The school-age years are hard on kids, but it’s even more difficult for shy children. They’re concerned about fitting in and being popular, but these charismatic abilities come easier to some than others. Shy children often struggle because they have difficulty interacting and making friends.
As a parent, you want to raise well-rounded kids and have fun because you want them to get everything possible out of their childhood experience. Sadly, that means that you must sit back and watch them go through things that you wish you could help. The good news is that you can help your children overcome some of these obstacles by boosting their confidence.
Six Useful Strategies to Build Confidence in Shy Children
The shy child needs to break out of their shell a bit, and the loving guidance of a parent is most valuable. Many of these children are introverted or suffer from anxiety disorders. Here are a few ways to help them boost their confidence and have a fun and unique upbringing.
1. Use Positive Affirmations With Shy Children
The GEMS Wellington Academy in Dubai experimented with plants. They took two plants and put them in a special enclosure. Each day, one of the plants was given praise and spoken to with love by the children, while the other plant was given a negative talk and bullied.
These kids wanted to test the theory that you can inhibit a plant’s growth based on their speech. At the end of the trial period, as reported by the Daily Mail, the plant that was spoken positively too thrived. However, the plant that received negative feedback was in poor condition.
In just 30 days, the negative talk nearly killed a plant; now, what could it do to your child? You can help build confidence by assisting shy children to know their worth. Positive affirmations are an excellent way to do this.
Once you engrain into their brains that they’re loved, unique, and can do anything they set their mind to do, the negative remarks from peers won’t sting nearly as bad. To help your child bust out of their shell, start teaching them their worth.
It would be best to arm them with the positive they need to make it through a hostile world.
2. Banish Negative Self-Talk
Shyness is something that you can overcome, but it will take practice. There’s nothing wrong with having a shy nature, but the child needs to have enough social skills to make it outside the home. One issue that someone introverted might suffer from is feeling less than.
When they make a mistake, they will run through negative self-talk in their mind. As a parent, you need to teach your child that when these negative thoughts flood their brain, they need to combat them with positivity. For instance, let’s assume that little Sarah got an “F” on her science test.
Adjectives like dumb, stupid, worthless, and ignorant flood her brain as she looks at her failing grade. She bursts into tears, feeling that she wasn’t smart enough to pass the test. You need to step in and teach her to quiet these internal voices.
Everyone fails at some point in their life, but she can’t beat herself up over it. She needs to learn to dust off the failure and move on. Tell her that she will do better on the next test and encourage her to study more.
3. Teach Shy Children Resilience
Speaking of failures, it’s impossible for shy children or any other kids to succeed at everything all the time. There are going to be times that they have setbacks and experience pain. Rather than wallowing in their self-pity, they need to use these failures as learning experiences.
So, your child failed a test or didn’t get voted as class president, instruct them on how they can do things differently the next time. It’s imperative to teach them that no matter what they do, they should give it their all so that they can take pride in their accomplishments.
4. Allow Independence
If you have a self-confident child, they have no issue trying new things because they don’t fear failing. However, shy children have such a fear of failure that they need your help. Let’s assume your child wants to make a cake.
You can set out the ingredients, give them the recipe, and help with basic instructions. Though, it would help if you let them make the cake. If you micromanage them throughout the process, they will never learn how to do anything.
Fight the urge to intervene when they do something wrong and give them space to make some mistakes. You can practice boosting their confidence by expanding their horizons. Get friends and schoolmates involved in their adventures so that you can help them to build trust and learn how to handle various situations.
5. Be Consistent with Rules and Discipline
You might wonder how building a self-confident child involves discipline and rules. However, children thrive in an atmosphere where there’s structure. If you want your child to be more confident, you need to make sure they know you’re in charge.
While the average kid will gripe about the rules and say they’re too strict, they have a sense of confidence when they know what to expect. It’s okay for your management to evolve as your child ages, and each household will have different requests. Consequently, the critical part is that your child has a clear sense of what others expect from them.
Many parents get caught up in being friends and not parenting their children. Shy children need grounding that comes from knowing what they can and cannot do.
When peer pressure comes their way, they will be able to walk away. These kids often need help setting boundaries, and firm discipline is a way to enforce appropriate limitations.
6. Encourage Physical Activities
Did you know that playing on a team can help build confidence? Shy children need the camaraderie of their peers in such a setting. When they all work together, they can practice and learn to achieve goals as a unit.
Sure, they won’t win every game, but they learn to handle defeat when their peers are experiencing the same thing. All children have weaknesses that they must overcome, but their weaknesses don’t seem as significant when they’re not singled out because of it.
Other great benefits of playing sports are teaching them to stay fit and learning the importance of eating healthy. Any physical activity requires practice. Whether they’re playing football, basketball, dancing, or doing martial arts, it all requires being in shape to be effective.
Five More Tips for Parenting Shy Children
Parents have a challenging job raising well-rounded children. However, here are some things that you can do to avoid breaking down your child’s esteem. Many parents say and do things without realizing the impact on their kids.
- Never compare your child to any other kids, including their siblings. Their thoughts and feelings are theirs alone, so it’s unfair to compare them with others. It’s setting them up for failure.
- Don’t browbeat your child when they do something wrong. Correct the behavior issue and move on. Please focus on the good things they’ve done, not the wrong things. Make your parenting more positive than negative, and it will make a world of difference in your child’s esteem.
- Make sure your kids choose their friends wisely. If they run with the rebels who have behavioral issues, it will be a big problem. Help them choose their inner circle judiciously, as these kids will significantly impact their mental well-being.
- You should always give constructive criticism to your child, but make sure your critique is limited. No child likes a helicopter parent; provide them with instruction and give them the free space they need to spread their wings. If you ride their back constantly, you’re going to destroy their esteem rather than build it.
- Let them know how much they’re loved and cared for every day. You can give your child the best esteem booster by simply letting them know they’re loved and accepted.
Final Thoughts on Building Self-Confidence in Shy Children
An article posted on Etch Kids talks about Gregory Caremans, a psychologist and founder of the Brain Academy in Belgium. Caremans addresses the incorrect belief that self-esteem develops throughout life.
Based on studies, Caremans states that your esteem is set into motion between 2-12 years of age. Sure, there will be things that happen along the way that increase or decrease that esteem, but parents have the significant responsibility of helping form this early on.
Your kids are like sponges that absorb what’s poured into them. What are you pouring into your shy children to help boost their confidence? If you’re spewing negativity in the form of tongue lashings, constant correction, and not letting them try anything for themselves, then you need to adjust your methods.
When you utilize positive parent methods and have unwavering household rules, you will help build them. Life and other children are cruel and can knock even the strongest kid to their knees. As a parent, you need to be there to encourage them to keep going, stroking their ego, and help build confidence along the way.