Shyness is one of the most common traits in young children. The world is scary to some kids, and if mom or dad are not around, relating and trusting others in daycare or school can be difficult. Still, shyness comes in varying degrees, and more severe shyness could be a sign they are on the autism spectrum. Regardless of how your child relates to others, their antisocial behavior can be influenced and changed with a bit of support and learning.
As a parent, you know how many phases your child has gone through. Think back to the inevitable phase of wanting to wear similar things for extended periods of time, like insisting on wearing only pajamas or a sweatshirt that acts as a security blanket. Those phases pass as they are adapting to their world, and shyness is a phase for some. This is especially noticeable when children face an environmental change. Starting in a new school, moving to a new neighborhood, or even losing a family member, among many other situations, can cause shifts in personality. Being withdrawn during these times is common, though your child should begin to get back to their normal selves over time.
Your child may be an extrovert, but their shyness stems from peers viewing them as an “other.” Physical differences, antisocial personality traits like aggression or impulsivity, and other factors can cause some kids to bully other children, while the rest are bystanders without stepping up in defense of your child. In these cases of rejection, adult intervention is often required to show the kids why it’s important to celebrate differences and always be friendly and kind.
Sometimes kids are naturally shy and prefer to be alone or gravitate more toward family or animals. This may simply be part of their personality, but it could also be a symptom of Asperger Syndrome. Asperger Syndrome is a developmental condition that causes children to have difficulty with relationships.
If shyness begins to impact your child’s experiences negatively in school or other social situations with children, or if you are worried about your child’s shyness, talk to your pediatrician. Childhood should be a happy time where kids freely make friends and learn about bonding and friendships. Some kids just need a bit more hand holding than others.