Do you ever worry when your child resists talking to people? Or do you wish they’d hurry up or be more spontaneous? If you’re a more extroverted parent with an introverted child, you know how this feels.
You have big, extroverted energy that sometimes feels like too much drive or social interaction for your quieter child. They just want a break.
Or maybe your introverted child’s quieter, methodical approach to life feels too tedious to you sometimes. You want to say, “Let’s just go already!”
Want more harmony between your extroverted energy and your child’s introverted one? Here are some ways to make your differences work for both of you:
Tip #1. Create smoother days by understanding your energy.
Extroversion is not always loud or social. And introvert doesn’t mean quiet loner. Both are just different ways of moving through life.
The Child Whisperer will help you understand those differences. (Read it if you haven’t.)
You may find yourself making instant friends—at the store, on vacation, or anywhere else. It’s a gift. Your introverted child may take more time to warm up to strangers and situations. Understanding each other’s natural gifts brings clarity to past events and helps us create better experiences now.
Tip #2. Prevent conflict by giving them time to process.
If your introverted child whines, resists, or flat-out refuses to do something you’ve asked, consider: How much time have they had to prepare for or think about what you’re requesting?
Introverts generally don’t jump right into things. They need time to consider.
When possible, help your introverted child know what’s coming. (Sometimes, you may even want to share there’s unplanned time when they’ll need to be flexible: planned spontaneity). When these children know what to plan for or can see the big picture, they’re more balanced—and your life is easier.
Tip #3. Create a strong relationship by inviting communication.
If you’re living true to your big energy, you probably speak your mind readily.
But speaking up may not come so naturally to your introverted child.
While your introverted child is likely more vocal at home, they may still wait for an invitation to share their deepest feelings or thoughts they don’t express out loud.
Invite their thoughts, questions, feelings. And then STOP AND LISTEN. They’ll feel great relief when you stop what you’re doing and give them the space to speak at their natural pace.
(Bonus: Combine this tip with the one before and let older kids know ahead of time that you want to talk about something. This will give them time to gather their thoughts.)
Tip #4. Give both of you the right balance of people.
As an extrovert, you generally get energized by being around people.
Your introverted child does not. Even if they love people, too much interaction can feel physically draining—which leads to crankiness, whining, and frustration.
Rather than keeping your child go, go, going with you all day long, consider ways to give them time alone in familiar spaces, away from your big energy.
Can you run that errand when your introvert child isn’t with you? Can you give your child some quiet space in his or her room before the next family outing?
Tip #5. Resolve frustration by meeting your own needs.
Ever roll your eyes at how detailed your child is? Or get grumpy because they won’t engage? That can be a cue that you need some space.
As an extrovert, you love new experiences and you need room to move.
If you haven’t had space to express your own energy, you can get frustrated by the way they hesitate or hold to routine. It can make you feel like you don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your life—so give yourself some.
Wiggle room may look like an outing with a friend, working out, or even finishing a project or errand without kids in tow. Identify your need and meet it.
Tip #6. Experience the best by assuming the best.
Both extroverted parents and introverted children want the same things—harmony, joy, and love. Assume that’s where your child’s heart is. When they hesitate or whine, they’re not being too much. They’re trying to be themselves, without knowing how to express what they need.
Your child is not too quiet or methodical.
You’re not too loud or spontaneous.
Both of you are exactly who you’re meant to be. When you understand each other better, you create more love and cooperation between you.
And you can never have too much of that.