Q:Our son will soon be 6, he appears to completely lack confidence. He will not go to parties, unless me or his dad are there, even if it’s a party with his school friends. He is really good at football and we thought it would be a good idea if he joined the local football team. We have been taking him along and he will not join in at all, even though he knows some of the other children there. He has joined the football team at school which they do in the lunch hour. When he is in a comfortable environment he appears over confident. Can you help, do we make him go, or is it us?
A:Ultimately we all want our children to be confident, however we cannot make our children do anything, just as we cannot make another adult do something.
What we can do though is to encourage our children to enjoy the activities and interests that they show a personal interest or flair in.
Maybe your son isn’t keen to join in at parties or football because he simply isn’t enjoying it. Parties can be overwhelming for some children, even at six years of age. The noise and a strange environment can often leave them feeling anxious and uneasy. Likewise with the football the noisy banter and the speed of the game may just leave your son feeling overwhelmed.
As you already have observed in certain situations when your son is in a comfortable environment you see him exhibit a different behaviour.
Some children take longer than others to accept social changes. We are all unique and will pass through the same stages of development at different times. It could be that your child is simply anxious about spending time separated from you.
The easiest way to overcome this is to pay little attention to the occasions when you feel he is lacking confidence.Instead talk to him about your expectations, say for example before going to a party, or encountering a new situation, tell him how you expect him to behave and if need be join in yourself to demonstrate your confidence around other people. You are your child’s greatest role model, children need to see you setting a good example. So if you are radiating confidence your son is far more likely to pick up the same message. Likewise if you emit anxiety about your son joining in at parties or football he will pick up that vibe too and act accordingly.
Give your son lots of positive attention and encourage him in the activities he does show enjoyment in, it is a very good way of reinforcing his behaviour at these times and his confidence will grow naturally.
About The Author: Allison Marlowe, founder of Allison Marlowe Ltd coaches, inspires and challenges women in business to achieve new levels of success. She can be contacted at www.allisonmarlowe.com