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Parents: Raising an Introvert in an Extroverted World

ExtrovertedHave you tried to find out why your child who will not give your ears a rest while driving fails to speak while you introduce him or her warmly to your boss? On similar lines, are you flabbergasted to know why your otherwise active and busy child clings to you each time you attend a birthday party?

It may be that your kid simply does not feel comfortable in meeting and interacting with new individuals. Alternatively, such kids may experience tremendous anxiety at the sight of a large, noisome group. These are signs that your child is an introvert.

Generally, introverts are those who prefer being alone rather than being surrounded by scores of friends. Introverted children play quietly in a secluded spot while occupying themselves for large amounts of time in comparison with their extroverted peers. This usually translates as favorable news for parents. However, it can be quite frustrating to watch your introverted kid navigate and make progress in a society that is predominantly geared toward extroverted individuals.

majorityA majority of introverted children are extremely shy, too. Being shy as a child is as common as being shy among adults. In reality, several studies have proven that shy individuals make up a significant portion of the population. Shy parents are in a better position to relate to the quiet nature of the child and know the anxiety that they experience on a first-hand basis. For a parent who belongs to the extroverted population, a timid and withdrawn child may seem to be a mystery.

Irrespective of the personality camp that you fall into, as a parent of an introverted kid, you require the tools and techniques to assist your child in navigating through society and the world at large.

Experts advise caretakers and parents to begin by acceptance of the child the way he or she is: introvert or extrovert. Show introverted children your unconditional support by listening to his or her feelings and experiences. In addition, you need to give them the go ahead for progressing at their own pace.

Bernardo J. Carducci, Ph.D., author of the renowned The Shyness Breakthrough, and Director at University of Southern Indiana’s Shyness Research Institute has been studying the behavioral patterns of shy kids and their parents for many years. His advice is straightforward: assist a shy child foster divergent thinking. Usually, this translates to exposing your child to different types of situations, people, and sources of ideas as much as you can.

Some of the other advice for parents:

  • adviceIdentify the triggers for your child’s shyness. Does he or she get overwhelmed in large groups? When the spotlight is on him or her, what is the reaction? You, as a parent, need additional time to help your child get acclimatized to different events.

  • Inculcate social skills in your child from an early age. In addition, be ideal role models, someone whom your child can relate to. Introduce people to your child and get your child introduced to people in the form of a game.

  • Set your child up for unbridled success. Let your child indulge in talents and hobbies of their liking so that they feel comfortable. Divide anxious and uncomfortable events into smaller sections, so that your child succeeds a single step at a time.

According to Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., author of the famous The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child, the biggest and common errors and mistakes that parents make while dealing with introverted children is forgetting the fact that being introvert is a temperament; hence, it affects both body and mind.

energy in an introvertThe author goes on to state that to stoke the energy in an introvert, it is crucial to build regular breaks in their schedule and to ensure that get ample supply of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, failing which they may experience major meltdowns, placing a restriction on their learning.

It is extremely important for parents to realize that their child may not need the life of parties or the company of scores of friends. Children need just a couple of good friendships, which can be attained by shy and introverted children. Parents need to play a supporting role in helping their kids build on those few key relationships. Finally, you can unwind, relax and enjoy the pleasures of raising an introvert.