Ever say things like this and worry that something is wrong with your child? Most parents of introverts do.
The good news is that you can rest easy because what may be seem like anti-social, aloof, or even awkward behavior to an extrovert is actually normal and healthy conduct for an introvert.
According to the DISC model of human behavior, roughly 85% of the population possess introverted qualities. They are the thinkers and listeners of our world, the ones who need solitude and silence to function best. They are conscientious, creative, and compassionate. They are patient, predictable, and peaceful. They foster harmony, offer empathy, and bring order to the chaos of our lives.
With all these beautiful and godly qualities, why would we ever question the behavior of an introvert? Simply put, we live in an extroverted world, especially in America and we have been influenced by our culture. In her book, Quiet, Susan Cain says that as a nation “We’re told that to be great is to be bold, to be happy is to be sociable…Talkative people, for example, are rated as smarter, better-looking, more interesting, and more desirable as friends.” These misleading messages diminish the purpose and significance behind introverted qualities, judging them as “bad” or at least “less than,” and causing us to question the benefits of introversion.
As parents it is our job to protect our kids from this negative and worldly view of themselves by teaching them about their quieter strengths and building upon them.
Here are a few suggestions for raising loving, confident introverts:
- Send them to their room especially after school and other social events. Give them the space and solitude that their little souls need to refresh and renew. Provide a place for them to be silent and respect their personal space.
- Expect quality over quantity when it comes to their friendships. Introverts value depth in their conversations and one-on-one time with friends.
- Wherever possible provide ways for them to order their world, their papers, and their toys. It is extremely hurtful when younger siblings get into and mess with their stuff. Let them keep the crayons perfect. Remember that God is a god of order.
- Don’t abuse their compliance and love of rules. Yes, you will look and feel like a great parent when your child obeys you regularly. And yes, they will experience the blessings of that good behavior, but make sure they know that they can fail, disagree, and even break the rules AND still be loved and accepted by you. Of course there will be consequences, but they will always be loved.
- Point out their strengths. When you hear your introverts recounting their weaknesses, remind them that they are also deep, creative, kind, compassionate, and thoughtful. When you hear them being critical of themselves and doubtful of their social contributions remind them that they do love and help others in their own behind-the-scenes kind of way. God created introverts to reveal the softer and more sensitive side of His nature to a world that desperately needs His peace, love and understanding. Let your little introvert glorify God in the way that God designed him.
Train the child concerning his way;
even when he is old, he will not stray from it.
Proverbs 22:6 LEB
By Dale Skram
Mom of four
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
real.life.speaker, real.faith.writer, and real.life.coach