How do I raise an extroverted daughter when I’m an introvert?
My daughter is extremely extroverted and I’m a classic introvert. I feel guilty sometimes because I keep her home a lot when she’d rather go and see people. Am I hurting her development by not going out more?
-An Introverted Mom
It’s fascinating to me how certain narratives get started in society and how quickly we internalize them. Somewhere along the way the idea that introverted people should learn from extroverted people to be more social became the dominant narrative—but the opposite is also very true.
Extroverts have much to learn from introverts.
I would venture to guess that at some point in every person’s life, they will experience a season of being more isolated. Whether it’s the early years of having children, when your schedule is ruled by naps and feedings, or a particular busy time at work when all your free time is spent on necessities like sleeping and grocery shopping. Or maybe it’s a season of caring for an aged relative or a time when you’re dealing with sickness and are confined to a hospital room or bed.
All these circumstances can happen to any person, regardless of whether they’re introverted or extroverted, so think of the gift you can give your daughter in helping her learn to function in a quieter, slower setting than what she might prefer.
The basic measuring rod that we’re given in Scripture is Luke 6:31 where it says, “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” If you’re anything like me, what you’d like is for others to be understanding and kind—even more than getting things your own way.
So teach your daughter with confidence, but also with gentleness. Listen to understand, but don’t feel like you need to fix all the things that are hard for her. Hard isn’t bad. Encourage her to find ways to be content with staying home—and trust that God purposefully placed the two of you in your home together. You are the mom your daughter needs.
And, of course, don’t forget to let her pull you out of your comfort zone at times as well. There is so much beauty and life and joy to be found walking beside your daughter in the world.
P.S. Check out this post I wrote on how to be an introverted mother with an extroverted daughter.
P.S. I just saw that I had also left a comment on your original post! My son did eventually learn to enjoy audiobooks, such a relief! He still has to process it verbally afterwards, but at least I don’t feel guilty entertaining him that way when I can’t be available.
My kids both like to process things verbally, which is so alien to me…I’ve always been told that getting info out of me is like “pulling teeth.” I’ve been trying to work on listening, but also setting boundaries. Another strategy is letting them record their thoughts on a mobile device so that they can verbalize but show me later. And facilitating phone calls and video calls also helps them get out some of that people energy.