Children with selective mutism can often look stubborn, particularly when you know that they can talk without any difficulty in some situations. They may not become anxious unless they are asked to talk, so they often look very relaxed and can smile, laugh, sometimes make other noises, and join in activities just like other children. Despite this appearance, and the fact that many children with selective mutism are strong-willed, these children do want to talk, but don’t because they are too afraid to do so. When adults interpret a child’s selective mutism as defiance, they are more likely to place consequences on the child for not talking, show frustration, or pressure the child to talk. However, such approaches will worsen the mutism. By understanding that the child is extremely anxious about talking, adults are more likely to help the child face this fear in a gradual way and the child is more likely to be better able to attempt tasks.