Mental health

Everything that introversion is not

Childhood is probably the only time when our personalities are most freely expressed. It is also the time when our development rests on positive regard that comes our way and hence it becomes extremely important to celebrate children for who they are. For them to grow up feeling secure about themselves, they should be made to feel adequate in their own skin. But unfortunately, in the Indian scenario, certain personalities and personality traits are celebrated while others are considered problematic. The simplest of examples is extroversion – an extroverted personality is considered ideal, is encouraged and lauded when an introverted personality is generally discouraged.
Contrary to people’s uneducated belief, introversion is not a sign of a child not being able to keep up with life. It does not mean that the child is dull or boring if they are introverted. We often see that introverted children are on the receiving end of a lot of criticism and advice. But why criticize or advice to change something that is not wrong in the first place? Introverts are not just shy people; although shyness commonly accompanies introverted personalities, it is not all that introversion is. Introverted individuals direct their thoughts into themselves, derive comfort and pleasure from their alone time. They prefer to work in smaller groups if they absolutely have to and are most definitely not loners. Introverts often take longer to warm up to people and often don’t pile up friendships. The fact that they are not necessarily what one might call sociable, doesn’t mean that the child is failing at life.  In fact, more frequently than not, introverts are thoughtful, smart, observant and more importantly, mindful of themselves. While they may not be the kind to voluntarily indulge in say, discussions, they do derive immense pleasure from participating in conversations that genuinely interest them. Parents must therefore actively work towards understanding their introverted child and love them for who they are. When parents don’t exhibit acceptance towards their child, either directly by calling them out for it or indirectly by encouraging them to behave like someone else, the child is hurt. It is the parents that give children unquestioned validation in the formative years of their lives and having them disapprove their personality itself, will leave a child feeling unloved and unappreciated. Teachers and mentors too must work in the direction that can make a child feel accommodated.  The most important thing that all people that make up a child’s support system should do is celebrate the child for who they are every day. Every child is unquestionably unique and deserves to know that.

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