Often eldest boys when in pre-school are extremely shy and self-conscious. It can make them do silly things. Then self-consciousness revisits later in early adolescence for many boys.
Early teen girls often suffer from it, particularly if they are early or late maturers.
Some kids just hate to do anything in public for fear of being noticed…….and perhaps laughed at. They think, quite wrongly, that everyone is looking at them. The truth of the matter is that most people aren’t looking at them. If they are performing in a school concert most adults have eyes only for their children. They won’t really take too much notice of any other children, unless of course, they fluff their lines badly or muck-up big time. Otherwise, they won’t even notice other children.
However logical you may be self-consciousness can still hold many kids back. Here are some ideas to help your child or young person conquer self-consciousness:
1. Help them prepare for public performances. They can practise a talk or even rehearse an opening line to help them break the ice in social situations. Practice leads to competence, which often alleviates self-consciousness.
2. Use baby steps in social situations: If they feel uncomfortable meeting a whole bunch of new people, then they can just meet one new friend at a party, rather than try to meet too many people, which can be overwhelming.
3. Practise strong self-talk: Self-conscious kids often have atrocious self-talk. They say everyone is watching them enter a room, when the reality is quite different. Help them develop some realistic and more assertive messages about themselves.(Parentingideas Club members can find more about self-talk in the Bring out your child’s Confidence manual in the Downloads section.)
4. Catch kids being brave: What you focus on expands so make sure you highlight kids’ being brave and overcoming possibly embarrassing situations. Also let them know that even though they may have stumbled or fluffed a line or two the room didn’t cave in. It wasn’t so bad.
5. Breathe in, breathe out: Some children and young people can be so debilitated by their self-consciousness that they work themselves into a frenzy with worry. Deep breathing where they count to 3 breathing in, but count to 6 when breathing out will help kids regain calm, control and hopefully perspective.
Self-consciousness is something that many adults suffer from too, so these ideas may hold true for you.
It may not be something we can completely eradicate but it is something we all can learn to control so it doesn’t stop us, or our kids, doing what we want to do.
For better, more sophisticated and more effective confidence-building and anxiety-beating techniques visit my online parenting manual that is also known as Parentingideas Club. There are 1,000’s of strategies waiting to be used. Take your FREE Trial now.
A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.