As a child and adolescent psychologist and Life Coach , I am inundated with parental meetings where they are worrying endlessly about shyness in their kid. It seems to have reached obsessive levels of their attention and thus a major concern today. It seems to be a fear that is being addressed to an extent that childhood is being fast forwarded by aligning numerous engagements in a day in addition to school.
I attempt to dissect it a little more in this write-up and bring in some fresh and comforting perspectives. From suspected causes to reality bytes to a smarter way forward is all I intend to share and lay to rest some of your unfounded fears of shyness affecting their future growth.
- Over supervised and monitored upbringing (The so –called HELICOPTER PARENTING) has gone up. The times changing for the bad , nuclear families , over structure in activities , single / two kids phenomenon are not facilitating sufficient worldly- wise-ness and inter personal skills in today’s kids. Owing to it all most kids prefer to selectively express or interact and are taken as shy.
- Using vague and non- standardised markers like their situational and temperamental tendencies to freak out with extended families, greeting other adults in their social circle, PTM feedbacks etc are contributing more to such labels rather than any solid objective criterion.
- Constant and odd comparisons of one’s kids with their peers/ playmates/ friends/classmates especially ones who are chirpier, chattier and with unrestrained demeanours is at the root too.
REALITY BYTES :
- Don’t we adults have our own preferences with respect to social – interactions with people, airing our opinions, taking a stand , vocalising our concerns or simply catching up selectively with new people ? When we do it all the time in the name of DISCRETION OR MATURITY, why then do we feel the need to label it as shyness or lack of confidence when our kids do it that way? Reality is that they are testing waters at their own pace and restraining it in any way is against the grain of any growing up process.
- Another thing that I firmly believe is in the fact that kids have immense faith in their care-givers (read ADULTS) and tend to take our ‘DIAGNOSIS’ of people , situations and more on face- value. In the light of it all, I doubt if it facilitates any benefit to burden them on some limiting beliefs on their inborn mannerisms. We simply need to exercise some restrain in what we tell them.
Real life is full of examples here to guide us
- Bringing up confident and self assured kids is like “CURDLING THE MILK”. Once the exposures / experiences are mutually agreed upon, keeping the faith and resisting the temptation to indiscriminate cross-checking or over questioning about new experiences and what they are learning. Many skills in life are shaped over time, so letting them set like curd is the right way to go.
- Let your mind go back into yester years and visualise a balloon filled with gas and tied with a string. Remember how it went up once you loosen the grip on the string even if by mistake. This analogy can be a great learning and insightful here. Just fill the cup of childhood with meaningful engagements, spend quality time together , give empathetic feedbacks and suggest ways to overcome all that’s a challenge. As time comes help them embark on the way to independence gradually just as you let loose the strings of the balloon and see how they come up from there.
- Be reasonably aware of where they started from and what they have achieved. Vocalise it in a manner motivating enough to embark on fresh journeys on their own. Reward them and Be rest assured of a job well done.
“MIRACLES BEGIN TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU GIVE THE SAME ENERGY TO YOUR DREAMS THAT YOU GIVE TO YOUR FEARS”