“What we often label as shyness, is true confidence” says Dr Becky, as she reveals best way to give hesitant children more confidence

 Shy child.
Shy child.

Psychologist Dr Becky has shared her top tip for helping shy children to develop more confidence, a tip that will not only help them in childhood, but will see them through to their adult years too. 

There are a number of reasons why a child might lack confidence. It could be a natural stage in their child development as they begin to develop their communication and social skills. It could be that they find sharing their feelings hard, as is the case for a lot of kids. You could be parenting a deeply feeling kid, whose emotions and confidence levels are a bit all over the place. Or it could be all or none of those things.

Whatever the reason, everyone's favourite psychologist and parenting expert Dr Becky has shared some insight into what is going on in a child's head when they feel shy or a lack of confidence - and it really puts things into a new perspective.

"Here’s a big idea: what we often label as shyness, is true confidence," she shared on Instagram. "When your kid waits to join in on the playground, won’t leave your lap at a party, or stays on the sidelines during soccer… yes, this is true confidence."

So what does she mean? "Confidence isn’t feeling 'good' about ourselves, it’s about trusting that it’s okay to be ourselves—no matter how we feel," she says. So instead of forcing shy kids to go against their instincts, parents should let them listen to their bodies and give them gentle pushes that will eventually allow them to get over their hesitancy alone.

She paints a picture of when we ourselves as adults feel shyness, asking parents to imagine themselves going into a new situation like a party and what they would, and would not, want to hear from a partner who is supporting them. She explains, "Imagine hearing this response from your partner: 'You're fine, let go of me! This is a party with people you know, what's the big deal?'

"Now imagine hearing this response: your partner looks at you and says, 'Something feels not-so-great right now. I believe you, I've got you, stay near me for as long as you need.'"

It's easy to see which approach would be more helpful, so apply that to your kids. We can't help them develop confidence, Dr Becky says, "By pushing them towards an activity, a group, or any situation that they are hesitant about." Instead, she says, "It's as simple as saying put and sharing words like, 'I'm here. Take your time.'

"When we validate out child's hesitation, we are essentially saying, 'It's okay to be you right now,"' she adds. "After all, confidence isn't joining a group or engaging in an activity right away. Confidence is knowing when you're ready."

It can be hard to raise confident children, but with some expert tips to raise confident kids and this question that could do wonders for children's self-esteem in your parenting arsenal, it can be made a little easier. If you're a parent of a teenage daughter, these three simple phrases are also brilliant to help ‘empower’ and ‘give them agency.’