Ways to Overcome Your Child’s Shyness


Q: My daughter is in middle school and is beginning to hate school. She is an academic superstar; however, her shyness is stopping her from feeling confident at school. She feels uncomfortable answering questions in class or participating in discussions. She is also reluctant to talk to more than a few other students. What can be done to help her overcome her shyness?

A: Most people have some degree of shyness. According to Philip Zimbardo, professor of psychology at Stanford University, shyness is a mental attitude that predisposes people to be extremely concerned about the social evaluation of them by others. It involves keeping a low profile by holding back from initiating actions that might call attention to one’s self.

We recommend that you read Professor Zimbardo's book “The Shy Child: Overcoming and Preventing Shyness From Infancy to Adulthood.” It has some of the best suggestions that we have seen for helping parents combat shyness in their children. These include:

  • Do not label your child as shy. Never say: “Don’t be shy.”
  • Encourage talking at home.
  • Seek cooperation from teachers in reducing shyness in the classroom.
  • Teach your child how to compliment his or her teachers and peers.
  • Teach and display listening skills.
  • Compliment the shy child and other family members whenever possible.
  • Find a younger playmate for your child to help the him or her practice social skills and to be more assertive.

Frequently, gifted children like your daughter suffer from shyness because they perceive themselves as different from others. Enrolling her in a gifted program this summer could be helpful. Learning new physical skills also could contribute to building her self-esteem.

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or visit dearteacher.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Must-See Holiday Light Shows Across North Carolina

’Tis the season for dazzling light displays. Here are our top picks of holiday light show extravaganzas across the state.

Applying to NC Colleges? Take an Inside Look at 16 NC Public Schools

These profiles detail everything from student-to-faculty ratios to acceptance rates and the percentage of students who successfully graduate in four years.

8 Scenic Drives in North Carolina for Families

North Carolina is home to many scenic routes for families who enjoy road-tripping.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for kids and families in the Triad by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!


Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

GPS [Go. Play. See]

It's your complete family guide to Triad living. Parents are busy and on the go. Use this guide to help you explore all this great area offers for families in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and surrounding communities.

Exceptional Child

For parents of kids with special needs, finding help and support can be challenging. We've compiled valuable resources for Triad parents in our latest annual publication, Exceptional Child, which is also available as a digital guide.