There once was a girl who liked quiet and solitude. I’ve told you her story before. She’s the one who married the loud socially exhausting man. You can read more about their story here.
But this, this is the story of the quiet woman’s children. Remember how she loved the quiet, and strolling slowly, and small groups of deeply intimate friends? Well, she gave birth to two beautiful and amazing boys…who want to destroy her with their extreme need for play dates and people.
Hello my name is Shannon and I’m an introvert who is desperately trying to parent her extroverted children.
I don’t think I’ve quite understood the depth of my introvertedness until I had my extroverted sons. My sons crave interaction as much as I crave solitude. We recharge in very different ways. I require solitude to think and refresh. My sons, on the other hand, require social interaction to get that same refreshment. To put it another way, in order for these boys to operate at their optimum levels they MUST have social interaction. That being said, their constant chatter and verbal processing of all their experiences and thoughts and feelings make me feel like I’m being attacked…repeatedly.
Here are some things you need to know about extroverted children:
They love to be around lots of people and other kids. They are very gregarious and outgoing. They prefer playing in groups and don’t generally enjoy solitary activities. They talk…A LOT! Sharing their experiences verbally completes the experience for them. They find that being alone is isolating and difficult. They share…A LOT…about everything! And they don’t understand why someone might like or want or need to be alone.
These are my boys!!!
I wasn’t anything like this when I was young. I was never the leader, never the endlessly curious, never a talker, and never a force to be reckoned with. I was the best friend, the peace maker, the people pleaser. So this is all new to me. Well, not all new…these boys are little blueprints of their father (see previous post). The only difference is that daddy can channel his energy into productive things and has self-control. One day, God willing, my boys will too.
Admittedly, part of my introverted nature is me worrying what others are thinking of me and my loud physically active boys. Some have said they are wild, some have said ADHD, and a lot have given us condemning and disapproving looks. I’ve worked hard, however, to not give a rip s**t what others think of those crazy sweet boys of mine. They don’t live with me, they don’t know what we teach and how we parent, they don’t see the tenderness and the caring kindness that they exhibit with me and their baby sister. So bug off!
What I’ve come to realize is that they are teaching me a lot through their extrovertedness. Their curiosity, their fearlessness, their exuberance, their energy, their confidence. Yes, all of it exhausts me, but there is a part of me that is jealous of their abandon. They don’t care at all what others think of them and I hope that never changes.
These boys force me, for better or worse, out of my comfort zone…daily. I’ve come to realize that it’s not a me versus them, introvert versus extrovert. In my sons is my best opportunity to put myself out there, be fearless, and push my limits; to live life as big and loud and fast as I can. Even though they can deplete me before 1pm…everyday…these boys are my joy. And this introvert wouldn’t have it any other way.