06 Jan How Can I Help My Shy Child?
How can I help my child come out of his shell and be his own person, rather than a follower?
Temperament definitely plays a big role here. Some children are naturally bolder, while others tend to hang back. Both these approaches have their good and bad points – introverts really can be just as successful as extroverts, the real trick is knowing when to follow and when to step up.
Learning to be confident
‘Coming out of your shell’ is about having confidence in who you are as a person, and that needs supportive guidance and lots of practice.This is another one of those situations where your key role is to be the educator/coach. We can help our kids become aware of a pattern by talking about it, and teaching them that in groups, humans follow. We tend to unplug our brains and just do what the crowd is doing. You can show them this happening all the time. “People are sheep,” is a phrase I use a lot around my own boys, “don’t be sheep”.
Teaching them to believe in themselves
The other really important thing is to teach them to trust their own judgment, and you can start when they’re really little. If they ask you if something is safe, ask them what they think. Tell them they have to learn to trust their own judgment. “Don’t do something just because your friends do, think for yourself.” “If other kids are doing something wrong, are you going to follow along, or step back?” These are countless bedtime and dinner table conversations. Pose a dilemma, and then ask them what they think: “What would you do?”, “Who do you want to be?”, “What do you think is right and wrong?” We have to teach them to believe in themselves and to trust their own instincts. Being who you really are is the struggle we all have to master.
Words by Nigel Latta