A while back, I was working with a mom who was attending one of the groups I teach. One issue in her life was that she tended to dislike schedules and often struggled to follow through in a timely manner. As I got to know her I could see that she was definitely a free spirit. We discussed how being more relaxed with a schedule is fine as long as you move a few things up the priority list that “have” to be done. But there was another concern. She described one of her daughters as “really good” but always “anxious.” The more I listened, I realized that the daughter was probably an introvert. And as an introvert, her needs were very different from her extrovert spontaneous mom. So what are 3 needs of the introvert teen?
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3 Needs of the Introvert Teen (And How to Connect to Them)
If you are raising an introvert child there are several needs your child has that you will want to understand. And as you relate to these 3 needs of the introvert teen, you will connect more fully with your child.
As the parent, you will also be better equipped to create a home life that restores and rejuvenate your introvert.
We want to build resilient young adults that can handle the stresses of life and understand life doesn’t revolve around them. But first we want to help our kids connect with trusting adults and understand their best ways to cope with the ups and downs of life. So how can we connect and build our introverts into rock solid teens from the inside out?
Introvert Teenagers Need Downtime
One of the biggest needs for introverts is downtime. Dependent on where your introvert is on the introvert to extrovert spectrum, they may desire plenty or small amounts of friend time. But a true introvert has to have alone time to refuel! So while they may love seeing and talking with friends they will typically need some time alone after being with friends or at school.
If you are an extrovert, this may seem odd. Extroverts are energized by people. Read more here to understand if you are an extrovert or Introvert.
But there is no need to worry. Just because your introvert likes to be alone doesn’t mean there is something wrong.
While you may have to occasionally prompt your introvert tween or teen to get together with friends, in general trust them when they say they just want some time on their own.
Downtime allows an introvert to rest and process everything that happened. Time alone equals true self-care for the introvert!
Tip #1 Create free time throughout the week so that your tween or teen has an opportunity to refuel!
Teenage Introverts Need a Basic Schedule
Most introverts want a basic understanding of what is coming up next. This allows the introvert to gauge and control how much energy they expend on social interactions, protecting their energy level.
Read here for What Every Teen Craves From Their Parent.
For instance if I know that I am going to be hosting a garage sale with friends and then going out that evening to a family function, I will probably be slightly less “on” at the garage sale with friends. I might hang back every once in a while and not be the one to engage in conversation with every person that stops by our sale. But if I know I can go home later that evening and crash in my own space, then I will be all in, happily talk to friends and strangers. LOVE this Social Energy T-Shirt!!
So if you have an introvert child just letting them know what is coming up in the week can be very helpful.
As an introvert, I personally love having a get together or an event to look forward to during the week. I just want to know it is coming so I can plan my week accordingly.
Check out this best selling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
If your schedule is one that is on the go and changes constantly, this will probably be exhausting to your introverted tween or teen. Like the daughter mentioned above, her mother’s more free style approach to life may be a real source of stress for her. The daughter may feel like life is too chaotic and not predictable.
Tip #2 Find ways to make aspects of your family schedule more predictable. If any events are on the calendar, let your tween or teen know ahead of schedule when possible.
Introverts Crave Deep Connections
If you want to connect and strengthen your relationship with your introvert teen, create some one on one time. Introverts love meaningful interactions. It is a total myth that introverts are all shy or don’t like people. They do enjoy getting to know others but on a deeper level.
If you are a parent to an introvert find some time when it is just the two or three of you. Introverts have a big world going on inside their head. Remember all that alone time they need. Well, that is so they can think through and process life. But then….they will want to talk about it. So don’t miss out on this huge opportunity to forge a strong relationship with them. Listen to them talk, ask questions and add in a few of your thoughts.
Now, I understand that for the extrovert parent this may feel a little too deep:) You may like to keep things simple and humorous.
But your introvert teen needs you to engage with them on a deeper emotional level. You don’t have to solve everything or have all the answers. Your main focus is to listen and allow them to share what they have been thinking.
Also, don’t panic or “guilt” your teen if they only have a couple of friends. Introverts are looking for a few deep meaningful connections. So they don’t typically have gobs of friends or want to have the house where half the neighborhood crashes. You may even want to limit their social media time as all the nebulous interactions can be draining.
Grab Your Printables – 10 Days to Strengthen Your Family Bond here.
Tip #3 Make room in your schedule for one on one time with your teen where you allow them to talk about everything they have been thinking.
So remember these 3 needs of the introvert teen :
Introverts Need Downtime.
Introverts Need a Basic Schedule.
Introverts Need Deep Connections.
OK, now it’s your turn! Are you an extrovert raising an introvert or an introvert raising an extrovert? Or are you and your teen very similar? Comment below:) And pin the post for later!
Heather BeE says
As an introvert married to an introvert, raising two introverts, I can so relate to this! The four of us do have varying needs when it comes to recharging, so i have to really be mindful of that at times. And the part you wrote about schedules and knowing what’s coming up for the week… That’s me so much, except for when I have a rare burst of spontaneity:) Love ya, dear friend! Keep on writing and sharing your advice!
That is a lot of introverts! Hehee:) Yes, I was thinking more on the topic of introverts this week, and you make a good point that each person requires a different way to recharge. Awww, thanks for the kind words!
I love this! I am an introvert and can totally relate to this. Of our six kids, we have two introvert daughters. My husband is the quintessential extrovert who totally gets my introverted ways. Insightful!
Denise so glad you liked the post. It is interesting being married to an extrovert:) That is wonderful your husband gets your introvert needs. It has taken my husband a little while to figure out how I recharge best but I think we finally get it!
We’re extroverts raising an extra introvert son. As a toddler he didn’t say a single word for his first 6 months of day care although he was verbal with us.
We’re trying to expand our knowledge of introverts.
My biggest issue are both his extrovert grannies who keep telling us that we need to force him to be outgoing. They think it’s unhealthy to spend so much time alone in his room and that we are being soft on him for letting him skip big family gatherings more often than not.
He has good enough grades, rarely gets into trouble and we have far less fights with him than any other parents we know. Yet people keep telling us it’s because we let him do what he wants and that as an adult he will have all sorts of problems.
Hi Sylvia, That is wonderful that your son has you and an extended family that cares. When people offer me advice or their thoughts I try to sift through it. Are they just sharing a fear they have? Is there any small grain of truth to what they are saying? Are they putting some of their expectations on me? In our family, we have a lot of family gatherings too and we also enjoy having families over. We expect our children to come and join in welcoming and hosting our guests. At some stages this was hard for each of our kids. However, we felt that learning to think of others or do the uncomfortable is just part of life and helped develop that character qualities we believe are important. At the same time, we also tried to balance what they wanted. If they wanted only adults at their birthday party they could do that. If they just had one good friend, we didn’t pressure them to make tons of friends. So for me it felt like a balancing act of allowing and encouraging our kids to develop in a way that allowed them to thrive, while still pushing them to do the things that were hard at times for them. And sometimes it would surprise us and them what they would grown up to enjoy doing, as a result of some of those uncomfortable situations we encouraged them to try! Hope that gives you a couple of ways to look at your situation as you continue to parent your son:) Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your thoughts.