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Loving Our Introverted Children

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2021 1:00 am

Loving Our Introverted Children

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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January 15, 2021 1:00 am

Do you ever struggle with knowing how to best reach your introverted child? On FamilyLife Today, join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson as they talk with author Holley Gerth on how to love and understand your introverted child.

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Find more from Holley Gerth and take the "What % Introvert are YOU?" quiz.

Find out more from Chap Bettis's book The Disciple-Making Parent.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

If your teenager is spending a lot of time in his or her room by themselves. Should you be concerned about that is apparent is that a warning sign of something troubling.

Holly Gerth says there are good ways to diagnose what might be going on in your child's life knowing if that child is withdrawing and then re-engaging. That's the pattern of a healthy introvert is with thrall to refuel then re-engagement if you're seeing that in your kit over they need to go on the room with and then come back out there happier, more energetic person that's normal introverted if there refusing to ever engage with anyone there isolating their not talking anyone in their lives that the red flag. So really it's his looking at this pulling away a temporary thing that leads to something positive, or is it a sudden change associated with things like mood and things where you probably want to get a counselor involved. This is family like today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Payne combined to We need to recognize that if our child is an introvert or extrovert working. I have to adapt our parenting style as we raise them talk more about that today with Holly Gerth stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us were spending some time this week talking about introverts and extroverts and I'm just wondering whether there's a relationship between extroverts and colic with babies and she wondered about that because we have we have one child who was the almost quiet as most peaceful baby of probably of all five of ours. In fact, I think my mom wondered if this child had a hearing problem you know or what if there was something because early on.

They were just so mellow and that that son has grown up to be an introverted son. And yet I think of our kids were more outgoing and I'm thinking back to who they were as babies. My brain goes here when were talking about these things and we got Holly Gerth joining us this week who is in. Can we call you an expert on introverted she is one, and she's written a book, the powerful purpose of an introvert Holly, welcome back. Thank you for having me. Can you tell as a parent.

Do you think if a child is an introvert or extrovert. When there a month old or six months older, a-year-old.

There have been studies done with babies where that was the purpose of the study to figure out are these kiddos introverts extroverts and follow them into adulthood because obviously you can't draw a conclusion and stern most of the time the prediction was right based on how they engaging in with their external environment so extroverted baby would act like what if you introduce something new to them. They sort of just go all in, like, walk into a room.

It was an experiment where they would walk into a room with the volunteer they didn't know been to toys they never seen they jump right in the introvert, kiddo kinda hang with mama little bit take a look around, figure it all out and then probably engage and set out again. It's that external environment piece in the processing that we talked about the brain and nervous system is it that shorter faster brain pathways are using or the longer, more complex, when, where, it means they just need a little time I've heard it said that extroverts are more like helicopters where they can lift off immediately and introverts are more like planes that just need a little bit of a runway, etc. Susan Kane actually wrote the book quiet and talks a lot about parenting, introvert kids, if you got an introverted kid and you're taken them into a new environment. To think of that that they are playing that needs a runway, but they'll get there so often as parents we do the opposite we shame the child. You know if you're walking in a room in your child grabs your leg and maybe because they're an introvert. They're just a little more timid to be a helicopter I've seen brought done this, you know, pushed him go.

This is what you're supposed to do your supposed be people person extroverted, rather than helping them right. We sort shame and that's horrible.

Maybe I'm just myself and I've seen that done like this is the way you're supposed to be. As a child, rather than celebrating their introverted so it helps to know that right that that's what's going on in that their little introvert brains are probably registering strange people the same way they what a strange dog, severe, kiddo hid behind you because I saw a strange dog. He would say this is seen the neighbors dog. Why don't you pat him on the head a little bit you know. Gradually introduce the child to that thing that is triggering their fight or flight response. It is hard to think of people being that, but it is our brains read other people and social things as potential threats can't be detected as early as the hospital went airborne because I'm thinking back, our first son would cry whenever anyone else held him, but when I would hold him and talk to him softly. He was comforted. We had another son.

They were all in the NICU tear which is interesting. I was so amazed that whenever the nurses would hold him or more people, he would have around. He was so much more content, not just me but all the nurses he may just warm up to 10 but when he was alone. He tend to be more fussy. Yeah, I imagine. So I don't know if there are beneficial studies that early but I would think observing is apparent. You have probably noticed some differences I want you to talk about Dave's point because if were raising kids and we figured this child is outgoing, extroverted the other child is shy, introverted, first of all, do we have our categories right based on reticence or engagement. And then secondly, I'm guessing that we value extroversion and we punish introversion. How should we be doing it differently man hated make parents feel that they are doing it wrong with the kiddos. You know, because extrovert parents give different gifts to their introvert kids. They can help them be braver and step outside of their comfort zone and sometimes it's what they really need and so I don't want to same extroverts were talking about Sammy because I think it's individual to each parent and child that I think it's really coming down what you are displaying being observant as a mom you noticed about your baby, even from teeny tiny. This is the way they engage with the world. And so, once people are equipped with the knowledge that that affects introversion and extroversion then you can start adapting and learning about who your kid is what they need. Coming up with strategies together because you don't over protect introvert kids either. That's not the point. We talked and our last conversation about we don't want to make excuses for ourselves, but we also don't want to say I'm just gonna let my introverted kid always hide it's about getting them to a level of safety where they can move forward on their own.

I'll tell you what we did not as much when we were raising our kids, but I see it now as a grandparent and I think this is a strategy we could've employed more if you're going to a new setting something that's gonna be different for the child rather than waiting till you get there and letting that experience just happened some coaching so we were going recently with one of our grandkids to church and we were talking about the fact that sometimes this child is shy about going to kids ministry at church on the car ride on the way over. I was saying all man. I'm so excited for you.

You get to go to kids church there can be people you know and there are no other employees in there and they do snacks there. I think they do snacks so I was just trying to prep this grandchild for what was coming, so that it didn't just come at them all at once and then cause that panic response.

They should be in a grandfather Hall of Fame now and I think there's a lot of that preparation and coaching we can do as parents and as grandparents to help our kids and grandkids be ready for what's coming, rather than just expect that in the moment. They should be able to adapt instantly. I think that's a great example of building a runway you build your drink in a runway and so they were ready by the time they got there grew up as an introvert, yet you didn't have a name for it.

Did you feel less them. It's interesting because I am from an entire family of introverts. Both my parents are introverts. My only sibling is an introvert so in my world introvert was normal and so it's been interesting to engage with people that didn't have that experience and it's different, you know, so I would just like everybody else around the table so I didn't think is much about it.

It was more in settings like school, youth group and actually always had a ton of friends but I was built my own tribe like I went drove my parents big gray van around and picked up like eight kids and took them to youth group every week, but they were like my little tribal people that I knew and had was familiar with and I sort of done that all my life. So I think it's just understanding your kiddo and building that runway preparation is a great strategy. I think for littler kids thinking about physical comfort like if they have a blanket or teddy bear or whatever it is that's comforting to them. Let them go ahead and have that because it's countering that external stimulation that they're dealing with. Think context is always helpful for older kids, you know like you are saying here's what going on here. So this can happen here. She's gonna be there how it's gonna work out.

That is helps with all the processing I think asking if they're old enough to ask what do you need to feel more comfortable and though often tell you I need to know what time were going home because then I can budget my energy that something we have to do a lot as introverts we know we have X amount of energy per day.

We budgeted accordingly and then were okay but if we don't know what's coming. We can budget correctly then suddenly were in a social situation where we've hit our gunpoint and we physically cannot continue engaging at the level we want to. And yet were with people. We value that we deeply want to show we value them and that causes a kind of panic that is very distressing. So even telling your kid working be here for two hours. Then you can go home talk about that energy thinkers you know the misunderstanding that I've seen, and I think I had this for quite a while was. Introverts are not good with people they don't really like people, extroverts are good with people they like people and then when Anna and I years ago went through the Myers-Briggs training member RR leader said extroversion and introversion is about energy and this is how he explained it, tell me if you agree. He said it's like you have a power cord in your hand in an extrovert sees a group of people over there and he is all I would go over there because they get energy from being with people on introvert has a power cord and sees a group of people says no I'm to go over here and be more alone, and I'm gonna come out of that with energy and it's just an energy thing. It's like they're not better or worse, a lump people. They just get energy many times not being with them and then like you just said the amount of time can sap their energies at truth. Yeah well it's related to energy and that those neurotransmitter differences that we talked about in an earlier conversation, so extroverts prefer dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that read view that acts like caffeine to obviously on the outside that looks like people energize extroverts is actually people because our brains release a lot of dopamine so that's what's going on and then introverts with a set of Colleen which is the neurotransmitter that makes us feel best. That's what energizes us and that's release when we turn inward and having meaningful conversation with one person focus on a project were passionate about. So it looks like that's where introverts get their energy. So, yes, but it's also more complex than just how introverts and extroverts are affected by people.

So when you mentioned dopamine. I think addiction can extrovert be addicted to people. I think it's possible while that is interesting because dopamine is associated with a lot of actual addictions like gambling, you know, you pull a slot machine handle. You get ahead. It dopamine if withdrawing is the temptation of introverts than I think using that dopamine pit and unhealthy ways would probably of your vulnerability.

For extroverts, when he says because they're avoiding something else to make the painful.

She's now Kountze is a question for about her husband. I think that's a question asked is this behavior avoidance. I mean it's the same thing we been talking about with introverts of an introverts locking themselves in her room excessively right avoidance right if and extroverts choosing to be with people. To the extent that they are avoiding something they know God's place on their heart to deal with than I would say that's avoidant, so I think any behavior for saying I'm doing this to avoid rather than as a proactive healthy choice and that's a red flag that we probably need to take a look at some moms and dads will observe a child who appears to be a friendly, outgoing child hit adolescence and all of a sudden it's like something just changed my extrovert is no longer an extrovert, my extroverts seems to have pulled inside. Should they be concerned about that. How can you tell the difference between something that is troubling and something that is just personality-based knowing if that child is withdrawing and then re-engaging. That's the pattern of a healthy introvert is withdrawal to refuel, then re-engagement so look for that refuel re-engagement refuel re-engagement if you're seeing that in your kiddo where they need to go on the room with and then come back out and are happier, more energetic person that's normal introvert.

If they are refusing to ever engage with anyone there isolating. They're not talking anyone in their lives. That's a red flag because that's different than introversion extroverts can get to that place too and so hopelessness and their speech would be a sign of depression not introversion losing interest in activities they once loved because introverts will still have activities they love.

They just may be different activities in an extra kiddo does C want to see that capacity for joy still there.

So that's another red flag. So really it's is looking at is this pulling away a temporary thing that leads to something positive, or is it a sudden change associated with other things like mood and things where you probably want to get accounts are involved and how about the thinking of a dad that is called to lead his family spiritually and otherwise in moms are two, but I'm thinking of because I'm a dad. If I'm an introvert and I actually want to get there. I will pull away and yet I have to lead you know, you think all that's an extroverted ego function and so extroverts to be better to have a what assignment introvert. You and I even think in the NFL trillions and quarterbacks like me are usually extroverts. Kickers are usually introverts there literally on another field kicking a ball while were all over here in a group and when I think about lead my family. I think of a quarterback and huddle us go here we go guys in a kickers not gonna do that is to walk in and say just let me kick the ball and go back to my sightlines you know and that's what he does really good at. So how does an introvert mom or dad lead a group of people. Yeah, I think it's recognizing the introverts and experts have different leadership styles. Both are equally effective at tenure leadership study actually found that introvert CEOs were little more likely to surpass the expectations of their board and investors which you wouldn't you know expect and so extrovert leadership. Austin looks like up front it's a little more vocal and visible introvert leadership essays leading from behind and introvert will often get behind a person or a project or a team and team B and them in ways that are often not as visible but just as valuable like in the leadership book good to great.

Tim Collins describes level V leaders he called them humble, self-effacing, even shy. All these characteristics and I thought, he's talking about introvert leader of really beautiful scenario is when you get an extrovert leader paired up with an introvert leader in author Jennifer Conwell are calls that genius offices. For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and you think about marriage is for you got one introvert one extrovert teaming up with those different styles of leadership that can be really powerful and so what I say a lot to introvert leaders is don't focus on visibility focus on the value that you're adding in so that introvert dad maybe is not as vocal. She's great at listening to his kids are taking them out to breakfast one on one. Instead of taking everybody in the car together somewhere and so I think to saying what is my natural leadership style. How does that work for our family and how do I team up with my spouse, for we both get to the house together teaming up with your spouse in the greatness and strengthen him or her in using mention in the book Moses who had a partner. Yeah, you know, I mean nobody would think. I didn't think Moses would be classified. Morrison introvert but look at how responded to the call God had on his life talk at that yet, so obviously Moses did not take Myers-Briggs with the burning bush, but from all indications in Scripture God says I want to go before Pharaoh and he's like I'm not a good public speaker and he wants someone to go with them. He ends up with Aaron his brother, I think, is an extrovert and so they ended up as this introvert, extrovert pairing, and so again that's an example of how that can be powerful but I think a lot biblical characters actually have introvert characteristics that we can learn from and again that goes back to just it's a complementary pairing that we need both in our world.

I'm thinking that extroverts like spotlights and applause and cheering and introverts don't and I'm wondering how we affirm and reward our kids who are introverts in such a way that they go. I am valuable and appreciated. If it's not by turning the spotlight on them were cheering for them or having everybody say for he's a jolly good fellow right yeah I think it's talking to that kiddo and saying what makes you feel good. You know what can I do that makes you feel that I'm proud of you and listening to that answer because it's true for introverts. Attention is something to be endured.

It's a necessary part of doing what we are called to do at times, but it's not something that feels rewarding, often praising introvert kids in private like writing them a note saying just you and I are going to go out to your favorite place for ice cream on Friday. Given introvert kid your full attention and blocking everything else out for them. That's huge that shows them I matter and you're investing in me individually.

I think that can be a strategy.

Some of my favorite conversations in our home were with our son. That's the introvert. I think it's because it felt like I was panning for gold. Introverts don't necessarily give all their thoughts and feelings away to anybody. And so when I would have those conversations with CJ, just the two of us alone. Looking Ida, I am just talking about like tell me what you think of this, or tell me your thoughts about this and this conversation was slow. It was sweet because he's very mindful of his words.

And yet, I would walk away feeling like he gave me such a gift because he doesn't give those words in those thoughts and feelings to everyone.

I think that's the sweetest thing about introverts that when they give you their heart. It feels like something very sacred to me. It's not something you just cast away or you think of that, so that's no big deal because it was a big deal for him to open up and share and I just said this and it's really the subtitle of your book is one of the reasons CJ was able to do that with a hand was. I know we felt loved and valued as an introvert, like she let him be him you be you and that I me I could see it. He came alive knowing she appreciates highly way that made me fascinating in a way think it's so different than what I would even come up with your mind is fascinating and I think we could say that about each other because anything that God creates is pretty magnificent and so for us to say that to our kids and be fascinated with how God made them is a gift that we can give to our kids values. Yes, this is so helpful I think for all of us to think about the fearfully and wonderfully made differences in each of us.

And to think about how we can stretch ourselves.

So if we are extroverts how we can may be little more solitude in our lives more reflection of our lives and for introverts how we can stretch someone to adapt to the environment a little better how we can raise our kids this this is just so helpful and and Holly. I am grateful that in the book you give us ways to do the diagnosis. You can, you didn't just write the ideas put we can do some self examination of exploration.

Thank you for the conversation. Thanks for writing the book. Thanks for having me go to our to find out more about Holly's book, the powerful purpose of introverts and I should mention to you got on your website a 10 question diagnostic tool to help people figure out just how introverted or how extroverted MI.

We got a link to that on our get a copy of Holly Gerth's book and find out how you can take the diagnostic quiz that is available. You can also call us if you'd like to order Holly's book or number is one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today.

Now is we are fully engaged in a brand-new year. We are excited about what God has ahead for us in 2021. David Robbins, who is the personal family life is here with us and Dave. I think everybody is hoping 2021 is gonna be a very different kind of your than 2020 was happening and who is not ready to turn the page on 2020 and were glad that we are here yet something still a little too familiar to what 2020 felt like. But there is no doubt that there's an expectancy of what this year may hold and how it may be different, and I'm expected on the ways God wants to work in each one of our lives as we had to walk through a bunch of struggle and a bunch of waiting and a bunch of pain so were in the thick of it. Still, yet there is an expectancy that I am really encouraged by and hopeful and and part of my hopefulness really comes from many of you many of you who at the end of the year partnered with family life gave generously in order to set us up to do the ministry plans that we that we had ready to go in this coming year of 20, 21, but we wanted to be sure that we had that the capacity and the resources in order to be able to pursue MMA.

I'm so encouraged. You know the reality is, it takes around two weeks at the turn of the year for all the giving to get registered and to get the report of, where we stand at the end of the year. We were very frank and honest of us needing your help and I just want to say again thank you for coming through. Thank you for setting this up to fuel ministry when it comes to 20, 21 and the expectancy we have what God wants to do and families. Well of course we are grateful for your ongoing support throughout the coming year.

So thanks in advance for your partnership with us and thank you, David, and we hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together in your local church this weekend and I hope you can join us back on Monday when working to talk about how important it is for us to understand the person God made each one of us to be and how we live that out in our marriage and our family. Jamie ideas could be here with us to talk about that. We hope you can be here as well, thank our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Wilson on Bob Lapine see you back next time for another edition of family life today. Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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