As an adult I realize I am not perfect. I have my "glitches". One of them is that I am too shy and an introvert to people that I do not know well (somewhat extrovert to friends and family). Would I not want to be too shy? Yes. I think that in some situations I could have acted in a better way and maybe had more friends (although the ones I have are really close) or felt less awkward in unknown places with unknown people.

To put it in different words, if I ever had the chance to go back in my life and try to change something in my behavior, shyness would be the first thing to change.

My 4.5 year old daughter is shy and a bit of a an introvert. And my question is, having realized that I would like to be less shy and less introvert, Should I try to talk my daughter into that direction? Will I succeed?

  • Kids learn from their parents actions and intentions more than words and instruction. Haha... means it's time for you to change :)
    – gahooa
    Nov 4, 2012 at 4:49

3 Answers 3


Turn the question around. What would your adult person now wish your parents had done differently to you when you were growing up? Should they have steered you more away from shyness?

Nobody is perfect. If consider your major flaw being shy, personally I would be open to discuss that with my child and tell them about the advantages and disadvantages, but also stress that it's OK to be shy, just as it's OK to be gay or not like country music. As long as you're happy, you can choose to live however you want, but each choice has it's consequences.

Ask yourself: what if you can't change your child away from shyness? Would you rather it feel accepted by you, however shy they are, or they feel pushed to be less shy, less the way they are?

  • +1 for mentioning the "it might just be her nature" aspect.
    – Shauna
    Apr 10, 2012 at 18:55

There's always a battle between those that feel children should be allowed to develop as they are suited, and those that feel they should be steered into some believed correct path.

I find that most people who were forced to take music lessons, for instance, later in life appreciate it. Even if they hated it at the time.

Children only know what we expose them to. More than likely, she knows how to be shy based on observing your behavior (or that of your wifes). At 4.5, this may already be very firmly set into her behavioral patterns. Changing that behavior takes time, practice, and more importantly, reinforcement at home. Enrolling your child in various group activities that require interaction with strangers can help (think public speaking, beauty pagents, etc.. but god help me i'm not recommended beauty pagents, they have their own set of problems).

It will be very hard to reinforce behaviors at home when you don't exhibit them yourself.

Ultimately, you have to observe how your child reacts to putting them in public situations where they are not allowed to be shy. Forcing them to do something like that can be traumatizing if pushed too hard. But children are nothing if not resilient.


First of all your daughter is still quite young and has yet to really form who she is and will be. All kids go through periods where they are "more shy" or "more friendly." While you know her well, and probably see some things that make your assessment fairly accurate, she may not be as shy as you think. Additionally, there are a lot of good things about being shy. Shy people TEND (of course there are exceptions) to be more observant, better listeners and loyal friends. If she is an introvert, she is an introvert. She was born this way (as were you) so you'll want to celebrate and honor who you both are. There was a great article in Time magazine about this not all that long ago. Life optimizer offers up these 7 strengths of shy people and here is an article about five GREAT CAREERS FOR SHY PEOPLE.

Both gregariousness and shyness have their drawbacks. Life is often about learning balance and continuously readjusting in order to maintain that balance. I see nothing wrong in being open with your daughter about things if you discuss these kinds of things openly and lovingly with her. Just make sure you aren't disparaging about shyness on the whole along the way. This blog gives a few "rules" to follow in your discussions that jibe well with my background knowledge about child psychology.

In essence, the blarticle says to make sure you speak with her about it as a feeling not a self label though. For example, when she is "feeling shy" discuss ways to get past the feeling rather than it being all about her as shy (that way she isn't having to overcome herself if you know what I mean - funny how big a difference a tiny bit of language can make). Of course it also talks about encouraging your shy daughter without pushing too hard and celebrating accomplishments as well.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .