Most parents have high expectations of their children when it comes to socializing, but these dreams are not always attainable. One of the most common parenting concerns comes in the form of a shy child who rarely puts out any effort when it comes to being part of a group. Unfortunately, many parents make the same mistakes, five of which this article will discuss and offer solutions for overcoming them.
First on the list of mistakes is expecting the young introvert to become an overnight extrovert. There is a significant difference between forcing a child out of their comfort zone and gently guiding them slowly onward to a place of success. To avoid this mistake, parents should provide as many opportunities as possible for the child to slowly become involved in small gatherings where they can get comfortable before they take new steps.
Next, being too critical is a second common error. A shy child is generally very aware of their own shortcomings and fears; by speaking harshly to them regarding their behavior, the parent will only cause their child to retreat even further inward. To prevent this mistake, the parent should use positive reinforcement such as praising their child for what they do well and even making sure to recognize their attempts when the child does eventually attempt something new.
Ill-timed reminders to make efforts outside of their comfort zone like pushing them to join a club or sports team are also common, but not helpful. Much of the time, these offerings come during times of heightened anxiety or stress, causing the child to become overwhelmed and opting out of anything new altogether. Instead of ill-timed reminders, parents should inquire what activities their child would like to try and join together, attempting to make it a bonding experience.
Fourth, pressuring a child to ‘just be’ is misguided. Social skills are like any type of skill, in that they must be learned and practiced. For a shy child to learn these skills, they will need plenty of guidance and calm motivation from those around them, instead of pressuring them to quickly excel.
Giving up on the child is a mistake that any parent should avoid at all cost. Every child has the potential to change, but it takes time and patience in order for them to open up. By setting realistic goals and constantly providing support, as well as opportunities to discover new interests, the shy child will eventually come out of their shell.
Even though it may be difficult to handle a shy child, helping them to grow and evolve takes open-mindedness. Knowing the common mistakes that parents often make and learning how to prevent them is essential to helping any introverted child reach their fullest potential. The key thing to remember is that even the shyest of children can benefit from stepping outside of their comfort zone and trying new things, so as long as the process is done slowly and with optimism.
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