I want you all to meet Kass Fogle, a writer friend of mine who advocates for the shy, socially anxious, and/or introverted in our churches and communities. She's also a thoughtful parent, which is why I asked her to share with us today. Oh, and by the way, Kass has a fantastic sense of humor; seriously, if you want a frequent laugh, follow her on Instagram! Let us know what you think in the comments at the bottom.
My children have provided some of my most cherished memories. They have also provided memories I’d rather forget.
Like the time I fireman-carried my two-year old son while very pregnant with my daughter, leaving behind a cart full of groceries.
Or the time my five-year old daughter chose to share her “texture-aversion” to shin guards 5 minutes before a game. To this day, I will attest they were lined with fire ants.
While the cherubic memories far outweigh the demonic snapshots of our lives, one thing is for certain: kids are kids and will behave in illogical and immature ways.
Our challenge as parents is to respond differently. Easier said than done. In fact, I’m quite guilty of throwing my own tantrums. (For more on momtrums, read When Good Moms Lose It)
But, God’s word instructs parents not to provoke their children.
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. –Colossians 3:21 NKJV
One way we can avoid provoking our children is to pay attention to how we discipline them based on their personality type. Introverted children respond very differently to discipline than their extroverted siblings.
Introverted children (and adults) tend to be more reflective, self-aware, and judicious, therefore very responsive to discipline that matches their personality.
While discipline is based on many factors, here are four tips to guide you when disciplining your introverted child:
- Instead of, “Answer me!” consider telling them, “I want you to think about why this is wrong.”
Your child is introspective. Try not to assume he is ignoring you or trying to make up a lie just because he is quiet or not responding to cues immediately. He is likely processing the situation. Consider giving your child time to think about your request then provide the option to respond in writing. Introverts typically share their thoughts or feelings more easily in writing, even with those they love.
- Instead of asking them, “How does this make you feel?” consider asking, “What will you do differently in the future?”
Introverts are already hyper-aware of their feelings so calling them out shames them. Instead, have them develop a plan for what they will do next time. Introverts are problem solvers and will rise to this challenge.
- Don’t assume a time-out is always the answer. Instead, match the consequence to the situation and child.
Just because your child is an introvert, does not mean they do not want to be heard. Locking them away in a room may not bring the change in behavior you seek. They may enjoy solitude, but no one enjoys loneliness.
- Don’t be afraid to share your experiences. Instead, speak up – tell them you’ve made a similar mistake or that you’ve made bad decisions too.
Introverts tend to exaggerate their offense and worry themselves into quite a state over it. While they may not be as open to sharing their own feelings, they are usually great listeners. Hearing about your experiences and mistakes puts their own transgressions into perspective.
When you combine these four tips, you are creating a safe environment for your child to learn and grow from their mistakes.
God has certainly blessed us as parents when He chose us specifically for raising our kids up in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). There is never a shortage of methods, theories and tips. Studies will show this and research will show that, but one thing remains the same and that is our Father’s love for us. It is by His example that we lead our children, introverts and extroverts, “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Have you found that your children respond differently to discipline because of their personalities? Have any helpful tips for the rest of us (introverted or extroverted)? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!
Kass Fogle is an award-winning author and speaker. Her weekly blog, The Introverted Believer is shared each Wednesday on Kassfogle.com.
As an introvert with a side dish of social anxiety, she’s struggled with understanding her role in the Christian Community where small groups are the foundation. This struggle has inspired her to learn more about personality types so she can encourage other introverts, and those who love them, to live out their faith in their work, their marriages, and their friendships.
Kass lives in south-central Illinois with her husband, amazing daughter and two crazy cats. Her son, the source for much of her content, plays football at Olivet Nazarene University. Kass welcomes conversation about coffee, chocolate and comfortable clothes, but please, no small talk!
Please visit her website to download Friendship with a Purpose – a journaling page to strengthen your friendships, free when you subscribe to kassfogle.com.
Related: Disicipline is Designed to Disciple