Parenting comes with many rewards and can provide a lot of laughter and giggles. Happiness is just one great reward of becoming a parent. But, parents may also be left feeling drained or in desperate need of extra alone time. This can be even more troublesome for introverted parents trying to raise an extroverted child. The social interaction needs of an extrovert far exceed those of an introvert and can really deplete an introverted parent of their energy.
I’ve been a high-functioning introvert for a long time. Once I became comfortable with people, I began to open up more and break out of my shell. But, my circle of close friends has always been limited. Not because I totally dislike people, I just don’t have the energy for much socialization.
When my daughter began crawling, I noticed how much warmer and friendlier she was than myself. She’d crawl to anyone and away from mommy as much as possible. Turns out my toddler son is even more social than his big sister.
Being at home with two children all day sucks up all my energy. I’m pretty sure I dip into my reserves by 3:00 in the afternoon. And, if we go out of the house to socialize, I’m doomed … wondering how I’ll finish the rest of the day without crawling into bed to replenish my energy!
But, I find ways to cope and live through another day!
Here are some tips for raising an extroverted child when you are an introverted parent.
How to Raise an Extroverted Child When You Are an Introvert
Devote Time to Self-Care
While all parents should commit to regular self-care, an introverted parent relies on more alone time to unwind and recharge. Taking care to look after oneself allows an introverted parent to better care for and provide the environment an extroverted child needs.
For most introverts, excessive social interaction will lead to exhaustion, anxiety, and stress. These feelings can become apparent to their children and affect their own behavior. If you’re in a bad mood, there’s a good chance that your child will pick up on it. Your child may blame themselves and lead to feelings of depression.
What you can do: Let your child know it’s not their fault. Schedule a 30 minute or hour break daily to process and manage stress, or simply unwind and recharge. Explain to your child the importance of recognizing the need to recharge and turn it into a positive experience for them. This will give your child the opportunity to process their feelings and experiences while recognizing and respecting others’ different needs.
Provide Opportunities for Interaction
It’s important to provide your extroverted child as many opportunities as possible for social interaction. However, that doesn’t mean you have to turn your home into a hangout spot for all their friends. Schedule social gatherings for your child with a wide variety of people. Spend time with family members, schedule play dates with friends from school, or take a trip to a public playground where your child can meet new friends.
By establishing interactions outside of the house, you can provide for your extrovert’s social needs while also keeping your personal space in mind. On occasion, return the favor and have your child’s friends over to your house. Even if it’s just once or twice a month, your child will gain a different benefit by having social gatherings on a more personal scale.
School Environment for Your Extrovert
As many times as I thought about homeschooling, my ability to handle the constant chatter is questionable. And, I still have to take into account my child’s needs for socialization. Because of which, we started with the public school system.
Make sure your child is getting an education that properly caters to their extroverted needs. At the very least, you want your child’s school and/or classroom to offer plenty of interaction between schoolmates. Meet with the school’s staff of teachers and assess what type of classes would be best for your extrovert. Seek out and request teachers that have a significant amount of practical “field work” in their lesson plans.
The best thing you can do for your child is to get them involved in extracurricular activities. Sports teams or clubs geared toward their interests may be best suited for your child. These activities are a wonderful way for them to socialize and build relationships with like-minded people, as well as learn valuable skills.
Discuss what activities your child is interested in – whether it be sports, the chess team or the drama club. Getting them involved in at least one activity will help fill in the social interaction gap they need.
Call in Backup
I think I have trouble with this one the most. I forget to ask for some extra help from my husband!
Don’t forget about your parenting teamwork, and call for an extra hand when you’re feeling worn out. Your partner can help play with the kids while you take a break to re-balance!
As an introverted parent, an extroverted child can sometimes seem like quite a handful. But, even if you aren’t excited about expressing your feelings or meeting new people, it’s important that your social butterfly gets the chance to build on the very thing that makes them tick. Every chance that you give them to interact with people will help them develop their social skills and help them make new friends.