How to Raise an Introvert in an Extroverted World
Does your child tend to favor quiet spots and seclusion instead of loud parties and playgroups? In a world that’s increasingly extroverted, raising an introvert can be something of a challenge. Some sources point to the fact that at least one-third of the population is considered to be introverted. These individuals are known for preferring time alone instead of with large crowds of people.
You may be tempted to expose your child to new situations that are more characteristically designed for extroverts. Unfortunately, many parents don’t realize that this causes some physical discomfort and anxiety for their children. Raising an introverted child in an extroverted world will come with unique challenges.
If you’ve been struggling to nurture your child’s fondness for solitude, you may need to try working these suggestions into your daily routines.
Give your child a break.
Has your child been going nonstop all week with sports practices, school, and extracurricular activities? Perhaps that outing you had planned for Saturday afternoon needs to be postponed. There’s nothing worse for parents than dragging a miserable and tired child around for something that’s supposed to be fun. Giving your child a break allows you to enjoy the quality time you do spend with them, as well as allowing them an opportunity to recharge.
Even if your child sleeps well at night, they may still be mentally drained from extended periods of social interaction. It can be difficult for them to discern what’s causing their exhaustion, but peer interactions at school can often be enough to wear them out. Take stock of the activities they participate in to see if you can carve out some space for them to relax.
Teach them that they still have a voice.
Introverts tend to hesitate when it comes to speaking up for themselves. Teaching them that it’s okay to stand up for themselves is essential to ensure they won’t be bullied or teased by other kids. You don’t necessarily have to prepare them to make a lengthy speech to bullies. Practicing loud, one-word responses to a scary situation can be enough to make them feel more powerful and confident in these stressful social encounters.
Expand their horizons slowly.
Even though your child is hardwired towards introversion, they still have to interact with others as a part of daily life. Instead of throwing them straight into the deep end, allow them opportunities to get to know other children slowly. Perhaps take them to the park a few times and allow your son or daughter to play alone. As they recognize other children, gently suggest that they ask if the other child wants to play a game of tag or swing on the tire swing.
Set an example of small social interactions.
Teaching your child how to interact appropriately with others in small ways is extremely important, especially for introverts. Allow them to see you introduce yourself to other people, make small talk, and end social interactions with grace. Your child can see an example of how it should be done, and they will internally apply that example as they get older. It’s important for your child to have a framework for social interactions because they don’t come naturally to introverts.
Raising an introvert in a world that seems to be tailored for extroverts presents a distinctive trial for parents. Children must be granted enough time to sufficiently recharge from a stressful social situation, which usually means giving them space and time alone. Help them to harness their strengths and see what makes them special with their introverted attributes. After all, introverts have an awful lot they can teach us about the power of quiet and self-care.