Q: My daughter is too shy to take the first step in making friends. Is there any way I can help her?
A: "Be sure not to criticize your child for being shy," says Rose McAloon, Ph.D., a family therapist based in New York City. "And don't compare her with other kids or her siblings who may be more socially adept. Instead, respect her feelings and fears and work around them."
Ask your daughter if there's a child she'd like to know better. Then help her think of a way to break the ice. Suggest, for instance, that she ask the other child if she'd like to walk home with her from day camp. Your goals are to help your child see that her shyness is normal and to teach the skills she needs for successful interactions.