4 Tips to Disciplining Your Introverted Child
Introverted children are not easy to discipline. If they're feelers, they may be adept at emotional sabotage or withdraw for fear of getting hurt. If they're thinkers, they may try to outwit you or silently plot their next move.
Clever little devils.
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. Read Colossians 3:21 – “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” (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:
1. 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 that just because he is quiet or not responding to cues immediately, that he is ignoring you or trying to make up a lie. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 and locking them away in a room may not bring the change in behavior you are looking for. They may enjoy solitude, but no one enjoys loneliness.
4. 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 great listeners and hearing about your experiences & 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 them 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, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).
I wrote this originally as a guest post on INTENTIONAL PARENTING with Carole Sparks. You can check out her website here: https://notaboutme1151parenting.wordpress.com/
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