The Extrovert Introvert Child !

"My child is silent and does not mix easily with other kids and does not speak out as some of her peers do. Please let me know how I can change this behavior. The teacher has been trying for a long time!" asked a concerned parent to me. I struggled to keep myself calm while I went about counselling the parent that this is not a "symptom" that needs to be addressed or if I dare say "cured".

It is hardly surprising that a child who mixes "easily" and "speaks out" frequently is the most desired trait by parents and "teachers". My apologies for the numerous quote-unquote, but I need to emphasize some words. :). Over the past many years, someone who speaks less or participate less came to be known as "introverts" and the opposite were called "extroverts". I fail to understand the need for such a classification in the first place. Anyway, somehow introverts have been looked upon as lacking since they were not extroverts! However this was not the case with extroverts.

I will limit my thoughts on this topic in the school environment. Why do teachers think that an introvert child should somehow change in to an extrovert? Does the education board say so? is this behavior identified as an issue that will be detrimental to the child to live a happy and fulfilling life? Nope. But still, parents and many teachers are on a quest to turn the child in to something they are not. There are numerous examples where the introvert is tested daily e.g. dramatics. Introverts may find it uncomfortable to speak out with ease in front of an audience, which is quite natural. They may in fact dislike this but still need to go through the motions for sake of grades.

Another example, when a subject is being taught in class the introvert may not speak out immediately on a specific query. They may instead try to figure out the answer themselves and may need to come back later. But later, another subject has already started and thus they would get into ongoing cycle where they are unable to clarify their queries and may shy away from asking at a later date on fear of being embarrassed. This may cause pileup of their doubts and in the end severely affect their academic performance. 

Schools should take note of these scenarios and ensure these children are given enough opportunity and time which is their right. The current schooling environment is inclined towards extroverts and need to seriously work on making it an inclusive environment for the introverts as well. Being an introvert is as natural as being an extrovert. Both these are behavior should be accepted as equal. Discrimination can have serious consequences on their self esteem and confidence of the child in the long run. There are numerous examples of great leaders who were introverts and they have brought huge changes in the world. Being an introvert was their strength that made them who they are! So let the child use the strength of being an introvert and thrive. You will see that is the best thing that happened to them.



  1. Nicely written. It is very true that introverts are being neglected and pointed at. For an introvert, living the life is difficult in the society.


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