Shyness and Kids

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Do You Know Any “shy kids"? You know the ones... Although they may be animated and boisterous with close friends and family in a closed or known environment, they become quiet and non-participative in unfamiliar situations. Maybe they mumble and shuffle their feet when they are introduced to new people or have a hard time jumping in when they are placed in an environment with kids they don’t know. They might have a skill they perform wonderfully at home, but they cannot bring themselves to do it in front of others. Their discomfort might manifest itself as a refusal to speak, averted or downcast eyes, a flight response (hiding behind mom or dad), or avoidance of certain activities.

What is Shyness?
It’s highly likely you knew kids who were described as shy when you were young or maybe you thought you were a shy kid. If so, you’re not alone. A National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) study of 10,000 teenagers found that about half of the youth in the study identified themselves as shy.[1] To me, that is an incredible statistic which leads to an interesting question: Why would so many kids identify themselves as shy?

Shyness can be a frustrating state which causes confusion and obstruction of desires. Shy people, especially kids, may not understand why they are shy or how they will ever overcome it.

The term shyness can cover a lot of ground, but is generally defined as a feeling of awkwardness, tenseness, or a tendency to withdraw in social situations, especially in unfamiliar environments or with unfamiliar people. Inward symptoms can include worry about how they are viewed by others or negative feelings about themselves. Outward symptoms may include butterflies, sweating, or blushing.[2]

Shyness can be confused with social...

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13. WebMD: Just Shy or Social Anxiety Disorder - 2014
14. Social Anxiety Institute: DSM-5 Definition of Social Anxiety Disorder - 2014
15. National Institute of Mental Health: Shy Temperament: More than Just Fearful - Aug. 2006
16. Medical News Today (MNT): Shyness is inherited -Jun. 2003
17. Genome News Network: Is There a Gene for Shyness? - Apr. 2000
18. Indiana University Southeast, Shyness Research Institute: Are We Born Shy? - 2012
19. Anxiety Disorders Association of America: Triumph Over Shyness - 2002
20. Shyness Institute, University of Derby, and Palo Alto University: Shyness, Social Anxiety, and Social Phobia - 2014
21. Science Daily: Genes And Stressed-out Parents Lead To Shy Kids - Mar. 2007
22. Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics: Shyness and Timidity in Young Adults Who Were Born at Extremely Low Birth Weight - 2008
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