AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

September 1, 2017

Raising Children: Shyness is Not a Disadvantage Says 4-H Specialist

HOUSTON, Mo. — Many parents look at shyness in their child as a disadvantage or something that they need to treat.

"I think it is important to embrace this personality trait, and not look at it as something that needs to be fixed," said Janice Emery, 4-H youth development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

Research finds that shy children tend to get in less trouble at school and are better listeners.

"There is really no level of 'too shy' as long as children can function in typical social situations and assuming it doesn't cause the child anxiety because they don't like the characteristic in themselves," said Emery.

If the goal is to help a child in social situations, while still embracing their personality, there are a couple ideas that may help.

"One idea for helping shy children socially is to have them practice speaking in non-threatening situations. Try having them order their food at a restaurant or let them hand the cashier the money at a store," said Emery.

These ideas are easy to implement and teaches children skills needed to communicate effectively, like making eye contact.

"Keep in mind that the first few times they may get nervous, so don't force the issue and let them ease in over time," Emery said.

Thinking in terms of big businesses, social circles, and society in general, it takes all kinds of personalities, ranging from outgoing to shy, and everything in-between.

"The important piece here is to realize that your child's shyness does not put them at a disadvantage and that it is not something parents need to overcome," said Emery.

4-H offers many opportunities for youth to find their place, discover their value, and learn effective communication and public speaking.

Residents of southwest Missouri can contact any of these 4-H youth development specialists and educators with MU Extension for information: Jennifer Hancock in Christian County, (417) 581-3558; Krista Tate in Howell County, (417) 256-2391; Bob McNary in Jasper County, (417) 358-2158; Karla Deaver in Lawrence County, (417) 466-3102; Mike Coffey in Newton County, (417) 455-9500; Velynda Cameron in Polk County, (417) 326-4916; Willa Williams in Taney County, (417) 546-4431; or Janice Emery in Texas County, (417) 967-4545.

Source: Janice Emery, (417) 967-4545

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