How Does an Introverted Parent Raise an Extroverted Child?
The world is run by two camps of people: extroverts and introverts. Of course, the outgoing, overly expressive extrovert tends to dominate the conversation, as they tend to get their energy from social interaction. Introverts get their energy by focusing on their internal thoughts and ideas, and they enjoy spending time in smaller groups, rather than large ones.
A 2019 study by the Meyers-Briggs Company revealed that 57 percent of the world prefers introversion. So, what happens when there are both extroverted and introverted people in your immediate family? And even more interestingly, what does it mean if you’re parenting a child who is naturally extroverted, and you’re an introvert that would rather stay home? Our in-house advice columnist answers this very question to one of our readers.
Having an Extroverted Child Can Have Lots of Meanings
I’m part of a “Mommy and Me” group mainly to satisfy my 2-year-old’s need to meet and play with other kids. She and I are so different that it’s sometimes hard to believe that we’re genetically related. I’m an introvert who would be happy staying home and reading books to my child all day (and reading my own books when she naps!). But at two years of age, my daughter’s a total extrovert who gets frustrated and fussy unless she’s surrounded by people, noise and stimulation.
The problem is that I find the chaos and the chattiness of the Mommy and Me group almost unbearable. The other moms are nice enough, but I don’t have a lot in common with them and can barely hear them anyway from all the commotion of a dozen toddlers. I want to give my daughter what she needs to thrive, but I find myself dreading each outing with the group. I’m sure the other moms consider me a total drag. Please help me make some peace of this for me and for my daughter.
Yes, Introverted Parents Can Find Their Tribe
Enter reality. Sometimes, our kids come out with personalities so different from us that we can’t help but look at them and wonder if they were somehow switched at birth. More often than not, they’re a bit like us and a bit not like us — which makes life interesting.
So, let’s start with the basics. Are there a couple of moms and kids from the group that you wouldn’t mind getting to know in a quieter setting? If so, we suggest you experiment with some smaller playdates and see if that kind of interaction satisfies your daughter. At least 50 percent of the general population is introverted, and we guarantee you that some of those introverts are also newish moms like you. Bookish, your tribe is out there.
In this case, Bookish, the internet is definitely your friend. You can find your tribe more quickly and efficiently on the internet than most other ways. There are “introverted moms” groups galore already — just Google it. And if you can’t find one in your area, start one. The other introverted moms in your neighborhood will thank you for it.
If you’re on social media, there are several on Facebook as well. Another way to meet like-minded moms is through an app called Peanut (kind of like Tinder for parent friends). You can also try to find a fitness class that’s more about the activity for both parent and child and less about socialization. Look for “mommy and me” yoga classes, swimming classes or dance classes in your area.
Lastly, Bookish, remember that it’s more than OK to balance your needs with your daughter’s needs. If you’re not caring for yourself, your daughter will suffer, too. Have a quiet morning or afternoon, just the two of you, once in a while. It’s good for extroverts like her to learn quiet play and self-directed activities.
You got this!