As a parent, one of the hardest things to see is our kids not being accepted with their peers. It’s heartbreaking to see the parties they don’t get invited to, the get-togethers that they aren’t included in.
When our kids were younger, we had a bit more control in that we could approach parents and arrange playdates. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work so great in the teen years. Our kids are left on their own to navigate this world.
If your teen is struggling with friendships, one possible reason is that they are more introverted.
Signs that your teen is introverted
- Introverted teens tend to be more mature than their peers which makes it hard to fit in. They often can’t join in if they see the other kids’ behaviour as dumb or reckless.
- The teachers give you feedback that your teen comes into class, sits down, and prepares for class by quietly waiting for the teacher to start teaching.
- Your teen is talkative at home but as soon as someone from outside the family joins, your teen goes quiet or disappears to their room.
- Your teen does well in structured activities (sports, music lessons, art class) but when an activity is unstructured, they don’t know what to do. This is why lunchtime at school can be quite difficult for introverted teens.
What is Introversion?
The basic definition of introversion is that introverted people need time away from others to recharge. The more we are with people, the more drained we are.
ntroversion is not something to fix or overcome. Introverted people have so many great qualities.
The sad thing is that introverted teens are often judged for their quietness and seen as strange or weird.
This is often what gets in the way of making friends.
Why Introverted teens struggle to make friends
- They think that there is something wrong with them because they are quiet and worry that no one would want to be their friend.
- At school, they can be overwhelmed with all the noise and so find it hard to talk.
- They don’t know how to fit in because they don’t want to act like the other kids.
What can parents do to help?
A great place to start is learning more about introversion and then telling your teen what you are learning. This information will help your teen better understand themselves and see that there is nothing wrong with them.
It can also be helpful to have conversations with them as to what worries they have about talking with the other kids and why they think they don’t have friends. Having this conversation can help them feel supported and as a parent, you will learn more as to what the internal struggles are.
Remind your teen what you love about them. They receive subtle and not subtle messages that they should be different from who they are, so being reminded that they aren’t flawed is really important.