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Contemporary Parenting Questions


Last updated on 09/22/08

Why is my child so shy?

Some children welcome excitement and new experiences. They adapt well to change, take chances, and have many friends. Other kids prefer to warm up slowly to a new situation. They are less likely to take risks, try not to attract attention, and are often tense and uncomfortable in social situations. These children are classified as shy. Although shyness is generally problematic, parents should look evaluate the causes of their child’s shyness and make sure that they are not suffering from a low self-esteem or other related problems. In some cases, the shyness is extreme. When shyness disables a child from functioning normally, it is called Social Phobia. Social phobia is a real, documented anxiety disorder that can be treated with medication and therapy. If you suspect that your child has Social Phobia, have them evaluated by a mental health professional as soon as possible. You have the key to unlock your child’s potential.

In the Jewish Community

Jewish children encounter shyness and social phobia just as often as kids outside of the Jewish Community. Due to large class sizes, teachers are often unable to recognize the signs of social phobia. If you suspect your child has a problem, speak to a mental health professional. Social Phobia is a genuine disorder that gets worse with time; do not wait when your child’s life is at stake.

Use the following links to learn more about shyness and social phobia. Read about the differences between shyness and social phobia and find out what can be done in either situation.

Frequently Asked Links

What is shyness and why are some people shy?

Why are some children more shy than others?

Should I be worried if my child is shy?

Can shyness become a problem?

How can my teen become less shy?

How can my behavior influence my child’s shyness?

How can I help my child overcome shyness? more more

What can an educator do to help the development of a shy child?

What is social phobia? more

What are some of the symptoms of social phobia?

What causes social phobia?

What are some facts about social phobia?

When should one seek medical advice for social phobia?

How is social phobia treated?

How can I find a treatment provider for social phobia?

Related Articles

How Can I Improve My Self-Esteem?
We all experience problems with self-esteem at certain times in our lives — especially during our teens when we are figuring out who we are and where we fit in the world.

Why might competition pose a danger to a child’s self-esteem?

By Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a natural part of life, and most of us experience it from time to time. However, for some people, anxiety can be extreme.

Fears and Phobias
Fear is a normal human reaction that protects us by signaling danger and preparing us to deal with it. Get the facts about fears and phobias and what causes them.


American Psychological Association (APA)
The APA provides information and education about a variety of mental health issues for people of all ages.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
NIMH offers information about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses, and supports research to help those with mental illness.

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Association

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Association, a non-profit organization, seeks to educate about social anxiety disorder (social phobia).

Mental Health Resources for the Jewish Community

Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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