There are many contributing factors to the development of shyness. Most timid people become that way in childhood or adolescence, which is why it’s reasonable to assume that family and peer groups have a major influence on this.

Of all the people we interact with as children, parents play a major role in the formation of our personality. For shy people, their parents play a significant part in their becoming shy as well. It’s worth understanding how this works.

A Positive Intention with a Bad Outcome

First off, this is the proper moment to emphasize the almost every parent that contributes to their child developing shyness is well intentioned. They don’t want their child to become socially inhibited or to lack a social life.

Parents just pass along lessons and models of behavior in an attempt to educate their children in the proper way. However, despite their positive intention, the outcome may not turn out to be positive.

Most timid individuals come from your average family. There is no major drama in their childhood. They just get certain messages on a consistent basis, directly or indirectly, that encourage them to be afraid of putting themselves out there.

Creating Shyness with Words

One key way parents contribute to the development of shyness in their children is through the things they say to them, often intended as words of wisdom. Many shy people have often been told in the past, one way or another, to please others and avoid at all cost getting rejected.

For example, many timid individuals report that as children, whenever they would say something even slightly impolite, they would be admonished by their parents and told that they are rude or bad.

Such minor events happening over and over again, in a period of many years, quickly sticks in the child’s head the idea that they must always please others and never do anything inappropriate. And since they do realize this is almost impossible, they eventually become afraid of authentically interacting with people.

The Influence of Behavioral Models

Many shy people have had models of shy behavior as children, in their parents. Children have a very strong tendency to internalize the type of behavior they see around them, especially in their close family members.

If a child sees a parent being withdrawn and being very careful around others, their mind involuntarily takes in this kind of behavior and attitude as being the proper one. Thus, the child begins to mimic the same kind of behavior and become shy.

We could say that parents teach children how to be shy by providing a good model for it. For this reason, many of the cases where shy parents have shy children are not proof that shyness is transmitted genetically. Rather, they are proof that it is transmitted through family education and natural behavior modeling.

Whatever role parents play in the development of shyness, it is often a significant one. However, blaming parents now that you comprehend this, is pretty much purposeless and useless.

Whatever happened in the past needs to stay in the past. Accept it, don’t hold a grudge towards your parents and move on with your life. If you want to improve you life now, your focus needs to be on addressing shyness in the present moment and effectively overcoming it.

Author's Bio: 

Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach with an attitude-based approach. If you enjoyed this article, also learn how to overcome shyness and discover how to be more outgoing from two peak articles on his People Skills Decoded blog.