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Advice for Introverted Parents Raising Extroverted Children

friends-in-huddleEven with all of its rewards and joys, parenting can also be incredibly draining – especially for those parents who tend toward introversion with a child whose interaction needs far exceed your own.  So how do you best parent when your child craves and recharges from interaction as much as you crave and recharge from solitude?  R.L. LaFever’s post “Tips for Introverted Parents Raising Extroverted Kids” is an article I’ve re-read and referred to several since I am the mother of at least one extroverted son and the wife to a very extroverted husband.

LaFever reminds us that children who are extroverted are not being overly demanding by their own standards.  Just as a person who is introverted feels drained and overwhelmed with too much stimulation, a person who is extroverted will feel the same if they are kept from being able to share and socialize.  Some of the personality traits of children who are extroverted include:

  • Gregarious and outgoing
  • Love to be around a lot of people and other children
  • Prefer playing in groups
  • Do not feel they have fully experienced something until they’ve shared it with others
  • Talk a lot
  • Find being along extremely isolating and difficult
  • Do not generally enjoy solitary activities
  • Share – a lot – about everything
  • Do not really get why anyone might want to be alone

As parents, we are expected to meet our child’s needs, but as an introverted parent, this can’t be done effectively unless we replenish our batteries regularly.  It is also our job to socialize them, and part of that socialization includes teaching them to respect those who have different needs from their own.  In order to get a recharging break, you may implement a variety of coping strategies that will obviously depend on the age of child. LaFever lists some of these coping strategies and tips:

  • Be sure your spouse or partner understands introversion versus extroversion and supports you.
  • Create opportunities for your child to interact with others.
  • Try to find other introverted parents who understand your needs and use each other for solitude breaks.
  • If your spouse or partner is an extrovert, try to let them take up some of the socializing slack.
  • Try to find ways to turn other duties/activities into your recharging time, such as choosing solitary activities for exercise or playing soothing music or an audiobook on the drive home.
  • Teach your extroverted child to understand and respect others’ need for time alone.  Not only will this give you time to recharge, you will help them to build their self-reliance.
  • Insist on some kind of alone/recharging time every day.
  • Do not feel guilty!  You are not selfish for needing this time – it is critical for your well-being, and will make you a much more loving and effective parent.

Are you a different personality type from other family members, and you’re not sure how to effectively communicate your different needs?   Try Kidtelligent!  The Kidtelligent Assessment is a unique tool that not only gives you indispensable insight into your children’s personality, it also offers parenting suggestions and tips based on your children’s distinctive personality traits.  To learn more about Kidtelligent, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Kidtelligent or go to www.kidtelligent.com.

Sarah is a guest blogger for Kidtelligent.  She is an introverted soccer-playing, travel-loving, poetry-writing wife to an extroverted “go-getter” husband and mother to two high-spirited, sweet, and enthusiastic boys.  Without her alone time to recharge, she may self-destruct.