The Overly Cautious Child: What You Need To Know

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Parenthood should be filled with joyful moments of watching your child discover the wonders of life. So what happens when your child is overly cautious and afraid of trying new things? This unique characteristic can cause frustration and difficulties for parents and caretakers everywhere. 

These children are often exceptionally observant in nature, sensitive to changes in their environment, avoidant of risks and opportunities to embarrass themselves or fail, and in need of a little extra affirmation in their decisions. 

Read on to discover more about the overly cautious child, and how you can help this child grow in confidence and thrive. 

What Is The Overly Cautious Child? 

The overly cautious child is a child who tends to be careful, avoid risks when possible, and may come across as timid in various situations and circumstances. 

It is important to recognize that each child is unique in personality and nature. The overly cautious child may change with time and maturation. Hormones, age, environment, and the process of growing up may all affect how the personality of a child is molded and shaped to reflect his or her true nature. 

If you have an overly cautious child, know that it may not always be this way and that there are a few practical things you can do to help aid your child in their challenges, while also helping him or her grow in confidence. 

Triggers 

Since overly cautious children are often analytical and constantly assessing their environment, it is important to note significant triggers that may affect them. Here are just a few possible triggers for the overly cautious child: 

● New environments 

● New people 

● Not knowing what is coming next 

● Quick decisions 

● Feeling physically unsafe 

● Emotional stress and big feelings 

● Overstimulation

● Understimulation 

Managing The Overly Cautious Child 

Giving your child coping mechanisms can be extremely helpful in managing their sense of security. 

Giving overly cautious children a heads up for upcoming events can help them mentally prepare for being in a new environment and around new people by knowing what is coming next. 

Providing choices with a little bit of time to process the decision can help your child when it comes to making quick decisions. 

Giving your child coping strategies for when they feel unsafe and under emotional stress can help aid the big feelings they are experiencing. Journaling, deep breathing, soft lighting, oil diffusers, getting adequate amounts of sleep, reading, and exercise can all help in grounding emotions and regulating stressful situations. 

Setting your child up for success is key. In helping them discover who they are and finding strategies to help, you will better be able to connect and engage with your child, by helping them learn who they are and discover this world. 

Growing In Confidence 

Confidence is key to success in parenting a cautious child. These children often struggle with a lack of confidence and are in need of frequent affirmation of their thoughts, words, and actions. Here are five areas you can help your overly cautious child grow in confidence. 

1. Relationships 

2. Play 

3. Habits 

4. Words 

5. Self 

Relationships 

Relationships are formative to human nature. As a parent or caretaker, your child relies on you a lot. In the case of the overly cautious child, you may be one of the only people able to reach through and make a difference in the life of your child.

By fostering a strong relationship with your overly cautious child, you can help boost his or her confidence, while also modeling what a good relationship with others looks like. You have the unique opportunity to expose your child to unconditional love and encouragement as they begin to explore this great, big world. 

Trust is a vital component of relationships, especially relationships with an overly cautious child. Since these children function best in familiar environments and situations, you can be a safe place for them to go regarding thoughts and decisions. 

Remember, just because they are timid or shy, does not mean they do not love or want relationships and support. Overly cautious children tend to focus a lot on the affirmation of their feelings and thoughts. Due to their nature, these individuals crave personalized one-on-one attention in order to feel safe and validated. 

Overly Cautious Child

Play 

Your overly cautious child may be hesitant to engage in play like children who are not overly cautious. However, you can help encourage and support your child in their play. 

By utilizing toys such as stuffed animals, dolls, or even dinosaurs, you can practice with your child on being confident in different situations. The overly cautious child has a highly sensitive temperament; therefore, being able to apply focused practice through play will allow your child to gain the self-assurance they need for real-life situations. 

Habits 

Habits are a great way to introduce new concepts to your overly cautious child. Since many habits are already in place in day-to-day activities, such as brushing teeth, getting dressed, and eating meals, you can use these habits to help your child adjust to change. 

Try using mealtime as a way to expose your child to new foods. Since your overly cautious child may be hesitant, you might start small. 

In addition to making small changes to your daily habits, it can also help to keep a schedule in an open place with upcoming events and times for your child to acknowledge. Have your child help you out by creating some laminated magnets they can decorate to understand which upcoming events will be happening and when. 

Words 

Words of affirmation are critical to helping build up your overly cautious child. These words are the difference between speaking life and speaking judgment over your child. 

It is important to remember that the overly cautious child is extremely analytical regarding their surrounding environments. By encouraging them with your words instead of criticizing or rushing them in their decisions, you will show your overly cautious child that it is okay to take their time and make well-calculated directions.

You can talk with your overly cautious child about why they are feeling what it is they are feeling, and discuss strategies for how you can better help them. 

Self 

Having your overly cautious child discover their sense of self will help them grow in confidence in who they are. By building them up and delighting in their personality, you can help them appreciate their unique self. 

Helping your child identify their buttons and what makes them tick is a good way of exploring their sense of self. In doing so, together, you can come up with a plan for coping and moving forward past those buttons and towards growth. 

Recap 

To recap, the overly cautious child is a child that is highly sensitive and aware of their surrounding environment. This child is constantly analyzing everything, and is not always the best when it comes to dealing with change and unexpected events. By gaining a better understanding of the overly cautious child, we can give this child the tools he or she needs to cope and succeed. 

The overly cautious child can gain an understanding of his or her identity through relationships, play, habits, words, and self. In adapting to various coping mechanisms and identifying certain triggers, we can help the overly cautious child better understand why their personality is the way it is, and get a clearer and more stable view of the world around them. 

Conclusion 

Children who are overly cautious tend to avoid taking risks and going outside of their comfort zone. Giving your overly cautious child the understanding of self and the support they need to thrive are the keys to success in managing their behaviors. 

By providing them with a support system of relationships, the identification of triggers and buttons, strategies for coping, and a sense that they can still analyze while also exploring new things, you can give them what they need in order to move forward and accomplish great things. 

You have the ability to help make a difference in their lives. Show them that life doesn’t have to be so scary— in fact, the risk is just part of discovering who they truly are.

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