Introvert Children in an Extrovert Society

What is the day like for introverted children? Introverted kids are often drained after school and want to come home at the end of the day and recharge their batteries. That may mean they want to be alone or in a quiet place at the end of the day. They may tell you that they don’t like going to after school activities, which really translates to them reacting to the simple problem of not having enough downtime.

Introverted children usually like to observe first and generally prefer to watch an activity before joining in. However, they may be more energetic and talkative at home where they feel more comfortable. Introverted kids normally like to make decisions based on their own principles rather than following the crowd. This can be a positive aspect because it means they are often less vulnerable to peer pressure as they get older.

From a young age, children are spending time in daycares and preschools. When they begin elementary school, they are spending 6-7 hours a day with 20 or more other children, all the while being encouraged to interact and participate in groups. This can however be challenging for introverted children who do better at home during their early years and eventually adapt to group settings as they grow older.

If you think about it, we live in a society that is geared towards extroversion, from schools that encourage class participation to a work culture that pushes networking for a future job.

Introverted child at school

Research shows it is estimated that introverts make up approximately 50% of society. Despite this, many parents think being introverted is an oddity and if their child is not as sociable or outgoing as other children, something is wrong. Parents often want to see their children have large groups of friends and be included in activities. They don’t want to see their child standing off to the side, hanging out by themselves because that may reflect badly on parenting skills.

Often times when parents see that their child is more of an introvert, they rush around in a panic trying to startup their child’s social lives by arranging playdates and insisting on inviting their classmates over. Instead of seeing introverts as failed extroverts, we should begin appreciating their unique strength.

Difference Between How Introverts and Extroverts Responds to Dopamine

When the neurotransmitter, dopamine, is released in the brain both introverts and extroverts become more talkative and are willing to take risks by exploring the environment. Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute, Scott Barry Kaufman found that both introverts and extroverts have the same amount of dopamine available. The difference is dopamine is more active in the brains of extroverts than in the brains of introverts. Instead, introverts use a different neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which makes them feel good when they turn inward. Research shows acetylcholine powers abilities to think deeply and focus intensely on just one thing for a period of time. This helps explain why introverts like calm environments.

Be Patient, Don’t Push

Introverted children will form strong friendships, but they will take their time with it. Pushing your child to have a more social life can amount to trying to change an important part of who they are. It sends a message that they are not good enough and this can have a negative effect on their self-confidence. Instead, enhance their skills by teaching them simple conversation starters and show them how to interact with people.

Extroverts tend to take over social situations, leaving introverts to often feel left out of things. So let your child know that their ability to listen, observe and communicate with others on a one-to-one basis is perfectly okay and nothing to be ashamed of.

There is no doubt that raising an introverted child in an extroverted world is challenging, but the key is to not see introversion as an affliction to be cured.

This entry was posted in Education, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.