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How to raise an extrovert

 

Does your teen never seem to stop talking? Do they often have big emotions? Are they constantly debating you and pushing your boundaries? If this sounds familiar, you may be raising an extrovert.

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Understanding your teen and their personality on a deeper level can remove judgement and create more understanding and compassion in your relationship. Here’s an overview of how extroverts operate and the best ways to support them as a parent.

Extroverts aren’t better or worse—they’re just different (and a little louder, LOL!)

Extroversion is exalted in our global society and it’s even commonly thought that those who speak more, know more. However, that’s been proven false in scientific studies.

Extroverts tend to be more expressive than introverts and need to talk out their thoughts rather than keeping everything inside. As extroverts receive a new stimulus, they verbalize it to process their experience, then they edit their thinking and refine their conclusions. This process is the opposite to introverts who process and edit internally and only speak if they feel it necessary.

Parents raising an extrovert may hear teachers ask, “How to get your child to stop talking?”. This is when it’s important to recognize verbal processing as a vital part of your teen’s cognitive process—not as a “problem” to be solved.

Extroverts can also be loud because they’re emoting with wild abandon while testing for external feedback! This can come across as selfish, dramatic, oversensitive, attention seeking, or unaware, when in fact it’s simply a part of their makeup.

Extroverts generally thrive off their external feedback, using sensory cues, and they enjoy being around people and higher levels of energy. Downtime and decompressing for an extrovert still means alone time but not as much as an introvert, and it might not be as quiet.

Emotional extroverts vs dominant extroverts

Extroversion is then divided into two subcategories – unstructured emotional and structed dominate.

Emotional extrovert:

They’re internally chaotic, so they succeed when their environment is uncluttered and calm with a set structure. However, too much structure and removing spontaneity is like cutting the oxygen from an extrovert—it’s a delicate balance. 

Your teen may struggle with things like time management and organization, or other concrete concepts because their brain is a rainbow of feelings. They’re not irresponsible or flaky and using derogatory terms places you in the judgement seat AKA the enemy. They’ll need support in adolescence to build effective coping strategies that builds on their emotional capacity and creates relevance to time, goals and prioritization.

An emotional extrovert will often become a cheerleader, collaborator, and connector; they’ll do almost anything with other people but find working alone drudgery. When it comes to chores, i.e., cleaning toilets, washing dishes, put on some music and have fun with it in short spurts rather than longer sessions. This is why they love friends/sports over school or certain subjects.

They’re spiritual in nature and connect to the bigger WHY, and the collective purpose behind things being attracted to movements or causes.

The dominant extrovert:

The more dominant extrovert finds internal structure and prioritization more natural so they don’t waste time and have higher odds of success. They can lack patience, seem uncaring, harsh, or lacking empathy. They may have a hard shell, yet there’s a soft heart beneath the surface.

Dominant extroverts are great at being the Debater: they have a comeback and argument for every single boundary and push every button until you’re driven up the wall or just fall over. They’re competitive, high achievers and in it to win it.

Then there’s our leaders in training – the Lone Wolf: they need to lead and can be seen as bossy or aggressive, especially if they don’t feel heard because their way is the right way (this may show up as bullying). Your role is to take their raw leadership talent and help them channel it in a healthy, constructive way without dimming it down through empathy, agreements and relational awareness.

I’m tapping out!

If you’re an introvert yourself, raising an extrovert may feel like being under attack. It’s easy to become critical rather than seeing them for who they are and delighting in your differences.

When your extroverted teen needs to talk, talk, talk and you’re exhausted or resentful, it’s ok to set a limit on how much you can give (or take). You’re human, that’s okay!

Try this – “I really love when you share with me, and I want to hear what you have to say. Right now, I’m so tired I’m having a hard time being present. Will you circle back with me tomorrow?”

Or knowing when to STOP engaging with your debater – “It’s clear you’re really passionate about your stance, and it’s helpful for me to hear your perspectives. For this time, the boundary we set out stands”. Be careful not to belittle a debater with lip service or they’ll double down.

Personality styles is covered in module #2 of The Empowered Parent Mastermind and here’s what Lauri said.

“I don’t know about you guys but I’m working Module 2 and MY MIND IS BLOWN! Wow, this is so interesting, incredible to learn and explains so much. Thank you for sharing this, I’m so excited to do this work.”

When you appreciate your similarities AND your differences, you’re more compassionate and patient while supporting them express themselves in constructive ways. Your teen may be a mix of both types and really keep you on your toes! 

For more information about how personality style differences might be impacting your relationship and tips to navigate them, join the conversation in my private parenting community.

I’ll be LIVE in my private parenting community again next week to give more detailed answers to your questions and challenges. Hit the button above to join my safe, supportive community with other parents of teens just like you.

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