Q. How can I connect to my introverted child?
A. According to a popular personality test called Myers Briggs, there are 16 common personality types. In families, personality differences can lead to conflict. I find misunderstanding between parent and child is common especially if the parent is an extrovert and the child is an introvert. Extroverts talk fast, like to be the center of attention, thrive in social settings and enjoy being where the party is at. Introverts may like to be where the party is but, generally, don’t want to be in the spotlight. They often prefer conversations that are one-on-one and they usually need much more alone-time. Also, introverts like to collect their thoughts before they speak while an extrovert speaks and thinks at the same time. This means, the extrovert often becomes impatient waiting for the introvert to speak. If a parent is an extrovert and a child is an introvert, they will often misunderstand each other. The extroverted parent will try to get their child to go out more, speak faster, and encourage them to have more friends. The introverted child may feel rushed and is forced to be more social than they prefer. It’s important to remember that we are all different – not better or worse – just different. Extroverted parents: it’s important to respect that your introverted child will not need to go out and socialize as much as you. And they will need more time to talk so don’t rush them or cut them off in conversation. They’ve got lots to say; they just need more time to say it.
* Dr. Karyn is a youth expert, parent/teen coach, motivational speaker and author.