Have you noticed what seems to be an increasing number of shy children? Experts are now suggesting we have a worldwide shyness epidemic. What can parents do to help their children overcome shyness and lead a fear-less life?
Genetics account for only 10% of shyness, and statistics indicate nearly 50% of the population is “shy.” Shyness is defined as a feeling of fear; a fear of social interactions. Shyness is not the same as quiet or contemplative. And the opposite is not assertive, extroverted, or the life of a party.
Shyness is a measurement of one’s comfort level with herself. Across a spectrum - the more dis-comfortable, the more shy : the more comfortable, the less shy.
All the pressure to achieve, accomplish, accumulate, conform, compete, perfect, perform, and please has stage-frightened many children to completely shut down or hide behind their mother’s skirt. The fear of not being enough (good enough, smart enough, tall enough, rich enough) is debilitating.
Our children are afraid of who they are and therefore are limited in who they may become.
Low self worth and criticism of others are buzz killers. Second-hand ridicule plants seeds of unworthiness. What our children hear us say about ourselves and others, and what they hear and see on the screens, is internalized and mirrored back on their shyness scale.
Treat the cause, not the symptom. If your children show signs of shyness, don’t ask them to mask it, fake it, or compensate for it. Look to the cause of their dis-comfort. Where do they see and hear the messages of unworthiness, shame, ridicule, and insignificance? In other words, where is the fear entering their lives? Mother, father, teacher, preacher?
Conscious parents are leading a fear-less life and helping their children do it too. The “less is more” mindset and a simplified life are the catalysts for breaking the shyness epidemic. Here are the healthy habits of conscious parents leading a fear-less life and helping their children break through the shyness barrier. These healthy habits minimize the amount of fear we allow into our lives and move us toward the more comfortable, less shy end of the spectrum.
- Less Screen Time (television, smart phones, video games, ipads, etc.) | More Book Time
- Less Sugar | More Sleep
- Less Structured Activities | More Free Time (Nature – walks, play, explore, discover. Art – painting, drawing, writing, photography, knitting, beading).
From a macro-level, the shyness epidemic points to fear as an underlying societal issue, embedded in the fabric of our collective conscious. We can be the change with a shift in our consciousness.
We can encourage and support our children to be more comfortable with whom they are in these awareness with action steps:
- Ask better questions. (Not “What did you do?” that focuses on the past, but rather “How can we make today a magical day?” that focuses on responsibility for the future).
- Listen with our eyes. (What are their body language and facial muscles saying?).
- Observe with our mouths shut. (no judgments, no criticism, no praise).
- Communicate with our hearts. (The heart never lies).
Only through unconditional love and unwavering trust, will our children find the courage to be comfortable with who they are – less shy and more authentic. This is a fear-less life. One more thing: their success rate greatly depends on ours!
Cultivating the Courage to be me,