Parenting: Dealing with your shy and introvert child
As a parent, any hair out of place in your child’s behaviour is a cause of ringing alarm bells for you. It’s natural to have certain norms in your head about how your child should react in situations. But if your child isn’t living upto the standards in your head, don’t panic. Introvert children make up a huge portion of today’s population, and it’s nothing to be worried about. Here’s a few ways to deal with your introvert child.
1. Do not force them to socialize in a new environment
It isn’t a mental illness, it’s just a behavioral trait. Introvert children tend to get overly anxious when forced to interact with people they’ve just met, so try not to push them. They take more time to get comfortable but when they do, they’ll open up on their own. So if they choose to stick around by your side, then leave it that way. But do not let them opt out of social events too many times, else they might make it a habit. Don’t worry about them getting bored, they are more comfortable observing things from a distance than being in the spotlight.
2. They enjoy being alone
Introverts generally prefer being alone than around a group of people. So if your child wants to stay home instead of going to the party, it’s really not that big of a deal. They have a friend circle that extends to two or three friends, and they like it that way. After a day out, they may just want to unwind in their room, try not to force them to talk to you about their day. They’ll come to you when they’re ready.
3. Support their interests
Your child may not want to join the basketball team or be an artist, they may have passions outside sports and academics. Support these passions of theirs, even though it’s not what other children like to do. Do not let gender roles blind you, if your son wants to cook or your daughter wants to ride, support them in every way you can. It gives them the same happiness you get when you pursue a hobby.
4. Listen when they speak
They may not talk often, but when they do, they put more weightage in their words. So when your child comes to you, try to put away your gadgets and talk to them. Ask more questions, it makes it easier for them to respond. If your child tells you they stepped out of their comfort zone today, praise them and urge them to do so again. If they tell you about something that made them uncomfortable, even though you think they’re old enough to handle it themselves, try and handle a part of the situation for them. They’re reaching out for help, so don’t hesitate to give it to them.
5. Do not let them become a pushover
As introverts, they may be the target of bullying at a young age, and you may not even be aware of it. So start early, and teach them to say no when they have to. Even if it means refusing to do something you want them to do. Teach them never to try to ‘fit in’ or do something they aren’t comfortable with, just to please someone else. More than anything, make sure your child knows that they can confide anything in you, and you’ll see what a difference it’ll make to them. An introvert but confident child can take the world by storm.