The Introvert Child in a Crazy World – 7 suggestions

I started reading the books written by Susan Cain after I watched her TED speech: “The power of introverts“. Since 2012 when she had this speech, she became one of the most popular on TED, reaching top 10, with over 14 million views.

The speech is based on the book Susan published, that is now a Best Seller: “Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking“. Did you know that in the world, 40% of the population is represented by introverted people (starting from a big level of introversion to a smaller level)?

The terms extraversion – introversion are part of a central dimension of the human personality theory, terms that have been brought by the famous psychologist, Carl Jung.

The extrovert is centered on the outside world, sensory perception and action. Extroverts seek for human interactions, are enthusiastic, talkative and full of life. They like activities that involve big social gatherings, parties, community activities, public and business demonstrations or political groups. Also, they work well when they are in a group. An extroverted person enjoys the time spent with people and finds the time spent alone less motivating. They tend to be tensed when they are not around other people and they are predisposed to boredom when they are alone. Extroverts absorb the energy from the environment and that is why they need many social interactions.

The introvert is centered on the inner world of reflection, dream and vision. Thinker and introspective, the introvert can sometimes be uninterested in other people’s activities. He consumes his energy in social interactions and he needs solitude in order to recharge. That is why their favorite activities are reading, writing, using the computer, hiking, fishing. Social interactions are preferred in small groups. You will find introverted people around artists, composers, sculptors, engineers or inventors. Among introverted personalities, I would mention Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Frederic Chopin, J. K. Rowling (the author of the Harry Potter series), Elon Musk (the Tesla founder), Steve Wozniak (Apple co-founder) and the list can go on with state presidents, artists or successful business people.

You must not take the term shy as a synonym to introvert. There are shy people among introverts, as well as among extroverts.

You will easily recognize extroverts because they are in the middle of the party, you can hear them talking in public places, you can see them in the school classes talking louder than their colleagues, you can see them in meetings wanting to say their opinion first. They are being remarked and they want to be so. No wonder we all want to be like them… which is very wrong!

The books written by Susan Cain make us realize that there are quiet people that are full of qualities, people that should be heard and understood.

In the book addressed to teenagers, teachers and parents, “Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts”, she teaches children to enjoy their introverted qualities and stop trying to be something else. She teaches teachers how to encourage introverts’ contribution and how to notice them in class. In a world where everyone wants to stand out, be heard and seen, it is very important to understand that extroverts and introverts must live together and complete each other (yin-yang). Both sides are needed in a class, as well as in an organization because each one has his own and unique share.

Some of the advantages of the introverts are:

  1. First they think, then they speak.

  2. They are very good listeners and observers.

  3. They have a very good ability to concentrate and attention to details.

  4. They are persevering, determined to achieve their goals.

  5. In tensed situations, they stay calm and try to find solutions without panicking.

  6. They are loyal, trustworthy. They prefer the quality of friends rather than quantity.

  7. They pay attention to people’s feelings, they are humble, they care about people.

What should extroverts know about introverts in order to understand them better:

  1. They need solitude to recharge, not because they are antisocial or they hate spending time with friends.

  2. If they leave early from a party, it is not because they are “party wreckers”, but because they consumed all the energy they need to socialize.

  3. When they are quiet, it doesn’t mean they are upset or depressed. It means they listen or they think about something else.

  4. They don’t like small talks, so the phone conversations will be short and to the point.

  5. They don’t like to be interrupted when they are focused.

  6. They don’t like talking about themselves.

  7. They hide their feelings.

What should teachers do:

  1. First of all, teachers have to understand the notion of introvert/ extrovert and the specific psychological traits.

  2. To balance team work with individual work and the activities that require socialization with those that are individual. Introverted children prefer individual study.

  3. When they ask a question in class, before hearing the answers, to announce 1 minute of thinking and quiet. This way, extroverts will be stopped to take control of the subject, while introverts will have time to prepare their answers.

  4. Do not set standards for a “normal” behavior. Every child is different and their behaviors are also different.

  5. More details about decorating the class in order to allow reading or individual study activities can be found here.

What should the parent of an introverted child know:

  1. The parents, as well as the teachers, should understand the notions of introvert/ extrovert, to accept the children just the way they are with their inherited character traits and they should not try to change them, but enjoy their qualities.

  2. Help them handle every new situation without pressure. Either it’s about a party, entering in a new class, in a new activity club, they need you to be there for them until they feel safe. These lines shouldn’t be said: “Stop sitting near me!”, “Go next to the other children!”, “Speak louder!”, “Don’t be soft!”. These replies do not encourage them, but they reduce their self-esteem. They feel they are not ok, that they have a problem.

  3. Let them take breaks from social interactions when they feel tired or burdened. During these moments they can choose the activities they want to do in the privacy of their room: play by themselves, read.

  4. Help them make friends. Give them the possibility to meet with the friends they feel they share things: invite them home, help them meet in the city or in the park. Offer them an environment where they can express themselves and they will develop a qualitative friendship. Like I said, for the introverted children, the quality of their friendships is more important than the quantity.

  5. Help them grow their passions. Their ability to concentrate is big, so they can excel in every field they are interested. This way they can also get in touch with other children that share the same passions.

  6. You have to observe the children without interrogating them with hundreds of questions. Grow their trust, don’t criticize them and this way you will learn about the problems in their soul. The introverted children do not speak about their problems easily.

  7. Teach the children to say their opinion. They have the right to say “No” when they don’t want to do an activity and there’s no need for them to be forced by other children as long as they want something else. It’s ok to “not go with the herd”.

 

We are a family of introverts (maybe we seem antisocial for the people around us), and this is the summary of my studies on this subject.

Thank you, Susan Cain, that you started “Quiet REVOLUTION” to show people the qualities of introverts, trying to make them feel good for who they are.