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The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.

We live in a world where extroverts make up 2/3rds of the population. In Western culture, extroverts are more likely to meet the social expectation that is our "outgoing, energised" ideal person.

Meet the introvert: The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child can help parents identify both introverted and extroverted children, and highlights the common differences between the two temperaments.

Marti reveals what gifts introverts have. These gifts range from the tendency to be less likely to cause trouble, have more long-standing friendships, be gifted in creativity, and shockingly enough- that we have better conversational skills (different from "social chit-chat" skills)!

Ms. Laney pointed out the quirks introverts have which tend to be viewed as major flaws by society. I grew up under the introvert cloud: that I somehow wasn't normal or good enough, because of the regular critiques of my social antics, or lack thereof.

Western human standards make for a discriminatory environment for introverts. We're often told something is wrong with us because we're the last to participate, or we're homebodies, and so on. One biggie: We'll say "hi" back, even speak, but we're "quiet" and often take time to warm up- so we're wrongly labelled as "shy," snobby, or broken.

In light of Marti's observations, thinking about how self critical I've been almost makes me want to cry. As I read on she showed just how normal these so called faults are. Faults I had withdrawn because of, or torn myself up for the sake of. I've tried to be more "extroverted," but during past attempts I've ended up being more of a social deadbeat than ever. I'm not alone as an introvert square having tried to fit into the extrovert circle, with draining results.

Some of the research that stood out included how "innie" brains work. Marti showed exactly why I, as an introvert, don't have the "get up and go" as extroverts do. (Another thing I would beat myself up over!) Our brain makeup, the pathways in which information is processed, is different between the two temperaments. There are even more physically apparent differences between the two temperaments. I've always had cold hands and feet- which is apparently an introvert physical trait! Apparently I'm a textbook introvert, and not so freaky-weird after all!

The best part of The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child is that if you have an introverted child, understanding this temperament can save both you and the child from a lot of unnecessary stress and hurt. Out of 300 pages, well over 2/3 address parenting an innie. I highlighted many of the tips, from diet to home environment, which I am enacting in my adult life. I've also changed my social outlook. Instead of trying to fit the extrovert mould, I will use my introvert gifts. Instead of trying to be a social butterfly, I will smile and search for a couple good, close friends to make up my inner social circle.

© Rachel


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