It is foolish to think soft-spoken children don’t have opinions.
Often times we make being quiet a negative.
We get frustrated when they don’t speak up.
But what if you saw their silence as a superpower?
What if you started to appreciate their observation and hesitance as a brilliant strategy.
What if you felt honored and excited when they did choose to speak?
What I can tell you is most of the time soft-spoken children have tracked every object and interaction within a room.
They notice the ease and the discrepancies in social interaction. They also note which games/habits work and which don’t.
Soft-spoken children do have opinions. The soft-spoken child is also one who will not be swayed by popular public opinion. This child moves forward when their gut tells them to do so.
What I find is people are so eager to get them to speak they miss creating a relationship with them. It becomes all about “breaking” that habit.
Teaching them to speak up.
Making them speak by any means necessary.
What most fail to understand is that speaking isn’t the issue. Trust is.
Trust that they will be understood.
Trust that they will not be pressured to become someone else.
Trust that they won’t be burdened with your goals.
Trust that you aren’t forcing them to speak just for show or to make you happy.
I’ve worked with countless select mutes as well as speech delayed children. If you ask them an honest question without pressure to perform, they will communicate their ideas.
1) give them time to think
2) patiently wait for their opinion
3) ask them away from the stares of others
4) ask in a lower voice
If you are at the point of frustration step back and adjust two things:
1) Ask a question to gain info NOT to test the child.
2) Be open to ideas being drawn, acted out, or spoken.
Have you had experience with this? I would love to hear from you.