For many of us, introversion is often associated with shyness and social awkwardness. Many parents who have an introverted child often misunderstand wanting to be alone to being shy. Some may even think this as a sign of depression which it is not. And though an introverted child may not always be the life of the party, this does not mean he or she does not have social skills. ?So, what is an introvert really like? Below you?ll find what being introverted means, some parenting tips to help you out, and even some tips on how you should communicate with your child.
Understanding Your Child
In simple terms, an introvert gains energy from within and is able to tune into his inner world with ease. While introverts do like socializing (to a point), they often feel drained afterwards. Thus, they often need time alone to recharge themselves before they interact with the outside world again. Because they are greatly interested in the ?inner life of the mind?, they find joy in thinking and in exploring their thoughts and feelings. Introverts also enjoy deep conversations with a few chosen people and have little liking for small talk. Thus, being introverted, your child may ask you difficult-to-answer questions about life rather than making small talk about the things he?s done today. The introverted child only has a few children whom he would consider as close friends and will do more listening than talking in conversations. When he does talk, it will be only to family members and not to strangers. An introvert also prefers quiet time alone doing activities such as reading and are very sensitive about their personal space. He can spend a lot of time entertaining himself and will often engage in creative or imaginative play for hours on end. An introverted child will join group games or activities but will need time to watch how it goes first before joining. He will be often be a bit cranky afterwards though and will need some down time. Your introverted child will also be a very private person, not easily sharing his feelings with others. He will also hate making mistakes in public.
Parenting an Introverted Child
? ?Because they always need some down time alone, you should never have too many activities scheduled for your child. Being introverted, going to school is often a tiring activity for him thus you also should refrain from having any after school activities for him.
? ?Personal space is important to your introverted child. If he doesn?t have a bedroom of his own where he can spend time alone, give him a private spot where no one will bother him while he recharges. If you have extrovert children, teach them to respect that private space and to leave their sibling to recharge until he is ready to play again.
? ?An introverted child needs time to adapt to new situations and new people. During a birthday party, don?t push him to join the fun right away as he will need time to process and watch the games and children first before jumping in. Instead, let him know that you will stay with him while he decides on what he wishes to do.
? ?While an introverted child will have no problem making friends, he will only have a select few. Don?t push him to make more friends and to socialize more like other kids. Instead, help him find one or two friends who have the similar temperaments and interests.
? ?When raising an introverted child, discipline or criticism should never be done in public. Always do so when it?s just the two of you. In line with this, teaching him new skills should also be done in private so that he will feel comfortable making mistakes while learning.
? ?Always give encouragement and understanding. Because of his preferences, he may feel different from the rest of the family as well as his classmates. Let him know that you appreciate his strengths and skills even though some may not view them as such.
? ?Never try to make an extrovert out of him. Respect his preferences and love him for who he is. He will never be a social butterfly but you can be sure that he will be able relate well with others and adapt to different situations through your guidance.
Communicating with Your Introverted Child
While your child may prefer to listen rather than talk, he can hold very interesting conversations if given the perfect opportunity to do so. Make sure that you ask for his direct opinion in family conversations and don?t rush him to answer. Give him time to process his thoughts. In addition, don?t interrupt him when he speaks. Reconnecting often is also important. It is best to have one-on-one in-depth conversations with him to find out what he?s feeling, what?s going on in his life, and even his interests. Draw him out with questions and you might find yourself surprised by his answers. Always make sure though that he is ready to talk when you start your conversations.