DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Parenting Thoughts: Introverts and Extroverts

I’m an introvert. My daughter, Tasha, is an extrovert. Darren and Kaitlyn are more “in the middle”—a little on the introverted side, but less so than me.

I’m going to start off by clearing up one giant misconception: introverts aren’t all shy and extroverts aren’t all friendly. I’m an introvert AND I love people, I have fun at parties and I find it easy to talk to strangers. In fact, I’m by far the most outgoing member of the family when dealing with people outside of our ordinary social circle. It’s just tiring. So is hiking and I like that too.

Extroverts and Introverts

So what does it mean to be an introvert or extrovert?

Here’s a simple analogy: Imagine you have an emotional battery that needs to be charged in order to be a happy and content human. Introverts charge their batteries when they are alone and they drain their batteries when they are with other people. Extroverts do the opposite—their batteries are charged when they’re socializing and are drained when they’re alone.

Extroverts and Introverts: skiing lessons

Like all human traits, this is a scale—people aren’t just 100% introverted or 100% extroverted… a lucky few are so 50/50 that their emotional batteries always remain pretty much topped up. Some people drain their batteries slowly or charge their batteries quickly. And, of course, lack of sleep or a no–good, horrible, very bad day can suck the juice right out of anybody’s battery in no time flat.

I know for myself that my battery drains pretty quickly (I have about a 2 hour battery life, hehe) but, oddly, if Darren (my husband) is in the room it drains much slower and if he’s at my side paying attention to me he actually has the power to charge it up a bit! He on the other hand, has a gigantic, slow draining battery—but heaven help us all if he lets that thing run down, heh.

Extroverts and Introverts: skating

Parenting the Opposite Personality:

While this is all very interesting, it isn’t just random information—awareness of these differences is actually an incredibly helpful parenting tool—especially if your child charges his or her emotional battery a little differently than you do. Our oldest daughter, Tasha, is an extrovert—she has a big group of friends that she loves to socialize with. For her, time spent alone is emotionally draining. Something I still have to make a conscious effort to be mindful of.

Early on while parenting Tasha, I would give her alone time when she was having a rough or tiring day. Because that’s what I need when I’m feeling drained, sad or grumpy, I mistakenly believed that’s what she needed too. After many years of struggle I finally realized that she’s my daughter not my clone (duh)—Tasha actually needs to hang out with friends when she’s feeling emotionally exhausted (unlike me who needs a good book and a bubble bath). Who knew!?

Extroverts and Introverts: Tasha playing soccer

Some Tips for Parenting an Introvert:

Extroverts and Introverts: Kaitlyn playing guitar
Extroverts and Introverts: Kaitlyn rock climbing

Some Tips for Parenting an Extrovert:

Most of the tips are the same, just the other side of the coin!

Extroverts and Introverts: Tasha playing soccer
Extroverts and Introverts: Tasha on a swing

All photos in this blog post are copyright Leanne Guenther or Darren Guenther.


Leanne's byline photoAbout Leanne:

Wife, mom and the woman behind the scenes of the DLTK's Crafts for Kids websites.  The websites are a terrific hobby -- run by (me) Leanne, a mom with two girls as my official craft testers and my husband as my technical support.  DLTK are the first initials of each of the people in my family (I'm the L!).  Whenever we send out little cards or whatnot, we sign 'love DLTK' ... when I started the website I used the initials.  Had I known the website would get actual strangers visiting it, I would have picked a less mysterious name but we're all stuck with it now!

You can view my other blog posts here.