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Social Butterflies: How To Build Confidence In Kids Who Get Butterflies At The Thought Of Socializing

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Some people make “odd” look cool but typically, in mainstream society, “odd” is out. And, being out of the loop can be extremely difficult on kids, tweens and teens.

But, as “frustrating” as this may be for kids, it’s often even harder for the parents, especially if “they” aren’t or never were “social outcasts or misfits”. And, it doesn’t get any easier as kids (and their classmates) get older, and parents have less of a say in how they act and who they hang out with.

Still, ensuring (some) normalcy means parents must first accept their own kids before others can accept them as well. And, they have to make peace with the fact, that their child or children are “different” and may not so easily or willingly fit in. However, it is equally as important to continue to cajole your child into finding something he or she is good at and encouraging him or her to make social connections as well, even if that translates into having just ONE good friend. But, the key is knowing (and that means really knowing) your child and ensuring that he or she is truly happy and NOT hiding his or her “negative” social experience from you. You especially want to know if your child is being bullied or made fun of. Rather than address your child directly you may start out by talking about your current and past social situations and challenges and let him or her know that it’s a normal part of adolescent AND adult life. Plus, being frank with your child may encourage him or her to also do the same. And, remember, it’s always best to coach (rather than simply parent) especially in such delicate situations.

Help your child seek our activities and groups that will allow him or her to excel and shine, even if her/she and the others are not part or the “popular” crowd. Also, if you’re child’s school offers nothing for your kid and others like him, make a suggestion or start a few unique groups (for the school) on your own. And, don’t forget to look into community programs, or other such programs in your church or house of worship…you can look into getting more information right on the Internet.

For parents who aren’t sure what their child likes, do a little investigating or simply observe or ask. You can even ask peers or the teacher what he or she seems most interested in or excited by.

Be honest with yourself and your child and identify any “out-of-the-ordinary” behaviours. Sure your child may be a Tomboy, but if you find she’s not fitting in offer to take her to the mall and get her clothes she likes but that also offer a feminine twist. And, don’t hesitate to contact the school about any inapproapriate behaviour on other children’s part, such as them maliciously being hurtful to your child. You may also want to teach your child about appropriate manners such as NOT texting friends or potential friends too often, and maintaining good grooming and eating habits.

Help your child establish a “buddy system” to keep him or her protected and alert his or her counselors and teachers, requesting they keep a closer eye on him or her, especially when interacting with others.
Last, but not least, consider extra help, especially if your child seems too introverted, depressed, or you suspect the issues he or she are experiencing can be more serious than your child is letting on. It can be especially beneficial if you can find a group where other kids with similar personalities and “challenges” convene to talk about their feelings and experiences preferably with a mentor that can guide each one in the right direction and even into some friendships within the group. They key is building self-confidence and tolerance and even a interest in people who are a bit different.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Social Butterflies: How To Build Confidence In Kids Who Get Butterflies At The Thought Of Socializing

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