8 Common Mistakes Parents of Introverted Children Make
Society favors the extrovert. Schools encourage “Show and Tell.” The most significant sign of this is that most people ignore the “wallflower” at parties.
What, then, do frazzled parents do if their children are more reserved than others? Accept them as they are. There are a few things I believe parents should never do if they have introverted kids.
Why Are Introverted Kids Different?
There is nothing “wrong” with children who are more outspoken than others. The truth is that both introverted and extroverted kids have unique strengths. Society tends to appreciate extroverted children for theirs, and it’s understandable. But it’s time to give introverted kids their turn in the limelight.
Why are they different? A study on introverted and extroverted children shows a great divide in what stimulates them. Scientists have found that introverts have thicker prefrontal cortexes than extroverts. Their brains also process dopamine, the pleasure chemical, differently than those of extroverts.
For this reason, introverts and extroverts find different kinds of activities to be rewarding. While a bike ride will trigger dopamine in the introverted child, the extrovert may want to spend hours on a long trek with friends.
Since extroverts get dopamine from external sources, being around others stimulates them. Introverts, on the other hand, become motivated when they have some alone time. Nature has wired them differently, so parents need a distinct approach to raising them.
Raising a child who doesn’t conform to extroverted norms is a challenge, but you can meet it if you make it a point to avoid making these mistakes.
1. Don’t embarrass little introverts.
Some parents try to lighten the atmosphere by making their children the subject of their jokes. The humor may fall sadly short if your children are introverted. The kids may even bear grudges. Making fun of them in front of other people causes resistance as they can be incredibly self-conscious.
On this note, don’t draw attention to yourself in front of their friends. They may feel as though they are in the spotlight themselves. Never tell others what cute bloopers your children made when they were younger as young introverts may see it as ridicule.
2. Avoid forced interactions.
It’s worrying for parents when children cannot cope with social interactions. Their concern isn’t unfounded — people who make themselves less visible tend to go unnoticed. But pressing them to mix with others when they aren’t ready for it only pushes them away. If they feel unprepared, they may withdraw altogether.
3. Avoid putting your introverted kid in a corner in front of others.
Perhaps your child forgot to do their chores or homework. You need to instill a sense of responsibility, but scolding them in front of others isn’t going to do the trick; all they will learn is that you are setting yourself against them. If you need to address their behavior, do it without anyone else present.
4. Don’t force them to perform in front of others.
You know that your little introverts have talents. Perhaps their jokes split sides. Perhaps you have an American Idol winner in the making. Although you may have the best of intentions in getting them to be more confident, making them perform in front of others will come across as too forceful.
5. Speaking up for your introvert isn’t necessary.
It’s tempting to speak up for children when they don’t seem to want to do so themselves. You’re afraid of giving them too much pressure. But the kids may have strong views they want to express on their own. Give them space and time they need to do so.
6. Don’t pack their schedules with too many activities.
Many kids thrive on having endless activities a day. They don’t seem tired even when they manage to complete their homework only at midnight. Little introverts are somewhat different. They need downtime, so avoid overstimulating them. Do give them time to recharge at home.
7. Don’t fight the introvert’s quietness.
Embrace your little introvert’s quiet behavior. Many parents consider a child’s ability to sit down for more than 10 minutes a blessing. Appreciate that you do have time for a break!
8. Avoid asking the introvert’s friends too many questions.
It’s a parent’s basic instinct to ask their children’s peers questions. After all, you want to know who your kids are around in school. But try not to do so if your child tends to be reserved. They may become frantic about how they will look in front of their friends.
In all, celebrate who your introvert is. The acceptance of their quiet nature will do wonders for their personal and emotional growth.