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Happy Mother’s Day!

As we celebrated Mother’s Day this past week, how many of us struggle with parenting? Whether an introvert or extrovert, each child definitely comes with their own personality and unique gifts and needs.

In this episode, David discusses the challenges and joys of parenthood – whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, and whether your partner or children are introverts and extroverts. It showcases the different ways that both personality types can approach parenting, and highlights the strengths of both personality types.

Listen as David explores the different ways introverts and extroverts approach parenting, and how to make the most of your unique strengths as a parent.

Books mentioned in this episode:

The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child – Marti Olsen Laney
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

Blog Article:
 Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Six things to consider

David’s book:
Minding Your Time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts


Contact the host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast:

David Hall
Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster
quietandstrong.com
Gobio.link/quietandstrong
david@quietandstrong.com

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Podcast Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Quiet and Strong Podcast, Especially for introverts.  I am your host, David Hall and creator of quietandstrong.com.  This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced. Normally we will air each episode on Mondays.  Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. 

Hope all you Mothers out there had a great Mother’s Day! Recently I was in a group and was asked who I thought was the most influential woman.  I think they were looking for a famous leader.  My Mom popped into my head and I honestly couldn’t think of anyone else.  My Mom is amazing,  She raised a very large family and loved and cared for us all.  Some of my best memories were having a chat after school with just me and my Mom, again, I had lots of brothers and sisters, but somehow she managed this. Now that I have three kids of my own I really don’t know how she managed all of us.  She is now a grandma and great-grandma and continues to show love and concern for all of us.  We have a regular group text with my brothers and sisters that she is very active in. My Dad was the love of her life and he unexpectedly passed away four years ago and she keeps on going and watching out for all of us. If you are listening Mom, I love you!  She does listen often.  I am still not sure if she or my Dad were introverts or extroverts. Definitely, when I was a kid our personalities weren’t discussed or even understood.  Much has changed since then. Either way, her faith and her family are extremely important to her.

Happy Mothers Day to my wife, Cari!  She is one of the most amazing Moms I know. I feel very fortunate to be married to my best friend who gets me and together we have three amazing kids.  It is also fascinating that all three kids are very different.  All three are being raised basically the same, but each has his or her own unique strengths, needs, and desires. She loves them all so very much and would do anything for them.  I think my kids probably like her the best as they should. And a shout out to Cari’s Mom who is one of the kindest and caring people I have ever met.  She literally would give the shirt off her back to help someone she loves.

And to all of you moms out there, I wish you a “Happy Mother’s Day” too. Your love and influence shapes future generations. I also want to acknowledge that Mother’s Day can be tough for some, whether it’s a reminder of the loss of a parent or a child, of strained relationships, or of dreams of a family unfulfilled, or because you were called to a different path or purpose. I want to talk about parenting today, but if your current role is not that of a parent, I hope you’ll also think about how to recognize the great gifts in yourself and the others in your life.

Once, I was listening to the radio on the way to work and the guest was speaking about parenting.  She said something to the effect that parenting was the toughest yet most rewarding thing anyone could do.  I have often thought about this since becoming a parent.  Parenting and motherhood can also be difficult in the context of introversion and extroversion.

My wife and I are both introverts.  We have a couple of extroverted children and one introverted child.  These different dynamics can be challenging.  For example, sometimes I may not be able to keep up with the amount of talking my kids might need.  Or I may be concerned that I am not speaking enough with my child.  And you may have different dynamics in your family, one introverted and one extroverted parent or two extraverted parents, and so on.

In The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child, Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D., writes:

“Speak with your children about temperament.  Even very young children can understand that people are born with unique personalities.  Explain that part of temperament is about where someone gets his energy and where he focuses his attention – inside himself or outside himself.  Understanding the idea of temperament will help your child weather any perceived criticisms of his introverted nature; this way he knows there’s a reason for his responses and needs, and he won’t take things as personally.  Give him the tools he needs to gauge other people’s temperaments.  Accepting that others are different in their own way will enhance his people skills and tolerance.”

Since I’ve begun blogging and now podcasting, I have had more conversations with my kids about their temperaments.  It is not about labels, but rather about their strengths and their needs.  I may talk with them about my strengths and needs.  I may talk with my introvert about his great thinking ability and sometimes how he may need to ask for time to think about something before responding.  Or I may tell my extrovert that I need 15 minutes to unwind and then I’m ready to hand out. I am not saying to them you are an introvert and you are an extrovert, but rather talking about what is happening and what they are experiencing.  I am finding that not only will this improve our relationships now, but it will also help them in future relationships.  And most of all it will help them better understand and use their strengths to be happy and successful.

Another quote from Marti Olsen Laney: “Introverted children really are small wonders.  Accept them as they are.  By supporting their natural resources you will allow their gifts to grow.  Being an introvert and being self-assured are not mutually exclusive.  Confident introverted children will forge adult lives of meaning, value, and creativity.”

My kids are not all introverts, and I think “extrovert” could just as easily be substituted in this quote. The point is that whether your child is an introvert or extrovert, you nurture their gifts and help them gain confidence in who they are.  You also show understanding and patience when needed, which can be difficult when your child is different from you.  I am careful not to use labels without discussion, as I believe that labels without understanding can be harmful.  But I think it’s helpful to talk about strengths and needs. I believe that helping your children discover what is unique or special about themselves, and then helping them develop those qualities is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

I did have to laugh when my daughter was young (who had often listened to my wife and I discuss my blog) said to her brother, “I am an extrovert and I need people!”  We had never told her this, but it was true. And as introverted parents, we have to be aware of her social needs – even though they are different from our own social needs. At the same time, we need to respect the need for alone time in our introverted children, but also encourage balance in exploring and interacting with others.

Understanding my own strengths and needs has been a long journey. Growing up, sometimes I thought something was wrong with me and didn’t understand my introversion or how my own strengths and needs impacted the way I interacted with the world.  One of my goals as a father is to help my kids have a clear understanding of themselves so they can get what they want out of life and be happy.

One Christmas, my daughter made a coupon book for her mom. It was the sweetest thing! There were coupons for things like emptying the dishwasher, bringing her a snack or a drink of water, and cleaning up.  And there was a “leave me alone” coupon.

If you know my introverted wife and my extroverted daughter, this was very thoughtful and so cute.   My wife has run her business from home since we started having kids and, as an introvert, needs some quiet or alone time from time to time. She would never say, “leave me alone,” but she often stays up late working to find her quiet.  And there have been times, especially when the kids were younger, when she was going to the store and I would say don’t you want to take the kids, and she would say, nope.  My daughter needs people (which is usually MOM) on a pretty steady basis, but recognizes her mom’s need for quiet now and then.  She knows that her mom loves her dearly, but she is already understanding her mom’s uniqueness.

Again, when discussing introverts and extroverts I am careful not to make it about a label, but rather we discuss what we need individually and where our individual gifts and strengths are.

There are no perfect parents out there.  I know I didn’t come with a book for my parents and my kids didn’t come with one either.  And my kids are all different with their own amazing gifts and also needs.  All the while I am still learning and growing while trying to be the best parent I can be. Does your family know what you need? Do they know you love them? Have conversations with your loved ones. When everyone’s needs are understood and recognized, you can ask for what you need with patience and kindness. Give yourself some grace and try to do your best.  Also, give your parents some grace as they probably tried or are trying to give their bast.

We all need this understanding from others and for others. In a family dynamic, we each have to support the needs of each other — including giving up some solitude to spend time with your little extroverts, or giving the introverts in your family a little space — while also making sure we have what we need to be our best for them.

I’m definitely not a perfect father, but I really am trying to help my kids have confidence in who they are — and help them see the wonder of their own unique gifts.  As parents, helping your children understand who they are and how they work best will go so much farther than trying to change their nature. When you work with your child’s strengths instead of against them, you will help them become strong!

Whether you are an introverted or extroverted parent or have introverted or extroverted kids, think of strengths and needs. I will put a link to the article  “Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Six things to consider” on the Quiet and Strong website. You may have used this to think of your own needs, but you can also consider your child. Does my child need some space right now or do they need more conversation from me? How does my child like to communicate?  Do they understand my communication preferences?  Do they need some small talk or like to dive into deep conversations? Do they need to think during conversations or do they know they may need some time to think?  Do they have some good friendships?  Remember it is normal for an introvert to have a smaller tight-knit group of friends and extroverts may have many friends.  With all of these things, there is not a good or bad, but understanding is needed. Where are my child’s strengths?  How can I nurture these?

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.

As parents, we have so many opportunities to help our introverted or extroverted children gain understanding and learn what is wonderful about themselves. Again, as Susan Cain said, treasure your child for who they are! Let’s keep the conversation going for understanding for us and for our children.

Hope all of you that are mothers had a wonderful Mother’s Day! Remember to not only look out for the needs of your introverted or extroverted kids, but also take care of yourself and your own introverted or extroverted needs. If you haven’t already take some time to appreciate your own mother.  

Thank you so much for joining me.  I look forward to further connecting with you.  Reach out [email protected]. I will add social media channels to the show notes. Please comment on the social media posts related to this podcast.  Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. So many great things about being an introvert and so we need those to be understood.  Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be Strong!

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