Parenting your Introverted kid
“Quiet people have the loudest minds.”
-Stephen Hawking, Physicist, Cosmologist and Author
The aim of this article is not to pathologize an introverted kid, rather to create a better understanding among parents about the kid’s introversion and ways to help him/her to socialize better without losing confidence.
Since there are many myths and misconceptions regarding the behavior, as a parent, the first thing to do is to make sure that you understand what it means to be an introvert. For example, kids may be reserved, but it does not mean they are shy. Introversion is not a sign of sickness, rather a personality trait. It does not call for medication and the kid is just “doing fine”.
Introversion is a personality trait where the person is focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation. Introverts tend to be quiet and reserved, at the same time they are extremely self-conscious and thoughtful.
They avoid large groups and unfamiliar people. They retract themselves from engaging in small talks (which they might consider unimportant). They rather choose to be in the company of few well-known personal pals and small groups. They might be interested in having deep important conversations with people they are comfortable. Hence, introversion should not be mistook for shyness like most of us do.
The most important thing a parent must follow is to avoid blaming or mocking your child’s behavior. Your child might lack socializing skills, might not have a wide group of friends or might not be good in greeting your guests. But that doesn’t mean they are shy or arrogant. And they don’t deserve to be criticized or ridiculed at.
A parent should also put effort in understanding their kid’s preferences. They might enjoy activities they can do alone or with just a few others. They prefer to spend more time alone in their own personal space. Here a parent should not intervene in their preferences. Of course, as a parent there will be a compulsion to encourage your kids to leave their personal space and get involved in more socialization. But there are chances that the parents end up in forcing kids, draining their energy and hurting their emotions. Rather you can introduce your kid to new people and environments slowly.
And the essential part is to be in support of your kid. Talk to your kid’s class teacher about his/her behavior. Introverts tend to not open out about the problems they are dealing with. So, make sure your kid feels “listened”, have long conversations with them and make them comfortable about sharing things with you.
Albert Einstein, Mark Zuckerberg, J.K. Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Warren Buffett and many others have been introverts. But they are responsible for some of the greatest achievements in the world. So, there is nothing odd or awkward that your kid is an introvert. Your introverted kid might also have a unique skill and interest. Encourage, support, create a comfortable environment and see your kid create history.