Parenting introverted children when you are an extroverted person can be confusing, and there are many misconceptions you may have about your child. Raising them in a nurturing environment, and trying to understand who they are as a person, is extremely important.
Introverts tend to be on the quiet side, and are usually deep thinkers. As an introvert, I’ve always felt like an alien, especially in social situations. Thankfully, my mother didn’t push me to be someone I am not, and she didn’t make me feel bad for who I was. In turn, I was able to feel pretty comfortable with myself- even when I knew deep down I was different.
If you are raising an introverted child, please keep the following ten mistakes in mind, and try to avoid them as much as you can. While it may be tempting to try to change your child or make seemingly innocent comments, some things are best avoided.
1. Force them to talk to others.
It’s normal to encourage your child to socialize and interact with others, but forcing them is a bad way to go about this. In turn, forcing them will likely end up making them feel more anxious and uncomfortable, causing them to retreat inward even more.
2. Orchestrate social interactions for them.
If you have a highly introverted child that feels awkward in social situations, planning interactions for them isn’t going to help. While you may have the best intentions when you introduce them and guide their conversations with new people- it’s best to avoid this. Why? Calling them out and making their introversion even more obvious is likely to make them withdraw more.
3. Worrying about their lack of a big social circle.
It’s normal to worry about your kids. Extroverted parents may worry about their children because the world can be an extremely socially driven place. However, just because your child is an introvert doesn’t mean they won’t thrive in the world or life. They will make friends, and they will handle themselves and find their place in the world. Encourage them to be who they are, while encouraging them to find peace as well.
4. Telling them to “be quiet” when they finally do open up and come out of their shell.
Introverted kids don’t talk a lot around people they don’t know. So, when they do finally open up, and you interrupt them and tell them to be quiet, you are sending the message that they should just completely retreat and stay to themselves.
5. Pushing them beyond their limits.
Everyone has limits, and as a parent, you want what’s best for your child. And while you may think that is to push them out of their shell and make them do uncomfortable things when they aren’t ready- it’s best not to do that. Let them know you are happy to help them in whatever regard they need- and encourage them to grow, but don’t push them or override their boundaries.
6. Call them out in front of others.
Putting your introverted child on the spot is a bad idea. Introverted people are more socially anxious, and calling them out or putting them in a spot where they become the center of attention isn’t going to help them at all.
7. Not allow them downtime.
Everyone needs downtime, but introverts especially do. If you have planned a busy day for you and your child, make sure to plan downtime in as well, so they can unwind and refresh themselves.
8. Introduce them as quiet or shy.
As tempting as it may be to introduce your child as shy, don’t. Doing so will inevitably make them feel put on the spot, and called out. Yes, they might be different from others, but honestly, people will see that they are introverted, they don’t need a disclaimer.
9. Compare them to extroverted or talkative children.
Don’t ever compare your child to anyone, but especially don’t compare your child to extroverted kids. Comparing children to other people damage their self-esteem and will inevitably make them feel like they aren’t enough.
10. Being too overprotective of them.
Because your child is quiet and introverted, you may feel compelled to protect them more than you would a child with a more passionate and extroverted demeanor. But- it’s better to not treat them differently than anyone else. Furthermore, it’s one thing to be protective, but over sheltering any child may make them prone to anxiety.