Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Shyness Breakthrough - Dr. Bernado Carducci

Summary: Is Your Child Being Held Back By Shyness? Dr. Bernardo Carducci, one of the world's leading authorities on shy behavior, shows you how to help your child join the fun by plainly explaining: The causes of childhood shyness (it's not genetic). Why children don't just "grow out of it". And why it's crucial to address shyness early in life... (Publishers comments taken from powells.com)

My Review:
I realized that my daughter needed help with her shyness at a doctors visit. We were there for her younger sister’s one month check up and she was happy to show off the baby, but when the very kind doctor, who we’ve visited often, turned his attention to her, she froze, making no movement, noise or eye contact, until he turned away. Suddenly I flashed back to my “shy” childhood and internalized the distress she must have felt at not knowing how to respond and her anxiety at being the center of attention. While some may say that for a two-year old to be shy is “developmentally appropriate” it was just too close to home for me to let go.

Soon after this incident I picked this book up from the library, but it sat unopened until a week or two later when I saw in my daughter’s eyes how much she wanted to join in playing with some girls from church, but didn’t dare leave my side, and so chose instead to play at my feet in another room while I met with their mothers. As her still sometimes shy mother my heart was breaking.

This was the only book at my library that addressed shyness, so perhaps there is a better resource out there, but I strongly recommend this book, or one like it. I definitely recommend it to parents who have an obviously shy child, to read sooner than later. I also recommend it to parents with mildly shy children how are likely to “grow out of it” on their own. I recommend it to parents who were themselves shy, and to those who have always been outgoing and don’t know how to deal with their own shy child. I even recommend it to parents who have out-going children that are showing anxiety about starting school, moving, or other major life changes. You see, being shy is so painful, even physically, that if you can help at all, you are giving your child a great blessing.

This book describes some simple ways to help your child develop the confidence and social skills to navigate themselves into adulthood. Generally they are common sense things that you just didn’t think about. My husband and I immediately started doing one of them, explaining in advance where we were going, who would be there, what would be going on and some ideas of things she could do; and quickly noticed an increase in our daughter’s ability to cope with various situations.

Reading this book also gave me incentive to respect my husband’s parenting style. The author believes that shy parents “pass on” shyness to their kids because of behaviors they model. When I asked my husband if he was shy as a child he looked at me blankly as if he had never considered being shy. I then realized that while I may be passing on my shy tendencies, he is passing on his out-going tendencies. As I pay attention now, I see him doing things the book recommends, and he didn’t read the book!

The one criticism I have of this book is the author's tendency to hyperbolize, which I find dilutes a message, as well as use, at times, an emotional tone. However, as you can tell by reading my review, as a shy person, this topic can be emotional, and you can tell by the writing that the author empathizes with his audience.

My rating: 5 stars

In one sentence: The last section is a good read for any parent whose older child is facing a change, but a MUST for those with “shy" children of any age. I plan to buy this book and refer to it as my children grow.

1 comment:

Heather said...

THANK YOU Em for this review. I too was a very shy child and still battle it at times as an adult. I have noticed it in both my children. As my oldest is beginning to overcome up, my youngest seems to be getting worse although I expose her to all sorts of social situations. I am planning to purchase a copy of this book immediately.

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