If your child is an introvert, he most likely lets you know when he needs to be alone. You may catch him working a puzzle or reading a book all alone, and please don’t think or say, “How sad!” when you see that. Introverts need time to be alone the way we need nutrients and oxygen. Introverted kids may love having friends over, but then afterward they will also truly relish time alone in their rooms. I remember I used to make excuses to go home for just 30 minutes after school instead of going straight to my friend’s house to play. I used to think it was because I couldn’t miss a certain TV show, but now I know – we need a little break sometimes to recharge.
An introverted personality is not a defect, a mental illness, or any other kind of negative. It doesn’t mean your child hates people or is “weird.” The main difference between your child and an extroverted child is simply how he recharges himself. The extroverted child can’t be alone for long, it seems, and constantly wants to be with groups of people, because it drains his energy to be alone or with just one person. Your introverted child may have many friends and be the life of the party sometimes, but then he really needs to be alone for stretches of time to recharge his energy.
There are lots of positives to being an introvert, because we have highly stimulating mental lives, even though we may not share them with anyone (or even know how). We can concentrate for long periods of time, and we make deep connections with others in our lives. Many introverts are extremely gifted, and who is better equipped to sit still and really achieve something academic than a happy introvert? If your child is an introvert, the best thing to do is accept it and appreciate it. And give him his own room. A space of one’s own is so necessary for an introvert – a place where one can read, daydream, or anything at all, and recharge the energy that has been sapped by interaction with other people.
Please don’t talk about your child’s personality with others, especially in front of him. Just because he’s quietly playing near you without speaking doesn’t mean he can’t hear you! Remember that introverts don’t like to be the center of attention and we certainly hate to be ridiculed or scolded in front of others. Show an interest in the things your child is “into” – whether books, animals, science, painting – and maybe he will invite you to enter his wonderful world for a little while. You may be amazed at the intricate details he has assembled there and genuinely find it awesome that your kid is an introvert. 🙂
Photo credit: neoliminal