09/10/2012 11:45 am ET | Updated Nov 10, 2012

6 Things You Should Never Say to a Shy Kid

Written by Marinka for

I was a shy kid.

I was a shy kid who preferred solitude to the company of my peers, who dreaded meeting new people and forced social interactions. But what I disliked most of all was when adults focused on my shyness and treated it like a disease or worse, something that I could turn on and off.

Recently I have read about understanding your introverted child and and the rules to follow when raising an introverted child. I love the reminders that there is nothing intrinsically better about a child being an extrovert, that being an introvert is not a character flaw.

Related: 7 rules to follow when raising an introverted child

Here are 6 things you should never say to a shy kid (or his parents!):

1. Are you shy?
I have no idea why people ask this inane question, but the urge to respond "what do you think, Einstein?!" can be especially hard to suppress.

2. Cat got your tongue?
I'd like to meet the genius who first came up with this. Wouldn't it be great if the kid said "YES! Thank goodness someone finally figured it out. The cat did get my tongue. I think he buried it somewhere near the litter box. Help me look?"

3. Smile!
"Why, are you taking a photograph? In that case, let me comb my hair and put on something a bit more flattering."

Related: 20 simple ways to show your kids you love them

4. Do you have a girlfriend?
"No offense lady, but that's kind of personal, and besides, you're so not my type."

5. Oh, you have nothing to be shy about!
I'm not sure what is more bizarre about this one -- the fact that people should be shy about some things and not others or the fact that a practical stranger would have such insight into a child.

6. It's the quiet ones you have to watch out for.
Why, because shy kids grow up so enraged about tongue theft by cat that they become psychotic? Wouldn't it be great if people realized that shyness was not a personality flaw that they need to change?

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