Conquering kids’ self-consciousness

16 May 2018

Conquering kids’ self-consciousness

  • Anxiety
by Michael Grose

Self-consciousness can be awful. It’s the feeling you get that everyone is looking at you. It makes kids feel anxious about going into new situations, and impacts negatively on their quality of life.

Self-consciousness tends to come and go over the years.

Often eldest boys extremely shy and self-conscious as early as pre-school. It can make them do silly things. The trait may fade for a while then revisit in early adolescence.

Early teen girls often suffer from self-consciousness too, particularly if they are early or late maturers.

Some kids just hate to do anything in public for fear of being noticed…….or laughed at. They think that everyone is looking at them. In a school concert, for example, most parents have eyes only for their own children. They won’t really take too much notice of any other children, unless of course, they fluff their lines or muck-up big time..

However, no matter how logical you are in your coaching, self-consciousness can still hold many kids back. Here are four ideas to help your child 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 perhaps they can meet just one new friend at a party. That can make it easier than trying to meet too many people at once, 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 if quite different. Help them develop some realistic and more assertive messages they can say to themselves.

4. Catch kids being brave: What you focus on expands ,so make sure you highlight instances of 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.

Kids often grow out of their self-consciousness as they gain the confidence that comes from spreading their wings and enjoying new experiences. In the meantime, encourage them to try new experiences; coach them for social success and give them the tools to manage their anxiousness, which can be debilitating for many.

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Michael Grose

Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.