How Can Parents Encourage the Heart of a Quiet Child?
Why is it that we think being loud or speaking up first says anything about our character or the strength we possess as a confident, smart and caring person? Through experience, Lianna shares with us how we can encourage the heart of a quiet child.
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Proverbs 17:27
A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. Ecclesiastes 3:7
I watch my son, Henry, enter his school room very cautiously each morning I drop him off. The other kids rush over to excitedly say, “Hi Henry!” He turns his head shyly before walking over and sitting on the rug to play quietly alone before he is finally ready to integrate himself into the group. He often hides behind me as we enter a crowded room and when introducing himself he can barely be heard saying his name.
As an extrovert and social person, I wonder if people think I haven’t taught him well enough to have good manners or speak up and be loud and proud about who he is! Society teaches us, we should be loud and aggressive to get our point across.
Let’s focus on a few ways we can encourage the heart of a quiet child.
- Wait and see – I am three years younger than my sister, and as early as I can remember she would make me enter a room first to say hi to people, call places for her to set appointments, order pizza, make changes to an order, etc. I will never forget when she got the lead in the school play her Sophomore year of high school. No one could believe it! Her whole high school career she won awards and amazed the audience with her multiple performances. However, off stage…a totally different story! My point is there are appropriate times and places God’s gifts to shine through in each of us.
- Try something new -Find out what moves your child. Experiment with different activities and let them be quiet as they so choose. They’ll find their way eventually with steady encouragement. This week consider trying activities like painting or creating things using play dough with the quiet child you are trying to connect with…those don’t require words and you can experience gratitude for God giving so many tools to speak in our own ways.
- Be Cautious – When we push our quiet children to do more, speak up, and be more for us ultimately, they can’t (in their mind) live up to the standard we’ve established for them. This creates a feeling of failing and can be a long repair process. When a child has quiet or shy tendencies, we must be able to meet them where they are to identify with their communication style.
Knowing we are all (even our quiet children) fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator, we can be confident and thankful God uses all personality types for His Kingdom work and His glory.
Many times we think we must speak up to be successful or lead. Do you prefer to be quiet or speak up first? Find some time to connect with a quiet kid you know. Realize some of the great qualities this person has that you never noticed. Be thankful for who you both are and how you both are made. You are both equally loved!