5 Signs You’re Raising an Introvert
As an introvert myself – who am I kidding? If not for my kids and the need for food, I’d be a hermit – anyway, as I was saying, as an introvert, I expected at least one of my boys to be an introvert, too.
I thought it was Aidan.
When he was three years old, we finally lived in an area with a good park that didn’t creep us all out. On his first visit, when faced with talking to a strange child, he didn’t know what to do. So he counted at them.
With one arm stretched out in front of him, as if to keep this strange creature at bay, he screamed, “ONE….TWO….THREE!” (True story)
There was my introvert!
Within a couple of years, it became clear, he’s the extrovert. At five, he told our server in a random restaurant that her name was pretty, and he liked her (and she giggled!). Before long he was talking to anyone who’d give even the appearance of paying attention.
My little social butterfly is still a complete mystery to me. Although I’m not allowed to call him my social butterfly because, “Mom, butterflies are for girls!” And while we’ve had the conversation that no one species belong to boys or girls, the compromise we found is that I am allowed to refer to him as a social “bee” except I don’t because then I imagine him pollinating, and I’m not ready to think of him doing that.
Along came Sean and I quickly figured out he’s not only an introvert, he’s also extremely shy. I could work with this. He doesn’t want to go anywhere or talk to anyone. Neither do I. This will be fine.
Until I realized that raising an introvert is a bit different than being an adult introvert who understands and is willing to comply with some social norms.
All bets are off when you’re five and have a don’t-care attitude.
If you don’t know yet whether you’ve got a budding hermit or a social butterfly or bee or not, here are five signs you’re raising an introvert.
- Your child has one friend. Just one, a very special friend. Maybe two. But in true introvert fashion, he doesn’t feel like discussing those personal details with anyone, including you. You won’t know that kid’s name for at least six months. Pray for a parent-teacher conference so you can get the inside scoop.
- He will, however, befriend every single animal he sees. “The birdies are my friends, Mom! And the squirrels!” As an introvert, I totally get it. There’s no need for communication because of the obvious language barrier. Plus, there’s no commitment because those things are always flying or scampering off somewhere. It’s kind of perfect, actually. Hmmmm, that gives me ideas…he may be on to something.
- The park is a landmine of agony. Are there strange children playing, especially on the One Thing he wants to play on? You might drive right on by without stopping. Or, you’ll go, thinking this is how you’ll get your little introvert to socialize more. Think again. You’re begging them to play while they’re content to sit right next to you, fascinated by the game you’re playing on your phone. Uhhh, I mean, the pictures you were taking of your precious introvert to post on Facebook. Yep, that’s what I meant.
- If you make it to the park and actual playing occurs be prepared for a lot of, “No, you can’t stay on the swing all day. Other kids want to swing, too.” Why? Because once they find that One Thing they love, that’s all they want to do. Pro tip: I did manage to convince Sean to go down the slide by promising we’d leave as soon as he did. He ran around and flew down those slides. Why? Because we were no longer alone and the park was, clearly, tainted by strange children.
- When you ask about their day, you’ll hear the typical, “Nothing!” All kids do that, right? Not really. Aidan – the extravert – could talk for hours about his day at school, what he’s thinking, what he wants to do, you name it. And I mean he can actually talk about his day for six hours. What makes an introvert special is while they may say “nothing” the day you ask, once they’ve processed it all (even if it takes weeks), you’ll probably hear something like, “Do you remember that one day you asked me about school? You know, the day I wore my green shirt, and I cried at the park? We had apples for snack that day. I love apples.”
Don’t worry, if you’re like me, the lack of information, silence, and unwillingness to play with strangers (not a bad personal rule to have for a five-year-old, if you think about it) from your introvert will be balanced out by your extravert who can wax poetic on any topic, for hours, to anyone. And I do mean anyone…for hours.