There has been a lot more discussion lately about introverts, extroverts, and those who seem to fall in the middle – ambiverts. Knowing how your child interacts with others, as well as how they best recharge can be very helpful in knowing how to best relate to them. It really is so beneficial as a parent.
There are misconceptions floating around about what an introvert and an extrovert are. It does not mean they are quiet or loud – it is all about how they recharge, how they get their energy.
Being an ambivert means that you are somewhere in the middle. You have the qualities of both introvert and extrovert personalities. Ambiverts have also been called outgoing introverts or antisocial extroverts or even social introverts. These names imply several different things but it can be safe to say that they often enjoy spending time with others but also value their alone time and need some time to recharge after social interactions. They may feel outgoing in some social situations but more reserved at other times.
Psychologist Hans Eysenck coined the term “ambivert” in 1947 but it really has only been in the past decade or so that we are really looking at what an ambivert is and how people operate as one.
TRAITS OF AN AMBIVERT
- Good and listening and communicating
- Comfortable in social settings but also value alone time
- Can provide balance to social settings
- Have a good sense of who to trust
- Can be indecisive about whether or not they need social time or alone time
- Can be a good leader and a good follower
- Stable, consistent and dependable
- Comfortable in many different friend groups
HOW CAN WE PARENT AN AMBIVERT?
This can be challenging if you find yourself firmly an introvert or an extrovert. You have to understand that middle ground and what that means for your child. If your children are young, you are going to have to help them with regulation as they are still learning what they need in the moment.
- Teach your ambivert what it means to be an ambivert and how they think.
- Provide opportunities to work on communication skills.
- Learn to ask if they need more social time or alone time.
- After a social event, provide opportunities for alone time to recharge.
- Be aware when your child might need to stay home from an activity or leave a party because they need quiet and alone time. It can happen at any moment.
- Allow time to process emotions or questions.
- Teach your ambivert how to manage crowds and activities when they start to feel overstimulated.
HOW CAN YOU PARENT AS AN AMBIVERT?
Sometimes I think it would be easier to be an ambivert parent. But that is not based on science. That is my thinking as an introvert and how I have to put myself out there on numerous occasions for my girls. If you are an ambivert and your children are too, you will be more in tune to their needs, as you have worked through them for yourself. But what if you are an extrovert? It means watching for when your child is done and needs to withdraw from the social situation. If you are an introvert, it means watching for when your child needs to ramp up some social activity. It really does come down to balance and communication.
My girls are old enough now to understand when I say I am overstimulated and need alone time, or that we can’t do another playdate as 2 in a row is too much for me and I need down time (and they probably do too but won’t admit for fear of missing out on something fun). But even as an introvert I have to look out for them – one a definite extrovert and the other who is an ambivert (as a small child she was more introverted but now she is a full blown ambivert). I have to help them learn about when enough is enough, when you need alone time or social time, and how to communicate thoughts and feelings.
- John Lennon
- Princess Diana
- Marilyn Monroe
- Eleanor Roosevelt
- Johnny Depp