Know the Signs and the Best Way to Be Supportive
As parents, it's natural to want the best for our kids - healthy, happy, successful, confident... If we realize our child may be an introvert, the answer to "what do I do?" is the same, but the parent's reactions may be quite different:
Proud introverted parents may recognize the signs early and know exactly what to do.
Extroverted parents may be disillusioned by societal norms and antiquated definitions of introversion, and thus fear a life of low self-esteem, followership, and unpopularity lies in their child's future.
Some introverted parents that are still trying to sort out their own personality traits may fall somewhere in the middle or in the same quagmire as the extroverted parents.
The important takeaway is to recognize the signs, learn about introversion, and support your child.
Signs of Childhood Introversion
Discomfort in large groups
Discomfort around strangers
Preference for reading or hobbies at home
A sense of feeling "different" but not knowing why
Some may appear shy, although that can be quite a different trait
Learn Truths About Introversion
Introversion is not something to wish away or overcome. It is part of one's DNA, our brain design, and chemical makeup.
Introverts are not necessarily anti-social. They actually often develop deep bonds, but in small groups over time.
Introverts can enjoy playdates and parties but usually of short duration and with familiar people and surroundings.
Introverts have the makings of exceptional leaders. Their ability to analyze various sides of issues makes them great decision-makers. Their natural disdain for command and control ensures they seek input and delegate tasks well within teams.
Their introspective nature results in deep thought and consideration leading to goals and dreams. Introspection can also lead to an overbearing conscience, and sometimes a higher level of anxiety or depression.
Introverts often avoid conflict. They don't like disharmony and are often not equipped for spontaneous debates.
Introverts (and their family and friends) should not seek to change introverts toward societal norms, but encourage them to explore their own strengths and how to apply them in social situations and moments of conflict.
How to Support Your Introverted Child
Get to know them without judgment. If they like to read or have a variety of hobbies, learn about them. Ask questions. Show genuine interest.
Set up low-key play dates with only 1-2 other kids at a time. Oftentimes, home-field advantage calms nerves. Schedule for a short duration. You may need to be more involved until they get to know each other a bit.
Be leary of summer camps. A full day of group sports and socializing, even while doing hobbies like art, can be quite overwhelming. Successful camps may be half days that provide lots of flexible intervals for alone time or choice of activity.
Introverts benefit greatly from preparation. Help teach them planning and preparation skills so they can be ready for class discussions and birthday party socials today and for office meetings and networking tomorrow.
Some may choose not to label their child as an introvert, but I believe such connections, along with a positive definition and a list of endless possibilities is empowering. Labels like shy, loner, anti-social, wallflower, quiet, and aloof are often inaccurate and misplaced but take hold if the truth is not offered.
Share age-specific stories of some amazing introverts:
Pre-teen: Dr. Seuss, JK Rowling, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama
Teens: Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Bill Gates, Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michael Jordan, Meryl Streep, and Elon Musk
Most of all, be supportive! Don't judge introverts as opposite or secondary to extroverts. Consider their personality traits as a blessing, not a curse. Celebrate their successes in social interactions, but also with their creative hobbies and reflective thoughts.
Introversion is often associated with low self-esteem or self-confidence. But these are not given traits of introverts. They arise due to a lack of knowledge and support from their support cast around them that either blatantly or perhaps unintentionally insinuates extroversion is the norm and recipe for success, which can carry a sense of being different or a loser, especially in a young child's mind.
Childhood years are their most formative. So you have a chance - nay, an obligation - to celebrate your child, support them, and help them dream big as a child so they are equipped with the skills, confidence, and support group as an adult to make those dreams come true!
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The Questions Introverts Ponder and The Answers Extroverts Need to Hear
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The Questions Introverts Ponder
The Answers Extroverts Need to Hear
Introversion often feels so alone and many of us assume no one else could feel this way. Contained in this book are many of the questions that have been asked, often by introverts trying to understand this personality trait that can at times govern our lives.
Hi Steve! I just wanted to say I'm incredibly thankful that I came across your blog. I currently have your [Q&A] booklet up on my work computer and every single line resonates with me. I've struggled my entire life with introversion, but your guide is helping me realize that I need to embrace it instead of feeling embarrassed! Anyways, your content is awesome and I'm planning on sharing some info with my team. -GK 2/8/2022
I also hear from many introverts struggling to share their introversion with family, friends, and co-workers, either out of fear or just not having the words. I hope this booklet may serve to educate others to better understand the many strengths and talents we have to share.
I hope you will find this booklet an informative read and reference book with a splash of light-heartedness and inspiration as well. I invite you to start with the questions you are most curious about and share from there.
Testing Your Limits and Challenging Your Fears