Introverts have a bad rap in a sea swimming with overwhelming personalities and volume dials turned to the max.
But even though growing up introverted can be tricky, you’re not alone. As much as 50% of the population is estimated to be introverts.
So, if you’re wondering whether your child could be one of these special people, here are some less obvious signs.
1) They have trouble making eye contact
Some people display their discomfort or lack of engagement differently. Introverts often find it hard to maintain eye contact, even more so in kids.
For example, one of my best friends is highly introverted. She talks to you in a way that makes you unsure whether she’s interacting with you or waiting for a bus coming up behind you.
It can be strange, but this is how introverted people deal with the draining effect of socializing.
2) They throw tantrums for no apparent reason
This can be a difficult one because children throw tantrums. For example, 91% of 30-36-month-old children are reported to throw tantrums. Moreover, 18% of three-year-olds will throw one at least once per day.
Tantrum throwing is natural, but some children are more prone to others.
Watch when your child chooses to act out. If it’s always at the end of a busy day or after an extended social interaction, it could show that they’re introverted.
Here’s another sign of an introverted child.
3) They prefer to speak to themselves
Introverts process the world internally. However, children are less able to keep these processes internal.
Your child might unpack their feelings by talking to themselves or a stuffed animal. It doesn’t make them lonely or weird. This is just how they vent like an adult might crack open a cold one at the end of a long day.
But don’t assume that introverts prefer themselves exclusively. Read on for another not-so-subtle sign of introversion.
4) They keep a tight group of friends
Extroverted children are so often the popular kids. They’re brave, brash, and bold in all their interactions.
Contrast this to the introvert. Your child will still have friends but fewer close friends rather than an entourage of people they vaguely know.
Crucially, they’re likelier not to be interested in expanding this circle.
5) They resist new experiences
Does your child resist change and prefer things how they are?
As a parent, you want to expose your kids to as much of the world as possible, but it can be tougher when dealing with an introvert.
They may rarely say “Yes” to new things or meet new people. Instead, they stick to familiar activities.
And this can be harder to spot than you think. For example, although Bart Simpson is often portrayed as a rebellious, extroverted character, he’s actually the opposite.
Throughout the show’s run, he has commonly been shown as hating responsibility and opportunity, preferring to do the same things he does every day.
In other words, chaos can still fall under the introvert category.
6) They won’t get into deep conversations with you
Introverts are highly thoughtful people. Like Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, introverts love conversations of substance. They’ll debate a favorite topic happily for hours, but the same doesn’t apply to emotions.
What defines an introvert is how they process feelings and emotions. This happens internally, meaning they’ll be loathe to talk about them with you.
The key is to avoid pushing them. Remember, to an introverted child, “How does this make you feel?” is about as uncomfortable a question as you can ask.
7) They go with the flow
Growing up, you likely remember that one person in your group always took responsibility for any outing or occasion. The chances are they were pretty extroverted, or so you thought.
Introverts will usually go with the flow. They won’t initiate plans or take responsibility.
Note that some exceptions exist, and that’s how you can notice an introvert a mile away. For example, 39% of top executives in the U.S. are considered introverts. If an introvert never initiated, this wouldn’t be true.
Here’s another sign you need to look for if you suspect your child might be an introvert.
8) They will remember the tiniest details
Ever feel like your child doesn’t listen? You’ll not have to worry about that with an introverted son or daughter.
Introverts are listeners extraordinaire. But they don’t just hear, they absorb. As active listeners, this puts them in a position where they’ll remember your birthday and know their friend’s dog’s name.
If your child remembers weird details even while in uncomfortable situations, there’s a good chance they’re an introvert. But that doesn’t mean they’ll reveal those details because…
9) They’re particular about how they communicate
Everyone has a preferred communication platform. Whether in-person talks or texting, we’ve all got our preferences. But children are less adept in the ways of the world, and so things might shake out a little differently.
For example, does your child head for the hills when a relative is on the phone and wants to talk? Is most of your child’s communication with their friends in the form of text?
That’s how introverted young people express their introversion. And don’t ask them to explain it because that’s an internal, not an external feature.
10) They’ll make exceptions for the right people
Children are odd. Sometimes, it’s better just to let it go and assume everything will be okay.
For example, young people discovering love for the first time often act contrary to their nature to impress someone they know.
And that’s how you can spot an introvert in the distance. If an introvert has shown up to a party full of people they don’t know, there’s obviously something that’s caused them to make that exception.
This is why if you see your normally quiet child suddenly attending a birthday party or a rock concert, there’s a chance they’re introverted and something/someone is on their mind.
11) They rarely want to hang out with you
We all expect teenagers to be slamming doors and communicating in a grunt-based language akin to an off-shoot of Klingon, but what if your child hasn’t reached that phase yet?
It can sting when your child shows no interest in hanging out with you, but stop and think. Introverts are extremely loving, but they love being alone.
Sadly, tact has yet to arrive at the party at a young age, so it can come across as a nasty child who hates you.
12) They pine for the past
Friendships come and go. Some last for a few months, and others last for life. But unless you’re an introvert, the chances are you compartmentalize those relationships in a happy little box and move on.
Introverts never forget those they care about, even if they have long since lost contact with them.
If your child pines for past friends who have long since moved away and dropped off the radar, it could be a sign that they’re introverted.
Here’s a potentially controversial sign that you’ve got a little introvert on your hands.
13) They get into fights
Introverts are reserved and more self-contained, so they’re less trouble, right? That’s the conventional belief, but introverts are often harder to manage than their extroverted brethren.
Remember, introverts often internalize their emotions and struggle to confront them. Overstimulation is liable to set them off like a powder keg.
For example, I was always getting into fights at school. It was only later in life that I realized that was a consequence of not having a healthy way to express and confront my feelings at the time.
So, if you often get phone calls from the principal, your child may be an introvert who’s yet to understand what’s happening inside their head.
Now, let’s confront one of the most common worries modern parents have about their introverted children.
14) They appear to be late bloomers
Parents often get worried about their children if they lack friends, prefer to spend time alone, or don’t play like the neighbor’s kids. They feel their kids aren’t properly socialized, so they’ve failed as parents.
But this isn’t true. Introverted kids aren’t late-bloomers. They just bloom differently.
The misconception comes from the fact that children are cruel and school is a hierarchy where the loudest child usually wins. So, if you’re comparing, it can seem like your kid is lagging behind.
They’re not. They’re just not like the other extroverted kids.
Introversion is a superpower
We all have an image of what a healthy, well-adjusted child looks like. The problem is this rarely corresponds to the picture of the average introvert.
Remember, while looking at your child, introversion vs. extroversion is a spectrum. Your kid might be a 100% introvert, or they might be more 50-50. Either way, the key is adapting to them and accommodating their needs.
Whether extrovert or introvert, catering to your kid’s personality will win you their trust and love, and that’s the greatest gift you can receive from an introvert of any age.
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