Parenting older children is definitely tricky. Being a teenager is a bridge between childhood and adulthood. It is time to cross that bridge knowing you have people behind you to keep you on track and talk you through the steps. However that bridge can get wobbly and at times it seems a long way to get onto the firmer ground on the other side. If you are parent of an introverted teenager there are also other issues that get thrown up. I am fed up with those who believe an introverted teenager lack confidence.
This week I was a little saddened when I got my son’s termly data drop. I wasn’t saddened by the academic results, he is exactly where I expected him to be. And that is a great place! It was the tutor’s comment that I have pondered over since. The comment was that my son in an introvert and needs to work on his confidence. I fundamentally disagree with this assumption and want everyone to consider why you must not believe introverts lack confidence.
Now I totally agree that Dylan is an introvert, but the tone was that this is a weakness. I don’t agree that being an introvert needs to have a negative connotation. He is actually a confident person he just doesn’t shout loudly. Dyl is one of the funniest people I know, he has a sharp wit and makes incredible observations. He is intelligent, he plays on his local football team. Furthermore he has a great circle of friends. He doesn’t lack confidence.
Being an introvert just means that you need some space and time to be alone. My Dyl certainly does, he enjoys being on his own, he can entertain himself and is rarely bored.
Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi and countless other leaders through history have been classified as introverts. We don’t consider them to lack confidence, they are brilliant leaders and inspire others. Introverts are often much more organised and prepared for whatever challenges they take on.
If you have an introverted child don’t worry that they are lesser than their louder extrovert friends. There are many advantages to being an introvert as this post highlights The top 10 advantages of being an introvert. My favourite is ‘We can be quite observant of both environmental and social subtleties. While others are yammering away, we’re taking everything in and processing it in our ever-active minds’.
I am not a big fan of labelling anyone and I wish teachers could recognised personality traits and work with what they have got. Dyl has always chosen to have a few friends, he is a very loyal friend and keeps a tight circle. We do need to encourage him to go out and make plans with friends. Changing schools was definitely hard emotionally for him as he was out of his comfort zone.
How to Support Your Introverted Teen
- Understand them. Read about introverts and do not see it as a weakness.
- Give your child the space they need to re-energise.
- Coach them when they do need to speak up. I guided Dyl as he had to make new friends when he started secondary school.
- Point out when your child has done something new or put themselves in the centre of attention. That is hard for introverts despite wanting to try something.
- Help your child develop their passions. Dyl has enjoyed archery as a solo sport but he also enjoys group sports. It is hard though, Dyl plays for a local team but will not try out for the school team. He doesn’t want to be put in that position.
- Watch your child for emotional clues. Dyl is very aware but doesn’t always talk about emotions but a hand on a shoulder when I can see he is upset is appreciated.
- Give your teen the positive messages they need. There are some great subscription boxes that will help. For girls the Baebox is inspirational with the boys box launching soon
- Talk to your teen about the changes their body is going through. Dyl hit puberty fast and hard and dealing with those emotions is tough whether you are an introvert or extrovert. A subscription for opening those conversations includes the Betty is designed to ignite conversations for young women and between young women about historically more difficult topics such as periods, feminine hygiene, health education and misconceptions about the female anatomy. The brand aims to smash the stigma of talking about periods and educate girls about their cycles and their bodies whilst instilling confidence and giving advice on all sorts of female issues. The box starts at £6.99 and is then £10.50 per month thereafter.
- Talk to their teachers and make sure they realise that being an introvert is not a weakness nor is it an example of lacking confidence.
Introverted teens have so much to offer and we need to celebrate all teens because the world needs all types!