You’ve probably heard the saying, “It takes a village” to raise a child. While there’s little doubt that support is essential for good parenting, what if that village itself is stressful? This is what it’s like for parents who also happen to be introverts. So what can introverted parents do? Is there a way introverted parents can manage the seemingly endless string of play dates, parent groups, and daily functions without increasing their own stress levels?
First things first: being an introvert is not a bad thing. You are an introvert if the following statements sound like you:
- You prefer spending time alone or with one to two close friends or loved ones.
- People might describe you as reserved or reflective.
- Being in large crowds tires you or makes you feel uncomfortable.
- You are a “thinking” person more than an “acting” person.
- Your way of recharging is spending time alone.
Being an introvert not only affects your ability to interact with others on behalf of your child, it can also present challenges because you need downtime to recharge, even if your child has seemingly endless energy. Having the feelings of needing a break or some quiet time does not make you a bad person or a bad parent.
Understanding how you can take your personality into account can actually enhance your parenting style. The idea is to work with your personality, not against it. By taking a few steps, you can find parenting peace.
1. Play dates: the right place and time—Going to busy areas, such as playgrounds and public swimming pools, can be very loud and overwhelming to an introvert. To keep the noise level and stimulation down, opt for quieter, more comfortable spots, such as your home turf. Another important aspect is to set a definitive ending time. This keeps a “day” play date from turning into an all-day affair.
2. Preventing social hour—If you frequently feel uncomfortable making small talk while waiting for a child’s dance class, sports practice, or other event where many other parents are around, consider bringing a book, magazine, or other similar diversion while you wait. This sends the message to other parents that you are trying to concentrate, which can cut down on the small talk.
3. Make time for yourself—This can be one of the most beneficial actions for introverts, yet is often put by the wayside as a parent. As an introvert, you need a few moments (or more) each day to re-charge your parenting battery. Find these moments by doing something you enjoy while your child naps or establish a nightly ritual with your partner that gives you at least a few moments to yourself.
4. Teach your child the power of quiet time—Even if your child is not the very definition of an introvert, he or she can learn to spend at least a few minutes where he or she does not have to interact with you. This teaches your child the power of self-reliance because he or she must learn to self-entertain, at least for a few minutes each day.
- Introverted parents tend to avoid large crowds and need time by themselves to recharge.
- By finding fellow introverted parents and choosing smaller play dates, introverted parents can help their child socialize without becoming overwhelmed.
- Preserving time for yourself does not make you a bad person or a bad parent.