Introverted children are often mistaken for shy children, but being introverted and being shy aren’t the same thing. Parents may see that their child doesn’t seem to socialize as many other children do. Their child may prefer to spend time alone reading or engaging in other individual activities rather than eagerly seeking out the companionship of other kids.
Wanting a well-adjusted child is normal and if you think he/she is introverted, this are the best ways to help your child.
- Don’t just accept your child for who he/she is; treasure him/her for who he/she is.
Introverted children are often kind, thoughtful, focused, and very interesting company, as long as they’re in settings that work for them.
- Introverted kids usually have the capacity to develop great passions. Cultivate these enthusiasms.
Intense engagement in an activity is a proven route to happiness and well-being, and a well-developed talent is a great source of confidence.
Traditional childhood activities like soccer and piano may work well for some kids, but don’t forget to look off the beaten path. For example, Writopia Labs is a New York City-based creative writing program that has created a fantastic community for cerebral kids.
- If you’re an introvert who feels ashamed of your own personality traits, this is a good time to seek therapy or another form of counseling.
Do it for your child if not for yourself. He will pick up on your own poor self-image, and also its inevitable projections on to him. If you can’t afford the time or money for therapy, here’s a simple way to change how you feel about yourself: consider that the things you dislike in yourself are usually a package deal with the things you like best.
For example, Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person and herself an introvert, says that her husband has always seen her as creative, intuitive, and a deep thinker. Aron had been aware of these traits, but says she used to see them merely as “acceptable surface manifestations of a terrible, hidden flaw I had been aware of all my life.” It took her years to understand that the sensitive introvert and the deep thinker were one and the same person.
- If you’re an introvert, try not to project your own history onto your child.
Your introversion may have caused you pain when you were younger. Don’t assume that this will will be the case for your child, or that she won’t be able to handle the occasional sling or arrow. She can handle it, and she can thrive. The best thing you can do for her is take joy in her wonderful qualities, have confidence that those qualities will carry her far, and teach her the skills she needs to handle the challenging aspects of her nature.
- If your child is reluctant to try new things or meet new people, the key is gradual exposure.
Don’t let him opt out, but do respect his limits, even when they seem extreme. Inch together toward the thing he’s wary of. If it’s the ocean waves, for, example, approach at his own pace. Let him know that his feelings are normal and natural, but also that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
When he takes social risks, let him know that you admire his efforts: “I saw you go up to those new kids yesterday. I know that can be difficult, and I’m proud of you.” Point out to him when he ends up enjoying things he thought he wouldn’t like or that he was initially scared of. Eventually he will learn to self-regulate his feelings of wariness.
- If your child is shy, don’t let him/ her hear you call by that label.
He/ She’ll start to experience nervousness as a fixed trait rather than as an emotion he/she can learn to control. He/She also knows full well that “shy” is a stigmatized word in our society. When others call her shy in front of her (which they will), reframe it lightly. “Sophie is great at sussing out new situations.”
- Get to social events, like birthday parties, early.
Let your child feel as if others are joining him in a space that he “owns,” rather than having to break into a preexisting group. Similarly, if he’s nervous before school starts, bring him to see his classroom, meet his teacher, figure out where the bathroom is, and so on.
- Teach him/her to stand up for himself/herself.
It’s best to start young, if you can. If she looks distressed when another child takes her toy, take her aside afterwards and teach her to say “stop” in her loudest voice. Practice saying – shouting – STOP. Make it a game. Be light about it, while letting him/her know that you understand his/her feelings.
- If you have an “orchid child,” you are very lucky
If your child is “highly sensitive” – the term for kids who are sensitive to lights, sounds, emotional experiences, and/or new situations — then he probably fits into a category of children known as “orchid” children.
This term derives from a groundbreaking new theory captivating the attention of research psychologists. It holds that many children are like dandelions, able to thrive in just about any environment. But others, including highly sensitive kids, are more like orchids.
They wilt easily, but if they have good childhoods they can actually do better than dandelion children. They’re often healthier, have better grades, enjoy stronger relationships, and so on.
Also you should know that the leading orchid theory researcher is Jay Belsky of the University of London, and he said : “the time and effort patents invest will actually make a difference. Instead of seeng these kids as vulnerable to adversity, parents should see them as malleable – for worse, but also for better.”
- Respect your child’s desire for time and space to play alone.
I would love to hear your thoughts on these tips. ❤️