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Helping shy teenagers

Helping shy teenagers

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Of course, there is nothing wrong with being a little shy but sometimes that bashfulness can stop us from taking part in things and achieving goals. This can be particularly damaging in teenagers as they begin to make their own way in the world. But in many kids, shyness reaches a peak in early adolescence, just when they are feeling most self conscious, and may become an issue.

If you have a shy teenager that you’d like to help coax out if a shell, then here are some tips that you may find useful.

When is shyness a problem?

Everyone feels shy on occasion and usually it is a natural reaction to an unfamiliar person or situation. It allows people to withdraw a little and assess the situation while keeping an element of control. Shyness only becomes a problem if it is having an adverse effect on social development skills or the teenager seems to be incredibly uncomfortable and feels neglected or unhappy because of it.

If your teenager is perfectly happy to have a shy nature and there are no other issues, then leave them be and don’t try to change them. However, if the teen in question would prefer to overcome shyness and be a bit more outgoing then there are some things you can do to help.

Build self-esteem

Teenagers who consider themselves to be shy often have a lower opinion of themselves than their non-shy peers do. Help your teen by showing them that you trust and admire them, which will give them a bit of an ego boost. Make sure they ‘overhear’ you singing their praises to someone else every so often too. If they are self-conscious over the way they look, take them shopping for clothes, make-up or anything that might improve their confidence and make them feel more at ease.

Helping shy teenagers

Tread carefully

Your child may be quite happy the way they are and that’s fine. But if they do want to change, tread carefully when offering advice. A well-intentioned statement could be interpreted as a criticism so let your teen take the lead and be ready to offer support if it’s asked for.


Practising social behaviours is something that your teen will probably do without you being there. However, you can offer ideas and support to encourage them to go out there and face their shyness by acting like they’re more outgoing. The more they practise taking part and getting involved in conversations, the more comfortable they’ll become in their own skin.

Let them know you’re there

In a big bright world full of new people, it can be comforting to know that you can always be yourself around your family. Even if you’re feeling concerned about your teen’s shyness, let them know that you love them just the way they are and that you’re always free to talk with them.

Don’t expect it to happen overnight

As we said above, becoming more outgoing and independent takes practice. It won’t happen overnight but with some support and encouragement, you will start to see results.




About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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