Introverted kids do not need “fixing,” but they may need recharging!

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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

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8 Comments

    • Thanks so much! This one was really from the heart. 🙂 I remember being an introverted child just like it was yesterday, and I sure wish/hope to help those who are growing up now.

  1. Yeah, this is a good one. It really sums up how I was as a child. I liked playing with the neighborhood kids since we all knew each other from school. and running about outside, but I didn’t mind being alone, either. I would read and occupy myself with solitary activities, and it wasn’t a big deal. It was just something I did. My parents may have commented on the fact that I enjoyed doing things by myself, but they commented because they liked that aspect of my personality. I guess it is also a cultural thing. I’m from a Jamaican family, and from my observation, Jamaican parents like it when their kids show the ability to sit quietly and occupy themselves, instead of always running about, making noise, and trying to be the center of attention.
    However, my father is a highly expressed extrovert and as I got older, he started to make negative comments about my personality because he wanted me to be more social and outgoing. He feels comfortable talking to anyone, and that is not something that I feel comfortable with. When I was a child and even into my early teen years, my dad and I would go to the park together and he would try to get me to join other kids who were playing in the park. Also, even now, whenever I am around him, he will tell me to talk to people he knows but that I don’t know. He feels like because he knows these people that I should automatically feel comfortable making small talk and being friendly with people I have just met. He also doesn’t have a problem talking about more personal matters such as family issues and problems that our family has had through the years, so whenever I am around him and other people, I feel like at some point I am going to be the center of attention since he lacks discretion and will say just about anything. He’s even accused me of having a mental illness because of my personality.

    • Hi JW, I was at a family party last month where there was a four year old boy who was minding his own business and playing with toys in the corner. His mom and aunt kept telling people WITHIN HIS EARSHOT, “Oh he always acts like this. He’s SHY!” “I don’t know when he’ll come OUT OF HIS SHELL.” I wanted to go to both women and…um…tell them to be quiet. 🙂 That sweet little fellow was not defective at all. He was having a nice time enjoying the things he was pretending while he played with toy animals. And he’s probably an introvert. I’m sorry your dad implied you’re mentally ill!

  2. Thanks for the reminder, it seems that most people seem to think that there is some thing wrong with an introverted kid. I have a young nephew that is an introvert and his brother is the opposite. I noticed that some family members make comments about him, in a negative way. I know from personal experience that is the worst thing to do.

    • It sure is. I’m glad he has you! You’re not only someone who’ll be there for him and not criticize him, you’re a confident enough guy that I’ll bet you may just educate a few of those people. 🙂

  3. My son is an introvert and i accept it with all my heart. I just want to know is he more a target of other children being nasty to him, i need to know to what extand i need to protect him. Or must i say i want to protect him and its not always possible.

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