Teachable Moments

Extroverted Parents

It may be assumed that an Extroverted Parent has it easier than an Introverted Parent.  After all, don’t extroverts enjoy having people around all the time, have more energy and emotional capacity that would help them manage a child’s boundless exuberance and are able to navigate more swiftly the ever changing schedules of daily childhood schedules? Let’s see what research has to say.

Professor Susan Whitbourne at the University of Massachusetts along with author, Sophia Dembling, propose a variety of pros and cons for the Extroverted Parents.  Along with other research insights, the following characteristics help us better understand the joys and challenges of Extroverted Parenting.

  1.  They don’t overthink.  Extroverts tend to handle conflicts or issues head on, not allowing anger to build up or dwell on things too long.  This is one of the “pros” as being able to go with the flow and not being too worked up over life’s challenges decreases the anxiety of parenting.  They don’t overthink issues, but tend to solve and resolve things fairly quickly and then move on with little stress.
  2. They’re ready to go.  Boundless energy and people engagement tends to make extroverted parents up for anything.  Want to go play ball?  Yes!  Want to watch a movie?  Yes.  Want to work on the local PTA?  Yes!  These are the Tiggers of the world who bounce around, going to all sorts of places and engaging in all sorts of activities.  They tend to play with their children rather than apart from them.  They value connection with others as they highly value relationships.
  3. Children’s emotions can get in the way.  Extroverted parents may have a hard time seeing life from a child’s point of view.  They don’t always want to slow down to hear what is going on behind the scenes for the child.  This can make them insensitive. Getting things done can be more important than how they get things done or why they get things done.
  4. Humor shouldn’t be the highest value.  Most Extroverts can appreciate a good joke. Humor is often an appropriate distraction or can create a happy moment within the family.  But, humor has a dark side and if not careful, humor and sarcasm can take the place of insight and sincerity.
  5. They’re loud.  Most Extroverted Parents make a bit of noise and aren’t embarrassed for it.  They love cheering on their kids and can handle noise with a “kids will be kids” attitude.  This makes the uproar of children and their friends a welcome environment for Extroverts and hospitality in childhood one of their strengths.
  6. Extroverts love being Extroverts.  While Introverts are known to apologize for their personality, Extroverts tend to embrace their personality and praise themselves for it.  While they didn’t do anything to get this type of personality, they need to remember with humility that God has made all people valuable, not just them.  They need to especially remember this if God has given them an Introverted child!

BEWARE: beware the pressure that we can inadvertently put on our Extrovert Parents.

Extroverted parents can feel a lot of pressure to be the “fun” parent and to make sure everyone is always having a good time.  Extroverts can be misunderstood as some will expect them to be ready to go and ready to volunteer all the time. It is easy to pigeon-hole them and see them as one-dimensional and think because of their energy and activity level they are intellectually shallow.  None of this is fair and we need to extend opportunities for our Extroverted Parents to express deep thoughts, connect emotionally at a slower pace and to say “no” when their schedules get too full.   

Dear Reader, may we take the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 seriously when it says, Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  Appreciating the energy, vibrancy, and positivity of Extroverts means letting them know we are grateful for all they bring to a community while also allowing them to express their more vulnerable emotions and profound thoughts.  Extroverts can be natural givers, but they also need opportunities to receive. May we not grow weary in building up our Extroverted Parents!

Blessings to you whether Extrovert or Introvert!  

Your Extroverted Friend, Elizabeth