I am THAT extroverted parent. I’m talking extreme, surround me with ALL the people ALL the time kind of extrovert. But my daughter….well, she’s an introvert. She frequently requests to “be alone” or “have her privacy.” And although I’m oh so proud of her for being able to express her needs, I can’t help but feel for the introverted children who may not know how to express how they feel in large group settings. Also, I have to admit it’s hard for my family to slow down and isolate ourselves to honor my daughter when the rest of us want to be in the center of attention and thrive off being among crowds of people.
So to help all of us extroverted parents with introverted children, here are a few tips:
1. Be aware.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness or feed off the energy of the people around you, but remember how you feel when you’re alone? That’s how introverted children feel when they are around people — completely drained. So although that doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself, be aware when you are feeling energized and consider how your introverted child might feel in those situations.
2. Make space.
We just converted a small nook in our home into a quiet space for my daughter to go when she needs to be alone. We know that if she is in that space, she is trying to reenergize herself. She often grabs a book or a few calming tools and hides away for a bit. She certainly LOVES people, but if she didn’t have a space to be alone, she would quickly get overwhelmed. Can you think of an area in your home that you could turn into a space that only allows room for one person at a time?
Maybe you’re out and about or traveling on a vacation…well, make space in your schedule for time to chill and walk away from the overwhelm. The extroverted, site- seeing, always-on-the-go traveler needs to remember the introvert who may just want to curl up in her bed with a good book and relax after a long day.
3. Respect your child’s feelings.
My introverted child actually doesn’t mind at all being the center of attention in small-group settings and isn’t necessarily shy. But if we were to walk into a big room, her first instinct is to hide behind me while I try to pull her out in front of everyone, because I don’t mind interacting and enjoy the spotlight. But I have to respect her feelings and know that she has to feel comfortable in a situation before putting herself in the center.
4. Don’t talk negatively about your child’s temperament.
Sometimes extroverts think their outgoing comfortability is better than feeling hesitant or cautious in a social situation. But that’s just not true! Being an introvert or extrovert simply is a way we are created and both should we honored! So stop any discouraging lectures or negative tone you may be using towards your child for his/her differences. She should always feel accepted for exactly who she is.
Extroverted parents…tell us in the comments what is YOUR biggest struggle with your introverted children?