It isn’t the balancing act of being a working mom, the struggle to get kids to bed on a timely manner or even how to handle temper tantrums (although these are all in the top 5)- my biggest parental challenge is and always has been raising a child of the opposite mindset. I am an extrovert and I have two girls- ages 8 and 9. My oldest is also an extrovert and my youngest is an introvert. Boy oh boy has this created some stress in my life as well as hers. It is all new territory for me. I want to do whatever I can to make her life easier and have read books, googled, and talked to introverted moms to try to get insight as to my youngest child’s way of thinking. In the process of trying to enlighten myself- I have learned that she has so much to offer the world and me with her quiet personality and strong determination.
In the beginning, I struggled most when she would completely ignore other kids and parents that said “hi”, when she wouldn’t show off the things I was amazed about like learning the “State Song” at 5 or the Pledge at 3, and when she wanted nothing to do with the entire party of kids that came just for her as she locked herself in her room upstairs. However, as the years went by I did learn some tips that I wanted to pass down. As she matures I am sure there will be a whole new set of challenges.
Tips to help an Extrovert Parent with an Introvert Child…
- Never put them on the spot! Don’t ask them to show off a skill or sing a song or pretty much do anything in front of others they don’t know.
- Give them plenty of down time each day. They will get overwhelmed easily and need to recharge.
- Arrive to places on time for them to scope out and get comfortable. Any sporting events, new classroom, parties, etc. Introverts don’t like to feel rushed unlike many extroverts who often fly by the seat of their pants (me namely).
- Be thrilled when they make a few close friends compared to having many. Quality over quantity is essential. My extrovert child likes to invite the world to her birthday parties and my introvert is happy with her 3 closest friends.
- Prepare them with youtube videos if possible of new places or experiences they may participate in. This helped us a lot to look at rides in Disney parks before we went.
- Praise their success but don’t say “You are so smart” over and over again. With many introverts being above average in the smarts spectrum- there have been studies that show children often associate that they are the smart one if told this over and over again and then don’t want to disappoint so they only do the most basic as to not give a wrong answer. Say “you put in so much great effort!” or “wow- you tried really hard and I am so proud.”. This will often get them to try more without worrying about getting an answer wrong.
- They do not like to be embarrassed. This is obvious for almost everyone (extrovert or introvert) however it really affects children with an introverted mentality internally compared to many extroverts that can move on quicker.
- Give them a room to themselves when they are ready. They just need to be away from everyone else in their own little bubble sometimes to recharge.
I am a fly by the seat of my pants, running 5 minutes late for everything, super involved and active mom that has learned to not do too much in one day, show up on time if not early and don’t overwhelm my kiddos. This has been great for both of us. I also love being her safe haven sometimes and when other parents text me because they were thrilled that my shy introvert child (two separate things) actually talked to them today. She is slowly but surely coming out of her shell but isn’t necessary because she is pretty darn awesome either way. Good luck to those struggling as well on how to keep their children from going crazy also. I am always up for tips- so please share!