People often think of the extraverted personality as outgoing and friendly. And while that may be true, it is not the real definition of extroversion. We all know that extroversion and introversion are complete opposites. And if introverts draw their energy from within, then extroverts draw their energy from without. This means that they get energized by stimulus such as being with other people. Extroverts thrive through interaction, stimulation, and activity.
Understanding Your Extraverted Child
If you?re child has an extraverted personality, he will most likely be full of high-energy, ready to take on new experiences and people. Unlike the introverted child, sitting still, not talking, feeling bored, and being alone for a long time drain his energy. Though he has difficulty self-entertaining for long periods of time, it doesn?t mean he can?t play alone at all. When alone, he can entertain himself through physical activities or listening to music. He will love playing with other children whether they are his friends or those he just met in the park. Even after a long day in school, he will want more play time with others, asking if he can have friends over. He has no difficulty meeting new people. In fact, he is energized by new faces because this means they?re more people he can talk to. ?He is very expressive, often speaking before he thinks and even thinking his thoughts out loud. Actions also give vent to his emotions. Part of his expressiveness is asking lots of questions and needing immediate responses all the time. A child with an extraverted personality tends to follow his parent/s around the house while at home if he doesn?t have anyone else to play with. Because a child with an extraverted personality thrives when interacting with the outside environment, he tends to learn more if learning is action-oriented such as hands-on activities.
Parenting Your Extraverted Child
Because a child with an extraverted personality thrives in interaction, schedule lots of activities for him after school and in the weekends. Play dates and extra-curricular activities are great but even an afternoon at a public park will feed his need to socialize and be the outlet for his high-energy. In addition, make sure that these activities are mostly ?unstructured? where he is able to be himself and not feel restricted by having to sit still, be quiet, and listen to instructions.
Your child?s expressiveness can sometimes take a toll but it is important to allow him to talk without restraint. Be patient with him while he asks his long list of questions and relays his stories. Try not to criticize or raise objections while he?s expressing his views. At the same time, try to teach him how to read other people?s signals of restlessness or boredom when he?s talking. Learning to have give-and-take conversations is important but it shouldn?t be taught using negative criticism.
Part of your child?s expressiveness is being upfront about his feelings. He will be very vocal about what he is currently feeling. Teach him that though it is healthy to express what you feel, there is an appropriate way to express it. Physical expressions of emotions, especially anger, should be redirected into positive time outs. It is important that you don?t try to make what they feel go away or ignore them. This will teach them that feelings should be suppressed which can cause them to feel stress.
Your child?s ability to make new friends all the time is a characteristic that you should praise. At the same time, you should guide him in learning how to recognize strangers who may pose a risk to them. Gently remind him of safety tips as well as to learn to listen to his instinct.
Routine can be boring for your extroverted child. New stimulation is often necessary. Try to add variety to his day-to-day activities to stimulate his interest and provide excitement. Find his strengths and his passions and direct them accordingly, creating opportunities for him to shine. Performing his skills and talents before others will give him the feedback he needs including a sense of accomplishment.
Your extroverted child is an experiential learner and will need ?field work? to help him learn concepts. Engaging him in dialogue, games, hands-on activities will help him quickly learn lessons. Don?t use lectures (he listens while you teach) as this will only frustrate your child.
Communicating with Your Extraverted Child
A child with an extraverted personality tends to talk things through rather than processing his thoughts internally. At times, it may seem he will be rambling and only talking about superficial things. You should be aware that he often thinks out loud. By directing the conversation and helping him think things through, you both can have a meaningful discussion. And because his thoughts are quick to travel from his mind to his mouth, it may be hard for you to figure out if he means what he says or is still trying to think it through. The best way to find out is to ask questions.
Your child will tend to talk a lot about everything under the sun so you?ll need to be a really good listener. This gives him a place to be himself. At the same time, you will need to teach him that a conversation is a two-way street. He will need to wait until you have completed your thought before he can jump in with his two cents.