Is your child an introvert? - Signs and Symptoms & Tips to Raise
Created by Swapna Nair Updated on Nov 17, 2019
Our lives are profoundly shaped by one aspect of our personality - in fact the single most important aspect of personality - i.e. where we fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum! Our place in this continuum deeply influences our choice of friends, how we communicate, our choice of career, how we exercise, our sleep cycle, risk taking, leadership, and to even ask questions like, ’what if ‘…. Interestingly this is reflected in our brain pathways, our neurotransmitters and remote corners of our nervous systems.
Is Your Child An Introvert Or Extrovert?
Research studies have shown that almost one out of every 2 or 3 people are introverts. Now isn’t this surprising? This is because many introverts pretend to be extroverts or are forced to be extroverts at home, at school or in the workplace. We live in a value system called the Extrovert Ideal - the ideal self is one who talks fearlessly, socialises, and takes risks, and is bold, outspoken.
We say we value or should value individuality but inevitably we favour one type of individual - the extrovert. Hence it is a common to see eager parents push and prod their wards to be talkative, sing, dance and put himself/ herself out there. Parents fear that if their child is shy he or she would lose out in life.
Are You Forcing Your Introvert Child To Extroversion?
We make a grave mistake by embracing the Extrovert Ideal without thinking. Due to this, introversion is wrongly considered to be taboo or a stigma.
Without introverts we would not have had - The theory of gravity, Theory of relativity, E=mc2,W.B Yeats , Van Gogh, Chopin, Orwell, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Steve Wozniak, Harry Potter…
One interesting finding is that the more creative people are socially poised introverts. This does not mean that all creative people are introverts. It is just that there is a surprisingly powerful explanation - the introverts prefer to work independently and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation.
Years of study have revealed that introverts take lesser financial risks; possess more self-regulation and delayed gratification. Delaying gratification is a crucial life skill. Introverts are reflective, tend to stay focussed at jobs on hand, do not give up easily and work more accurately. They are persistent. They are excellent listeners and possess good observation skills.
Signs And Symptoms Of An Introvert Child
Consider this story of a seven year old boy Aryan. The parents of Aryan were social and members of the Rotary Club. Aryan had a five year old sister. The sister would often trouble Aryan and sometimes hit or punch him. Aryan would not retaliate. The parents were concerned that Aryan was so passive both at home and school. They considered the aggressiveness of their daughter alright but Aryan’s passivity was a concern! Aryan preferred the library to the playground. He had a ‘nerd’ appearance. Aryan loved reading and sci-fi movies. Aryan’s parents took him to several psychologists to ‘cure’ him. Aryan is an introverted child unlike his extroverted parents.
A little bit of mindfulness and understanding would help here. Parents need to take a step back from their own preferences and see the world their quiet child lives in.Introverts do RELATE to people but they do it in their own way!!
How To Raise Your Introvert Child?
Coping with an introvert can be daunting for parents as the child prefers different set of things from what is socially accepted. So here are 7 ways that will help you in raising your introvert child.
- One of the best ways to handle an introverted child is to work with the child on his reactions to novelty. Introverts react not only to new people but also to new events and places. Let us not mistake their reaction or recoiling as an inability
- Introvert child need more time and space. It is best to expose them to ‘new’ people or situations gradually. Respect their limits even if they are extreme. Let them know that their feelings are natural and normal. As parents we should not be over protective or forceful
- Let us get over the habit of ‘showing off’ our child. We have to think from the child’s perspective. Mayuri hated it when her parents kept pushing her to show her dancing skills in front of visitors. One day she broke down and told her mother. Fortunately the mother understood
- Shaurya was not keen on signing up for swimming classes. His father did not push or prod. Rather he took Shaurya every day to the poolside to watch others learn swimming. After some days he brought a ball and began to play with his son in the shallow side of the pool. Shaurya soon gained confidence to sign up for the classes
- Labelling your introverted child as shy does not help. It soon becomes a fixed trait. Helping introverted children in building social skills is important. Try to make social encounters pleasant and comforting
- Take the case of Bimal. His parents would ensure that they reach early for a social gathering so that Bimal owned the space rather than entering late, which in turn would make him squirm and uncomfortable
- Three skills that could help introverted children in a social setting- Smile, stand up straight and make eye contact
The secret to life is to put oneself in the right lighting - for some it could be a spotlight while some a lamp-lit place would do. So embrace the originality in your introverted child. Revel in their strengths. Revel in their deep thoughts. Revel in their imagination.
Lewis Caroll was an introvert by the way, and look he wrote the popular Alice in Wonderland!!
(Adapted from the book Quiet by Susan Cain)
Did you find Swapna’s blog on introverted children useful? Is your child an introvert – how do you cope? Do leave your comments…. We love hearing from you!
| Aug 19, 2017
There is space for all under the sun- the optimist, pessimist, realist, dreamer, writer, thinker, extrovert and the introvert. It is important to be aware of ourselves and in turn of our children. Each child is unique. Enjoy their individuality. If we do not support our children who else will?
| Aug 20, 2017
Useful ..... I want to share my daughter is an introvert girl but so many family members, relatives use to tell me that I should force her to be socially active and whenever I tried to explain them that it's her nature everyone said no you should change it and I am confused..... but ur blog is really a guideline for me thanks
| Aug 24, 2017
Dear Neha, shouting does not help. It will hurt the child more. Instead try the soft tone. Soft but firm. Go down to his level , look him in the eye and speak softly. Softer tone gets work down more than noise. Offer options too. Throw the problem back to him and ask how do you think we could do this , or how would you like to do it? This way you also coach him to think of alternatives.