The Introverted Parent & How to Deal. ~ Dana Gornall

Via Dana Gornall
on Aug 28, 2013
get elephant's newsletter


PTO meetings kind of freak me out.

They are full of parents looking in charge and organized with day planners, iPads and mobile electronic schedules. They are planning events, hosting fundraisers and desperately searching for volunteers to help. I want to help, but navigating social situations is like walking up a set of stairs backwards for me.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy being around people completely. As a matter of fact, I can identify with this recent post I read on elephant journal about being an introvert. It’s just that being around a crowd can sometimes be intimidating and I would rather bake some cookies or donate a few dollars than sit in a meeting full of parents I don’t know very well for two hours.

The problem comes into play when you have a child that is truly an extrovert at heart. My youngest daughter is quick to make friends. I used to joke that she could make friends with a tree. She loves socializing and people are drawn to her.

I knew I was in trouble when she was seven years old and we were at my older son’s cub scouts banquet. Two of the boys went up to the buffet table and brought her back desserts. She is frequently invited to parties and sleep-overs and thoroughly enjoys being invited.

I don’t want my introverted personality to squash my extroverted child from being who she is, so navigating these situations can be tricky. I find myself getting frustrated when my kids want to have friends over and struggle with sports meetings and school functions. This can be extremely conflicting since I want to be an involved mom.

So what can you do if you are an introverted parent?

1. Accept yourself for who you are.

Trying to be someone you aren’t most likely comes across as fake and awkward. So you are a quiet person and do not enjoy socializing as often as some people. Give yourself the freedom to be yourself and know you have limits.

2. Take advantage of one-on-one time with people.

Most introverts have a difficult time in groups, but feel at ease talking with one or two people. Use this time to build friendships that will last. It’s always easier to attend a school function if you have a friend to sit near.

3. If you have a skill, use it.

Many introverted people are writers, painters, musicians or mechanics. So you don’t enjoy making phone calls to solicit business to donate to the football team? Offer to create a flyer, website, or whatever else you excel in. You can participate in ways that are comfortable for you.

4. Pull up your boot straps and invite people over.

Yes, I did just say that. I know, that sounds like a lot of work to an introvert. If your kids are extroverts, they feel more energized by being with their friends. Invite a small group and set a limit to when the event ends. I know for myself I am okay with my kids having friends over if I know they will leave at a certain time.

5. Give yourself down time.

Socializing can drain a more introverted person. The best way to recover is to read a book, write, go for a walk or do whatever you most like doing alone. You will thank yourself for it and not be too crabby around your family.

Being an introverted parent with extroverted kids is definitely a challenge. Being able to deal with it works best if you can understand each other’s needs.

Like elephant family on Facebook.

 Ed: Sara Crolick


About Dana Gornall

Dana Gornall is a mom of three crazy kids and a dog. She works as a licensed massage therapist in Amherst, Ohio and is a certified sign language interpreter. She is always looking forward to even more personal growth. While not interpreting, doing massage, or being with her family she loves going to yoga. You can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.


5 Responses to “The Introverted Parent & How to Deal. ~ Dana Gornall”

  1. Sam says:

    I am an introvert husband married to an extrovert wife, and believe me, over time you will open up and begin to be comfortable in groups. Thank your daughter, as she is your catalyst of change.

  2. @DanaGornall says:

    Thanks, Sam! Yes, she is already pulling me into the extrovert world!

  3. Lori says:

    I couldn't agree more with your post – I have 3 extroverted kids and an extrovert husband! My youngest is 13 now so they've all learned how to handle me and my (mostly) introverted behavior. But the challenge was, and still is, not appearing standoffish or disengaged, especially when so many other parents were exactly the opposite. Always connecting, doing things together, never alone. For me, it isn't about changing me – in fact, I've learned to honor my introversion and have tried to teach my children that we need to find a balance between a revolving door and a house full of kids and the quiet that I need (which isn't so bad for them either). It was more about ensuring that I didn't stifle their natural extroversion and so I've made a conscious effort to do all the things you've suggested above as well as let the people I did get close to know that I was introverted – which they've been wonderfully supportive of. Happily, it's worked!

  4. @DanaGornall says:

    Lori, that's great! Sometimes it can feel like you are the only introvert in a whole community of extroverts. It's always good to connect with others that share the same feelings.

  5. Yep! I can totally relate. I am a introvert mom with an extremely extroverted 2 year old daughter.