This has been my question for the past 8 years “How do you encourage your shy child to step out of her comfort zone?“
Looking back at how my eldest was, I never thought we will go through this stage where I’d worry about her so much. She used to be a people person during her first 4 years but 8 years ago, there was a sudden change where she wouldn’t talk to whoever she is not familiar with, that included her classmates and teachers. I did all the best possible ways I could but I still feel and think that I failed many times:
Reward System Giving her a reward does work at times, especially if it involves interaction but sad to say, it doesn’t last longer than I expect it would.
Joining School Activities etc There was a time when she would easily be convinced to join school activities. In fact, she even performed, sang, and danced in the past couple of years, but as she gets older (she’s now 12), it also gets harder. I even enrolled her to Voice Lessons but she did not pursue it and make it to the recital.
Heart to Heart Talk Whenever I get a chance, I do start a conversation with her. I sit down with her and have a heart to heart talk just like how a mother-daughter should be. We would end up crying sometimes, but with a hope that she would remember every word I say.
Share Your Own “Shyness” Experience During our casual conversations, I always tell my girls how shy I was when I was still studying.
I even sat down with her many times and asked her if she was ever bullied, or anything that made her like that, but she said none.
Frustrated that I am, I started researching what could be the reasons. Here are some of the excerpts I found online that made me feel better, as a mom.
Making friends doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
A shy child can often be found hanging onto mom or dad, or in the absence of a trusted loved one, sitting by themselves, head down, not talking to anyone. They won’t engage, hardly ever make eye contact and if they dare say anything at all, it’s usually very difficult to understand them.
A shy child isn’t intentionally being not friendly, but in the presence of someone new, or in a situation that makes her uneasy, it’s easier to disengage.
Somehow these made me feel better, a lot better. I sat down with my daughter once more and explained her the negative effects that it will get to her if she won’t try mingling with others, especially if it compromises her schooling. It has already affected her grades knowing that the school’s grading system now is based on 50% academic and 50% performance tasks on most subjects. If she won’t try working on the 50%, then it’s going to be another problem. Although I know that homeschooling could be the next best option if all else fails, I don’t think it will help her improve her socialization skills.
It’s just so hard for me to handle the current situation as I don’t want her to feel pressured nor force her to do the things she’s not comfortable with but of course I had to make her understand that at times there are things that she really needs to face whether she likes it or not.