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Dealing with an Adolescent's Introversion

Comments (1)
answered 01:45 AM EST, Fri October 11, 2013
anonymous anonymous
My 14 year old son is not interested in extracurricular or community activities. He is shy and he would rather be at home playing on his computer. I know he does not enjoy these things but I think they are important so I try to force him to participate, which causes endless battling at home. Should I give up on this battle or is it worth persevering with?

Rev. Christopher Smith Says...

Rev. Christopher Smith C. Smith

Parents (such as probably the one who intially raised this question) who were very socially involved often have difficulty understanding their children who are introverted, especially if they are also not highly involved with other people. There can be a difference between shyness and truly drawing your strength from yourself (as is the case for an introvert). If the roles were reversed, the extroverted parent would be frustrated and angry if they were being made to stay at home and away from the social settings that act to recharge them.

Before deciding what to do, the first thing to look at is why the child is engaging in the activities that they are. Does the child truly enjoy and feel drawn to the current activities? Is the child using the current activities to avoid alternate activities? If that is so, is it because there is no real interest or aptitude for those activities or is it operating out of fear or other negative emotional reasons that may not truly play out? Understanding this will help you as a parent to decide whether or not this is something that you should consider trying to influence, encourage or support your child to do differently.

Even if the earlier questions make you want to work with your child, there is still another important thing to think about. How important is participating in the alternate activities? In answering this question it is important to look at it from the present time frame and from the perspective of your child's life. It is very important to not simply move forward because you think that these activities are important based on your experience and personality. This will help to understand whether engaging the alternative activities is significant enough to make a fight or battle worthwhile.

Using these basic areas of thinking, you should be able to work out whether you want to continue the battles around this area or whether you should back off and not strongly engage in this issue. It should also make it less of a battle if this is something that you are wanting to continue as you will have a better understanding of how it i important from your child's perspective. Whichever way your own situation ends up deciding, there is the possibility of finding wholeness and peace as you move forward.

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