Parenting: How to know if you are an introvert and how it might affect how you parent....

Many new parents find themselves awake a lot, alone a lot and finding out more about themselves in that time than ever before.

It may be the time you discover more about your personality, for example, whether you are an introvert or extrovert. 

You may have been vaguely aware of it before, and how it affected you in your social groups or at work but I genuinely believe that becoming a parent pulls it into sharp focus. 

Mainly because it can be a period of noise, chaos, isolation, strong stimuli like smells and touch, being observed and often judged and overwhelming emotions. If you were aware of it before then it will be amplified ten fold once you become a parent. 

Learning more about introverted qualities might help explain some of the struggles new parents could face and help you make sense of what you need:

Does this sound like you?

  • Are astute observers who look before they leap
  • Dislike surprises
  • Are sensitive to smells, sounds, sights, pain, and caffeine
  • Don’t like being observed (for instance, at work or performing music) or judged (for instance, in job interviews)
  • Are philosophical or spiritual rather than materialistic
  • Are creative and intuitive
  • Dislike small talk
  • Dream vividly and often recall details of their dreams
  • Love music, nature, art, and beauty
  • Are empathic
  • Have a strong conscience
  • Dislike violent movies and TV shows
  • Feel emotions intensely, especially joy, fear, and sadness
  • Thoroughly process information about their environments and notice subtleties
The good news is, once you know, you can make adjustments, where time allows. You may need more support in gaining physical, mental and emotional space than someone who thrives off constant company and contact. That's not to say you will always want to be alone, but you may be more likely to recharge when you are away from people. Yes, even your children! There is nothing wrong with that and not judging yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself (or anyone).

I certainly noticed how without even thinking, I had automatically sought solace in walks by myself and valued my daily commute to the office for thinking time, as well as during my workouts. Also I realised how much silence and physical space I had in my life pre-parenthood that was suddenly challenged. Whilst holding your beautiful bundle day and night is a gift, and as they get to toddlerhood, the constant chatter and noise that accompanies them makes for great entertainment, but simultaneously it can really drain your natural resources at a time when you're likely exhausted.

There are so many strengths that go with introversion, too. For example, you will likely have a high level of empathy (perhaps too much at times) with your little one/s and their world. But that can be an advantage as you may strive to be a respectful parent and understand your children. You may make more effort to establish a relationship and connection, and notice their special, unique qualities.

You may be a creative parent appreciating the subtleties of arts and culture, and encourage your little ones to observe nature, other peoples emotions and will likely raise a caring and moral individual.

Certain cultures do not understand introverts, with extrovert qualities often prized in the west, meaning many introverts let go of themselves to fit in. With more understanding, both personalities can benefit from each others strengths and perhaps even help them work on things that don't come naturally.

As you get to know your children, they may also lean more towards introversion or extroversion. This can be another point of contention if they differ from your style. However, with a little understanding, it can work in perfect harmony, most of the time.

One thing is for sure, this world needs more sensitive observers, who think of others and search their own souls for answers before acting. Do you know whether you are an introvert or extrovert? If not take one of the many quizzes online, it may just save your parenting and sanity!

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