Introvert or extrovert: Nurturing your child’s unique personality

by Antonella Dési
Introvert or extrovert Children
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Understanding your child’s temperament is a powerful tool for nurturing their strengths and addressing challenges. By celebrating the diversity of introverted and extroverted personalities, parents can create environments that foster growth, self-discovery, and a flourishing sense of individuality in their children writes Antonella Dési.

One of the crucial aspects shaping a child’s personality is their temperament—a predisposition to act and react in specific ways based on inherent characteristics. Understanding whether your child leans towards extroversion or introversion is a key aspect of guiding parents to provide tailored support for their child’s development.

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However, clinical psychologist and teen expert, Daniella Renzon, warns that it is important to remember that these character traits are in a constant state of flux while your child is growing older: “Our personality structure is only fully formed by 18, so these things can be fluid. Children can show introverted traits in different contexts for other reasons, perhaps they’re feeling anxious, or want to suss people and situations out first.

have a rich and contained internal life and prefer to connect with one friend and enjoy their own company. Perhaps a child is being very extroverted due to their need to be seen and an underlying insecurity.”

The extroverted child

If your child derives most of their energy from socialising, tends to think or process aloud, feels bored or sad during short periods of solitude, and processes thoughts and emotions after engaging in activities, then they are probably an extrovert.

Acknowledging and responding to these traits supports the healthy development of extroverted children, helping them express themselves while instilling balance and self-awareness in their interactions and activities.

Extroverted children are high-energy individuals who enjoy collaborative activities. They thrive in partnerships, interactive play, and often enjoy performing. These children may not entertain themselves well and learn best through interaction and discussion. Social engagement energises them, making group activities an excellent choice.

They draw energy from external stimuli, thriving in social situations with interaction, activity, and stimulation. They are social, gregarious, and enjoy group dynamics. Quick to approach others, extroverts may find solace in busy, stimulating environments. However, extended periods alone can leave them feeling lonely and drained.

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Recommended activities for extroverted children include performing arts, team sports, social clubs, group cultural and sporting activities, public speaking and debating, interactive play.

Soothing activities for extroverts include warm bubble baths with toys, physical activities like water dance or yoga, and partner-assisted tedious work (tasks or activities that are repetitive, monotonous, or require sustained effort, but are made more manageable and efficient with the help of a partner).

Inhibiting situations for extroverted children include long periods alone, lack of outlets for creative expression, critical or objectionable environments, and routine or lengthy projects.

When parenting an extroverted child, it’s vital to:

  • Recognise their need for verbal expression.
  • Establish scheduled downtime to aid in self-regulation.
  • Provide positive reinforcement for their communicative nature.
  • Foster and encourage their interests actively.
  • Offer choices and options in decision-making.
  • Grasp when they are engaged in other activities.
  • Allow opportunities for them to showcase their vibrant personality.

The introverted child

Identifying introverted tendencies in a child may manifest in toddlerhood or early childhood, and these traits often persist into their teenage years and adulthood, although individuals can evolve over time.

If your child tends to recharge by spending time alone, listens more than they speak, takes time for internal processing, exhibits reserved and reflective behaviour, prefers sharing ideas when prompted rather than initiating, and enjoys one-on-one conversations more than group talk, then they might be an introvert.

Introverted children value self-exploration over self-expression, preferring solitary activities that allow for quiet focus. They may become drained in overstimulating environments and require time alone to recharge. Introverted children value peaceful environments and prefer planned activities with clear expectations.

They draw energy from their inner world of thoughts, emotions, and ideas, requiring time alone to recharge. Characterised as “reserved,” they are contemplative, preferring solitary activities. Introverts excel in one-on-one or small group interactions, favouring in-depth conversations focused on ideas and concepts.

Recommended activities for introverted children include creative writing, dramatic play, solitary activities, reading, building and puzzles, in-depth studies, and strategy-focused games.

Soothing activities for introverted children include time alone for exploration, peaceful environments, clearly outlined plans, and understanding expectations beforehand.

Inhibiting situations for introverted children include overstimulation in any form, too much social interaction, rapid changes, lack of independence

When nurturing an introverted child, it’s crucial to:

  • Respect their need for solitude.
  • Arrive early at large gatherings to ease social entry.
  • Discuss social situations beforehand to alleviate anxiety.
  • Support them in taking breaks when overwhelmed.
  • Avoid pressuring them to cultivate numerous friendships.
  • Offer constructive feedback in private settings.
  • Refrain from interrupting their reflective moments.

Parental understanding & support

Understanding your child’s temperament helps you tailor your support to their unique needs. As a parent, recognising your own temperament is equally crucial to comprehend potential clashes or synergies with your child’s, explains Renzon: “If your child shows traits of either introversion or extroversion it’s important to give them a sense of acceptance and love. Sometimes a parent’s bias can play out. If a parent is extroverted, for example, they may not want or like their child to be introverted and might get annoyed or experience them as clingy or too shy.

Raising an Introverted Child“If a parent is more introverted they may struggle with a very extroverted child, finding them too loud, too talkative or constantly wanting to be social and engage. In response parents may unintentionally come across as judgmental shaming, teasing or push them into situations they’re uncomfortable with. Or they may shut them down and make them feel self-conscious.

“All children (and adults)can respond differently in different contexts as adaptations to certain environments. Make space to allow and support that. There’s a temptation to be all knowing about things that are still evolving, which shuts exploration and curiosity down and can put the child in a box in order to know how to understand and relate to them . Rather make room for curiosity which allows them to explore themselves and the world with your support and interest,” she concludes.

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1 comment

Irene February 5, 2024 - 7:58 am

Talking care of young ones is always a blessing

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