Parent to Parent: Understanding your introverted child

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 27, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 27 at 10:14 AM

Sometimes an introverted child can seem lost in our fast-paced world, but an introvert actually has many gifts.

What are the differences between an introverted child and an extroverted child?

According to the book “The Hidden Gifts Of The Introverted Child” by Portland psychotherapist Marti Olsen Laney, the difference between an introvert and extrovert really lies in their reaction to social situations and the way their energy is spent.

For an introvert, a social interaction drains their energy, they get tired easily.  They are slow to warm, almost as a defense to conserve that energy.

An extrovert is the opposite. They actually thrive on the social situation and feel more energy.

Laney says the majority of people are extroverts by a 3 to 1 ratio.

What are some of the characteristics of an introvert?

It’s important to understand that many experts say these characteristics are “hard-wired.”

An introvert is cautious in new situations. Some people mistake them as aloof or shy, but they’re not.  In fact, more extroverts are shy than introverts.

Introverts do speak softly and sometimes hunt for words.

They need time alone to re-charge and re-energize.

They have one or two good friends and are sometime mistaken for not being popular because they don’t need lots of people around them.  Introverts are very satisfied and happy with just a few good friends.

What are some of these hidden gifts associated with introverts?

Introverted children are often very focused and they do well in school.  The fields of science, computers, medicine and architecture, writing are dominated by introverts.

They are creative problem solvers and have a high “Emotional IQs” since they like quiet time and reflect a lot on their own feelings.

They are dependable, good friends and good listeners.

Introverts lack vanity. They don’t need a lot of attention.

As parents, how do we nurture an introverted child?

The most important tip is to try and not make your introverted child into an extrovert.  Yes, it seems the world embraces extroverts, but realize your introvert is hard-wired this way in everything they do.

Think like an introvert.  Slow down, don’t finish your child’s sentences or fill-in words.  Respect their energy level.  They will be tired after school and might not want to talk.

Prepare your introvert for social situations like parties.  Make sure they are rested and well fed.  Let them know it’s okay to be on the sidelines and just watch the party.  Let them decline the invitation if they are tired.

And plan lots of down time.  It’s all about the energy level.  You need to build in rest breaks.
 

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