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Helping my introverted daughter thru the extrovert world

(12 Posts)
Turnipwurnip Mon 25-Feb-13 21:48:48

My DD age 9 came home today from her first school swimming lesson in tears because yet again she had been put in a group which was below her capability. Her two best friends are in the top groups for almost everything at school. But because she doesn't like to speak out or put up her hand immediately to answer a question or complain when she feels she is unfairly treated, she so often gets passed over and is starting to feel it is because she is inferior. I'm worried she will start to believe this and give up on her schoolwork when I know she is a bright and talented child. Anyone else with introverted children know how to boost her confidence? She's never going to be loud and pushy - I just want her to be able to recognise her own gifts and make the most of them so that she feels fulfilled.

PatsysPyjamas Mon 25-Feb-13 22:04:57

The book Quiet by Susan Cain is very good on the value of introversion. It's not specifically about children and it is written for adults though. As a fellow introvert, it did make me recognise lots of 'benefits' I hadn't seen before and I think it would be worth you reading (or you can watch Susan Cain' s TED talk online). I think one of the things for her to learn as she grows up is that difficult balance: that you must remain true to yourself, while also learning to cope with a world that is determinedly extrovert.

Morebiscuitsplease Mon 25-Feb-13 22:09:36

I so know how you feel. Do read Susan Cain's book. I borrowed mine from the local library. I think it just takes time. I have encouraged my daughter to do activities outside of school. There are some very confident girls in her class and she will i fear always be in their shadow. I also think she has many positive qualities. What does her teacher say?

Turnipwurnip Mon 25-Feb-13 22:20:47

I've read the Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child and my husband (who is a classic introvert) is reading the Quiet book. I understand how she is and have learnt how to talk to her and when to leave her alone etc. It's just agony watching her having to face a wider world that doesn't understand all that. And she's now at an age where she has to understand that she doesn't always function like many of the people around her and come to that self-knowledge. She has had some great teachers who have taken the time to get to know her and appreciate her. But although this year's is very nice, I don't think she 'gets' DS and mostly talks about ways to get her to talk louder or just overlooks her.
I'm an extrovert but was painfully shy as a child (still am sometimes!) so although sometimes I can identify with her worries, I don't think I really know how she feels or how to help

PatsysPyjamas Mon 25-Feb-13 22:38:50

It is difficult. Schools certainly seem more geared towards the extrovert child. But then again, I wonder if introverts are more likely to follow a passion/ interest and succeed in that way. What does DH, the true introvert, think of it? I ask because my mum, an extrovert, worried about me more than she needed to. I was and am happy. Life is easier as an adult as you learn to put yourself forward, network and all those things introverts would rather not do. But I think to our credit we tend to be fairly self-contained. We don't actually clamour for all the attention that passes us by. Just a bit of it!

Turnipwurnip Mon 25-Feb-13 22:46:44

Patsy, I think you're prob right. I spend a lot of time worrying about making friends and going out because I really want to be doing those things but I know DH and DD would be much happier staying at home with books. At least they have that world to retreat to! DD enjoys school and the learning in itself, it's just the other kids and feeling that she needs to compete. She is a very slow and careful thinker, so when (eventually) she answers a question, it is perfectly thought out and usually correct. So speedy tables stress her out and she finds herself kept down in numeracy because she only answered 30 questions out of 50 - even though she got 30 correct!

PatsysPyjamas Mon 25-Feb-13 22:59:20

I've just remembered that I started drama classes at this age and absolutely loved it. It shocked my family as something like public speaking or even chatting in a large group would be like hell to me. But drama felt completely different as I could be smoothed character on stage. I guess in the way of an introvert, I just knew before I ever tried it or mentioned the idea to my parents, that this was something I could do. I had no fear. In turn, the skills I learned from acting probably helped me in real life.

PatsysPyjamas Mon 25-Feb-13 23:01:19

Grr , another character. Sorry, on my kindle.

Turnipwurnip Mon 25-Feb-13 23:18:53

Thanks for this. Interesting! My daughter is keen to do Kickboxing. I think there may be some anger quietly simmering inside that she needs to get out...

MrsMushroom Tue 26-Feb-13 00:05:06

My DD is 8 and also introverted. She's been going to Brownies which has become a real is fairly balanced in favour of both introverts and extroverts I think.

They have loud running around games and some drama and also lots of quiet crafts and badge work which is done alone.

I would really recommend it. I like the way the sixers (leaders of each group) are chosen not because of their loud voices or extroversion but because of their fairness and balanced personality.

manchestermummy Tue 26-Feb-13 11:21:33

I was terribly, terribly introverted as a child, and as a result, was often mistaken for being less able because I didn't speak up or raise my hand. Ever. This improved at secondary school. I think since having children I've discovered that I have to put myself out there more as I am a parent and as such a small child's sole advocate. Whilst I will never, ever be extroverted, I am confident and most definitely not shy. What helped me in the end was a retail job as a student: I had to leave the shyness at home and do my job.

I did lots of activities as a child in they all helped. These days, I sing in a choir and often do solos. I'm not the best at all, but I have the confidence to put myself out there. It's all a cycle. I sing well, I get praise, I sing some more, I get more praise etc. etc. but every time I get more confident.

FWIW, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to be introverted. I'm thoughful and don't go at things like a bull in a china shop. I can stand my ground. I'm not the person jumping up and down saying "Me! Me! Me!" I'm the person who has proved myself through quiet determination.

Turnipwurnip Sat 02-Mar-13 23:54:13

Thanks for your replies. My daughter loves ballet apart from when they perform for the parents which she hates. If she would give that up (which she really doesn't want to) I'd love for her to go to Brownies or some sort of drama - but I'm also conscious that she needs her quiet alone time so I don't want to over book her time. I guess it's just something she'll have to work out for herself. Maybe secondary school will be better for her as she'll be able to get stuck into work independently rather than have to compete in class.

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