Withdrawn or shy children often prefer to spend time by themselves. Although they might freely talk to people who are close to them, they often are careful not to share things they consider too personal.
They tend to avoid being the center of attraction and entertaining people. In some cases, parents worry and wonder if there is anything wrong they are doing or if there is anything they can do to change the situation, especially as the child grows older and the parents feel unloved.
Some parents then go as far as comparing the relationship their child has with them to that of neighbors and their children or what they see on TVs. Sometimes they might even ask them why they cannot be “clever” and “normal” like other kids. Although the children may not react when such things are said to them, they might reprocess every word once they are alone and break down. It further validates their reasons for keeping to themselves.
More often than not, children who tend to be withdrawn are “over thinkers.” They fear being judged, they overanalyze things, they look at the environment and calculate their every move to avoid certain reactions that could be directed to them. It is hard to believe that a child can just wake up and decide they are going to be uncomfortable around people or hide from them. Something creates that kind of fear in them.
Mainly what people say to them or others, or about others, among other things. For some children who grow in the absence of biological parents and lack attention and support, being withdrawn can be a result of believing that no one cares or owes them their time.
To win the heart of such a child, the parent has to be understanding. Building trust with a withdrawn is very important. It is the most effective way to get the child to feel they are in good hands eventually open up. Understand his or her view of the world. Where you strongly feel there is something wrong with the belief system, the best way to get the child to consider a different view of the matter is to avoid making them feel stupid about it.
Rather, simply state how you understand the topic by presenting facts without passing any form of judgment and leave the child to decide if what you said makes sense. Help them know that they can confide in you without having their self-esteem being affected. Basically, as with any other person, an understanding of how the world operates triggers in almost every person the need to come up with coping mechanisms. And for someone who has learned to not trust people, it makes sense to either withdraw completely or tread carefully where people are involved.
Equally important, the parents need to respect the way the child chooses to do things especially if he or she does not pose a threat to the family through the particular choices. Even when planning family fun events, it is important to have plans that suit everyone’s character and understand that it is okay for a family member to just watch some of the activities they feel would put them in the spotlight. Forcing children to partake in some activities during the family time will make what is meant to be the best time for them, the worst ever.
The parent can also ask the child to allow them to do things together. If the child enjoys coloring, reading books, or just quietly relaxing in the shade, to mention but a few, the parent can ask the child if he or she is okay with having some company. The goal is to understand why the child prefers to do some things or spending time alone without making them feel like they are being judged or interrogated.
The last thing a parent should do is making the child feel he or she is not normal. It would be better to keep the conversation mainly about the activity. The parent could mention what he or she likes about coloring books with the child and allow the child to talk too. However, one should be careful to avoid being a distraction.
When dealing with a younger child, you are likely to be the only friend they have and would like to keep. The best thing to do to maintain that relationship and make it easier for the child to interact with others is to show love and support. This includes introducing them to life skills that best suit their personality and speaking positivity to them.
It is important to allow them to see the world for what it is and teach them how a positive attitude makes it bearable and even better. Where self-confidence is the issue, help the child learn to love and appreciate themselves. Feel at ease to seek professional help where your efforts do not seem to bring the desired result.