Introverts and extroverts are at the opposite ends of the spectrum. The comunication between them is usually tense, as they perceive the world in completely different ways. If you are an extrovert, and your child is an introvert, then you may be finding it hard to raise a child who is the opposite of you. He or she is quiet, hesistant, not very social and is happy to spend hours on their own. This is totally alien to you, and even incomprehensible, as you would probably be in the middle of whatever activity it is. To help you raise an introvert child, here are some tips:
9 Tips for raising an introvert child as an extrovert parent
1. Understand their nature is due to biology
Introvert nature is not something which you can ‘cure’, as you may have thought. Being an extrovert parent, you may think that if you push your child, he may open up and start enjoying the parties, gatherings and so on. But actually, the brains of introverts and extroverts are ‘wired’ differently, thus forming the differences in the temperaments.
2. Do not push them to be ‘brave’
According to the introverted child psychology, introverted children tend to be cautious, more reserved than the extrovert peers. This is also due to biological reasons, and their innate nature. Extrovert parents and extrovert children run about in the park, while an introvert child is content and happy to stay on the sidelines. The best way to help your kid if he does not want to climb on the monkey bars is to let him be. Do not push them to do ‘brave’ things as it goes against their nature.
3. Ask specific questions
As an extrovert, you probably do not need any encouragement to talk. Extroverts are gregarious people who love to talk, so extrovert parents who are parents to introvert children expect their children to talk as much as them, and find it hard to accept when they don’t. Sometimes however, your child might tell you things on his own.
Otherwise, to get your child to talk, ask questions which are not abstract – ask things about his homework, or about his teacher or about his friends. If you just ask him about his day, you might get a one-word answer.
4. Don’t feel embarrassed because your child is an introvert
Most of us have the tendency to laugh and talk, even if we don’t want to, when we are in the company of other people, or in social gatherings. Introverts do not feel the compulsion to talk, and are content to sit and listen. When the need arises, they can be great orators, leaders, actors – Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, Emma Watson, J K Rowling – they’re all introverts and great speakers too.
When you see other children interacting easily with other people, then you may be embarassed by your quiet introvert child, especially when people comment about it. But you have to be stronger, and restrain from dubbing your child ‘shy’. Let your child observe the goings on, until he or she is comfortable enough to join the others.
5. Let him set the pace
Introverted child psychology states that introverted children should be allowed to set the pace in social situations. They need to observe and notice everything and everyone, before joining the fray, and praise them when they make the attempt to socialize.
6. Positive reinforcement does help
To help your kid, you should point out when your child enjoys an activity he was apprehensive of initially. With your praise, your introverted child can gradually learn to deal with the dread and nervousness of social situations. Introverts do not do well in social situations, as they are usually not great in small talk.
7. Give them their space
Introvert children need space, as they might become claustrophobic in the company of people. They need a little corner or room of their own, to unwind and read or write or whatever it is they do. You should not leave them completely alone too, for long periods of time, but keep an eye on them.
8. Do not take it too personally
As an extrovert parent, you may find it tough to relate to your reserved kid who is not demonstrative, and is reluctant to show their expressions. You should not be confused that he does not care for you, he does. You should continue to show your emotions, which will be reassuring, for sure. Introvert children can show their affection only when someone else is demonstrative first.
9. Help develop their confidence
Most kids love to order meals on their own, are unafraid to pay for their own treats. An introvert child finds it hard to interact with other people, even shopkeepers. With gentle encouragement, your child too can overcome his natural reticence and ask for his own choices. This will develop their confidence and help negotiate their way through life on his own.