This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!
Alive Magazine reports on introverted children
If you are a parent or caregiver, pick up this month’s free issue of Alive Magazine. It’s worth a read and has tons of useful information about kids.
I was blown away at the article “Quiet kids: Tips for nurturing introverted children” and how much it paid attention to introverted kids, like I was. I remember growing up in elementary school and being told by my teacher in the 4th grade to “come out of [my] shell.” I didn’t understand what she meant because I didn’t realize I had this metaphorical shell. I knew I was a shy person, but I guess I didn’t realize until then that it was not an admirable quality, or so I thought that day.
Colleen Grant writes, “Western society celebrates bold speakers, daring risk takers, and outgoing leaders. Meanwhile, passive intellectuals may fly under our cultural radar. Cain calls this phenomenon the extrovert ideal.“
In high school, when we were asked by my Christian Education teacher what traits we would trade to get one we didn’t have, I said I would trade my academic ability for the gift of social gab. I wanted desperately not to be afraid of talking with people who weren’t close friends. I didn’t realize it was within me the whole time, and that I could develop a skill like that and maintain my smarts.
Now, I am fine with being under the radar. People would call me mysterious in university because I didn’t share very much of myself. I am happy to tell people what they want to know, but I don’t think I’m obligated to share right from the get-go. I’ve been called a quiet person for someone who is in PR. The questions and the comments will never end, but I realize that it’s just people’s assumptions and beliefs that they want to carry with them.
But, back to the kids. Grant’s article gives some excellent advice on how parents can decipher whether their introverted kids are fine as they are, or whether the symptoms are more indicative of something serious. Grant says to “avoid using negative labels such as ‘shy’ or ‘timid.‘” I think it is all about intent. There’s nothing wrong with these labels, but if you are using them negatively and your child hears it, it can be damaging.
Because I was a quiet kid, when I had emotional problems in high school, I turned to friends instead of my parents and found solace in our common misery. Thankfully I had my friends, because if I didn’t have them, I might feel very alone. There were times in elementary school when I read books at recess instead of played in the playground because I had treated others badly. But I think that was all part of building my muscle. Now, I enjoy the silence and the introspection. It’s made me welcome my other practices like yoga and meditation.
I salute you, quiet kids. Rock on!