Saturday, March 17, 2012

Difficult Situations for the Shy Child, and What You Could do as a Mentor

© Helen Shorey |
Being a shy girl myself has made me extra sensitive to those who are also shy. I have a very soft spot for the shy children, knowing that being shy in an extrovert-dominating community is a tough experience. Shy people have their own strengths as well that needed to be recognized. Doing many things that are easy for most people are quite difficult from the shy child's perspective, especially when there is a social aspect in the task.

If you are a parent or teacher, always be supportive of the shy child. They are very sensitive. Any kind of ridicule would force them to shut themselves. Doing things for the first time makes the child feel anxious, that's why a little gentle nudge plus words of encouragements are the ingredients to help the child develop into a healthy and confident person. Take note, don't attempt to take away shyness completely. It is a quality, not an abnormality. Embrace the child for who he/she is, yet help him/her reach out and develop self-confidence. That should be your goal as the child's mentor.

Perhaps there are many things that you are not aware of regarding the difficulties of a shy child, especially if you are never shy at all. Here are some everyday tasks that a shy child might find overwhelming:

  • finding a partner or group in class activities
  • joining in a group of children to play
  • answering questions from adults
  • reciting in class
  • ordering food in fastfood chains
  • asking for help
  • making friends
  • going to parties

These are just some of the few instances that you should have a keen eye of the child. When these situations come their way, you know that it is time for you to give your support. Don't just throw them at parties and expect that they'll gain instant friends and have fun. Don't leave them to the fastood chain counter and expect them to order a food successfully. Stay by their side and see when they are ready. Never force them. If they aren't ready, show them how it's done. Class participation is difficult for the shy child. Never laugh at mistakes and always acknowledge his/her attempts to participate.

Lastly, don't show any sign of frustrations when the child fails to do a social task. The child himself/herself is already frustrated and there is no need for you to add to that. Patience is the key, it will surely pay off in the long run.
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