I recently came across an interesting article that pointed out the difference between being shy and introverted. They are not the same :), in fact, they are quite different concepts. Here is how:
Definition of shy: Being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people; a tendency toward avoidance. (Webster’s Dictionary, verywellmind.com)
Definition of an introvert: a shy, reticent person; a basic personality style characterized by a preference for the inner life of the mind over the outer world of other people; a tendency toward becoming overstimulated and the need to be alone to gain energy. (Psychology Today, verywellmind.com)
Children can be helped to overcome their shyness, but introversion is as much a part of a person as is hair or eye color. (verywellfamily.com) An introverted child may choose to spend their recess alone at their desk, reading because the overstimulation of being with other children will be too stressful for them. A shy child may want to join in with the other children at recess, but they remain alone because they have a fear of joining the children, possibly to be told they can’t join in.
A shy person can be helped with therapy and socializing. Because it is a fear, it can be worked on. You cannot change an introvert into an extrovert because this would be far too stressful and can cause problems with their self-esteem. They can learn coping mechanisms, but they cannot simply change who they are.
Introverts can choose to be social and interact with others; they often just don’t want to. Shy people–depending on the level of shyness–can’t make that same choice without a high cost. For them, a party isn’t just a drain (as it can be for an introvert); it’s a struggle.
So let me ask you, as a parent, do you know your child’s personality? And most importantly do you know how to guide them and gelp them adapt to the word and stay true to who they are? I have a few ideas form my personal experience with my introverted child and would love to share with you.