Monday, April 16, 2012
Are Your Kids Introverts, Extroverts, or Somewhere Inbetween-ers?
I love me some Myers-Briggs personality types. INFJ here. (Possibly the rarest type in the US, which may explain a lot.) I'm really looking forward to seeing what types my kids are someday.
While I'm technically an introvert, I can also pass for extrovert - if I don't have to spend gobs of time interacting. Clocking in over 3 hours with someone, they might catch on. Somehow I even managed to be popular in high school, though I didn't feel like it at the time. As one of the "intellectuals" in my school, I often felt lumped in socially with the kids who were decidedly un-popular and who I clicked with. But I also played sports (extremely well), so the "jocks" loved me, and perhaps not coincidentally, I was one of those kids who had friends in every clique. Where am I going with this walk down memory lane? I've noticed I am actively socializing my kids to behave in a more extroverted way ("go over and introduce yourself to the kid playing over there"). So much so that yesterday after school DS demanded I take him to a park so he could meet a friend. And, lo and behold, he did. And mama got a crapload of work done before we had to get home.
DS's Montessori teacher (a proud introvert himself) and I were chatting after class, and he mentioned how he is usually able to pick out the kids who are more extroverted, the kids who are more introverted, and everyone in between. But DS is throwing him for a loop. After 6 months of interactions, he still can't tell which one DS is. DS almost always prefers to work alone, but when it is play time he is extremely social.
We both agreed that's a really good thing. He's about letting kids be who they are. He feels introverts tend to get a bad name in America today, because we live in such an extrovert-oriented society. He shared with me how the public schools he used to teach in eventually started moving from an introvert-friendly orientation (more individual work, at single desks) towards the current extrovert-friendly orientation, featuring working interpersonally (collaborative problem solving, sitting at shared tables). Perhaps he's speaking from his own place of introversion when he said often the extroverts get mistakenly identified as the most intelligent ones in the group because they talk so much, often before they've thought deeply on a subject.
What do you think? Are you persuaded by Myers-Briggs Type Indicators? Which type are you? Your kids? Is there a mismatch in your family?