How to help your child overcome shyness

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hi there I'm Denise Richardson from

howdini comm we're talking about shyness

and how to get your child to be more

sociable and more outgoing our guest

today is the author of the seven stages

of motherhood and Pleshette Murphy thank

you so much for being with us are you

born shy and it continues or do you

become shy you are born shy there is a

lot of evidence that shows that shyness

has a very big genetic component so

absolutely recognize that sometimes your

child who is shy is just this is his or

her temperament and it's very important

to respect that but there are degrees of


yes pain right up too shy too painfully

shy yes yes and you know they're the

thing that you absolutely can count on

is that this will evolve it's not that

even a child who is painfully shy may be

very social by the time they hit their

teen years it doesn't you know

necessarily become a defining trait

throughout life however you know there

are a lot of problems that parents have

when they are not shy I think that one

of the things that happens with shyness

is the fit between the parent and the

child becomes very critical if you are

really outgoing parent and you have a

painfully shy child that is going to be

a real challenge for you if you take a

child to a party take a child to the

first day of school

and there they don't want to leave your

side I mean everybody can kind of relate

to that but but how do you make that

work in a healthy way well I think that

most kids who are shy need a lot of

preparation so if it's even going to a

birthday party you can call the parent

ahead and say you know my child

sometimes needs a little time to warm up

I wonder if we could drop by so he can

see your house and meet you ahead of

time you can do the same thing if

they're going to the doctor's office I'm

certainly going to school I mean most

schools will have the kids come and they

phase them in very gradually for just

this reason it's a big transition even

for a very outgoing kid it can be a

challenge so for shy kids they need a

lot of preparation they don't need to be

reminded all the time that there

you know when you meet somebody try not

to say oh he's shy sorry my daughter's

shy and label it in a kind of negative


don't apologize Fiat I know and if I

don't talk for your child I think that's

the other thing in school when you're

making friends and you're shy that's

really difficult for a child it is and

this is where parents can help kids by

doing some role-playing it's it's

important to show your child some ways

that they can break the ice that they

can say things to kids that kids may

want to hear you can also reverse the

roles and you're the shy child so that

they get to see what it's like from the

other person's point of view my daughter

didn't realize that sometimes shyness

particularly she got a little bit older

could be misinterpreted as snob enos or

meanness but you know a kind of

aloofness that she really didn't mean to

project so so even anxiety a place of

role in here because other parents will

say oh well that's just separation

anxiety well you know that's a very good

point shyness is anxiety in other words

we all experience you know this

fight-or-flight response when we're

anxious kids who are shy it's a much

more hair-trigger thing but they are

feeling enormous anxiety when they're in

a new social situation so again that's

where respecting what they're feeling

saying I know it's hard sometimes for

you to meet new kids but I know you can

do it really encouraging them I think

it's you know very important so how do

you get that teenager to step out of the

shyness so that his life works better

well I think that you know there is a

virtual circle that happens here that

you know when they find that when they

put their hand out and give someone a

firm handshake and look them in the eye

you know just a little step like that

that the response of the other person is

of course much more positive than when

they look up around I don't know their

name so you know a lot of kids will find

as they get older that you know there

are lots of benefits to responding in a

you know open open outgoing way that

said I think for younger kids you know

providing those opportunities again

rehearsing teaching them how to shake

hands and look somebody in the eye can

go a long way to again helping them take

these kind of baby steps towards opening


thank you so much and Pleshette Murphy