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Why is my child shy?

Shyness in children can be thought of as a variation of personality. Experts advise that more half of people consider themselves shy. If your child has displayed signs of shyness since infancy such as a fear of strangers and new situations, avoidance of eye contact then she may have a shy personality.

Shyness that begins in later childhood is likely based on the influence of cognitive or environmental factors. Fear of embarrassment grows in children between the ages of four and five and again around the age of twelve. The feeling of being different is at the root of a shy child’s distress. He is afraid of approaching new surroundings or people and will find it difficult to assert himself in a group, though he will like to watch the others and probably longs to take part.

Shy children will always worry about what others might think of them, and they mostly expect themselves to fail. This is particularly true when faced with new or unfamiliar situations, but can also be experienced in the everyday events in the shy child's life. Their fear is expressed through painful physical reactions (pounding heart, sweat, blushing and stuttering) which can lead to excessive self-focus, negative thoughts and worry which can affect their general well being. 

When children start school, they are exposed to large and new groups of people. For a shy child this can make the start of school stressful. School is a constant challenge for shy children and it doesn’t necessarily get easier when they get used to the routine of school and become more familiar with their class mates.
 
Shy children in school often show signs of social anxiety when interacting with peers. They lack social skills and they can have lower self-esteem and a lower sense of self worth which can lead to rejection from peers. This rejection begins a vicious cycle which only stands to increase the shy child's low-self esteem. During later childhood and adolescence, shyness becomes increasingly associated with loneliness, depression, social anxiety, a lower sense of self worth and a decrease in happiness.

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