If your teenager is shy, he has lots of company. Studies show that some 40% of Americans consider themselves shy. Why is your teenager shy? Some people have an inherited tendency to be shy. Others have low self esteem and feel unworthy unless they can be perfect.

Some are plagued with anxious thoughts about whether or not they are liked. Some suffer from lack of social skills, not knowing how to start a conversation. How can you help?

First, accept your teen as he/she is. Don’t push him/her beyond his/her abilities to cope at the moment. Help your teen take little steps toward conquering his/her shyness, to the extent that he/she can function in ways that he wants. The discomfort of shyness can fade with loving support and encouragement.

Second, if your teen lacks social skills, help him/her to learn. Role play beginning conversations or asking questions. Practice builds confidence.

Third, take care with your criticism. Let your teen know that he/she is loved and that your don’t expect perfection.

Rememner no-one is perfect anyway.