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Common-sense measures help overcome shyness at school

Many say Kobe Bryant and former First Lady Laura Bush are socially adept introverts
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

80% of all people feel shy. This of course includes kids who are experiencing school for the first time, and nearly everyone else returning to the classroom. But thankfully, by taking a few common-sense measures such as those offered below, you and your kids can get a handle on shyness.

First, go slowly when trying new things. If possible, start out with a tour of the building where your kids or you will spend up to 35 or 40 hours each week studying. Try to do this when the principal or the teacher has time to sit down and answer questions about what to expect, especially if your kids are just starting school.

Next, remember that you need to like yourselves. If you’ve stood in front of your mirror, looked yourself in the eye and really convinced yourself that you are satisfied with the person you see, you’re likely to feel more comfortable taking part in anything, including class. And that boost in self-confidence will show.

To bolster self-assurance even further, form your own little support group of friends and family members. Kids, especially middle-schoolers, are often self-conscious about everything, including their shyness, and your support group should insist that feelings of self-doubt are normal.

But what about social anxiety? That’s what happens when an individual experiences an extremely intense fear of public encounters. Don’t panic; the condition is treatable, even if it occurs along with other problems. And people with the disorder are not alone. In fact, about 12 percent of the human race experiences social anxiety at some point during their lives.

So, at last you’ve learned to be comfortable around other people, even still want to be alone more than you want to exercise your hard-won social skills. What then?

Well, congrats! Join the club. You’re part introvert, just like a lot of successful people past and present. Just like Bill Gates and Rosa Parks and Albert Einstein and Courtney Cox and J.D. Rowling and Abraham Lincoln and Emma Watson and Laura Bush and Charles Darwin and Audrey Hepburn and Warren Buffet and Kobe Bryant get the picture.

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