How To Help A Shy Child Make Friends At School

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tIs your child shy? Have you noticed that they have a hard time making friends at

school? Is there a secret that would help you to help them make friends? That's

what we're going to get into today. The word shy can mean a lot of different things

to different people. So right up front here, let's just have a quick

conversation about that. When we say that our child is shy, what do we mean?

Sometimes that refers to a child who is hesitant to engage in social activities

with others. Sometimes it refers to something that we call in the industry

selective mutism, which is where they choose not to speak in certain settings

or environments. There's anxiety, there's depression, there's all kinds of

things that might be collectively categorized as this word shy. So a little

bit of diagnostic work sometimes can be helpful. Now I'm a positivity

psychologist. I stopped giving diagnosis to my clients about 10 years ago. But

having said that, I want to acknowledge that there are different factors that we

need to consider and look at. So if you think your child is shy, which you might,

because you found this video. Let's take a little deeper look and just keep our

mind open to some different possibilities. Whether it be depression

or autistic spectrum or a form of mutism that we need to take a look at. Let's be

aware of that. We've got some other videos on the channel that will help

with some of those specific topics. Now if it's shyness in the traditional sense

of the word, meaning that there's no interfering mental health issues,

there's no autism going on, this is just a child who is more reticent to

participate in social interaction or they're withholding themselves a little

bit. How do we help that child to make friends at school for example or in

other settings that might be more social? I think what

this comes back to first of all is, a basic principle about social interaction.

When we interact with other people our focus tends to be either on

ourselves or on those other people. Both in terms of how we feel and what we're

thinking about. Now I've talked about that in some other videos. In fact you

can link to one right up here that describes something that I called the

influence quadrant. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about as it

relates to our focus. Helping our children to get out of their own way and

connect with other people socially, is something that can help to overcome that

shyness. Now notice this, when you are feeling shy whatever that means for you

as an adult, when you're feeling shy where's your focus? See it's usually on

how other people feel about you or how you feel about yourself. Notice that it's

about you. What if it's not about you? What if your focus can shift to - "well how

do other people feel about themselves?" Okay now it's not the same kind of an

experience. We don't experience shyness when it's not about us. So how can we

help our kids then to develop a focus that is centered on other people. That's

going to help with all kinds of social skills but the shyness goes away. There

is no longer that anxious kind of insecurity that comes with the feeling

of shyness because the focus is now on other people. So there's a few steps that

I would recommend that help us to teach our children to stay focused on how

they're impacting other people. In fact I'll give you three. Okay three rules

that we're going to implement in the home with the kids. In fact Vicky and I

used to have these posted on a poster above our table and then in the dining

room area. Three family rules and you what this is a whole lot easier than

having a whole list of family rules and I think you'll see that these cover them.

These rules are intended to help children understand their impact on

other people and to get the focus off of themselves. So that they don't experience

so much shyness. Rule number one -respect yourself and others. Respect yourself and

others. Let's break that down for a minute.

I've asked kids as young as three. What does it mean to respect someone and it's

amazing how often they come up with the right answer. They say it means to - "be

nice." Yeah. Can we do that? As parents but also

encourage our kids to do that to be nice. Respecting yourself and others. So

respect for self means you're going to be nice to your self, right? And you're going to

be nice to other people. So I usually work with kids at this point to come up

with a couple of examples. What would it mean? Okay what about yelling

at your sister? No, not respectful that breaks rule number one. What about

hitting someone or kicking or biting? Yeah not respectful, that breaks rule

number one. What about bad-mouthing yourself, you

know, "oh I'm so stupid I can't do anything right."

No, it's a violation of rule number one. You see where we're going with the

respect thing. Now what does this have to do with shyness? What about not

responding when someone asks you a question? Oh that's not very respectful

is it? See? It's not about me. it's not about me feeling nervous about it, is

that respectful toward that other person. See? We're putting a different frame on

this, so that we can help our kids shift their focus from a self focus to focus

on others and the impact that they might be having on others. It's not respectful

to look down or look away if someone's addressing you. It's more respectful to

look them in the eye. Do you see where we're going with that. So

respect self and others, that's rule number one.

Rule number two. Respect property. Respect property. This means that we take care of

things that we don't misuse things. That we don't vandalize or destroy or

endanger property in different ways. Okay respecting property. What does that have

to do with shyness? ?You know what I have found that as we teach respect for

property, it actually increases self confidence because that's something that

is innately reinforcing to be able to take care of something in the right way.

To to have a proper stewardship of the stuff for the property. It implies trust.

There's a lot of different ways that this can contribute to actually

increasing confidence and self-esteem. And all of these things will help us to

enhance working on the shyness issue. The respect property. Rule number three -

cooperate and obey. Now there is a difference between cooperation and

obedience. Let's just address that really quickly.

Who should you obey? Who should your children obey? Well you obviously as a

parent, right? Yes we're all for that. Who else? Here's the short version. Anyone who

has authority over them should be obeyed. So we can apply this to law enforcement

for example. The police, the sheriff, the the law enforcement agencies that have

some level of authority. We should obey because there's some obvious

consequences if we don't, right? What about people at the school or people in

your religious community who have some authority over that child? Yeah, those are

the people were going to obey. So it has to do with authority. What about

cooperate? Cooperate applies to everyone who's asking me to do something that's

right and reasonable. Again we're trying to

increase this child's confidence that they can make good decisions and that

they can show up in a way that supports healthy self-esteem and confidence.

Cooperating with people who ask me to do something right and reasonable, gives me

an opportunity to do something that's a little challenging.

And we did another video about self-esteem. Take a look at that to see

how self-esteem is tied to mostly being able to face and take on challenges. I've

found that a lot of times, kids who are defined as being shy, don't have the self

confidence or the self esteem to know that they can handle hard things. So

that's why the cooperation rule is so important. It gives them an opportunity

to take on hard things and to see themselves taking on those hard things.

This tends to increase self-esteem and you can see how that might be a benefit

when we're working on shyness. I love the way that applying principle can help us

in so many ways to help our kids. And I'm so glad that you're here. I'll see you