In Summary

  • Esther Ninsiima says her child was always anxious whenever he saw his father. This was because his father caned him for every little mistake.
  • According to Henry Nsubuga, head of counsellors at Makerere University, no child is born shy or with an anxious behaviour, all these are imparted in a child by a person who is bringing them up.

Five-year-old Karen Nayebare remains seated at the same spot I found her, stealthily looking at me with an expression that says when will you leave so I can have my peace again?
Each time I would look at her, she would push herself further to the corner. I could hardly see her and that is when I noticed urine flowing on the floor, I guess at the back of her mind no one could notice what was going on.

Her mother did not seem surprised at all by this. When I ask Nayebare’s mother if her daughter is potty trained she answers in the affirmative. However, she quickly adds that the child is shy and when they have visitors she will either hide or soil her clothes.
“Usually, she runs either out or in the bedroom whenever any visitor comes over but since you came in unnoticed, she had no way of leaving the room,” says Nayebare’s mother.
She says her daughter has been like that since childhood and believes will keep changing as she grows because no child remains the same as they grow.

Triggers
Esther Ninsiima says her child was always anxious whenever he saw his father. This was because his father caned him for every little mistake.
“It became so hard to correct the behaviour because he had a genuine reason to act that way; I too, felt he was always punishing and whenever he arrived I always made sure they would not get into contact with each other just to avoid him being punished,” she narrates.

According to Ninsiima, for that child to change there should be a good relationship created between him and the hostile parent because that is what it took for her son to change and stop being anxious every time he saw his father.
Parents should not ignore shyness and anxiety that children may possess.
Henry Nsubuga, head of counsellors at Makerere University strongly advises against parents who assume that their children are naturally shy and will change along the way as they are growing up. He says there is no way a child will change if a parent or guardian does not step up his or her game at parenting and making sure that the child is able to live in a society without feeling inferior.

“Learn the proper ways in which you can discipline and correct your child because this normally determines the child’s entire behaviour both at home and in a community that he or she lives,” he says.
Patrick Enabu a teacher at Nakasero Primary School also blames the way in which the parents handle their children that in most cases causes them to be shy.
He also advises parents to take their children to schools that will impart social behaviour and skills in a child so that they will not have complaints of the child being shy or always anxious.

Expert take
Findings. According to Henry Nsubuga, head of counsellors at Makerere University, no child is born shy or with an anxious behaviour, all these are imparted in a child by a person who is bringing them up.
“Whatever your child becomes depends on you the parent, get to know what you want for your child and you will surely attain the character traits that you want your child to possess,” says Nsubuga.
He advises that if the child is already shy and always anxious, take the child to public places most especially those with children their age group so that the child can mix.

He also urges working parents to take time and get to know their children because if the parent discovers the aspect on their own, it is easy to counsel the child or get to the root of the shyness.
You can also ensure that a child with such behaviour takes part in activities most especially at school, which means the parent has to go to the school and request the teacher to always make sure that the child participates in school activities.

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