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Is your child an introvert?

One of the more common concerns parents discuss with me is when one of their children shows significantly different characteristics from them and their other children, especially when a child is more solitary than the rest of the family or when they don’t join in as much as the others, examples of this are:

They spend a lot of time alone.

They spend a lot of time deep in thought and are often slow to join in conversations.

They become easily overwhelmed when they’re asked to do a few tasks or they’re given a lot of options.

They can only concentrate on one task at a time, getting very involved in that one task (often neglecting anything else going on around them).

They hover on the outskirts of social situations, especially when their are big social gatherings like parties.

They spend time thinking about what they want to say before saying it, especially when they consider it’s an important topic.

Do you recognise these traits in any of your children? If so, it is quite likely that their personality is biased towards being an introvert rather than an extravert. The fact that you have picked up on this difference also shows that your personality is more biased towards being an extravert, so you may potentially see these things as problems holding your child back. Please notice that I am using the phrase “biased towards”, as with many things to do with our personalities, we should not be labeled as one thing, there are shades of grey with all of these traits.

This article published in the Huffington Post back in July this year explains each of these traits and their implications extremely well.

10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With The World

So, how should we deal with our children who are more introverted? Well, my first suggestion is… embrace it!

Acknowledge and appreciate your child’s ability to spend time alone and not get bored, especially if you have other children you’re continually trying to entertain.

Embrace their appreciation of silence – you don’t need to make small talk, you can simply spend some time with your own thoughts too.

Allow them time to do one activity at a time and to get fully immersed in it, they don’t need to rush from one activity to another.

Give them time to think about a topic you would like to discuss before you start the discussion, especially if it’s regarding something important.

Allow them the space to hold back from a group until they’re ready to engage. Your child may not be happy getting involved in group activities and would much rather make friends with one specific child once they’ve worked out the personality dynamics.

A comment I hear from a lot of highly introverted people is “we don’t need to be fixed”. There is nothing broken about someone with higher introvert tenancies, they just handle situations differently to you and I. I’d like to leave you with one final comment from an introvert friend of mine, which I think summarises how the more introverted personality types feel…

“If you take a turtle out of it’s shell, it dies – us introverts are really happy being inside our shell”