OK, I am about to explode with excitement!
I just started reading this book, The Introvert Advantage. It is soooo so so good! If you are an introvert, are married to an introvert, or have a child (foster or not) that is an introvert, you MUST READ THIS BOOK! You can download the ebook for $7.76 at Amazon. Or, you know, maybe check it out at the library for free? I was too excited to wait for the library so I just bought it. :)
Only about 1 in 4 people is an introvert, and our culture values extroversion over introversion. The pressure on introverted people to conform to the world of extroversion is extraordinary. The author gave several examples of extroverted parents bringing their introverted children to her, thinking that something was wrong with them and requesting that they undergo therapy. I know many times in my own childhood where I was forced to try to be extroverted, and I remember instances where I ended up in tears because I just couldn't do it. All of my friends I had as a child were because they "adopted" me...just people that were friendly and decided they wanted to be my friend for some reason. I certainly was not able to go out of my way to make friends, though I wanted (and needed) them desperately.
My husband (an extrovert) and I (an introvert) discussed the boys, and agreed that D and C are extroverts, whereas Y is an introvert. I don't know why I never thought of it before, but it is just so apparent in all that Y does that he is an introvert.
Some of the things we have noticed with him is:
- Observing a situation before feeling comfortable joining in
- Having to think for several moments before being able to answer a question
- Looking away while talking (introverts do this because they have to concentrate so much on what they are saying)
- Doesn't interrupt (introverts do this because they hate to be interrupted because it can be so difficult to turn thoughts into words - once they are interrupted it is a) difficult for them to get back on track and b) they feel that what they are saying is not valuable so they may just stop talking - I do this ALL THE TIME)
- A generally calm demeanor
I also am learning a ton about extroverts, and why C especially is the way he is. That child gives me all kinds of conniptions with his attitude and behavior, but so much of it can be written off as simply that he is an extrovert, and I am not! And I don't "get" his behavior but it is totally normal for extroverts. I can't count the number of times I have thought to myself (and sometimes said) "PLEASE STOP TALKING!" Extroverts think and speak at the same time; indeed they NEED to speak to think; whereas introverts do much, much more thinking than speaking and can only do one at a time.
Also I have some friends that are extroverts. I think that learning about how they think and function will help me to not be so hurt when they do things like interrupt, don't look at me when I'm talking, etc. That is just the extrovert way. And both introverts and extroverts have to make adjustments to try to get along. Both personality types are valuable and both bring important things to the table.
So even though I never thought about it specifically before, I think the fact that Y is an introvert may be part of what bonds me to him and why I feel closer to him than to the other boys. I feel like I can relate to many of his actions (or in-actions), I love that he is so calm and quiet (most of the time!!!), I enjoy talking to him and trying to draw him out and giving him an opportunity to talk.
The book gives tips on how to survive in an extrovert world, and also tips for helping your introverted children avoid overstimulation which can happen so easily to introverts.
I am so thankful that I have a husband that understands my introversion and doesn't try to change me! :) Now I need to work on not trying to change the boys (any of them!) and make them be something they are not.
And my favorite quote from the book so far:
"We worry about what a child will be tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today." - Stacia Tauscher