As a parent of an introvert, I have noticed that as a society we often don’t celebrate the attributes introverts in the same we celebrate the attributes of more outgoing personalities, especially in children. Favoured are confidence, a happy and cheery demeanour and emotions displayed in ways that are easy to recognise and deal with. The social awkwardness and quiet nature of introverts can sometimes make others uncomfortable, particularly adults who are more experienced and skilled in how to act in social settings.
With this is mind, here are some useful things to know about my introverted child:
- Her introversion isn’t about you personally. She isn’t being quiet because she doesn’t like being around you, it’s purely because she’s in a social situation. Drawing attention to her being quiet, or in general, or trying “bring her out of her shell” will just embarrass her and make her anxious
- She’s not upset, sad or depressed, she just doesn’t display emotion as overtly as some people do
- She a natural observer and is taking everything in, whether you realise or not. Even if she appears to be engaged in another task, she is absorbing what’s going on around her like a sponge. Watch out!!!
- She is confident, but in a different way to we’re used to. Her confidence is quiet self-assurance which needs no attention or validation from others
- She needs time to think. Don’t rush her to make decisions or answer questions. She likes to evaluate her thoughts and options before committing to a decision. For this reason, once her mind is made up she will almost never change it
- She will be more comfortable and open with you the more one on one time you give her. She is at her best in smaller in a one to one setting
- She needs quiet time on her own to recharge. She enjoys being with friends and family but after a while will become mentally tired and need to take a break.
- She isn’t lonely and has lots of friends. Introversion doesn’t equal anti-social. Rather than flitting between friendship groups, she forms close bonds with friends she’ll keep for life. Her close inner circle are the lucky ones who get to see her when her guard is down, when she opens up and is at her best
- She has a beautifully complex mind, which you’ll catch occasional glimpses of if you’re paying enough attention; when she makes a remarkably profound observation, offers a mature and balanced opinion, or shares some of her written work
- I would love you to accept her for who she is, rather than what she isn’t. She is awesome!