Knowing whether or not your child is an introvert or extrovert can be very helpful in knowing how to best relate to them. Parenting introverted children is a joy and a challenge, especially if you are not sure what an introvert is.
There is a misconception about what an introvert or an extrovert is. Many people view introverts as quiet or shy, and extroverts as outgoing and loud, but the true definition is how people get their energy.
Introverts get their energy by focusing inside themselves and need alone time to recharge themselves. Extroverts, on the flip side, seek stimulation outside themselves and prefer to be with others to get their energy.
TRAITS OF AN INTROVERTED CHILD
- They typically best communicate one-on-one
- Need time to themselves
- Can be quieter in a social setting and might hold back from groups
- Are good observers
- Can struggle to understand their emotions and share them
- Are deep when concentrating
- Can be good listeners
- Might watch a game or activity before joining in
- Prefer not to be pushed to answer questions
- Can easily get overwhelmed in noisy or crowded situations
- Have good social skills in small settings
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHY AND INTROVERTED
Being shy and being introverted aren’t the same thing, although at times they may look the same. While an introvert enjoys time alone and gets emotionally drained after spending a lot of time with others, a shy person doesn’t necessarily want to be alone but is afraid to interact with others. You can overcome being shy, but introversion is part of your personality.
Another way we can define an outgoing introvert is as an ambivert. Since ambiverts live in the middle, they have a unique ability to take advantage of traits on both ends of the spectrum. Ambiverts are considered to be more flexible because they can move between introversion and extroversion.
HOW CAN WE PARENT AN INTROVERT?
- Provide them opportunities for alone time to recharge. Down time is important.
- Do not overwhelm them with too many extracurricular activities or group situations.
- Be aware when your child might need to stay home from an activity or leave a party.
- Allow time to process emotions or questions. Don’t push pressure. Time might be needed for them to grasp what they feel or to work through arriving at an answer.
- Teach your introvert how to manage crowds and over-stimulating activities.
- Teach your introvert what it means to be an introvert and how they think.
What if you are an extrovert and your child is an introvert?
This can be a challenge as you are opposite in how you recharge. Especially when your child is younger, it might mean having to cancel social engagements because your child is overwhelmed and needs time at home. Be prepared to talk to your child about being an extrovert and how it is different. Knowing that you need to be around people to recharge, it will also be important to make sure you get time with friends.
Having some role models for your children, as examples to look at, can be helpful for them (and you). Here are some famous introverts:
- Albert Einstein
- Rosa Parks
- Sir Isaac Newton
- JK Rowling
- Barack Obama
- Dr Suess
- Frederik Chopin
- Steven Spielberg
If you want to know if your child is an introvert or not, this is a helpful quiz. I truly believe that knowing more about your children is such a helpful thing – how can you best relate to them? How can you best parent them?
All the best with parenting your introverted children! You have some amazing times ahead!