Some parents can't relate. They don't have children that run wild and free, talking or yelling non-stop all over the place. Other parents might say that is not normal, they should see a doctor, or even diagnose them themselves. Having a child who is quiet and reserved, more hesitant than other children, does not typically need to see a doctor. It just simply means, they are introverted.
These children are ok with being alone. They are better in environments that are less chaotic. They enjoy the calm versus the storm. It might seem like they are showing signs or symptoms of depression, but introverts are just that way. Most are not depressed or anxious at all. They simply have a mild temperament. The more parents come to understand this, the better they can bond with their introverted children.
The Introverted Child
Having an introverted child certainly is nothing to be ashamed of or anything along those lines. In fact, according to very recent data collected by Myers-Briggs, there are more introverts than extroverts in the world.
- In the US, around 56 percent of the population are introverts.
- The remaining 44 percent are extroverts.
Introverts aren't necessarily shy; they just get their energy internally from their own thoughts and feelings. They can operate as an extrovert when needed, and do it quite well, but need to retreat back to a quiet space in order to recharge themselves.
According to Dr. Marti Olsen Laney, author of "The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child," introversion and extroversion are genetic (although parents play an important role in nurturing that temperament). Introverts' and extroverts' brains are also wired somewhat differently.
Ways To Bond With An Introverted Child
One of the most important things to remember about introverts is that they can effortlessly share things with people they feel comfortable around. Parents need to be one of those people. It seems like as a parent, they would already be one of those people, but it's not always the case.
- Try not to label your child: Introverted children are often called "shy" or "timid." Sometimes those types of labels can make a young child feel like they are different, or wrong for being who they are. They are not. They just think differently. They use the parasympathetic nervous system according to The American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. That side makes the body work in an "energy-saving mode". Much more relaxed, storing energy for future use.
- Introverts get a bad rep: Introverts are often thought of as anti-social. Sometimes people take that the wrong way. They don't like people. They have depression. Talking is beneath them. None of that is true. It is important that parents end the stigma. Nurture what nature has provided.
- Encourage introverts gently: Susan Cain, author of, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts says, parents shouldn't shelter the introverted child from difficult social situations, instead show them that they understand and sympathize and want to help. Giving them space to practice being more outgoing before they actually have to be can help to build their self-esteem.
- Hear their feelings: Introverts listen a lot more than they talk. When they do talk, though, parents should try to listen and give feedback. Introverts are more emotional than extroverts, so knowing they are being heard is important to them and will keep them engaged and talking more often.
Find Activities To Enjoy With An Introverted Child
No matter how hard parents try, an introvert will be an introvert. Finding activities they will enjoy versus forcing them into something is a better way to secure a bond. Some of those activities might include:
- Bike Ride
- Games for Two
- Get a Dog
These activities are all engaging, but don't require an excessive amount of energy. They are calm and tend to be quieter. This doesn't mean that if a child wants to participate in a larger activity they should be held back from it. Parents might want to be aware though that introverted children will require more quiet time after a bigger, louder activity.
What Not To Do With An Introverted Child
Introverts again, are emotional individuals. Forcing them to talk to others, interact with others, or being overbearing and doing those things for them, can end in resentment. For example, if a parent is loud and draws attention to the child, that would most likely not bode well. Embarrassing them, picking on them, pointing out how quiet they are, none of that would be nice to do to anyone, but an introverted child is going to take that to heart. It would really hurt their feelings.
If a parent feels like their child has more issues aside from just being introverted, it is wise to consult a doctor or possibly get a therapist involved. It is often difficult to distinguish between an introvert and a depressed person, for an extrovert. Parents may feel guilty thinking they somehow caused this. They didn't. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert.
Introverts can actually become some of the best leaders, according to Forbes Magazine. They think first, and talk later. They are calm, patient, and have more tolerance usually. Another big benefit of introverts is that they have a big presence online. They may not talk a lot in person, but they will write, and do it very articulately. That helps in things like creating new opportunities, making better presentations, and thoroughly describing business practices.