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If you’re the parent of an introverted child, you might find this article enlightening and potentially useful. If you’re the extroverted parent of an introverted child, you – or potentially future-you – could write this article.

Me, I’m an introvert. Nothing better than curling up by the fire with a good book and a hot cup of tea. My husband, he’s an extrovert with a capital “E.” His car radio: always on. Talks on the phone for a living and then, after work, calls all his friends and family. One volume: High. I’ve learned that there is no such thing as a “pure” extrovert, but my husband is the closest thing to it. Imagine our surprise (especially his!) when our second son turned out to be a cautious, look-before-you-leap, slow-to-warm-up kind of child. The kind who literally clung to a tree rather than joining the other kids on the soccer field at the first practice. Spoiler alert: Our introverted child has grown up into a happy, spirited, adventurous, multi-friended college student, and we’ve gained a lot of hard-won wisdom along the way.

Some of the things I wish I’d known earlier

The characteristics of introversion or extroversion are inborn, they are part of a person’s temperament. There’s no such thing as a pure introvert or a pure extrovert, but if you fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, you’re an “ambivert.” Being introverted is not the same thing as being shy. Shyness is a fear of negative evaluation and is a milder form of social anxiety. Introversion refers to a tendency to become overstimulated and to have a relatively high requirement for solitude or quiet time to recharge. Think of it this way: shyness and gregariousness are opposites; introversion and extroversion are opposites. These concepts are separate and distinct.

Read the rest on Washington Parent Magazine’s website.