It wasn’t until I had three “quiet” kids of my own that I learned there is a lot more than meets the eye behind these so-called quiet kids of mine.
I used to be a shy kid, too. Now, it’s probably hard for most people to imagine that about me. When I’m out and about, I am usually friendly and talkative. Even to strangers.
My husband is, too. But he is more soft spoken than me, and not an attention seeker. He’s friendly, but not in your face friendly.
So, when my first child came along and she used to sit and whisper as she played independently with her toys, I was stunned. How could these quiet kids be mine?
As I’ve watched my quiet kids grow up, it’s been eye opening.
There are things that I wish the public, but especially teachers, friends, and family knew about these quiet kids. Because just because they aren’t very talkative, doesn’t mean what you think it might mean.
Quiet kids aren’t shy.
Shyness and having a quiet disposition sometimes do go hand in hand, but I don’t consider any of my kids truly shy. Maybe they tend to be a little more reserved, sure. But, once you get to know them, they are anything but shy. In my eyes, they are just more the observant type. They wait in new situations to see what’s going to happen before jumping right in, but once they figure things out, they aren’t afraid and they don’t hold anything back.
They are definitely paying attention.
People might be tempted to think that they aren’t listening, or are being unobservant when you talk to them. And, they definitely hear you when you whisper to me, “Oh! she must be shy!” or some other comment about the fact that they aren’t talking to you. And just because they are sitting quietly in the room, be careful what you say. They are totally listening.
I’m not going to force them to talk.
I realized I was doing this a few years ago and it made everyone feel uncomfortable. But, most importantly – it made my child feel uncomfortable. I wish people would understand that parents of quiet kids are constantly working with them to help them grow and get out of their comfort zones.
We do things like encourage them to speak to adults out in public when they are with us, or place their own order at a restaurant. But, talking to a random person they don’t know at the grocery store isn’t our top priority.
There is a lot going on inside despite their quiet demeanor.
As my daughter got older and began to read and write, I realized there was actually quite a lot she was thinking and feeling. Her more introverted nature just didn’t allow for her to talk about her every thought and feeling like her mama (me) does.
But, through journaling with each other, and watching her start to write her own stories, it’s helped me realize that quiet kids perhaps have more insight into the world around them than we give them credit for
Some kids just aren’t that extroverted.
My husband is anything but shy, and he’s actually quite friendly, he just doesn’t feel the need to compete for the spotlight. I think my kids are the same way. They thrive more with one on one interaction. If there is a lot going on, they aren’t going to fight for everyone to listen to them.
They will sit back and just enjoy observing. But, pull them aside and start a conversation with them, and you’ll realize they have a lot to say.
You have to find common ground to get them to open up.
I’ve seen adults try to talk to my quiet kids about what the adult is interested in instead of about what my kid might be interested in. If you can find what the quiet kids are passionate about, you’ll find they aren’t that quiet at all. Yes, it takes a little more work, but it’s worth the work because that’s when you can start building connections.
My quiet kids actually are not that quiet.
When my kids are with their close friends, it’s not quiet at all. My boys are quite loud and all three kids can get a little crazy and wild after dinner. No, maybe they aren’t fighting for attention like some kids do, but they aren’t necessarily quiet, either.
Quiet kids are worth getting to know. And I wish more people would put in the effort.
The thing that frustrates me the most about raising quiet kids is that I see adults in their lives missing chances to get to know them because it takes a little bit more effort. I’ve seen teachers do it. I’ve seen people at church, neighbors, strangers, etc.
Quiet kids might come off as boring – but they are anything but. But, if you take the time, you will see that they really are amazing humans.
They want to connect with you, too. They want to spend time with you. They want to be paid attention to. They just aren’t going to fight for it.
It’s not up to our quiet kids to make you feel comfortable. You’re the adult. You can get creative when you want to connect. They want someone to listen just like any kid does.
They want to have a relationship with their teachers, coaches, and other adults in their lives. So, don’t pass up the opportunity to get to know that quiet kid in your life.
You might find the most amazing person you’ve ever met inside a little, quiet exterior.