As a child, I would almost always choose to stay home and curl up with a good book over attending a party or going out with friends. This is still the case today. Some things never change. And that’s because I’m an introvert. As an introverted child, I loved spending time with my family and friends, but I also craved alone time. Does this sound like your child? You may be raising an introvert.
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If you’re an extroverted parent raising an introverted child, you may find it hard to relate to your child on many levels. As an introvert, your child probably feels the same way. (By the way, if you’re an introverted parent raising an extroverted child, you may want to read my earlier post: 7 Coping Strategies for Introverted Parents Raising Extroverted Children.)
When I was little, I found connecting with people to be a challenge. I didn’t understand my personality quirks back then like I do now. And I don’t think my parents understood them much either.
Raising introverts presents its own set of parenting challenges. If you think you may be raising an introvert, here are 7 tips to help you better relate to and better love your quiet child.
Tip #1: Give Your Introverted Child Space To Recharge
The very definition of introvert screams “please, let me spend time alone.” Being around other people for too long can easily zap your child’s energy. But being alone will allow your child to regain this energy.
This doesn’t mean your child doesn’t love being around you or other people. He does, but he also needs time alone. By giving your little introvert some space, he’ll better be able to recharge and you’ll all be happier.
Tip #2: Educate Yourself On What It Really Means To Be An Introvert
If you are an extrovert, much of your introverted child’s behavior may seem strange to you. Spend some time educating yourself on the characteristics of introverts. Your aloof or quiet child may just be an introvert.
My favorite resource for learning about introverts generally is Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Another terrific resource for parents raising introverted children is by Christina Fonseca, called Quiet Kids: Help Your Introverted Child Succeed in an Extroverted World.
Tip #3: Accept That Your Introverted Child’s Quiet Temperament Is Natural
As an extrovert, you may find it challenging that your little introvert is so quiet. By understanding that introversion is simply part of a person’s genetic makeup, you can accept your child’s quiet nature.
Allow your introverted child to move at her own pace in social settings. It may take her more time to warm up or she may prefer to sit alone. Rather than making your child feel uncomfortable for her behavior, find ways to make her feel more comfortable. Many introverts prefer observing rather than participating. You may want to arrive early and leave early.
Tip #4: Don’t Label Your Introverted Child Or Talk Negatively About Their Introversion
This one is a biggy. Please don’t label your introverted child as “shy” or “weird” or anything that can take on a negative connotation. Our children hear our words and internalize them.
Your child’s personality is simply different than yours, and that’s okay. Talking with your child about personality differences is a wonderful way to connect with your introverted child.
Tip #5: Encourage Your Introverted Child To Try New Things Or Experience New Situations But…
As an introverted child, I often wanted to experience new situations or events, but when it came time to attend my introversion surfaced. All of a sudden I didn’t feel comfortable attending or it just seemed like it would take too much of my energy to attend.
A little encouragement from a parent in this type of situation may help. However, don’t over-encourage your child to attend an event if he is insistent that he doesn’t want to go. He may just need some recharging time.
Tip #6: Accept That Your Introverted Child Will Likely Have Fewer Friends Than You
Introverts tend to have fewer friendships than extroverts. This is normal. Introverts prefer deeper connections with people. Small talk exhausts them.
It’s okay to encourage your introvert to develop friendships with those he connects with, but don’t hassle him because he doesn’t have a lot of friends.
Tip #7: Recognize That Your Introverted Child Still Needs You Even If It Doesn’t Seem Like It
This last tip is for all of the extroverted and highly sensitive parents. Your introverted child still needs you, even if it doesn’t seem like it. All children, including introverts, need their parents.
Please don’t take it personally when your quiet child wants to spend time alone rather than spending time with the family. He may just need some time to recharge.
Are you an extrovert raising an introvert? I hope these 7 tips have given you some ideas to better relate to and better love your quiet child.
I’d love to hear about your experience raising an introverted child in the comments section below.
With Love and Joy,