Our son is an extreme introvert. He has few friends, most of whom are imaginary and not particularly friendly. He stays in his room most of the time. We have to practically beg him to join our family’s weekly Polka Trivia Night.
Things had gotten so bad we had no choice but to hire a highly-regarded introvert deprogrammer (he has his own Internet blog) who kidnapped him and kept him at his private institution in the Poconos. The results were disastrous. Our son spent most of the time taking solitary walks in the woods around the institute and having deep philosophical discussions with the other introverts. The deprogrammer brought him back unchanged. In fact, our son wants to return to the Poconos next summer for a “spiritual renewal” with his new introvert friends.
Where did we go wrong?
Flummoxed in Flicksville
Introversion is not a condition that can be treated like a fear of Belgium waffles. It’s a personality trait hard-wired in a person’s brain. You may never understand your son’s introvert ways, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show you love him. Promising not to have him kidnapped and held against again his will is a good start. Also, share an activity that he enjoys like sitting alone in your bedrooms. Does your employer celebrate Take Your Introvert to Work Day? It’s a great way for your child to observe your world and then flee after five minutes.
You may never understand you son’s world but he needs your love and support, preferably in small doses from a safe distance.
Mindy Menorah, Ph.D., LCSW, AWOL is a licensed, bonded, and insured couples therapist. For 23 years she was the official Osmond family mediator.