Shy or quiet: what’s the difference?
Sometimes as parents we worry that our child is shy but maybe they are simply quiet. How can we tell the difference and encourage our child to engage well with others? Here are some thoughts on that from The Growing Child, the newsletter distributed by Lifestart.
There is a fine line between “quiet” and “shy.” Shyness implies inadequacy, an inability to deal with people or situations, an inability to communicate thoughts or feelings. The major difference between “shy” and “quiet” is the child’s comfort and happiness. Is he alone or is he lonely? Does he prefer not to say anything, or does he want to express himself but is afraid or unable to do so. Does he have positive or negative feelings about himself?
The shy child is self-conscious and fears others’ evaluations or rejections. The quiet child is probably making evaluations of others. (Ask his opinions. His insight might surprise you!) The shy child is unable to reach out to others, take risks, or approach new situations. He holds feelings and emotions inside and may be unpopular and uncomfortable around peers.
Most people are naturally shy to some degree. We don’t rush into new situations, talk to every stranger we meet, or share our every thought, idea, or emotion. However, the quiet child has the potential of crossing the line into shyness. If he is not encouraged to communicate and does not express himself, he could develop self-doubts, real or imagined rejection, misinterpretation of others’ comments, or lack of communication.
It is important for parents to observe and know their child. If the child is quiet, parents can communicate verbally to reinforce the child’s self-worth and to provide a supportive home life.
The GROWING TOGETHER NEWSLETTER is issued by; GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of: THE LIFESTART FOUNDATION,
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