My son and I spend a lot of time riding in the car. Both of us, introverts to the core, can literally ride an entire 70 mile trip to work without saying two words to each other.
I’ve been having some mom-guilt feelings about this because, ideally, I could be using this time to get to know him better, draw out his feelings, provide instruction and impart guidance as he is about to become a teenager. And yet, as I drive, my mind is busy with daydreams, conversations I’ve had, conversations I wish I could have, conversations that could never happen in a million years. (You introverts out there I’m sure know exactly what I’m talking about.)
And, unfortunately, this means I have no idea what is happening in my son’s brain.
I’ve been making an effort to periodically ask him questions about what he is thinking about, but inevitably, during the majority of the time that passes we are both silent and deep in thought.
So, instead of succumbing to mom-guilt, I started thinking about all the positive aspects of being an introvert when it comes to parenting my son.
Here are some traits we introverts have that make us awesome moms:
Quiet, peaceful nature
We don’t lose our tempers easily. It takes a lot to get us riled up, so our disciplining strategies are carried out calmly, and therefore, WAY more effective than disciplining in anger.
“When parents get mad at children (regardless of their age) children often feel scared, ashamed and guilty. Anger will usually get a quick response from your children to stop doing whatever it is that they are doing, but this is counterproductive if you want your child to learn to be self-confident, and courageous . ” – Aaron Anderson, The Marriage and Family Clinic
Introverts are AMAZING listeners.
Although my son shares my quiet nature, when he gets excited about something he is learning or comes up with a creative idea (like an app that dog owners could use to ‘mark’ their dogs’ territories!), I make sure I stop whatever inner conversation I’ve got going on in that second and listen closely.
We want our kids to know they are important too, so it’s important to show them the respect of listening to their ideas and thoughts.
I am an unofficial ‘big sister’ to two VERY CHATTY teenage girls. They love to talk, and I love to listen. Whether it’s about pets, or parents, or problems, they both feel comfortable coming to me.
“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” -Ernest Hemingway
“We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” –Diogenes
Ever made up interpretive dance moves while jumping on the trampoline? Co-wrote a bed-time story with your little one, or made a super-silly parody of a popular song?
Imagination – especially when we use it to make our kids laugh – is a major asset. Your child is going to remember all the laughs and silliness. It will also inspire their own creativity.
Think before we speak and act
“We fail to say the right words, because we choose to say the wrong words! We choose to say the wrong words, because we fail to think about the right words!”
Kids make bad decisions sometimes. That’s why they need parental guidance. But when they mess up, are we going to overreact? Blow up at them? If so, will they come to us again with their problems, or will they try to hide them?
How we react to the situation in that moment is important. If we want to earn trust from our kids, keep a level head, or they may decide never to come to us again.
I’m not perfect. When my son is in a bad mood, it’s easy for me to get frustrated. But if I think to myself, ‘maybe he is worried, stressed, or lonely,’ I try to allow him some space, and I make sure he knows he can come to me if he wants to talk about it.
There are enough reasons in our every day lives to feel twinges of mom-guilt. We aren’t perfect, but we don’t have to be! We all have our unique style of parenting, our own assets we bring to the journey, and our kids are going to be okay as long as we love them and look out for their best interests.
Do you have any ‘introverted parenting’ quirks that you aren’t afraid to share? We’d love to hear them! Comment below.