to take a first step.

Gradually expose them to new situations, for example by suggesting that they review some of their lessons in a small group at home.

Register him (if he wishes) to a theater club : it is not he who will speak but a character that he will have to play. And little by little, he will learn to speak in public. If he does not feel comfortable, you can also enroll him in a contact sport (judo, karate), which will allow him to fight against his feeling of inferiority.

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