Talking to Teachers  - Teachers are just people. Behind that desk, is a living, breathing human being. And just like any human being, they will probably be friendly to people who talk nicely to them.. Teachers also seem to get along better with children who take school work seriously and are prepared for class. And, just like any other human being, teachers like to be appreciated. The next time your teacher helps you solve a math problem or figure out a science project, say thank you with a smile. You'll make your teacher's day and will likely change your relationship with your teacher for the rest of the year.

Talking To Parents - Parents can be very supportive if their children ask for help. If you think there's something your parents can do to help you socialize more or feel more comfortable around people, then do ask them. Very often, parents want very much to help, but really don't know what to do. Pick a quiet time of the day and ask to talk. Tell them how you feel. Maybe they had the same trouble when they were kids. It also might be a good idea to ask your parents not to call you shy in front of other people again. You know how it goes - your Mom or Dad introduces you to someone, you say nothing, they tell the person that you're shy. They're embarrassed because you don't speak. Then you're embarrassed because you've been labeled.

And, without knowing it, you and your parents keep giving you an excuse for not talking to people. You don't want excuses, you want change. Ask your parents to practice with you. One of them can be the parent, the other the person being introduced to you. They can practice introducing you and having a brief conversation. You can practice saying hello and answering questions like "Oh, how old are you"? It may seem silly at first and you'll have trouble keeping from laughing, but don't give up. Practicing makes a big difference.

This Stranger Thing - This is always a tough one. How do you deal with the neighbor, the mail carrier, someone walking down your street - situations that often seem to cause arguments between kids and parents. The answer to these questions will vary from kid to kid, from parent-to-parent because all cultures are different. Some folks live in small towns where a hello to everyone is "what's done". Then there are kids who live in the city who may have been taught not to speak to anyone they don't know. If you're having trouble with this and always feel awkward in these kinds of situations, you might want to talk to your parents or a teacher about it. Where do they think you should draw the line? When is silence rude and when is it wise?     

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