“Mom, can you ask the child to play with me?” I can certainly. But do I have to? The situation happens just like this, thousands of times, every day in the playgrounds of this world: the child hides behind the legs of his mother or father and looks longingly into the sandpit. He would love it, but he wouldn’t dare. And we? Shall we take the first step? “Show him there is no need to be afraid,” says the little angel on my shoulder. He scolds the little demon: “He will never be as independent as this.”
Inke Hummel knows how to do it right and what shy kids and their parents need. In her new book, My Wonderful Shy Child, she explains how parents can accept their child as he is and how they can strengthen a child’s self-confidence. Until he becomes independent and calmly faces pressure from the outside. “Shyness is not a flaw,” says the teacher. “Being shy is a trait like so many others. And it’s good to have it around. We don’t just need leaders, promoters for ourselves and pigs on stage. Colors are good, diversity is an advantage.”
These two terms are often associated with confusion. However, they are not the same at all. “Shyness can be inherent in mood and just mean that you are more hesitant and wary of new situations with many triggers. You prefer to take many small steps,” says the expert. “Shy behavior can also provoke a situation, such as ‘Don’t you dare’ on the playground, but also a difficult life situation, parental separation, movement or the like.”
On the other hand, introversion relates to the question “Where do I get strength?”. “Introverts tend to find this in themselves, in peace or relaxation or in a book. Extroverts look for strength in interacting with others or in a stressful situation, such as in sports.” Introversion and shyness are not mutually exclusive.
“I find it hard to find a term that indicates the opposite of shyness,” Anke Hamill says. The word “confident” is often an oxymoron. There are many people who are shy and at the same time confident in themselves. This is also what I want to achieve with my book: Children becoming self-aware adults. Because they know, “I’m shy, I need my time to work and plan. I take small steps to achieve my goals. That’s who I am.” If I’m aware of that and it’s causing me problems, I can find someone to train with me. For example, if I want to have a job that involves speaking in front of a lot of people, eg. “
Being shy is not a bad thing, it is a trait like many others.
Above all, we have to help our children arrange themselves correctly, to strengthen this self-confidence. This also means that we have to make them strong for feedback from the outside. “A lot of parents are not at all resentful of this situation, and neither are most children. The stress and doubts come from the environment,” says Anki Hamill. It is often said, ‘Don’t be too shy. In my book, I want to tell parents how they can strengthen their children and banish negative gazes from them. Of course, this does not always work. Above all, it is important
- That the child learns from the parents that it is okay for what it is. Being shy is not a bad thing, it is a trait like many others.
- To care about what your child wants. In our example on the playground, that would be “playing with another child”. Then you can think together about how the child got there and how you can help him. Perhaps you can start a conversation together. Or it helps if you hold his hand and stay with him.
- The focus is on the child. Perhaps you set your expectations a little lower as a parent. Don’t argue with “anyone else can/can do that too”.
- That you set an example that failure isn’t bad and that you don’t condemn the child’s failure either.
“He obviously got that from me” – our children seem to have inherited many behaviors and personality traits from us, and they learn a lot through imitation. So how, as a shy person, can you be a good role model for your child? “Even parents don’t have to bend over backwards,” says Anki Hamill. Here again, self-confidence is important, that is, being aware of oneself and one’s existence. “Very bold parents may be good role models, but they may not be able to empathize with their children’s shyness. Shy parents can also do this better. On the other hand, they find it more difficult to teach their children how to act in certain situations.” The expert advises you to look at your own history. What made me? Did my parents take too much from me? or shove too much? Shouldn’t I be ashamed? Then, they can adjust their behavior.
The teacher sees another opportunity in addressing the common topic together. “You can choose small exercises: make more phone calls, start consultations in the store and sometimes not buy anything. Show the child that it is also a challenge for you – it gives you courage and it is good for the children to see that they are not alone.”
While shyness is not a huge problem in kindergarten, many parents worry once they start school. Here, too, Inke Hummel wants to relieve the pressure: “Many people get school information from the municipality when a child is only four years old. However, school attendance is only two or two and a half years from now. Lots of time! I have a lot of shy kids. who I thought, two weeks before school started, would be difficult. They are often handpicked by teachers and classmates. Plus, children go through a fluctuating stage of puberty by the time they start school. It’s an age when a lot changes again.” Therefore, parents are advised to remain calm and monitor. Plus, most teachers feel more comfortable than you think. “If you are too afraid to start school, you can tackle the problem effectively beforehand and talk to the teacher about it in the initial talk. Maybe the child can look at the school beforehand and get used to it. But often it helps to let it run now.”
The expert advises that the pressure parents may feel due to poor grades should not be put on their children. “It is better if you communicate with the teacher, gladly with the child, and explain to him. Often teachers see the behavior as indifferent. This should be explained and a new relationship established between the teacher and the student. Perhaps there are ways to make it easier. For the child to participate. Presentations of books, For example, it cannot be presented in front of the class. Alternatively, the child can videotape his presentation at home, give it on the phone, or give it his back to the class. All of this is also the concept of inclusion. Many shy children are the last to attend classes Digital that has been completely booming for several months. This should be seen as an opportunity!”
Constantly going against your nerves is stressful!
Sometimes the situation is more difficult for the parents than for the shy child himself. “Many parents want to be responsive to the child and focus on the needs,” says Anki Hamill. “That’s great, but some people find it difficult to expect something from children. But they need it in order to develop. And for that they have to be pushed, always going beyond what you think is a good thing. Situations often arise in everyday life, but you can also create Such situations are quite conscious.
- Let your child pay at the supermarket. You only have a little interaction with the cashier, but it’s at least a little contact with a stranger.
- Let your child choose and order menus at the bakery. This requires more interaction and therefore courage than “only” paying at checkout.
- Let your child walk short distances on his own. “When my son was a preschooler, he wanted to go to nursery on his own,” Inke Hummel says. “A short road, not on the road. We tried it. The first time he came back because it didn’t work. The road seemed too far and then a dog came. Together we thought what we should do and then we got in so we could keep in touch all the time, and in time What exceeded the range without disturbing him.
It is also important to strengthen your children’s self-esteem. Especially at preschool age, children are getting more and more contacts outside their families. From this age, children should learn to take responsibility and duties. But also making decisions, having a say in the rules, planning small projects. This is how he learns that it matters. It also helps your child if you encourage and praise their talents. Make time to talk and quiet rooms. “Constantly confronting your mood is stressful,” says Inke Hummel. “And above all: never lose heart, and never say, ‘You can’t do that.’ Make connections by telling us how you failed once, but succeeded the next time you tried.”
Inki Hamill is a teacher, head of parent-child courses, blogger and owner of Family Support Satsam Hamill. It supports families from a child’s first year through adulthood. They often accompany parents who have emotionally strong children and help them develop a good parent-child bond. At Binding
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