The Quiet Teens Tribe
I took this photo just a few weeks before my son graduated from high school. Something gripped me in the moment that I snapped the photo, a nostalgia about the calendar marching forward. It was the last year my kids would be at the same school, and I rushed to preserve the sweetness of them being together.
Here’s the thing: this photo represents a very rare intersection of my kids’ paths. They tended to operate in parallel. The photo shows what I want for my kids: connection. But the reality has been quite different.
Both of my kids had rocky middle and high school years, on the fringe of the crowd. Like me, they’re strong introverts, and in these formative years, they’ve both struggled to find their tribes.
I worry about them, hoping that they form bonds with people who enrich their lives, who support my kids’ innate personalities, who affirm them at their best, and who share fun and tears – the full emotional spectrum – with my children.
I created this group because it’s what I want for my own children, a gathering where:
- their quiet nature is affirmed
- they recognize their own strengths and know themselves well
- they have emotional safety to express what’s going on for them in school, in social situations, and in their own minds and hearts
- they learn about the different faces of quiet, including introversion, shyness, perfectionism, and social anxiety
- they acquire practical tools to open up and share with people who matter to them
- they connect with people who are just like them so that they receive the message that they’re not alone and they’re not broken – rather, they belong to a tribe of extraordinary people
Don’t let anyone tell you that introverts are antisocial – we are just differently social.
Understanding the Chasm Between the Zeitgeist and Quiet Natures
Our schools reward raised hands, vocal contributions, and class participation, yet not all of us fit in that world. We’re typically engaged the classroom, but engagement can look very different from lively classroom discussions where extroverts thrive. When teachers and other students don’t see behavior that aligns with their expectations, they can make erroneous assumptions. Maybe we’re not that interested, maybe we’re not paying attention.
Imagine what it would be like for your child to gather in a circle (via an online video platform where they don’t need to leave the comfort of home) and connect with others like them. They’ll have their quiet natures affirmed, and time to consider and process their responses (having received an outline in advance of the meeting). They can bypass superficial conversations (although our activities will often be lighthearted, they’ll be intended to add depth to the connection among group members). They’ll be able to bring questions and struggles to the group for input, and each session will include practical tips for areas of their lives that matter most to them, including:
- classroom interactions
- assignments required to be completed in groups
- large group settings, such as the school cafeteria
- awkward social situations, including riding the school bus and school activities
- questions about what their futures hold, including possible career paths
Does This Group Fit My Child?
This group is designed for your children if all of these descriptions fit them:
- They’re in high school
- They would identify as introverts or shy
- They’re curious enough about the group that they’d like to meet with me via Zoom (the video conference platform that we use for the class) to talk about whether they want to participate and what it will look like
- They have permission from you and they’re willing to share their email address with other group participants for between class exchanges
Details About the Group
Meeting Frequency and Location
We’ll meet weekly within a group of between 6-8 kids, gathering for 75-90 minutes.
We’ll use a video conferencing platform called Zoom that’s similar to Skype so they can meet from anywhere. All you need is a webcam and a reliable internet connection. It’s particularly comforting for introverts to meet from the familiarity of their own homes. I often hear from my clients that they find the video connection intimate and personal, and prior to our initial meeting, I’ll send out easy instructions about using Zoom so that you’ll be on set on the day of our first session.
Cost and What’s Included
- 6 sessions (between 75 and 90 minutes each) of group connection and learning
- Structured interactions between meetings that are quick and fun
- Access to me for email questions between meetings
- Practical tips and tools to address common areas of concern (communicating with teachers, approaching friends, practicing compassionate self-talk)
- Option to schedule additional individual sessions for 20% off
- a session for you, the parent, separate from your child, to discuss your experience of parenting a quiet child (this will be in a group setting with parents of other participants)