A few days ago, while sitting at my balcony and having a chat with Mrs. Clarie, I listened as she lamented bitterly of how her 16year-old daughter declined the opportunity to present the farewell speech on behalf of the entire graduating class. According to Mrs. Clarie, her daughter has declined several opportunities which could have brought her to the limelight due to her shy personality.
Some parents tend to think that getting a shy teenager out of the shell involves forcing a quiet teen to become ‘the life of the party’. This is so untrue. Helping your teenage daughter manage her shy personality involves teaching her to embrace, admire and amplify her strength as well as her outstanding qualities. There are quite a number of reasons why a teenager may become shy, but amongst all the various reasons, one that stands out to me is the fear of failure.
No one wants to feel embarrassed in public for either saying something wrong or acting wrongly. Some teenagers instead of letting this fear become their motivation to learn and rise above all odds, allow it to ‘shut them out’, and they become so shy whenever they are pulled out to the spotlight.
When your teenager’s shy attitude and personality begins to interfere with her ability to communicate effectively, join activities, or meet new people, then this should be a cause for concern. It is true that in situations where your teenager finds herself in a new social situation, she may be shy; but this becomes unhealthy when it happens on account of low self-esteem or a lack of self-confidence or even when it hinders her from dishing out her peak performances.
Since we live in a society that favours bold, expressive and active teenagers, it is important that we do not due to negligence raise teenagers who mask their mind-blowing potentials under cover of being shy. Have you ever wondered if anyone was born shy? Teenage-hood represents a highly significant cycle in everyone’s life, and it comes with a lot of “drama” and worries over the big dilemma of what to do in adulthood; as a result of this, in some situations, an outgoing teenager may suddenly become withdrawn and tend to act shy.
There are strategic ways to help a shy teenager overcome such shyness, rather than abandon them to the fate of losing massive opportunities.
Strategies for Helping a Shy teenager
Know and Accept the Whole Child -Being sensitive to the child’s interests and feelings will allow you to build a relationship with the child and show that you respect the child. This can make the child more confident and less inhibited.
Building Self-Esteem -Shy children may have negative self-images and feel that they will not be accepted. If your teenager falls in this group, you will need to consciously build the self-esteem of such child. In parenting a shy child, you must learn to reinforce shy children for demonstrating skills and encourage their autonomy. Praise them often. The truth is “Children who often feel good about themselves are not likely to be shy”, they just always know they have got it.
Develop Social Skills-Reinforce shy children for social behaviour, even if it is only parallel play. One psychologist recommends teaching children “social skill words” like “Can I play, too?” and role-playing social entry techniques. Also, providing opportunities to play with young children in one-on-one situations may allow shy children to become more assertive. Play with new groups of peers permits shy children to make a fresh start and achieve a higher peer status. Allow the Shy Child to Warm Up to New Situations. Pushing a child into a situation which he or she sees as threatening is not likely to help the child build social skill. Parents who desire to get their shy kids out of the box should make commensurate effort to help their kids feel secure and provide interesting materials to lure them into social interactions.
Remember that shyness is not all bad. Not every child needs to be the focus of attention. A group of scholars have discovered that some qualities of shyness, such as modesty and being reserved, are viewed as positive, as long as a child does not seem excessively uncomfortable or neglected around others.
Source: Secure Teen