10 Secrets I’ve Learned For Parenting An Introvert Child
I know I’m not alone when it comes to parenting an introvert child. When my daughter was born, I would bring her around to different family gatherings and she would get so upset. She didn’t want people staring at her and often screamed when meeting new people. What kind of baby is this I thought? I wasn’t used to this behaviour because my first child smiled happily at strangers and would let anyone hold her.
I’ll admit, at first I thought she was just a miserable baby but it turns out, I was misunderstanding her.
When she was a baby, I would do all of the things new moms are supposed to do: play dates, baby groups and visits with family. She was miserable through it all!
When someone (even my own mother) would walk over with a big smile and open arms to try and say hi to my little introvert babe, she would immediately burst in to tears like she had just seen a monster. My mom is a very huggy person and with introverts, this is can be a very big trigger for anxiety and overwhelm. My daughter would get very uncomfortable when people were all up in her space.
Oh my poor mother… she thought it was something she had done. I tried to explain that she was a perfectly happy baby and to maybe come around in a few days, but in reality it took a really long time for her to warm up to anyone!
At home, with just us, she was like a different baby- happy, giggly and snuggly. I tried to explain it to my family and friends and would send pictures of her smiling at home so they could see she was a happy baby.
Then, one day it finally hit me- she’s an introvert! And as soon as I realized that, my approach to parenting her changed.
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Once I started parenting her as an introverted child, she flourished. She’s now a happy 7-year-old, with confidence, boundaries, hobbies and a small group of close school friends she adores! Oh, and in case you’re wondering she has absolutely warmed up to my mom… it just took a few years!
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The Secret To Parenting An Introvert Child
Turns out raising an introvert child is a bit different than other parenting struggles, so if you’re parenting an introvert child you’ll need to take a different approach.
Signs Your Child Is An Introvert
Think you have an introvert child? Here are some signs you might be right:
They need time alone to recharge.
They get overwhelmed in busy, social settings, or with lots of people around them. They tend to be quiet in large social setting.
They are very self aware.
They tend to be good listeners.
They have few close friends, but those they do have are extremely important to them.
They communicate better one-on-one rather than in a large group.
They may show signs of anxiety leading up to a social gathering.
I’m an introvert and empath, which makes it easier to identify another introvert. My daughter is definitely showing some introverted traits and so we are working to establish boundaries and coping mechanisms.
If your child is feeling anxious before a social gathering, try affirmations for anxiety to help calm their mind.
Now that we know the signs, how can you help your child cope with social situations as an introvert?
Here are 10 tips for parenting an introvert child:
Here are some coping tips for introverted kids:
Set boundaries for them. When they’re little, they might not be able to express themselves fully or set boundaries themselves. If you think they need some space or need to set a limit to the amount spent in busy social settings than try it.
Help your child set boundaries so they feel comfortable in social settings, while still maintaining the opportunity to meet new people and make friends.
Boundaries Are Important For Raising An Introverted Child
Teach them how to say “no” when someone asks for their time.
Allow your child plenty of opportunities to be alone if they need them. That might mean changing play or sports plans occasionally, but it will help your child be more confident socially in the long run.
Work with introverted kids on building friendships that involve talking about ideas rather than just socializing. Kids are often grouped by common interests like sports or academics, but an introvert may find this type of grouping negatively affects their ability to form close friendships.
Help them find a safe place if they feel overwhelmed by the presence of lots of people at once. If possible, let your child avoid activities where he or she will not feel comfortable.
Try not to pressure your kids to talk about themselves or engage in small talk when they don’t want to. If you force introverted children into too many social situations, they might begin exhibiting uncharacteristic behavior to fit in.
Reassure your child that you are there for them when they feel overwhelmed or need time alone to recharge. Parenting an introverted child is much the same as parenting any other child, Parenting Introvert children can simply take a bit more patience and understanding.
Talk to your child about their feelings and let them know that their feelings matter. You shouldn’t try and force them to change or make them feel like they need to change in order to fit in.
Be patient and don’t expect too much of them (this applies to all kids).
Allow them their space and let them know that if they need some quiet time they can get it without guilt or pressure from you. That might mean excusing yourself from group settings occasionally, but will help your child be more confident socially in the long run.
Encourage them to get involved in some solitude hobbies like reading or painting.
Allow your child plenty of opportunities to be alone if they need them.
How to explain to people that may not understand what an introvert is:
Explain that socializing and interacting with people, can be overwhelming and even exhausting for your child. Be sure to explain that your child doesn’t need to change to become more social and make them happy.
Wrapping Up: Parenting An Introvert Child
Let your child know that you will always be there for them. Parenting an introvert child is not necessarily more difficult than parenting any other child, but it has its own set of challenges, especially if you have a large family or if you are a very social person. Parenting introvert children just takes a bit more patience and understanding.
You are not alone and neither is your child.