Are You an Introverted Parent Raising an Extroverted Kid? Tips on How to Survive!
You like quiet. You like calm. You like a slow pace. Enter parenthood. Screaming children. Play dates. Birthday parties. Constant interaction. This can be beyond overwhelming for an introverted parent. But what if that was just the beginning? What if that little bundle of joy was an extroverted bundle of friendliness? What if your introverted self gave birth to a foreign species. A species you know nothing about?
Are you an introverted parent raising an extroverted kid?
Join the club. Scroll to the bottom of the page to listen to my podcast episode on this topic.
Tips for an Introverted Parent:
Dealing with Chaos
When you are an introvert you get recharged by being alone. When you are an extrovert you get recharged by being with others. Ongoing chaos can quickly deplete an introvert’s battery supply.
Even constantly interacting and playing with your children can be exhausting and depleting. Don’t beat yourself up. It doesn’t mean you are a horrible parent or that you don’t love your kids. You just have a finite amount of energy for interaction. Some of us are just wired that way.
Divide and Conquer
If you have more than one child, all the constant bickering and fighting might zap your energy. Before you completely lose it, divide and conquer. If you don’t want to constantly scream at your kids, be proactive and separate them when you are reaching your boiling point. Having kids play independently for a little while can go a long way to reset your patience.
Escape Among the Chaos
If you need some time to recoup, but need to keep an eye on the kids – put noise cancelling headphones on. Listening to music, an audiobook or podcast can transport a tired introvert in the midst of chaos.
When I am making dinner, doing the laundry or cleaning, I will wear headphones. This helps relax and recharge me while I’m doing necessary tasks around the house. These are my favorite headphones.
They aren’t too expensive and they do a great job keeping out the environmental noise.
An extroverted child wants constant interaction. Can you play with me? Can you play with me? Can you play with me? Might echo throughout your house. This can be frustrating, exhausting and overwhelming.
An extroverted child’s cup might never get filled up.
You pour and pour and pour and they never get satiated. This isn’t your fault. This isn’t their fault. You are both just wired differently.
Schedule time and activities with your child.
This might sound weird, but trust me – this will save you both some heartache. Pick an activity and a time. Tell your child that you will do the activity at the predetermined time. If the activity doesn’t have a natural end, tell your child when you’ll end the activity in advance. This will help shape expectations.
Foster independent play.
As an introvert you might feel like you have to socialize more. You might worry:
Am I holding my child back socially?
Is my child missing out on opportunities?
Am I isolating my child?
You shouldn’t have to change who you are to raise an extroverted child. Finding balance is key.
You don’t have to go on a billion play dates for your child to be social. As they get older this gets much easier, as they’ll practically arrange their own play dates!
But in the meanwhile, If your child wants more interaction there are many structured ways they can get it:
Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts
Signing your child up for activities gives you more structure (and an end time!) while giving them the interaction they so desperately crave.
This is also a way to socialize your child without having to constantly arrange for play dates or make small talk with those you don’t know (which can be draining for us introverts).
The predictability and time limit of structured activities can be a lifesaver for an introverted parent.
Be Kind to Yourself
It is easy for an introverted parent to be filled with guilt. As an introverted parent I get this all too well. You might feel guilty that you don’t have the desire to play endlessly with your kids. You might feel bad that you dodge play dates and conversations with other parents. You might find yourself saying no more often than you say yes.
You do not have to be your child’s playmate.
It is okay if you don’t enjoy playing with your child for hours on end. Many introverts need more down time.
I know I am at my best when I have had some time to recharge. Time with your kids is about quality not quantity.
You are not responsible for your child’s social life.
Your child will survive if you aren’t on the PTA or in every mommy group. If you have an extroverted child they will quickly take over their social calendar. Now that my children are older they often come home with scribbled numbers and pre-arranged plans.
It is okay if “play date” is a pair of four letter words.
You don’t have to be the life of the party or the block. Know your limits and accept them.
Too much chaos makes me want to pull out my hair. Any addition to my three children is enough to probably push me over the edge. So I…
Invite kids out with us.
This is perfect because I control when the play date ends and how long it lasts.
Set up activities.
If I have a few prearranged activities for play dates it tends to keep the energy level of the house down a bit.
It is okay to say no.
I found out long ago that sleepovers push me too far, so we don’t do them often. Know what your limits are and don’t go beyond them.
Being an introverted parent raising an extroverted kid doesn’t have to be painful or confusing. It is all about finding the balance that works for both you and your child.
For more tips listen to my podcast episode. Click below to listen or hit subscribe and listen to it later:
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