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Shy In Public

Q. My child is very talkative and speaks very well, but at times she becomes totally anti-social in a crowd. She will not answer any questions that my friends ask and she will be so fearful if someone speaks in a loud voice. What shall I do?



Dear Parent,


This looks like your child is shy. Typical examples of being shy in social situations include being clingy, reluctant to interact with others and playing alone more often than other children their age. Some children are 'slow to warm up' or engage with others, but they will engage well after initial hesitancy.


It is common for children to be wary of adults, particularly men, but less common for children to be wary of children around their own age.


As parents we can do many things to help our shy child. We can arrange play dates and help our child join a group for extracurricular activities. We can talk to our children about the importance of having friends and why we need to talk to our friends. We can also talk to children about our friendships and act as a sympathetic source of encouragement and constructive ideas.


If a child is upset about a problem with a friend, we can encourage our child to try to resolve the problem in a way that preserves the friendship, instead of ending the friendship, as well as encourage our child to develop other friendships.


Children who are not familiar of loud noises in their own environment will have the fear as they think the loud voice is some sort of scolding or threat. We parents need to speak to them about the different tones and voices people have and we just have to either take our children away from such environment or we teach them to get used to it. It is quite difficult for us to ask someone to talk softly as they may get offended. Worse case scenario, we just have to excuse ourselves.

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