8 common mistakes parents of introverted children make and how to avoid them
Introverts often feel like outsiders even in their adult years. But when they are still children, this feeling can be incredibly tough to handle.
Sadly, it often comes from not being raised according to their unique personality. While many parents believe they know what’s best for their kids, some of them make massive mistakes without even realizing it.
Are you a parent of an introvert? Are you an introvert raised by people who had no idea what it means?
Here are 8 common mistakes parents make with their introverted children and how to avoid them:
1. Making them feel embarrassed about who they are.
It is 2021, and yet, many parents continue to shame and punish their children for being different. In times when we strive for a world where everyone feels accepted, children are still taught that not fitting in is wrong.
So what if your kid is not as outgoing as other children? So what if they prefer to be alone sometimes? This doesn’t mean they are not going to make you proud with their admirable kindness and exceptional creativity.
Instead of shaming them for not being ordinary, try appreciating that they are, in fact, extraordinary. And, please, try to be more empathetic with them, even though you don’t always understand their choices.
2. Forcing them to fit in.
Having many friends and being the popular kid in school may be cool, but what about having a passion for reading and constantly learning new things? Even if you don’t seem to understand why your kid doesn’t really enjoy being in the spotlight, don’t try to force them to do so.
If your child is indeed an introvert, this would only make them feel bad about themselves. And, hopefully, that’s not what you want. So, if they prefer to play, practice their hobbies, or study alone or with just a friend or two, so be it.
3. Introducing them as “shy.”
Putting a label on your child may affect them for the rest of their life. Even if it is something small like saying to others they are a bit too shy when it comes to socializing. That’s because children look up to their parents and they take their words deeply.
This is exactly why you need to be careful with the labels and whenever someone asks you why your kid is not as talkative as the other kids, tell them they speak only when they feel like it. Not making a big deal of how quiet your son or daughter is sometimes would mean a lot to them.
4. Not encouraging their creativity.
Introverts are naturally creative. Their minds work differently than those of others in the most imaginative way possible. The best thing you could do for them is to encourage their creative side. Whenever they want to draw, write, solve a puzzle, listen to music, compose music, let them.
And if you see they do have a talent, help them make it grow into a passion. A parent’s support means the world to children, so make sure you don’t deprive your kid of yours.
5. Not spending enough time with them.
Whether or not your child is an introvert, spending quality time with them is crucial for their mental health and the relationship you have with them. If you fail to be there for them from a young age, this will affect their whole lives.
Of course, you don’t have to spend every spare second you have with them. However, you do need to be present whenever you spend time together. Be curious about their interests, ask them about their feelings, offer them guidance when they need it, and accept them just as they are.
6. Claiming to understand what it means to be an introvert.
Many parents are firmly convinced they know every single bit of their children’s character. They believe they know what’s best for their sons and daughters. But that’s not always the case. And you don’t have to act like it is.
If your child is an introvert, but you don’t fully understand what that means, take time to educate yourself on the matter. Learn what introversion is and how it affects a person’s individuality and unique perspective. Maybe then you would actually understand your kid and be able to offer them a nurturing environment where they would feel comfortable with who they are.
7. Not educating them on introversion.
Once you educate yourself on the matter, help them understand themselves too. Children don’t always comprehend why they react differently than their peers in certain situations. That is why as the parent, your job is to guide them through the journey of discovering their true nature.
Maybe they don’t feel their best at social gatherings, but they are remarkable at learning new things and discovering details no one else sees. Let them know how to get the most of their one-of-a-kind character with all of its different nuances.
8. Being overprotective.
While spending little to no time with your introverted kid is not at all beneficial for them, being overprotective could also prove to be emotionally damaging.
Just like in all aspects of life, balance is key when it comes to raising children. There are times when you need to be there for them and times when you need to remove your shield and let them take care of themselves.
Don’t be the parent who never allows their kids to have their own opinion and their own approach to life. Be the one who knows when to step back and let them decide for themselves.