A few days ago, a mommy friend confided into me that her 7-year-old son was an extremely shy child. He preferred solitude and stayed quiet most of the time whether he was with family or friends or in the school. She was anxious that his introvert nature might hamper his social life and he might also find challenging to navigate his way through the competitive world as he grows up.
As a parent, her concern is not unfounded. However, being an introvert myself in my childhood days, I can completely relate to her son’s behaviour and emotions. Well, I have just turned out fine and doing well socially and professionally. No complaints!
So, if you are worried about raising an introvert child, here are some tips to help you.
- Accept Your Child’s Personality
Introversion is not a disorder or an illness, it is just a character trait. You need to come to terms with your child’s personality. That’s the way s/he is. Introvert kids need to have parents who understood them and let them be the way they are without putting any pressure on them. They might remain reserved for the rest of their life, but they will be happier people nevertheless!
- Don’t Highlight Introversion in Public
Silence doesn’t translate into fear, awkwardness or lack of confidence. Your child can be shy but still be confident in speaking. However, if you continue to emphasis that your child is introvert in front of others or finds it difficult to make new friends, s/he may feel labelled and start fearing social judgement. The chances are that the child could recoil further in his or her shell.
- Understand that Introversion is Biological
There are several studies which indicate that genetics and biology could be the reasons for a child’s introvert nature. Introverts will mostly prefer to turn to their inner self in most situations. But, you never know their personality might undergo a transformation in the later stages of their life and they may become extroverts!
- Give a Gentle Push Out of Comfort Zone
If you feel that a little nudge could make your child more social or encourage him to come out of his or comfort zone, you can do so. For example, you could enrol your child in public speaking, drama/theatre or some group activities to help him or her open up to others. However, don’t force your decision or make it a disciplinary action for the child.
- Help the Child Create a Support System
Introvert children might end up feeling isolated or unheard at times. People may leave them alone thinking that they don’t need company. The truth of the matter is that introvert children also need a support system – someone they can talk to and depend on, just the way extroverts or any other person would. So, help your child cultivate deep friendships with one or two peers of the same age in school or around the home. Let your child also know that you are always there for him or her in any situation. The world has witnessed several introvert celebrities such as Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg among many others who have created a name for themselves in their fields. So, let your introvert child follow his or her path to success!