sammum asks:

my son is 6 and very shy will not join in at parties!

It is such a shame he a loving boy wish he was more confident! what should i do i do to incourage  

Question asked after reading:
In Topics: Self esteem and identity, Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Feb 17, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

To adults and to many kids, a children's party may look like a great opportunity for fun and games. But to some children the noise, the pushing, the grabbing... plus being in a strange home around lots of unfamiliar people, can make a party an overwhelming experience.

You say your son is "very shy." That probably means he's more comfortable spending time with a single friend rather than a group. That may be less of a problem for him than you are imagining. I understand you want him to grow up to be confident and able to handle himself in all kinds of situations. That's every parent's wish! I'm guessing you are also a bit concerned that he is missing out on some good fun with other kids. But it's probably an overstatement to describe this as "such a shame." And if you feel that way, you may be conveying your disappointment to your son in a way that makes him feel there's something wrong with him. There is nothing wrong with him! He is, as you say, a "loving" boy. Please keep in mind that your son is only 6 years old. He has plenty of time to become more self-confident and comfortable in social situations. In the meantime, respect his comfort zone and let him take the lead in letting you know how much time he wants to spend with other kids. Praise him for being a good friend and provide him with plenty of opportunities to play with kids in settings of his own choosing.

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Additional Answers (1)

Karenmom writes:
Hi sammum,

I feel that being shy and being self confident are two different things.  One can be very self confident and have high self esteem, but prefer not to be in crowds or be the center of attention.  There's nothing wrong with that, it's just the way they are and their preference.  

Don't worry!  You said he is very loving and I can tell that you are a very thoughtful, concerned parent, so I don't think you have anything to worry about.

Continue to show him love, attention and praise his work and good deeds.  Remind him how handsome and loving he his and reassure him that you love him, no matter what-this will keep his self esteem high, don't force him to join in a crowd that he had rather not be a part of or place him "on the spot" that could lead to embarrassment and crush his self esteem.  He'll be fine.

As he matures he may become more open to people, but he may not ever really want to have attention focused directly on him.  He can still be outgoing and achieve wonderful things.  Shyness is an endearing quality that can be a blessing, shy people are more likely not to get into as much trouble as those that put themselves in other situations.  From my own experience, I stayed out of trouble because I didn't want the attention that it would bring.  Shy people tend to look at friendships for quality more so than quantity and they are much more attentive to others needs instead of their own, which leads to better overall relationships and a more committed, focused lifestyle.  So look at it as a blessing.

You may enjoy this article that I have linked below.

Best wishes!

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