I have been giving much thought to what it takes to be a good parent, especially when it comes to parenting an introverted child.
Introversion is Not About the Label
I am an introvert myself and I am sure that one of my children is introverted as well. This is not about a label, but really about understanding how my child is experiencing the world and processing information. I like how Susan Cain, author of Quiet, puts it in Ten Tips for Parenting an Introverted Child.
Cain says we “Don’t just accept your child for who she is; treasure her for who she is.” Each child comes with gifts and we should treasure them. Cain goes on to say that we should figure out their passions and help them develop them. It is possible they may be different from the traditional childhood activities.
Fitting In Can Be Difficult
As a parent, I look at my introverted child and seek to understand him.
I sometimes think back to my own childhood. When I was young, I was in a houseful of sisters and often played alone. This was actually fine with me. I had such a great imagination. I loved setting up elaborate scenes with a mismatched set of action figures and was quite content playing by myself. As I grew up, however, I did not understand my introversion and did not always feel like I fit in, so my introverted traits did cause some issues during my youth and young adulthood. It took me many years to learn to embrace my introversion.
Introverted Children Need Our Understanding and Support
Now that I am a parent, I look at my introverted child and seek to understand him and how I can best encourage him. Although one of my sons is very much like me, he is so much better adjusted than I was at his age. I think this is due, in a large part, to the fact that we as his parents have a better understanding of introversion. We’ve certainly had issues to work through, but have learned how to help him through many pitfalls of introversion. I don’t push him too hard when it comes to new things or new people, but at the same time I don’t let him “opt out.” Also, when he spends time in his room alone I don’t worry too much.
As a parents of introverted children, we have so many opportunities to help them gain understanding and learn what is wonderful about themselves. Embrace an introvert… Especially if he or she is your child!