Understanding My Introverted Child
August 29, 2016
To Sebastian and Rachel, their 7-year-old daughter Ella is an enigma. As she isn’t prone to sharing her feelings, they have no idea what’s going on in her head.
What is introversion?
Introverted children tend to be more connected to their inner thoughts and world. They prefer alone-time and calm to recharge their batteries; and get emotionally drained from too much social interaction.
On the other hand, the extroverted child seeks out external stimulation and draws energy from contact with others or through action. He needs to be stimulated. Tranquility and inaction tend to depress this child.
Introversion is a personality trait like any other, such as ambition, independence, curiosity or intuition. What must be emphasized above all is that this is not a deficiency that needs to be corrected! Instead, the introverted child has strengths which extroverts lack. Indeed, introverts are often more thoughtful (introspective) and reserved.
Being introverted and antisocial are not the same
Introverted children are not unsociable, they simply socialize differently. They will prefer to spend time with small groups and people they already know. No need to invite the whole the whole 3rd grade class for a birthday party, your child will prefer to celebrate with one or two good friends.
Being introverted and shy are not the same
Many believe that all introverts are shy. Not at all! Being shy is a behavioral response and not a state of being or personality trait. Being shy is a feeling of fear when in interacting socially.
For example, if a group of classmates are playing tag during recess, the introverted child will probably eat a snack quietly because all the excitement too overwhelming. The shy child, however, would like to join the others but will choose not to out of fear.
“Why does my teenage son prefer to read alone in his room or play board games with his best friend? At his age, I was on the hockey team and would beg my parents to let me go to music festival to hand out with the whole gang.” The answer to this question is simple enough, because your teen is happy doing these activities, he needs solitude and downtime.
Introverts are not prone to telling their parents about how their day went or unburden their concerns or problems. To learn these things, you have to ask. If you have the impression something is bothering your child and he or she appears to be clammed up, go with your gut feeling and insist a little, your child will eventually come out of that shell.
The key to successfully breaking through the mystery of introverted children is to be attentive to their needs, to nurture their nature and thus ensure they develop in harmony with their personality. Don’t try to push an introvert to be more outgoing; you simply risk your further isolation as a response, or worse, your child could cease to confide in you.
In our extroverted society, normality and happiness are measured by the number of friends we have and quantity of activities we engage in. Introverted children may not feel they fit in this model of “normal.” Reassurance is therefore essential! Your child needs to know that there’s nothing wrong with being introverted and that he or she has the right to be who they are.
Article by School Success, a Canadian company dedicated to academic success for elementary, high school and college students. School Success provides academic support services, including personalized homework help, remedial classes, summer classes and test preparation.