How Would You Answer This — Very Shy 16-Year-Old Daughter

by | How Would You Answer This? | 10 comments

We have a 16-year-old daughter who is very shy around people she does not know very well, even if she’s been around them occasionally. She seems content to just keep to herself in group situations, and does not desire to participate in any activity with anyone she is not VERY familiar and comfortable with. She will not reach out to others, and does not respond to others’ attention to her any more than mere politeness would require. She has said that at times she’s been asked questions in a group setting (church, enrichment classes) where she did not know the answers and was made to feel stupid in front of the others. These situations deeply hurt her very sensitive spirit, and therefore she continues to want to avoid all group situations (Bible study, etc.) whenever she can. At times, my husband and I have strongly encouraged or insisted that she attend various functions, but at other times we have let it slide. It is difficult to know when or if we should push, and if so, how hard. She does have a couple of friends and their families that she is comfortable being with, but has great difficulty meeting and getting to know new people. So, my question: What should be required of a shy child to participate in? Mainly, I ask this because I want to see her grow in her consideration of the comfort of others and dwell less on her own tendency to self-centeredness, which I see as a part of being shy. When and how, if at all, should we push her? How can we get her to grow in self-confidence in new situations, with new people? Will this come more with maturity? How can we address this issue sensitively and purposefully with our daughter? I was wondering if anyone had a similar situation with one, or more, of their children and would have any suggestions and/or words of wisdom for us. Thank you for your comments. Blessings, Janet M.