My parenting journey with my introverted child

I have an assignment to discuss a topic related to child development for my post-grad class and I decided to take this opportunity to continue my quest to learn more about my child that has the polar opposite of my personality.  Hello, my name is Kim and I am an extrovert.  My mother always said I never met a stranger and being around people made me happy as a child.  I thrived on being the center of attention and making people laugh.  I never really thought much about my personality or that I was an extrovert until I had my second child.  He was so different from his sister, also an extrovert and my mini me,  in every possible way and I was feeling so frustrated at not understanding his needs.  My husband and I were talking about it one day and it was during our discussion that I began to understand exactly how different my daughter and I were from him and my son.  I began researching and reading everything I could get my hands on about introverts and I was amazed that I have loved this man for 14 years and never thought much about the differences in our personalities.  I felt at that point that I needed to step up my game considerably if I was going to be a good parent to this child I didn’t understand.  For the first few years, it was not that difficult to parent my child as long as I gave him plenty of notice of plans, made sure that he had time each day to spend along to recharge, and keep him out of places where there were crowds of people.  Life for him was going well until he reached first grade and I began to notice the stress was taking a toll on him.   I discussed what I was seeing with his teachers and gave them examples of ways to help him feel more secure.  We muddled through elementary school, where my husband and I both teach, until he reached the fifth grade and we decided to have him tested.  We learned that he had a learning disability in Math and a delay in language, but what we didn’t know what that he also qualified with an emotional disability that was severe enough to affect his education.  After digesting that information and working to help him deal with the stress of his world, we enjoyed a few good years of stability.  Today finds me with a fourteen year old introvert with ADHD and an emotional disability dealing with high school and puberty.  Each day is a process and I am trying to take one day at a time in order to make the most of the last few years that I will have with my baby at home.   I am reminder of the old saying “No one ever said it would be easy, but it will be worth it.”  

In an effort to try to learn more about how introverts function in an extrovert world, I began my research.  Susan Cain is an author that I have found and she does a nice job explaining the life of an introvert. is a website that offers a quiz and information about introverts and extroverts.  Understanding about introverts is the first step, but how do I meet the challenges of being an extrovert and parenting an introverted child is the question I needed to address.  The most helpful information I found came from an article by Elizabeth Larsen that summed it up like this, “Because introverts are so widely misunderstood, knowing how to raise one can be a challenge. Experts say parents and other grown-ups in these children’s lives need to stop pushing them to be something they aren’t and instead help them make the most of their strengths, even as our increasingly extroverted culture pushes them to conform to its way of doing things.”

So my challenge is to live each day and give my son the space he needs to find his own way. I realize that his way might not be the way I would have it for him, it will make him happy.  That, after all, is what all parents wish for their children is to find happiness!  If you have an introverted child or you are an introvert, I would love any advice you can send my way.




Tuesday TALKS: Susan Cain & Parenting Introverts

I am an extrovert living with introverts.

Lifelong Learning

UnknownI’ve recently been very aware of some misconceptions surrounding introverts. I never realized how society puts more value on those with extroverted characteristics than those with more introverted styles of interacting.  I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it too!

I chose this for Tuesday’s Talk because I really think parents need to learn more about raising introverts. We need to do what we can to embrace all the characteristics our children have.  So often, introverts are forced to pretend they are something they aren’t. Our kids need to know they are just fine they way they are! We should be celebrating our introverted children’s gifts –  they have so much to share with the world!

From the video

Susan Cain shares that one third to one half of the population is introverted.  From a parenting standpoint, if you have more than one child, it’s likely that one of…

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How do I make family engagement fun?

MC900331546During the eight years that I have spent in Pre-K, I have seen a marked decline in the level of parental interaction in everything from parent meetings to visiting the classroom.  In the beginning, the state of Tennessee allowed us to make parent-meetings, conferences, and school attendance,  a mandatory requirement for enrollment in our program.  Like many other things that the government handles, the requirements have been watered down to the point that we cannot require anything of the parents today.  I am very committed to providing a level playing field for all students to enter Kindergarten, but I feel that we have lost an essential part of the process.  Forcing parents to attend meetings and participate in conferences were not ideal measures, but we did see the results of that engagement.  I have become so frustrated by the lack of interest that parents show in their child’s first year of school and I want to explore new and creative ways to involve families and help them understand how important they are to their child’s education.

In researching blogs on parent engagement, there are ideas that range from simple communication to putting on a major event.  The Connecticut Education Association has appealed to their Legislature to introduce a bill giving parents 20 hours of earned time in order to participate in their child’s school. “The participation of parents in all activities of the school community sends a strong message to children that school is important and part of the family culture,” said Cohen. “The more parents are involved in their children’s education, the higher the children’s academic achievement.”  For more information on this great proposal, go to

I also came across a blog that mentioned a book that I have ordered called Do Parents Know They Matter? Raising achievement through parental engagementWritten by, Alma Harris, Kirstie Andrew-Power, and Janet Goodall.  I believe that it will provide new ideas and resources to promote parent engagement in my classroom.  If you would like to read the blog, here is the address.

My hope is that if I can be successful in my room, then I can share my ideas with my peers and together we can change the climate of parental inaction on a larger scale.  One blogger pointed out that when you get families more engaged in their child’s education, it not only benefits them but that benefit is magnified many times over in the community.

I would love to hear your input and ideas for my passion!

What is the first instance of parent involvement/communication in August for you?

How do you deal with the “eager beavers” that are always in your room?

How do you approach parents that have shown hostility towards you?

What roles do parents play in your center/school?

What methods do you use to communicate with parents?

How do you feel about using social media to communicate with parents?

Is your administration open to new and creative ideas to get parents involved in your school?

Universal Preschool With Parent Education

Really good article and follows research I am working on to create a parent training webinar to help families in poverty increase their child’s cognitive development.




I must admit that it boggles my mind.  I know I should be more realistic. I am certainly aware that attitudes regarding parent education, although mostly positive, do not usually translate to any real action.

I am writing this blog about the recent push by our President to mandate universal preschool. I agree, in theory that children would benefit from extra stimulation and a positive environment in which to explore and thrive. Early intervention often allows children who have developmental delays or issues to be diagnosed earlier which is critical. I do support universal preschool. However let’s consider the fact that parents are a child’s first teacher. Parents contribute to the success of their child even prior to conception since a mother’s health and nutrition are important factors to a child’s overall health which includes intellectual ability. Providing a nurturing home life with a discipline plan in place, attentive…

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How Would Preschool For All Work: Is It All About Play or ABC’s?

Baby and Toddler Land

How Would Preschool For All Work: Is It All About Play or ABC’s?

In the above-linked article written by Bonnie Rochman on 3/8/13, Rochman discusses the controversial nature of the yet-to-be-created “universal preschool” program and what exactly universal preschool should entail:  a focus on academics or social skills development.  

Experts quoted in the article lean towards the latter, but there is no telling what the government will do with the power they have.  David Elkind, author of The Power of Play and a professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University, says “We’ve gotten so focused on the academic part when we need to be focused on the social part.” Erika Christakis worried in her Time’s Ideas Blog last month that the academic focus in kindergarten will trickle down to preschool.  The consensus is that kids need help developing “soft skills of success — persevering even when tasks are…

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Universal Prekindergarten: Evidence from the Field

Six Forty Nine

Welcome Carnival of Evidence-Based Parenting readers!  Today’s Carnival focuses on preschool education. I will keep an ongoing list of links from other participating blogs at the end of this post.

This is Part Three of my preschool series.

In Part One, I asked: Is Preschool Necessary? The answer? No, if there is enough enrichment, play-based activities, and speaking to your child at home. Which means the majority of middle-to-upper class families likely don’t need preschool. So what about more disadvantaged kids?

Enter Part Two, in which I asked: Does Head Start Work? The answer? To a point, yes. Like any preschool, it provides modest gains in kindergarten-1st grade. The problem is the 3rd/4th grade fade-out, which affects almost any preschool-type learning for almost any socio-economic group. So, short-term – yes, it often is helpful. Long-term – the jury is out.

So here we have Part Three. We are…

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I strongly believe in the importance of quality Pre-K education for all children to be prepared for Kindergarten.

Six Forty Nine

You are a mother of a soon-to-be four year old in Tulsa. You have to decide which preschool he or she will attend next year. What do you do?

First, let’s look at your assumptions.Does your child actually need preschool?

Need is a strong word. Will your child benefit from preschool? In a nutshell – probably.

Some research suggests that if you are an educated parent who spends time talking and learning with your children, that your child probably will not gain any extra educational benefit from preschool. Further, the type of preschool education (how many parents are researching the heck out of Montessori vs. Waldorf vs. Reggio Emilia?) matters even less.

Preschool benefits children from disadvantaged families far more than it benefits children from families that already provide the socio-emotional support, learning tools, and exposure to literacy as a natural and holistic part of child-rearing.

This seems a…

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