At one time or another in our lives, we have had experienced shyness. As children, it is a normal temporary behavior, considered part of normal development.

It comes in roughly two waves: first, at around the ages of 5 to 6 months and again at about age 2. Shyness becomes evident at about age 3. Problems arise when shyness hampers with the child’s relationships with the others, in social situations, school, etc.

Defined as a fear of, or withdrawal from other people or social situations, shyness may have several causes depending on the particular child and the specific circumstances.

Shyness is a behavior parents should not ignore on their child. On the part of the child, it can be a very painful emotion to live with, and it will definitely affect the other aspects of his life all the way to his adulthood.

For starters, shy children develop low self-esteem and its attendant lack of self-confidence. This results into a real difficulty for the shy child to make friends. Moreover, they do not usually receive the needed help from their teachers.

Some reasons for shyness

As had been cited before, shyness can have several causes. Each case, however, is unique for each child. Some may have one specific cause, while others may have a combination of causes that feed on each other.

*Heredity Some research showed that shyness runs in the family. However, science could not yet pinpoint if there is a specific gene for it. It could be that children learn the shyness behavior from their parents through example.

*Modeling or learned behavior. As is noted from the above observations, children may have acquired their shyness habit from watching how their parents interact with other people. As statistics show, shy parents usually have shy children.

*Difficulty with frequent exposure to new situations. Children are repeatedly exposed to new situations. Unfortunately, not all children can cope with these, and those that cannot tend to withdraw.

*Overprotective parents. Children who are overprotected lack the opportunities to be socially independent. Growing up, they lack the confidence needed to make their own decisions. Their later insecurities will trigger shyness.

*Inconsistent parenting. Parenting practices that are not consistent cause confusion and insecurity in children. This behavior can lead to shyness. Examples would be punishing the child for a breach of rules at one time and yet letting it pass on the next incidence.

*Lack of parental involvement. Some parents believe that letting children on their own promotes a child’s independent attitude. This is a mistake because children with no experience need constant guidance from parents. Other parents don’t have the time nor the inclination to involve themselves. This is another tragic mistake. Decreased parental involvement makes the child believe his unworthy status and will feel uncomfortable in social situations.

Teasing, threats, criticisms. When children are frequently teased, threatened or criticized either by their family or by other people, they will eventually develop the expectation of only negative feedback from others. This will lead to their evading actions in social situations and contact with other people.

These are just some of the more visible causes of shyness in children. Fortunately, shyness is not a difficult problem to correct.  However, the correction process needs the full cooperation and total commitment from the parents themselves.

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