As my children get older, I’m learning more and more about their personalities. Lately I’ve realized that Miss H is extroverted and Baby E is my introverted child. I love how different they are!
When I was pregnant with Baby E, I pictured him as an extension of his sister. He would look like her, be the same size, and act like her. I just couldn’t imagine what another one of my children would be like! Right away, I realized I had been completely wrong! He had light hair, weighed almost a pound more, and was super curious. At only a few hours old, he was obviously his own person. This is what Charlotte Mason meant when she said children are born persons! (Read more about the Charlotte Mason philosophy here.) Knowing their differences helps me better understand my children. I plan our daily schedules, school schedules, and even vacations around this knowledge!
I’m an introvert, and I’m coming to terms with it. I hear all of the stereotypes: introverts don’t like people. They’re shy. They don’t want friends. Being an introvert was embarrassing. I wanted to switch a flip and magically become extroverted, which was obviously more desirable. Wrong. These stereotypes don’t explain the actual nature of introverts. Being an introvert means that I need some peace and quiet to feel energized! I do love people, and I enjoy having friends. I don’t want to sit in a room by myself in happy solitude (not all the time, at least!)
Being introverted or extroverted explains how you gain your energy, not necessarily what you do with it. (See a great article on this topic at Myersbriggs.com).
I need some time to myself before I feel ready to conquer a task. I like to sneak downstairs a little before my children wake up because I love having a quiet time, enjoying a cup of coffee, and preparing for my day. At night, I need some time to reflect on the day before heading off to bed. My husband, the extrovert, loves to go from event to event. He gets bored being at home too long, and unlike me, doesn’t feel overwhelmed when he is with people for long periods of time.
Understanding my Children
I love that I figured this out about my kids! When Miss H was an infant, she fought naps. When she miss naps while running errands, I marveled at how she continued being so cheerful and smiley towards the people she encountered. Baby E, my introvert, is not like this. When he misses a nap, he gets grumpy. He sometimes falls asleep in noisy public places, which his sister never did! He’s happy to play by himself, explore and see how things work. His sister has always wanted a playmate, though (and that playmate is often me!)
This lets me create an atmosphere that best suits each of my children. For Miss H, that means lots of playtime with other kids after our preschool at home. It means a rest time that is guarded from the hustle and bustle of our house. Baby E needs me to help him keep his nap times consistent so he doesn’t get grumpy. He needs me to put him down so he can go explore by himself. Sometimes, he needs me to just sit quietly with him and hold him, which makes my heart overflow.
I never want Baby E to feel like it’s better to be extroverted. There are so many positives in both of these personality types. And, this is only one small piece of his multi-faceted personality. I’m glad that I’ve figured this out now so that I can be the parent that my two very different children need.
Tell me about your children! How did you figure out if they are introverted or extroverted?
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