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The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child    by Marti Olsen Laney order for
Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child
by Marti Olsen Laney
Order:  USA  Can
Workman, 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Parents often see distinct temperamental differences in their child from day one. Science has long debated whether these personality tendencies are inborn or a product of nurturing. Laney writes, 'Numerous scientific studies have shown that some traits, such as the degree to which one is extroverted or introverted are highly influenced by genetic history. Furthermore, introversion and extroversion are among the most stable and heritable of the personality traits studied.'

By addressing some behaviors Laney first helps parents to recognize whether their child is an introvert or extrovert. Myths about introversion are corrected and characteristics of both introverts and extroverts are listed. Introverts often like to step back and regroup. They draw energy from within. Too many activities, too much noise and chatter sap their vitality. They need to recharge in order to restore their reserves.

Laney writes, 'The introverted child draws energy from within. She needs to have access to her thoughts, feelings and perceptions in order to have a sense of vitality and equilibrium.' Extroverts, on the other hand, are attracted to, and invigorated by, the external world. They are happiest when they are busy and surrounded by people and activities. Too much quiet or solitude causes dissatisfaction and exhaustion.

Both types of children need balance to their natural tendencies. 'An innie needs to engage with the outside world so as not to lose confidence or lose himself in his own head. Without periods of relaxation an outie can find himself spinning his own wheels.' Learning that there are differences between introverted and extroverted children allows parents to be better able to supply advice and counsel. They can help their introverted child find the quiet time they need to re-energize. A thoughtful parent can give balance to their child's life through internal and external stimulation.

Since parents can be either introverted or extroverted, Laney includes advice for parents of both temperaments. Parenting is easier if the parent understands both his own personality and that of his children. It's important to remember too, that innies and outies are hard wired. Brain physiology creates introverted and extroverted temperaments. An appendix is included on syndromes and disorders that are sometimes confused with introversion along with a list of books for additional reading, many of them for children. Did you know Harry Potter is an introvert?

All parents should make it a point to read this interesting and informative book as a companion to Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care when they prepare to start a family. Whether your child is an introvert or extrovert, The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child, will improve your understanding of your child's temperament.

Listen to a podcast interview with Dr. Laney at

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