A child who is not outgoing and who does not seem to be keen on making friends can be a source of concern for his or her parents. Some parents react by labeling this sort of behavior as abnormal. This vocal labeling can alienate their child and even push them into depression. It is perfectly “normal” for children to be introverted. It’s important to realize that not every child is the same; you cannot compare your elder child with your youngest one, let alone comparing your kids to your neighbors or friend’s children.
Remember that there is a difference between being shy and being outgoing. A kid who is going through a shy stage can be coached to become outgoing and can develop the confidence to make friends. However, you cannot change the nature of a child who is truly introverted.
Take a look at the following five tips that can help to bring out the best in your introverted child:
- Avoid Labeling Your Child
Introversion is not “abnormal”. In fact, it is perfectly normal. Labeling your child with terms such as “abnormal” will adversely affect them emotionally as well as mentaly. Introversion is not a disease; it is only a personality type, just like any other personality type out there. There is nothing “wrong” with your child. Learn to accept this, and make sure your child does not feel bad about it.
- Do Not Force Them To Make Friends
An introverted child will make friends, but prefers to do so on his or her own terms and keep the circle limited. Introduce your kid to others his own age, but do not force him to interact with those around him. If he clicks with them, he will definitely make friends. If he does not feel comfortable around the new group, forcing him to interact and make friends will only make him more stubborn and resentful and would eventually have the opposite effect. The key is gradual rather than forced exposure.
- Encourage Solo Activities Rather Than Team Ones
An introverted child tends to develop hobbies that require limited interaction with other people, and parents should find ways to encourage these hobbies. For example, take your kid to the library or let him learn the violin, depending on whatever he seems to be interested in. Your child may not like something you want them to, and as a parent it is good to try to respect that. As long as it is something you don’t feel is necessary to their work ethic or growth, let your kid know that he or she can always “opt out”.
Similarly, your child will feel more comfortable learning how to swim than to play baseball which requires teamwork and communication with other children. Work according to your child’s comfort level and do you best to prevent your child from feel cornered. Encourage your child to try team activities, but do not give the impression that you are forcing it on him.
- Arrive Early At Parties And Events
Arriving late in crowded parties often make adults hesitant, so it is perfectly normal for an introverted child to feel shy or uncomfortable. The recommended thing to do here is to arrive at parties when attendance is low. Your child will be more comfortable when he sees people trickling in, rather than being exposed to crowds.
- Show Understanding and Love
Last but not the least, respect and show love to your introverted child for who he is. Everyone is wired differently, and this is the way in which your child is wired. Learn to respect his or her boundaries, and do not invade into your child’s personal space.
Sadie Douse contributed to this article. She is an experienced essay writer at a well know firm, Essay Corp. Sadie Douse loves to write blogs career path, leadership role, risk and investment, etc. Find her on Google+.
Note from Anita (owner of LiveLikeYouAreRich.com): A great book and personality test for parents to learn about introverted and extroverted children and themselves called Please Understand Me 2. You can take the free test here.
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I remember how uncomfortable it was to be an introverted kid and be forced to try to make friends or be part of large groups… But if a child is ALWAYS allowed to opt out and never has to step out of their comfort zone, how will they ever be prepared for life in the “real world”? Realistically, they will have to connect and communicate effectively when they are older. Not giving them any real experience or practice with communication skills sounds like enabling and would be more of a disservice to a child who already feels awkward in social situations, which would certainly carry into adulthood.
Anita Fowler says
I’d recommend not enabling-just being understanding. I realize that kids both introverted and extroverted need to learn how to function in society and to be understanding of other differences, etc. I just think that parents should understand that an introverted child will never be an extroverted child and visa versa. There are differences and they should be accounted for and allowed room for their personalities to flourish. My extroverted son is given lots of play dates, is starting preschool a little early, etc. My introverted daughter will probably like to spend more time at home with those she feels comfortable with, will most likely start preschool a little late vs. early, etc. I think we as parents should just try to help our children progress without stifling their individuality and forcing them to act/behave in a way that goes against their nature. Thanks for the comment.
I want to have a second child but it’s hurting that my mother in law is afraid that second child may take all the concentration n that I won’t b able to look after her .
What do u suggest ?