I'm extrovert, and always been. I am social, I make friends easily, and I generally get along with most people I meet. I am not intimidated in a group of strangers, I don't shy away from social gatherings, and I thrive around people and in large crowds. So, when I had my daughter I just assumed she'd be like me. I didn't really understand what it's like to be an introvert and, because I lacked that learned understanding, I didn't realize I was shaming my introverted kid by forcing her to succumb to certain social norms I naturally adapted to.
If you're an extrovert, like me, you may be slightly baffled by your introverted kid. I used to seriously wonder if there was something actually psychologically wrong with my daughter. (Put down your pitchforks, I'm admitting my flaw here.) I didn't understand it. Turns out, she and I are just wired differently. She is much more like her father, who exists somewhere in between. The problem was never my kid, the problem was always me. I didn't know, I wasn't given a manual or a guide of any kind, and there was no book of rules and regulations that I could blindly follow.
I've met more than a few parents that live in denial when it comes their kids actual abilities,strengths, and weaknesses. I thought I would be different. Since I work with so many different kids from different backgrounds, I thought I would be able to recognize my kid's personality type and parent accordingly. In my classrooms, I am able to individualize learning based on how my students are wired. I provide different opportunities for learning, never call on students who do not like to speak in front of others, and arrange safe spaces and variable assignments based on individual needs.
So, color me surprised when I recognized I completely misjudged my daughter's nature. I did not realize my actions and words were actually hurting my tiny introvert. When she would put her head down and cover her ears when everyone sang to her on her birthdays, I thought she just had a minor sensory issue. When I asked her, she said it was just too loud. I didn't realize she was uncomfortable. I love(d) being the center of attention, she does not.
It wasn't until my son was born that my assumptions and inklings finally clicked. Instantly, I saw a huge difference between the two of them. My son is clearly an extrovert. He gets in people's faces, he's the "pay attention to me" kid, and he says "hi" to every person at the supermarket. My son revels in attention. It wasn't until my son that I realized just how introverted my daughter is. She isn't shy, she is simply of a different temperament.
So, dear readers, learn from my errors in judgement and maybe you can save yourselves the guilt that now constantly tugs at my soul and rests on my shoulders.