Images and text by Gabrielle.
Well, it’s been almost a year since I posted an Ask Design Mom question, but when I shared my 9 year blog anniversary post, I had a whole bunch of requests to post them more often. So here we go! I’ll do my best to make this a regular series again — and in the meantime, you can find the Ask Design Mom archives here. Now, on to the question!
Hi Gabrielle. You wrote a post a while ago about two extroverts raising an introvert. My family is the opposite. My husband and I are introverts and our only child is an extrovert (we think!). She is 5 years old and always wants someone to do something with her. The only time she can play by herself is watching TV or using the iPad. Even while coloring her coloring book she wants someone to do it with her. It’s very noticeable when compared with her same aged cousin. He is perfectly fine playing by himself and our daughter begs him to play with her. Do you have any suggestions for introverted parents raising an extrovert? — Angel
Hi Angel. Great question. As you can probably guess, I don’t actually have much experience with your particular situation. : ) But I’m confident that many brilliant and experienced Design Mom Readers will have lots of good advice for you.
In the meantime, I found two articles that might help. Geek Mom is an introvert, married to an introvert, and raising two kids — one introvert and one extrovert. She addresses this topic and lists coping strategies, and she relates this experience:
“When my extroverted son was in middle school, he got into online computer games and let me tell you, those were a goldmine! Guilds, leagues, clans, alliances, corporations, agencies, groups, people to talk to—he was able to shift some of his needs for feedback and socializing from his introverted family to his new online community. In fact, this sort of interaction can be critical for extroverted teens who live in small communities or have limited social choices available to them—it’s such a great, positive way for them to reach past their physical boundaries and connect—at that fully engaged, extroverted level—with people with similar interests.”
Real Simple also had a straightforward article about raising introverts and extroverts (the extrovert part is on pages 4 and 5). I loved this part:
“Know your limits. An extrovert’s desire for chat and connection can be overwhelming at times, especially if you’re an introvert. But, Cohen says, don’t wait until you’re so frustrated that you burst out with a “Stop yammering already!” If you need a break, Braun suggests telling a little kid, “I need some quiet time, but I do want to hear what you have to say. Right now my ears are full. Maybe you’d like to tell that story to your stuffed-animal friends.” For an older child, try letting him get his thoughts into a tape recorder. “He has to be able to put them somewhere,” says Braun. “And kids love to record themselves.”
I would also add that anytime I mention introverts and extroverts, the book Quiet. by Susan Cain, is brought up. It’s focused on introversion, so it might not be exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s definitely a real game changer for many people, so if you haven’t heard of it, perhaps you’ll find it helpful as well.
Now over to you, Dear Readers? Are any of you in the same boat as Angel? What has worked for you so far? Any tips or ideas? Chime in!
P.S. — Have an Ask Design Mom question? Feel free to email me!