Introversion is a legitimate personality style, not a failure to be an extrovert. This is an important distinction and your understanding of it will help you to accept your introverted child and support him or her in building a positive self image. We used to think that people who were introverted were anti-social and unhappy. Now we know differently.
Much of our understanding about introversion comes from the work done by Swiss psychiatrist, Karl Jung, himself a gifted intuitive introvert. Like most introverts, Jung had a rich inner world. Even as a child he had wisdom, insights, numinous dreams and a questing of the spirit.
In the introduction to his autobiography, "Memories, Dreams, Reflections", Jung expresses fears that his readers may be disappointed. Not much happened, he says. Not outwardly. Like most introverts, Jung's "real world" was within and from this rich inner world, he gifted us with many concepts and theories which are still being explored today.
Not all introverts are intuitive like Jung. There are actually 8 different kinds of introverts. It will be exciting to find out which category best describes your boy or girl!
A word of caution. Temperament is not really quantifiable (measurable). In order to find out whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you have to have observed behavior over a long period of time, so it is really an ongoing process. There are two popular tests that can help adults determine temperament. These tests are the Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter II. These "tests" ask "yes" or "no" questions based on your own observations of yourself, such as:
1.The more people you speak to, the better you feel. (yes or no)
2.You are more of a listener than a speaker. (yes or no)
3.When the phone rings you are the first to answer it. (yes or no)
4.You find it hard to be engaged in a project that requires your undivided attention. (yes or no)
As you can see, these questions are subjective. No test can describe the infinite variation of qualities that make up a person's nature but these tests can help us to understand ourselves better.
If you would like to try one of these for yourself, I recommend the Keirsey Temperament Sorter because you can take it on line, it is free and it is easy to understand. You can take the Sorter at:
Pesonalty inventories like the MBTI® and Keirsey Sorter are for adults. How can you tell if your child is introverted?
If your child is very young, you can tell by whether they move toward stimuli such as people and things or away from them. Stimuli include, for example, clowns, visiting grandparents, pets, noisemakers, animals at the zoo, whirring fans, lights and clocks. Extroverted babies and toddlers move toward these things. Introverted babies and toddlers move away from them. As you can see, this is a very basic difference in people almost from the moment of birth and you can observe it for yourself.
You're probably pretty sure your child is an introvert or you wouldn't be reading this article, so let's take a look at the 8 different kinds of introverts.
I will use Keirsey's descriptions of the personality types because they are easy to understand. You can learn more about them at http://www.keirsey.com .
Let's see which one of these 8 types sounds like your child.
1. GUARDIANS value belonging to a group or community. They maintain stability through responsible, conservative and traditional behavior.
GUARDIANS make up about 40-45% of the general population. There are two types of introverted GUARDIANS, Inspectors and Protectors.
* Inspectors watch out for the institutions of society. These thorough and orderly people are interested in legalities and standardization.
Famous Inspectors are George Washington, Harry Truman and Warren Buffet.
Inspector children may be quite possessive of the toys and people in their lives and an above average awareness of insiders vs. outsiders. The worst thing you can do to a child like this is make them treat everybody as equal.
* Protectors are serious people who care about the downtrodden and dedicate their lives to caring for them. The worse thing you can do to a child like this is try to make them "lighten up".
Famous Protectors are Queen Elizabeth II and Mother Theresa.
Protector children may good safety guards at street-crossings, help the teacher by "tutoring" slower students and may be given other extra responsibilities in school because of their seriousness. The worst thing you can do to these children is imply that they couldn't handle something like lunch money or keeping a new jacket clean.
2. ARTISANS value freedom and spontaneity. They want to be without constraint, at liberty to act on their impulses, play and create.
ARTISANS make up about 35-40% of the general population. There are two types of introverted ARTISANS, Crafters and Composers.
* Crafters master tools, anything from a piano to a potter's wheel to a paint brush to a supersonic jet.
Famous Crafters are Katherine Hepburn, Bruce Lee and Michael Jordan.
Crafter children are intense about projects like helping you set the table or raking leaves in the backyard. The worst thing you can do to these children is rush them or force them to end their project away before they have lost interest in it.
* Composers create by staying in close touch with the five senses and the world around them. They often express themselves in the "fine arts".
Famous Composers are Mozart and Steven Spielberg.
Composer children are drawn to musical instruments, song, dance, costumes and make believe. They may prefer symbolic and inspiring stories such as "King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table" to stories about contemporary children. The worst thing you can do to these children is limit their exposure to creative outlets.
3. IDEALISTS value personal growth, authenticity and integrity. They yearn to develop themselves fully as individuals and facilitate growth in others.
IDEALISTS make up about 5-10% of the population. There are two types of introverted IDEALISTS, Counselors and Healers.
* Counselors are ethical and empathic. They focus on human potential.
Famous Counselors are Karl Jung, Jane Goodall and Mohandas Gandhi.
The child COUNSELOR will be guileless about telling the truth and will sense the truth about others. These children often know what works for people and what doesn't. It is not unusual for them to stand up for smaller siblings or a child who are being picked on. They have a good sense about future events and when asked without judgment, they may be able to put it into words. The worst thing you can do to a child like this is deny their reality because they are being socially inappropriate.
* Healers care deeply for a few special people in their lives or for a favorite cause. They strive to bring peace and integrity into the world and usually seem quite serene, though they are actually very passionate.
Famous Healers are Albert Schweitzer and Mia Farrow. The author of this article is also a Healer.
The HEALER child shows a concern for people and animals that far transcends their age. Parents often find children like this a great solace. One of my clients calls her son her "lodestone" because he has such a calming effect on her. The worst thing you can to a child like this is take advantage of their tender hearts by burdening them with problems beyond their years.
3. RATIONALS value competence and intelligence. They strive to learn, know, predict and control the resources in their environment.
RATIONALS make up about 5-10% of the general population. There are two kinds of introverted RATIONALS, the Mastermind and the Architect.
* Masterminds are the ultimate pragmatists. They like to test their strategies against reality and make contingency plans.
Famous Masterminds are Isaac Newton and Friedrich Nietzsche.
Mastermind children are often bright little scientists who prefer to manipulate data and experiment with ideas rather than relate to people. They are the kids who love puzzle books, riddles, word diagrams and mysteries. The worst thing you can do to these children is make them spend a lot of time with other people.
* Architects experiment with the spatiality of things. They look at the universe as raw material to be shaped according to their designs.
Famous Architects are Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin (also the architect Howard Roark in Ayn Rand's novel, "The Fountainhead").
Little Architect children often build whole worlds of their own. They enjoy a certain type of imaginative play in which they are actually building other realities. The worst thing you can do to children like this is to negate their perceptions. All worlds are possible in the mind.
Introverts as a whole make up less than 30% of the population but as IQ rises, so does the percentage of introverts. As you can see, introverts make contributions to the world far in excess of their numbers.
I have prepared a list of books which have a main character who is an introvert to help you understand introverted characteristics in action. You can visit this list at
I also have a list of children's books that treat the nature of introversion sensitively. You can visit this list at
It is possible to be yourself and win! Let Nancy's coaching guide you to success ... just the way you are! http://www.TheIntrovertzCoach.com
Submitted by: Nancy R. Fenn *
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