'Hidden Gifts Of Introverted Child'

Having an introverted child in today's fast-paced world can be a cause for concern. Often misunderstood as shy, rather than introverted, this personality type requires a little special attention and understanding.

A new book, "The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child," offers insight into the special talents of introverts and offers parents some valuable advice. Author Marti Olsen Laney joined The Early Show on Monday to discuss the book with co-anchor Rene Syler.

Laney outlined some of the characteristics shared by most introverts.

  • They enter new situations slowly

  • They speak softly and sometimes hunt for words

  • They need time alone to re-charge

  • They have one or two good friends

    Olsen also emphasizes that introverted children should not be confused with shy children.

    "Shyness is really when your threat system is easily triggered so that you feel afraid or threatened by people or situations," she explained. "So either extroverts or introverts could be shy and, actually, more extroverts are shy."

    What separates introverts from extraverts is their reaction to social situations. While extraverts thrive on social interaction, introverts are exactly the opposite. "Everything they do in the outside world takes energy, drains energy," Olsen said. "For extroverted kids, everything they do in the outside world gives them energy. That makes a big difference for people."

    Olsen offered tips for how parents can help their introverted children thrive and make the most of their hidden talents.

    Don't try to turn your introverted child into an extrovert
    "They are hard-wired, their brain and nervous system, so that they have a certain temperament and it affects a lot more areas than just socializing," she said. That includes "sleeping, eating, how they do homework, how they learn, how they behave in school."

    Speak like an introvert
    "Most parents will be extroverted, since there are many more extroverts than introverts," Olsen pointed out. "It's important for them to learn to slow down, pace, have silences, don't finish their sentences don't fill in words and listen a lot more. And don't expect them to talk after school, because they are pooped."

    Be prepared for the party
    "A party is very over-stimulating for them. Even if it's a good friend, you can expect them to need to ease into the party, stand and observe," said Olsen. "Any kind of social event, they'll need to stand on the sidelines and observe so they can kind of get their energy calmed down, and it's really good to have them rested and be sure they have protein beforehand."

    To read an excerpt from this book, click here.

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