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Shy kid worries mom

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Sue Ellen Jackson

Parents Corner

 

Dear Sue Ellen,

My daughter refuses to be around people she doesn’t know, and she doesn’t talk to many kids her age either.  All she wants to do is watch TV and play video games.  Shouldn’t girls her age be on the phone talking to her friends?  She is thirteen.

Worried Mom

Dear Mom,

I was talking to a middle school teacher just yesterday, and we summarized our conversation by agreeing that tweens are from another planet.

There are some things you need to be concerned about for your daughter.  Is she depressed?  Is she eating normally?  Does she seem more withdrawn than usual?  Could she be suicidal? Mother’s instincts are usually good. How are her grades?  If you sense something is not right along these lines, get help immediately.

There are some things you need to be concerned about yourself.  Are you depressed?  Are you eating healthy?  Are you more anxious than usual?  Are you suicidal?  If you work, how is that going for you?  Be honest with yourself and get help if you need it.

Kids learn more from us by what we do than what we say.  They are watching us all the time.  Most parent’s think they are able to shield their kids from unpleasant things, but they can’t.  They are just showing their kids how to cover things up.  There is a lot I don’t know about your situation, so I can base my response only on what you have told me.

Some kids are very outgoing and social.  Some kids are quiet and thoughtful.  My brother was very shy growing up.   His grades weren’t that great in school, but he turned out to be a very smart man, excellent musician and teacher.  Who would have thought?  My nephew was a wild boy in high school.  We all thought he would end up in prison somewhere, but he turned out to be a successful professional and proud father of three beautiful daughters that make him proud.

Think about the person you were at 13.  Are you that same person?  None of us have figured out who we are at that age.  If your daughter is shy because she is an introvert, that is nothing to worry about.  I personally like shy people.  If you can ever get close to them, you will discover they have a lot of interesting things to say.  They are usually creative and thoughtful.  They have dreams and goals, too.  It’s your job as her mom to love and encourage her.  Try to have conversations where you are the one doing the listening, not her.  One thing I have learned over the years about kids that age.  They may act like they don’t want to talk to you, but if you figure out a way to pry it out of them, they have lots of good thoughts and ideas.  Enjoy!

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner on the subject line.

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