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  • Writer's pictureVaishali Chakravarty

"Actually, she is very shy."

Avoid saying these lines in front of your child or she will start believing that she really is shy and refrain from any social interaction succumbing to SOCIAL ANXIETY. Furthermore, a smarter child will use the shy tag as a STRATEGY to avoid participating in seemingly meaningless conversations with adults and turn her headphones on.

Lets us look at the case one- Social Anxiety.

Shyness is just a symptom. It can be due to many reasons, most common being social anxiety. When a child finds it difficult to adjust to the social situations around her, like for example, a set of friends who are often trying prove that they are superior to her or a set of adults who pass judgments at every little thing she does, she begins to experience a state of anxiety.

She can either chose to confront the situation or avoid it. So either we see some aggression marked by a general loss of manners or social withdrawal, one form of which is shyness.

Children with social anxiety disorder aren’t just nervous when they’re at parties or giving a speech in class they are expereincing high levels of stress.

“It’s not a phobia of being in social situations, it’s being terrified of how people are going to perceive you,” explains Dr. Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, USA.

Children who are clinically shy simply require extra time to adjust to new or stressful situations, including everyday conversations and social gatherings. They also need more time to master the developmental hurdles of life. The good news is that shy children eventually achieve everything that everyone else does -- they date, marry, have children. The not-so-good news is, it takes them a little longer.

My cousin who is 40 now, a dutiful husband to his beautiful wife and a father of 2 beautiful boys, has been shy all his life. Avoided social gatherings, immersed himself in books and spoke very little. But he always had his small group of friends and they are still there for him till date.

So children who are termed SHY, may actually be comfortable in a certain non-threatening company. Being quite and shy might be their nature and there is nothing wrong in that. The parent in this case should either create that environment or take the child to a space which is safe, secure and not judgmental.

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