A stroll through the research literature on shyness can be a little alarming to the parent of a wallflower. Studies have linked behavioral inhibition in children — a trait referring not only to shyness but also to extreme caution about new situations — with an increased chance of developing anxiety disorderslater. And research suggests that the parental urge to protect a cautious kid may make matters worse.
But psychologists and child development specialists have also come up with ways to support shy kids. The key, said Sandee McClowry, a psychologist at New York University, is to nudge children out of their comfort zones without trying to change their fundamental natures.
"That acceptance of the child is a huge, huge thing," McClowry told Live Science.