Teens are the canary in the coal mine for what’s going on in a family. They’re full-on emotion and intuition. They don’t censor themselves, so they can be great teachers to all of us. Be curious about what they’re saying, even if it comes across in a harsh or dramatic way.
For instance, if your daughter says, “You never let me go anywhere. You don’t trust me,” ask yourself, “What’s true about this statement? Why don’t I trust her? Is it her friends? Did she lie to me?” Then figure out how to rebuild the trust. Her feelings usually point to something that needs attention.
I work with a lot of smart, creative, and sensitive girls, and many of them are introverts. In terms of academic achievement, this is a great asset. Introverts are often studious, focused and mature for their age. Because they’re deep, reflective, and good listeners, they take in the world. While everyone else is talking, they’re absorbing, analyzing and making sense of everything.However, in high school, being an introvert can be socially challenging. We live an extroverted world that promotes constant contact, with everyone being in touch through social media. This is overwhelming to an introvert who recharges by spending time alone. How does any of this pertain to you and your teen daughter?
Some of the Mom’s I work with are worried about their introverted daughters. “Will she make friends?” “Will she stand up for herself?” “Will she be okay?” or “Why won’t she talk to me?” (though all the Moms ask me this question!). Parents believe if they push their daughter to be involved in group activities, they will get more comfortable. This often backfires and makes them withdraw because they don’t feel accepted. Being an introvert is like being born with red hair – it’s in your DNA. Recent brain research confirms this.
There’s a great book called The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World that sings the praises of your unique daughter and how she will shine when she feels understood. It also explains how and why introverts are different and, of course, what’s so great about them that most extroverts often miss. No need to worry about her future, just focus on the useful ways to support her genius.
These tips can get you started: