How to Help Your Withdrawn Child out of Her Shell
Does your child tend to be quite and withdrawn? Does she isolate herself from others? Is he hesitant to engage in games and prefers to play by himself? Does she prefer to stay at home and avoid her peers? Is it difficult for your child to adjust to a new environment? At times, this behavior may be obvious and troublesome. However, other times, parents may not even be aware of their child having significant social difficulties as she may act completely appropriately in a home environment.
Most commonly, the child is missing the necessary social skills to successfully adapt to his new environment. The child may suffer from a low self-esteem due to a perceived real or imaginary lack in his physical appearance, character traits, and skills. Certain physical features such as heavier body weight, glasses, scars, or blemishes may make the child feel inferior and unattractive. Speech impediment or staggering can cause child to remain quiet rather than engage with others at a risk of being laughed at. Low self-esteem is a common force to push your child into isolation.
Children with a low self-esteem typically view themselves as being less talented or competent than their peers. As such they may be reluctant to attempt new activities where they feel they may be embarrassed by their lack of ability. They generally lack confidence, and may be easily discouraged by small setbacks. They may also view themselves as having difficulty making friends and being unpopular and socially isolated.
What NOT to do:
According to some educators, the best way to deal with withdrawn children is to “toughen them up,” by sending them to a camp or a variety of extracurricular activities. I agree that children need to be around other children to gain social experiences and certain skills. However, throwing a child with poor social skills “to the wolves” can only confirm to him that he is not good enough and that the outside world is mean and dangerous.
Many times, I find that parents are happy with their withdrawn child at home. The child can entertain herself for hours, plays by herself, doesn’t demand attention, and doesn’t ask any questions. However, a healthy child is typically very active, lively, curious, creative. And, yes often also noisy or overwhelming. Many parents complaining about children who are too loud and hyperactive. However, often times we are dealing with a much serious issues if the child is “too good,” quiet, and withdrawn.
First of all, always accept and appreciate your children for who they are. By loving and encouraging your children, you are teaching them to love themselves as well. It is important to talk and honestly discuss any shortcomings your children may have to help them accept rather then hide their limitations. Just because you avoid talking about your child being over-weighed, doesn’t mean that your child is not overweight.
Encourage an active lifestyle and overall positive and grateful attitude toward life in general. It is to a great benefit if your child masters a certain skill to engage her peers with. Either your child can learn a special skill that makes him stand out above others, or he can learn the same level of skills others have to show that he can fit in.
It is a good idea to invite your child’s classmate or a friend to your home for a play date which then often cultivates a desire in the child to be wit others and have fun.
Above all, remain calm and positive. Not all children develop the same and some don’t open up to the world until their teen years.