Is my child an introvert?

by Lesley on November 19, 2012 · 4 comments

in motherhood

Is my baby an introvert? I think so. I’m curious to get your thoughts on whether you think parents can identify kid’s personality traits from a very young age.

Of course with something like introversion and extroversion there’s a lot of debate about nature versus nurture. I’m one who thinks most of us behave the way we do because of both factors. We’re born with certain tendencies but the way we’re raised can also play a significant impact on how we view and interact with the world around us.

One thing I’m really conscious of is trying not to project my assumptions or life experiences onto Anna. I’m an introvert, so I’ve already wondered if I’m reading into Anna’s actions too much because of my own bias.

On the other hand, there are things began noticing about Anna when she was very young, the largest being it takes her awhile to become comfortable when meeting new people or entering a new situation. In general, Anna was not very interactive with others during her infant months. I’d say we didn’t really see her personality come alive until she was almost a year old, but I remember a particular weekend  last January that really stands out to me.

Jonathan and I took Anna to Cayucos to spend the weekend in a beach house with the Kielys and Melvins. The Kielys had spent very little time with Anna, and I was excited for them to get to know her better. But the whole weekend, and I mean the WHOLE WEEKEND, Anna was stone faced. She didn’t smile. She didn’t babble. She was calm, quiet and pensive but almost seemed overwhelmed by everyone and everything. I was very conscious of her behavior and became more and more concerned as the weekend went by. Was something wrong with my baby? But when we returned home, my happy girl returned. (Note: the photo above is from the Cayucos weekend, and it really captures how Anna looked most of the 48 hours we were there. Also, didn’t she have such a old man’s mop of hair?)

In the months that followed our Cayucos trip, I noticed a similar pattern occurring when new people were around her, or when we put her in a stimulating situation.

As Anna has grown she’s much smilier and talkative but still seems to prefer time alone. Childcare at church continues to be a struggle at times, partially because she has some separation anxiety but also because I think all of the commotion can be wearing for her. Last weekend at the family reunion Anna would reach a burn-out point then quickly start to whine. When she was taken out of the main room, her mood instantly improved. Her favorite places? The corner of the quieter room “kids” room where she sat looking at books, or crawling around upstairs where there were less people.

At the reunion I had a chance to talk to one of Jonathan’s cousins who has two boys. She mentioned they were able to identify one of their child’s love languages when he was about two years old, and it’s made a huge difference in how they parent him. I found this fascinating and encouraging.

For parents out there, what do you think? Have you noticed certain aspects of your children’s personality from when they were very young? Do you know your children’s love language? What’s your advice for parents trying to understand their young children?

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4 comments
kelsey
kelsey

i'm POSITIVE that Roo is an introvert (like her mama). her new day care is much quieter than her in-home was, and i can totally tell that she's thriving more in that environment. she plays very well by herself, doesn't show much emotion, likes to think before she acts. honestly, it helps me to know how to treat her after realizing this!

Tim
Tim

I know we saw personalities developing in our kids from the start, but whether we could have started putting labels on them is another thing. Even without those concrete identifiers, though, the type of awareness you've got with Anna's personality is an attribute of a great parent, Lesley. She's a blessed girl to grow up in a house where she knows she's loved by her mother and father. Tim

Anna
Anna

This is such a great post! It seems like Anna has a lot of introverted tendencies. I do think that nurture plays a huge role in development, but things like a person's natural inclination towards introversion vs extroversion are more nature-based. Maybe I just say that because I'm an extrovert who was raised by introverts :) I think it's great that you're observing Anna's more introverted tendencies and needs and responding to them accordingly. I don't think it's too early to assume that she is - at least currently - an introvert. Mason is - and has been since we got him - an extrovert. Even as a little baby he would perk up the minute we walked into Starbucks, the grocery store, church, anywhere with a crowd of people. When we travel he walks through the airport greeting everyone he sees (it will be a sad day when he realizes they aren't all there to see him). I think identifying this social need in Mason has helped me know how to parent him better, and it sounds to me like knowing Anna's social needs has helped you parent her better as well.

san
san

Ok, I am not a mother, but I have a thought or two on this.... I am a twin and so my parents had a pretty direct comparison between my sister and me. I was (and still am) an introvert, my sister is more of an extrovert. I've been really shy and quiet as a child (and in new situations), while my sister was outgoing and always louder and demanding attention. So, in that regard, I definitely think it's a personality trait (because you'd think that my parents raised us pretty much the same way!). Also, I find the five love languages very intriguing and believe that there's a lot of truth to them.