For the longest time I could not figure out why my daughter was being so difficult. When she was younger it was easy to say that she was, “just shy…” As she got older, “she is just shy…” didnt cut it anymore. It came off very rude when she would not respond to a hello or how are you from anyone. It wasn’t that she was just not speaking back to strangers. These were people she saw every week…at church or friends of friends. But this is only one issue that we were trying to deal with. There was also the issue with A getting along and playing nicely with others. She is not a trouble maker by any means and does not hurt others, but she gets very cranky and stubborn when she is with a group too large for her comfort zone. Countless times she has hidden in a closet or under the table with an outburst of anger. I could never understand why. I kept asking myself, “Why does she do this to me?! Why can’t I have a normal child? Why, why, why?!!!” I felt like she was lashing out at me with every angry encounter. I always thought she was punishing me because things didnt work out with her dad. That is a whole nother story!
Then one day I realized A is not like me. She may be a duplicate on the outside, but inside God had made her to tick in a very different way. God has made each of us so alike but so very different. Not one person is exactly like another, not even twins. This was part of God’s ultimate plan for each of us to be a like because we are made in his image, but to also be one of a kind creations with a unique personality and purpose. We each have our own gift to the world. A is very smart. I will brag…she is my gifted child. She makes straight A’s, she learns easily and is like a sponge, she is very artistic…loves to draw and is very good at it, she loves to sing and she has a beautiful voice, she is silly and very humorous, she is beautiful, and she has the biggest heart. She is such a precious gift and a light unto my life. I am starting to digress as I am known to do so I will quickly get back to the point of my post. I am writing this as I listen to the Moody Radio on my iPhone at work.
Yes, so as I was saying… I realized that my sweet daughter is not like me. She is not fueled by being around people. She is happiest when she is doing an activity by herself or with a very small group. When she is acting out and hiding away from the group it is because she needs the time to recharge. I am total opposite. I love to be around people and the more people the better. My energy level sky rockets when I am out and about. I don’t like to be alone often. This is the battle of Introverts VS Extroverts. If you are unaware of your child’s introverted needs you will be in a constant battle that you can never win.
Here is a list of traits that your child may express if they are an Iintrovert:
Has only a few close friends
Does more listening than talking
Talks to family members, but not to strangers
Likes solitary activities, like reading, or activities with only a few people
Likes to spend time in own room with the door closed.
Watches a game or activity before joining in
Likes creative or imaginative play
May get crabby after spending a lot of time around other people
Does not share feelings easily
Becomes deeply humiliated after making a mistake in public
I am still learning how to parent my introverted child effectively. Working Mother magazine published an article about raising Introverted children. Here is the body of that article:
“1) Honor your kid. Don’t just accept your child for who she is; treasure her. So long as they’re in settings that suit them, introverted children can be kind, thoughtful, focused and very interesting company.
2) Go slow—but go. If your child is reluctant to try new things or meet new people, expose him to new experiences gradually. Don’t let him opt out, but do respect his limits, even when they seem extreme. Inch together toward the thing he’s wary of. When he takes social risks, let him know you admire his efforts: “I saw you go up to those new kids yesterday. I know that can be difficult, and I’m proud of you.” When he ends up enjoying things he thought he wouldn’t like or was initially scared of, point that out to him. Eventually he’ll learn to self-regulate feelings of wariness.
3) Avoid labels. If your child is shy, don’t let her hear you call her that. She’ll start to experience her nervousness as a fixed trait rather than as an emotion she can learn to control. She also knows full well that “shy” is a usually a criticism in our society. When others call her shy in front of her (and they will), reframe it lightly, saying things like “Sophie likes to take her time to suss out new situations.”
4) Don’t project. If you’re an introvert, try not to project your own history onto your child. Your introversion may have caused you pain when you were younger. Don’t assume that this will be the case for your child, or that he won’t be able to handle the occasional sling or arrow. He can handle it, and he can thrive. The best thing to do for him is take joy in his wonderful qualities, have confidence that those qualities will carry him far, and teach him skills for handling challenging aspects of his nature.
5) Water your “orchid.” If your child is “highly sensitive”—meaning sensitive to lights, sounds, emotional experiences or new situations— she might be what’s known as an “orchid child.” This term, from a theory now being investigated by researchers, holds that while many children are like dandelions, able to thrive in just about any environment, others are more like orchids: they wilt easily, but given a nurturing environment, they can actually do better than dandelion children. They’re often healthier, have better grades and enjoy stronger relationships.
6) Cultivate passions. Introverted kids usually have the capacity to develop great passions. Be alert to your child’s enthusiasms and cultivate them. Intense engagement in an activity is a proven route to happiness, and a well-developed talent is a great source of confidence. Traditional childhood activities such as soccer and piano may work well for some kids, but don’t forget to look off the beaten path. It could be creative writing, for example, that stimulates your child. So try to follow her lead.”
Just remember that there is nothing wrong with your child. They have a more simplistic personality. They have a laid back point of view and need less stimulating environments in order to shine. When you respect your child’s introverted needs, you will open the door to serenity in your home.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Follow this link to take a test to find out your personality type. I took the test and I fall right smack dab in the middle and I am an Ambivert.
Post below your experiences and personal tips.
Words from scripture:
Romans 12:6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith;