How do I help my child who is an introvert?

When you go to a party or gathering of many people, you will be able to gauge whether you are an introvert or an extrovert by how you feel when you return home. If you are more energized and excited you are an extrovert, someone who enjoys the company of people. If you return home feeling exhausted and sapped of energy it shows you that the company of too many people drains you, a sign of being an introvert.

However, when it comes to your child, you as a parent might think your child to be an introvert as a negative trait. Being an introvert or extrovert is just a personality trait and does not dictate how successful your child will be. As long as your child is confident and is empowered to speak up when the necessity arises that is what is important. Examples of recent personalities you and your child would know well: JK Rowling author of the Harry Potter series and Bill Gates of Microsoft are both introverts.

In the olden days if a child was left handed parents would tie up the left hand to encourage the child to use their right hand. It was believed that being left handed was not good. Today we know the scientific reasons of why a person is left handed and know that it is not a measure of how a child will do in the future. President Obama is left handed – need I say more?

In this video Monday Mornings with Sunaina Episode 78, gives you an insight on how to parent your introverted child and accepting and loving your child as is.

Characteristics of an introvert:

  • enjoys the company of a few people
  • is a good listener
  • inclined to be creative
  • gets tired after socializing activity
  • Don’t judge your child’s personality based on yourself. I know a couple who brought their teen son for coaching fearing that he was not confident and shy. The couple was both very outgoing and loved to party, but their child preferred to stay indoors and had few friends. He was an introvert and they were concerned that he would not succeed in today’s times when every child needs to be out there.
    2)Accept your introvert child and don’t try and change him. So I ended up coaching the parents by showing them that their child was an introvert and that was not a negative trait. It was his way of being, his personality and the sooner they accepted and loved him as is, the easier it would be to parent him. Their child ended up feeling more confident and reassured of himself thanks to his parents acceptance of him.
    3) Do not label your child. Being an introvert does not necessarily make your child shy. If you box your child into a certain way – shy, quiet, reserved etc. he or she will live upto that label and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

4) Empower your child to say NO. It is important to teach every child whether introvert or extrovert to say NO when the circumstances demand it. In the case of an introvert as a parent you can explain situations where it is important for your child to exert his power and say NO, like when he is being bullied, abused or hurt in any manner.
5) Your introvert child’s passion. Because introverts spend a lot of alone time they are creatively inclined. As the parent you can expose your child to various skills and discover what he or she might be passionate about. It could be anything from art to music to creative writing. The list of introvert people who are extremely successful in the creative field is endless.

6) Respect your child for the quiet space they need away from others. Children who are introverts get exhausted after too much social interaction and need winding down time. They build their energy when they are alone, like recharging their battery. So respect their need for being alone.

Action:
If you as a parent are at a loss on how to get your child to follow through and build good behaviour and habits – email sunainaathena@gmail.com to know more about Athena’s Youth Coaching Program for children 12+ where we help exhausted parents like you who are struggling to get through to your child. We help your child develop life skills, time-management, communication, confidence etc. to achieve all round academic and personal excellence.