For as long as you can remember, people have described you as reserved, quiet, and maybe even a loner. You’re all about solitude and want absolutely nothing to do with being the center of attention. But now that you’re a mom, you’re discovering your kiddo is an extrovert. They’re loud, super-social, and have that completely confident “look at me” attitude. Parenting is breaking you out of your introvert shell — but not completely. Even though the two of you have totally opposite social styles, there are still plenty of strategies to parent effectively.
1. Schedule plenty of playdates. You love spending time with your child, but they probably don’t want you as their sole friend. Extroverts tend to be social butterflies, and just because you’re okay with going it alone doesn’t mean your child wants to follow. Set up plenty of playdates with your preschooler’s pals. Not only will this keep your kiddo busy, but they’ll get the chance to thrive socially too.
2. Institute quiet time. The talkative side of your child isn’t really something you understand — you’ve never been one to chat, and chat, and chat some more. You adore spending time with your tot, but your little chatterbox is kind of wearing you down. You need a mental break, but you don’t need to force your kiddo into being a mini-me who permanently prefers to stay quiet. Get the restful time alone that you need by putting a 10 to 15-minute “quiet time” into effect.
3. Avoid being an influencer. It’s clear that the two of you have very different personalities. While you might not know anything about extroverting, that doesn’t mean you have to hand down introvert lessons instead. Even though encouraging your child’s outgoing ways may mean that you’re forced to learn a new social and emotional vocabulary, you’ve totally got this. Step back, let your child take the lead, and try not to push your own introvert agenda.
4. Find an “alone space.” Your S.O. is home, the sitter is over, or your sister is visiting. Whoever is there, you have an extra pair of hands to help, which means you can take a break and have some “me” time. The solitude you once savored has come and gone as you’ve moved from single life into motherhood. As long as you have someone responsible to watch your kiddo, close (and lock) your bedroom door to catch up on your reading, or hide out in the bathroom for a soothing bath as a mini-escape.
5. Sit back and let your child shine. Extroverts are all about the spotlight. So why take that away from your child, especially when you so don’t want it for yourself? Your little one is giving you the perfect out. Instead of having to entertain the in-laws or perk up a family party, let the kiddo do it.
6. Remember who is in charge. It’s easy to get lost in an extrovert’s put-everything-out-there personality. Sometimes an overly outgoing personality can come off as bossy, and when it’s your child who’s doing the bossing, the shy, quiet, introverted parent can feel like they’re out of control — literally. You may seem silent next to your child, but as a mom, you shouldn’t keep mum and let the kiddo take over. You are the parent, and you are the one who is in charge.
7. Give yourself a break. Your child isn’t the only one who needs encouragement: You need some slack — and some self-applause. Parenting an extrovert as an introvert isn’t easy. Yes, you might stumble. And yes, you might fall and fail from time to time. But that’s part of parenting. No one expects perfection, especially when you’re navigating a completely foreign personality territory.
Are you an introvert raising an extrovert, or vice versa? Tweet us your parenting tips @BritandCo!
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