How to support your shy child

How to support your shy child

If you’re a parent of a shy child, you may at times find yourself worrying about whether your child will struggle to make friends or miss out on opportunities due to their timid nature. But although society places a great deal of importance on being outgoing, many successful people throughout history were notoriously shy, from Agatha Christie to Albert Einstein. Unsurprisingly, the highest levels of shyness seem to occur in adolescents, and while some children do grow out of it, shyness is actually incredibly common among adults too. Survey results vary, but somewhere between 40 and 60 per cent of adults report being shy. So what exactly is shyness and why do some of us find the prospect of making small talk or mingling with a roomful of strangers so daunting? Shyness vs social anxiety According to Professor Ron Rapee, founding director of the Centre for Emotional Health at Macquarie University, some shyness is perfectly normal. “All anxiety varies across the population, from low to high,” he says. “We all have different levels of shyness and that’s perfectly ok until it starts to affect a person’s life.” He notes that shyness simply reflects differences in people’s worries about what others think, and their willingness to stand out from the crowd. At very high levels, extreme shyness can start to impact the quality of a person’s life. “Highly shy people can sometimes find it hard to make friends or get ahead in their career. They may be frequently rejected or […]

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