Do you know whether you are introverted or extroverted? Both are personality traits. As a society, we tend to notice the extroverts. This is because they stand out in a crowd. They usually have a very outgoing personality and love to socialize. Sometimes people like to refer to them as "the life of the party." Extroverts thrive in social situations. They are action-oriented and love to chat with others. Making new friends comes pretty easy to them. There is absolutely nothing wrong about being an extrovert! But there is another side to the coin: being an introvert.
Introverts tend to shy away from social gatherings and generally get pretty drained from them. If an introvert does attend a party, wedding or other kinds of social situation, they can end up feeling really wiped out from those types of events. Introverts often work best when they are alone, and usually, keep to themselves for the most part. They prefer to hang out with a few close friends instead of heading out to a party. We'll reiterate what we said about being an extrovert, there is nothing wrong with being an introvert, either!
These personality traits can often manifest in our children. As parents, we will be able to notice whether or not our child is an introvert or an extrovert. If your child seems to have a few close friends versus a group of kids that they spend time with, they might be introverted. While it may seem tempting to try to help your child "come out of their shell," so to speak, we need to respect their boundaries. As parents, we only want what is best for them. While it may seem that giving them a gentle "nudge" to make new friends or attend a birthday party with a bunch of kids, these methods can actually backfire. Here are twenty-two things that you should never do to your introverted child.
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We are all proud of our children, there is no doubt about that. Perhaps your child has a special talent or is good at a sport, maybe they can sing well. Whatever it may be, while it may be super tempting to ask them to share their talent with other people, this is actually putting them on the spot. It can make them anxious and upset. Maybe if you spoke to your child beforehand and asked them if they wouldn't mind sharing what they're good at, they may be more apt to agree. But without advanced notice, a child may freeze up and ultimately retreat into themselves.
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A school day can mean a long day for an introverted child. Remember, social situations, such as a school where there are a bunch of children can be entirely daunting on a child emotionally. While it may be a really nice day outside, your child may just want to stay inside and kind of "recharge" themselves. Perhaps they will want to just relax with a good book on the sofa, or play with indoor toys. If permitted, maybe a little bit of screen time. However, forcing them to go outside to expend more energy might just wipe them out entirely.
Being parents, we constantly want to do what we think is right for our children. If you see another child at their school, or maybe even a playground, it might seem wholly tempting to initiate a conversation between the two children. However, if your child has a naturally quiet demeanor, chances are they probably won't have a lot to say to the other child, especially if they do not know them. While it may seem like we are helping them flourish, something of this nature can upset the child. They may not even know what to say, thus putting them on the spot and ultimately making them anxious.
Introverted children are shy in nature. However, when someone asks your child a question, you do not always have to jump on in and answer the question for them. Sure, maybe there are times when your child will want your help in a conversation, but only help them out if they ask for it. In all reality, if someone initiates a conversation or asks your child a question, do not be so quick to jump right in and answer for them. After all, their answers may be different from what you were going to say. They just need a little more space and some time to answer, that's all.
While it can be easy for us to stop and say hello to an old friend or an acquaintance of ours, our children may feel extremely shy in a situation such as that. It can be hard for an introverted child to even talk to their peers, as it can be emotionally draining on them. So, when you run into someone you know and you want to introduce your child to them, do not think your child to be rude if they don't say hello. If they do not want to interact verbally to say hello to someone, it is okay to teach them to perhaps politely just smile or nod their head instead. Do not try to explain that your child is an introvert to another person in front of them, as doing this may just embarrass them even more.
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Sure, your child may like to be involved in after curricular activities. Sit down with them and really talk to them and ask what extra-curriculars that they enjoy the best. Perhaps it is a sport, or maybe they are in the school band. Sometimes we think that they may enjoy something similar, and we'll sign them right up for it. You are doing it out of the kindness of your own heart, and you do have your child's best interested in mind. But by signing them up for too many things to do, in addition to school, this can equal social burnout for them. They can get overwhelmed and over-stimulated pretty quick when they are overscheduled. So maybe just one, possibly two activities would be good for them to be involved in.
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Introverted children can often need more alone time than the average child. This is not something to be terribly worried about, as introverts need some time to wind down after activities, school, a family gathering, etc. Don't get upset with them when they want to spend some time alone in their room. They'll likely be playing with their toys, reading a book, or browsing their computer, depending on their age. Once they recharge themselves, they will re-emerge more energized and ready to do something.
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This goes without saying, but there are some people who love to greet everyone, including children with a hug or a kiss, or both. It could be your best friend, or it could be your child's grandparents. While some children absolutely love running into their grandma or grandpa's arms and wrapping them in a big hug, introverted children prefer a little less extravagant of a greeting. They may prefer smaller interactions, for instance, instead of a huge hug and a big kiss, perhaps just a small peck on their head and a light hug would be more preferable for them. Talk about it with your child to see what they would prefer. If they prefer small interactions, talk to your family members about it, and let them know. Make sure to tell them that your child is not "being rude," but is just simply more comfortable with an interaction that is a little less extravagant.
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If you do have an introverted child, chances are that they might not have a whole crew of friends. They really aren't all about #SquadGoals. It is most likely that they may have only 1-3 very close friends, instead. You don't have to worry about them socializing all the time, and making sure that they have enough friends. Those 1-3 friends are enough for them. They may want to hang out with those few children instead of going to say, a birthday party, which can be highly draining for them. Who knows, maybe the children that they have forged friendships with could also be introverts. That would just be another thing that they would have in common with each other.
Many introverted children have set boundaries for themselves. This isn't to be confused with them building a wall around themselves and completely shutting themselves off from the world. Boundaries just mean that they need some space, whether it is in school, at home, or on the playground. By forcing yourself past those boundaries, your child may lose trust. The same may be for teachers and schools. That would be something to talk about with them, letting them know that your child is introverted and probably wouldn't be comfortable with, for example, getting up in front of a class. We all want our kids to trust us, so by respecting their boundaries, they will respect us as parents in return.
While being a child, yes, should be fun, as we have discussed, certain situations just aren't for some kids. But you would certainly be surprised to know that introverted children can have a lot of fun! In fact, they can have just as much fun as other children do. They just happen to do it in their own way, in their own time, with their own people. You will see introverts laugh, smile and enjoy themselves! As long as they themselves feel safe in their surroundings, then you would be astounded at just how much your child will "come out of their shell," so to speak.
This applies more to the school year than anything else. There will be times in school, that children will be grouped together in large groups for say, a group project. However, this can take an extreme emotional toll on the child, thus affecting their schoolwork and even their grades. If your child is a bit of an introvert, this would be something that you should address at the beginning of the school year, perhaps with their new teacher and the principal present, so that everyone understands. This way, your child may be placed within a group of two or three other kids versus being grouped with half the class.
Being introverted and being shy are actually two way different things. As it actually turns out, introverts aren't exactly shy. They have a bit more situational awareness than we do. They like to take in their surroundings. This goes for conversations with them, as well. Instead of just walking up to a person and start talking to them about something random, they prefer to hang back for a few minutes. By doing so, they are thinking about what they want to say, and how they want to say it.
This sometimes just happens, with us being parents, we all probably do it at one point or another, introverted child, or not. When someone asks your child a question in front of you, knowing that your child is an introverted one, you are quick to answer the question for them. However, introverts tend to like to think about their answers when a question is posed. Your answer may not necessarily be the same answer that they were going to say. If they need a minute to formulate an answer, allow them to have that so that they can give the answer that they want to give.
Introverted children will be on high-alert around their friends and peers. Us jumping into a conversation with their peers can make them feel upset. If you have a question for one of their friends, be it about a party, school or an extra-curricular, you can do one of two things. You could always ask your child if it would be alright with them if you asked their friend a question, and if they say it is okay, that way you have their permission to go ahead and do so. Another thing that you could do is to have your child ask the question for you.
We love our kids, and naturally, we love to talk about them, and all the cute things that they did or do. We are parents, and it is totally normal to want to brag a little bit. But to the introverted child, this can almost seem like a personal attack to them. They will retreat further into themselves if we talk about how adorable it was when they were learning to walk, or that they still don't know how to ride a bike. A plan of action here would be to sit down with your child and talk to them, ask them what information is safe to share with others, and what is off limits.
Parenting an introverted child can be a learning process, on both ends. We, as parents, learn as we go along, and our children, as they grow, learn what they can do emotionally, and explore their boundaries. Sometimes, however, as parents, we can come off as critical to our children. What may seem like a simple and direct question to us, might sound like criticism to our child. A good example is asking the question, "Why don't you get out more?" Instead, try to approach it in a different way and ask them about why certain aspects of going out may upset them.
We want our children to grow and thrive and be the best that they can be. Sometimes what we think is best, may not be the best thing for them. Such is the case of an introverted child. Perhaps we may feel that we are helping them by dragging them to a friend's birthday party that they fervently said they did not want to attend. But instead of having fun, they just became very upset. Introverts can and will slowly step out of their comfort zones, in time. They may need a little guidance from us as parents, and we can help them feel secure and safe by what makes them feel comfortable, and how they can step out of that zone, little by little.
Introversion, in school and at home can often be mistaken for being inattentive. For example, if your child is relaxing at home and just chilling in their fuzzy chair and staring at the ceiling, they may look like they aren't paying attention. In reality, they are decompressing and often thinking. In a school setting, a teacher may think that your child isn't paying attention to their lessons, but once again, are in all reality, thinking about how they want to answer a question (as an example), should they be called upon by them. This is another thing to speak with your child's teacher about. This way they aren't being labeled.
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Does your child have a special hobby or interest that they enjoy? Perhaps they take a special interest in taking care of plants and flowers around the home. Maybe they enjoy penning stories about amazing characters in faraway lands. Introverts can develop a passion for what may just seem like a hobby. Help to foster and nurture their passions. You both could create a garden together, or check out the latest web trick your child achieved because they love to code. Fostering their creativity is one of the best things that we can do to help them. Who knows, it may even put them on the path to their future career!
We obviously want to know how things are going in our children's lives. However, pushing them to share how they feel will just make them want to hide. It might be that your child can communicate better in writing than they do verbally. This is even the case for people who aren't introverted. Give them a notebook and a writing utensil, and let them know that they can share what they have written when they are ready. If your child is older and has a cell phone, you two could always text each other. E-mailing one another is another great option. Whatever makes them feel the most comfortable.
If our children are especially young, we can be quick to think that perhaps they just haven't developed social skills yet. That they are not the "social butterfly" that we think that they will become. Introversion is not a bad thing. They are creative and incredible. Some of the world's biggest names are introverts! Be honest and open about it with yourself and your family. Do some digging, read up on it, learn how the mind of an introvert works, that way we can learn about what they need and how we can help them along this journey that we call life.