Sabotaging Shyness

Sabotaging Shyness

While a certain degree of shyness in a young child is not unusual or problematic, there is no doubt that a largely outgoing, gregarious personality is considerably more advantageous in dealing with the modern world that requires a fair amount of teamwork, networking, and other intensively social functions.  And while there seems to be some evidence that shyness may have a genetic component, it is clear that what is in the DNA merely creates a predisposition to the trait rather than any kind of inevitability.

Consequently, developmental psychologists focus on experiential factors when seeking to prevent excessive shyness.  And they have identified the following as significant risks:

Limited exposure to diverse social situations.

Reinforcement (typically unintentional) by adults – not addressing it or encouraging it by doing things such as answering for the child, telling people she is shy, or coddling when she acts shy.

Modeling of shy behaviors by adults and other children – the child learns that this is how to interact with others.

Over-protectiveness where the child is not allowed to be adventurous or try new things independently, teaching the child that she is not capable.

It therefore is not surprising to me that when I ask parents at Romp n’ Roll to tell me about their child, I often hear “gregarious” and “outgoing” along with things like “polite” and “respectful.”  You can’t find a better environment for fostering these highly desirable personality traits than Romp n’ Roll.