Knowing when your child’s shyness is a phase or a real problem

It can be a challenge to determine whether a child is an introvert by nature or has developed fears around social interactions. Empowering you as a parent to know what to look for and how to effectively manage anxiety will bring back your family’s harmony.

Have you ever had your child dig their heels in at a party, and you feel like you’ve got to drag them in? 

Has your daughter had a meltdown the night before her class speech or the school dance?

Is your son too afraid to put their hand up and ask the teacher for help?

Imagine your child telling you how their day was, and hearing they sat on their own at lunchtime, or just wandered around the playground.

When you’ve arrived at a friend’s house, does your daughter cling to you and refuse to play with the other children?

Does your son yell or hit you when you speak to them firmly in front of other people?

Many parents we come across in the Hills describe their children as ‘shy’. Children will often go through a ‘shy or bashful’ phase as a normal part of their development, however when this shyness gets traction it can interfere with their social development. As a parent, this is the time to act.

Understanding Social Anxiety in children

Ask your child, what is it that they are worrying about? When socially anxious –

  • They will experience an intense fear of being judged negatively by others
  • They exaggerate the severity of the outcome
  • They are scared of the intense feelings of anxiety

Consequently, children will do whatever they can to avoid that anxious feeling.

A parent’s solution to a confident and calm child

  1. Acknowledge their worries
  2. Have the child describe the physical reaction e.g tummy doing somersaults
  3. Explain to your child that anxiety is a normal human emotion
  4. Reassure the child of their strengths and their ability to do the task
  5. If the anxiety persists or gets worse, it is essential to intervene early by seeking professional advice from a Clinical Psychologist.

At Creating Change we have a team of Child and Adolescent Psychologists who will meet with both you the parents and your child to determine the most effective approach to help you all feel confident and calm. Our team is ready to answer any of your questions – Contact Us. Written by Dr Bianca Heng – Clinical Psychologist Registrar –

Social Anxiety blog