Dear Mother of a Quiet Child,
I know you worry. You’re told at every parent-teacher conference: “Your child is so quiet” or “She needs to speak up more.” You think to yourself, “How will my child succeed in school when so much is based on group participation?”
You worry your child will be left out socially. You see him hold back in group settings. He’s not in as many activities as the other kids. He doesn’t get invited to friends’ homes that often. “What if my child is lonely?” you think.
Your family doesn’t even understand. Why doesn’t your child join in the dinner table conversation? “Am I doing something wrong?” you wonder. You might even be embarrassed, or angry that your child is so quiet.
This is what I want you to know: It’s going to be okay. Your child is going to be okay, and you’re going to be okay. I realize me telling you this is not going to make you stop worrying. Moms worry. That’s what we do. But here are some things that can help:
In addition to wanting you to know it’s going to be okay, I also want you to know you don’t have to be perfect. The points above are ideals worth striving for, but you’re going to make mistakes. My guess is that if you’re reading this, you’re already a nurturing mom who is well on your way to bringing out the hidden gifts of your quiet child.
A still quiet person who speaks her mind (softly and with conviction)
Barb and Greg are the authors of Nurturing the Shy Child: Practical Help for Raising Confident and Socially Skilled Kids and Teens.
Top photo by James Jordan.