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Children who fall silent or withdraws

En del barn delger inte omvärlden så mycket om sina tankar och känslor. Det kan stressa föräldrar som är oroliga för att barnet inte mår bra. Men det finns sätt att stötta tysta barn och hjälpa dem att sätta ord på upplevelser. Att spendera tid tillsammans, göra sådant som båda gillar och att låta bli att pressa barnet är fina sätt att skapa kontakt med en som kanske mest av allt vill dra sig undan.

Summary of this article below.

Why children fall silent

Quiet children who don’t share their feelings can become even quieter if we criticize them. The silence often stems from the fact that the child can’t put words to their feelings or doesn’t have enough trust to do so. Just like adults, children can have difficulty knowing what they’re feeling. Encourage your child to express their feelings and be understanding if it takes time for them to find the words.

How to react to a silent child

It’s great to validate feelings by acknowledging that you can have multiple feelings at once. For example, you can love someone but also be mad at them. Silence can also mean that children don’t feel what you think they do. Sometimes, it can take many hours of engaging in activities that they enjoy, offering practical support, or talking about their favorite YouTube videos before you can get them to open up in more intimate conversations.

When your child is a teenager and withdraws

Older children and teenagers may withdraw from contact and stop being at home to instead hang out with friends. Others react differently, locking themselves in their room with headphones and avoiding both meeting friends and participating in family life. Sitting in front of a screen or playing a lot can be a way to rest and escape from anxiety and worrying thoughts. It is understandable that one would want to do this if they are feeling down. If there is a lot going on in your head, you may lose the energy to interact with others.

Try to manage your own wishes

When parents become worried that their child is withdrawing, there is a risk of them exploding with demands for the child to pull themselves together and come out of their isolation. This can make the child’s locking-in even worse. Therefore, supporting them is a balancing act between allowing the teenager to rest and be alone, and breaking the isolation so that it doesn’t worsen their sadness. The best way is often to set small goals such as sitting at the dinner table every day, engaging in some physical activity, and sometimes meeting up with a friend.


  • Silent children who don’t share their feelings may become even quieter if you scold them.
  • Often, the silence is due to not being able to put their feelings into words, or not feeling confident enough to do so.
  • Take extra time to be with your child and do things together that they like, as this builds trust.
  • Control your own frustration and avoid pushing the older child to come out of their isolation. It’s a balancing act between giving them time to rest and breaking out of their isolation.
  • Set up small new routines every day, like sitting at the dinner table, doing something physical or meeting a friend sometimes.

Malin Bergström
Child psychologist