How To Parent a Shy Child
Be Very Patient With Your Child
The main key to helping your shy child overcome overcome their fear of communicating lies in having lots of patience and understanding!
I remember one of my really wonderful music families. For this post I will call my students Iva. When Iva started she was afraid to look at me. Her progress on the violin was incredibly slow. This was mostly due to the fact that Iva was so afraid of making a mistake, that she wouldn’t play anything. In this type of situation, many of my other parents would have started to push the child. They may also have doubted if the child should be in music lessons to begin with. They may have started putting pressure on the kid =s and their teacher after seeing no results. The approach that the parent and I took was quite different. Iva’s mom supported her and congratulated her every step of the way. Every note she was able to play was followed by acknowldgement. Every note she did not play was also welcomes and the effort was recognized.
This process took two year. Now, in middle school Iva is a wonderful, students with many friends. She excels in school. She has a wonderful relationship with her younger brother free of comparison and sibling tension. Parents still take her to activities to support social development. And her music? Iva is still playing. She is a part of her school orchestra and loving it!
Takeaway: Your child needs to be nurtured instead of pushed to act in a certain way! Love them for who they are at that given moment. Then find ways to support their growth!
Watch Your Words – NO Labeling
The worst thing you can do to a child that feels shy is label them! In fact, it is painful for me to write this as I know the consequesnces of this behavior. Let your child be!
Have you seen parents constantly label and put a “stamp” on their child’s personality? He is too shy. She is too rambunctious. She is just not good at math. These types of remarks happen all the time. Unfortunately as teacher I am a witness to them way too often. They are never positive and the parent doesn’t realize that they have put their child “in a box”. Help me stop this trend! Don’t label your child in front of them or in front of family members and friend. You would only create a monster.
Positive Parenting Guidance Through Books
One of the best ways to help your child overcome shyness is to provide an indirect example for developing the confidence to connect with others. This is a more positive approach to help your child without pointing out shyness out as a problem. This could be done very easily through a book. Here is just one suggestion.
IRVING THE FROG AND HIS VIOLIN Irving is a frog who discovers the importance of doing what he loves and sharing it with others! Irving starts playing his violin. Soon everyone around him stops by to hear his wonderful music.
Engaging in something creative such as playing the violin, and using that knowledge to make new friendsis one of the best ways to connect to others. Through reading this book, your child will learn about appreciating their talents, staying true to who they are and sharing the best of them with others! They will also learn that being creative is a great way to make friends. Often children see music lessons in isolation -between the teacher, the parent, and spending many hours in a practice room. This book will help them see how music can affect their surroundings and help build a community.
I suggest reading the book together with your child. As we are trying to teach a lesson, it is better to read the story more than once. See if you can engage your child in a discussion about the story. Point out to them how their music making resembles that of the main character in the book. To carry the message from the book, provide experiences that mirror the book’s message! This could be done through home concerts, helping others through music, setting up school presentations where you child can show their skills, having a children’s party where your child can play for other and show them their skills. Use your child’s strengths to develop their confidence!
Involve Your Child In The Arts
Music can be a great vehicle of building a child’s confidence. Engagement in the arts provide a positive social outlet where your child can express themselves with words or though the means of the specific art form. This is very powerful to a shy child. Music also provides a sense of community and teamwork. It will give your child a sense of belonging. Practice and performing itself can build confidence. You can find tips on practicing with your child to help them overcome shyness at Music Teaching And Parenting/How To Overcome Shyness Through Music Lessons.
Final Thoughts On Parenting a Shy Child
The only approach you would want to take when parenting a shy child is positive and gentle. When you shift the focus from “fixing” your child to appreciating and supporting who they are, everything else falls into place. Your child is a gift! Cherish it!