Sunday, June 19, 2016

Why must Children tap into their Inner Introvert: What’s so Magical about Solitude? (Practical Mondays #18)

Last week I read Susan Cain’s “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking”. Written like a typical introvert, the book contains pages and pages of meticulous research and more research, done over a period of seven years. She takes us through case studies of Harvard Business School, Professor Kagan’s ongoing research on physiology, Steve Wozniak, Warren Buffet, Eleanor Roosevelt, and even cultural differences between the quiet Asian vs boisterous Americans.

So while the book did a good job making a case for introverts, how much power they hold and how the world should accept them, what I took home from it was how *everyone* should tap into their inner introvert. 

Without labelling our children as a shy extrovert, dominating introvert, ambivert and what not, let’s all agree that irrespective of the degree of extraversion, there is at least a minuscule degree of introversion within them. It *is* there, somewhere!

And we need to tap into it and embrace it.

Because as much as it is important for children to be well adjusted to other children and overall environment, it is important to be comfortable with being alone for a little while.

The Practical Mom: Why Children must tap into their Inner Introvert: What’s so Magical about Solitude?  (Practical Mondays #18)

If you *are* an introvert (or somewhat introverted!), then a perfunctory scroll down of reviews on Goodreads will suggest that you’ll LOVE this book. Like “Finally! Someone to talk on our behalf!”

You may chuckle on the parts where she suggests introverts most likely think of ‘class participation’ as ‘talking nonsense’ and make a mental note of the Japanese Proverb “The wind howls, but the mountain remains still”. 

That’s cool, I get it. I get bored of social chit chat too. But honestly, I believe whether a person sounds like he’s talking sense or nonsense depends on his level of intelligence, expertise, coherence, overall appeal, and not to forget, whether you’re truly interested in the subject. It’s much more that the sole fact that he opened his mouth to talk. 

You’ll agree that if you find social gatherings full of nonsensical talk, there are innumerable number of best selling, award winning books that are full of nonsense too!

As you may have guessed, I’m a bit of both. I need both people and books. (And I find nonsense in both people and books!). But let’s not get into that. This post is not about personality types. But instead what we need to focus on is the Magic of Solitude, which helps in two big ways.

The Magic of Solitude: for Exceptional Achievement

“   Only when you're alone that you can engage in deliberate practice, 
which is the key to exceptional achievement. 
When you practise deliberately you identify the tasks or knowledge 
that are just out of your reach, strive to upgrade your performance, 
monitor your progress and revise accordingly. 
Practice sessions that fall short of this standard are not only less useful
- they’re counter productive- they reinforce existing cognitive mechanism 
instead of improving them   ”

Solo practice, with intense concentration and no distractions, is when the real work gets done. Practising the violin or studying fractions.

Only when you’re alone, you go directly to the part that’s challenging to you. If you want to improve what you’re doing, you have to be the one who generates the move. 

We know that we can stretch the rubber band of ones personality only to a certain extent. A good analogy by Cain is that Bill Gates will never become Bill Clinton no matter how much he polishes his social skills and Bill Clinton will never become Bill Gates no matter how much time he spends alone on a computer. But solo practice, is especially important for extroverted children too.

The Magic of Solitude: for Day to Day Living 

What happens when you move to a new city and there's no friend, family or partner around? It happens right? Unexpected times when you're all alone?

But not having people around need not be uncomfortable, boring, sad or lonely. Instead of sulking, we have to figure a way to make things interesting on your own. Only when we’re comfortable with ourselves will we not equate being “alone” to being “lonely"

The Practical Mom: Why Children must tap into their Inner Introvert: What’s so Magical about Solitude?  (Practical Mondays #18)

So where do we start? 

For children to tap their inner introvert, we first need to *stop* interrupting them 

“Study of 38,000 knowledge workers across different sectors found 
that the simple act of being interrupted is one of the biggest barriers of productivity”

When children are deep in thought with a project, a book, a toy or a chore, we need to take a step back. Resist the urge to hurry them up, ask questions or steer them to something else. It could be a toddler figuring out how to use a key to unlock the front door or a preschooler taking his own time to get dressed all by himself. When the attention is focused, is when brain nerve pathways, the ability to concentrate and inner self discipline are being developed. 

So as some amount of healthy introversion is essential for both exceptional achievement and basic day to day life, let's begin with letting them finish without interrupting and encouraging them to be comfortable in solitude! 

{Disclaimer: The Practical Mom is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to} 

And if you’d prefer listening to reading the whole book, here’s the TED talk by Susan Cain.

Must read picks from previous Practical Mondays

(Olive, Feta & Ouzo ) 

(Red Head Mom)

Practical Mondays Link Up
For posts on Kids Activities, Homeschooling, Parenting, Books, Travels & Expat Life
 Click here for Rules & Buttons 

Practical Mondays Link Up posts on Kids activities, Homeschooling, Parenting, Books, Travels & Expat Life


The Practical Mom: Why Children must tap into their Inner Introvert: What’s so Magical about Solitude?  (Practical Mondays #18)
The Practical Mom: Why Children must tap into their Inner Introvert: What’s so Magical about Solitude?  (Practical Mondays #18)

 This post is shared at these Link Ups

 Until later! Stay in touch!

 Sign Up  |  Twitter  Pinterest | Facebook 


  1. Interesting post - it's very good to be alone in your thoughts (without the internet/iphone distracting) as it's that reflection that builds your happiness. It's becoming a problem that whenever we wait or pause, we pull out the phone...

    1. I know! Pulling out the phone is the worse thing! We just can't help ourselves

  2. Funny how things tie together: I just heard a podcast on Friday by Paul Miller stating the truth that no one has more influence on us than .. . ourselves because no one talks to me more than I do.
    Blessings to you in the coming week.

    1. HI Michele, can you give me the link of the podcast? or maybe I'll find it through google. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This is really interesting. I think I struggle to just sit and do 'nothing' and think - I used to enjoy my bus journeys to work for that time where there was no real distraction and nothing I felt I wanted to do or should be doing, so I could just reflect. It's definitely good advice regarding children not to interrupt them and to allow them to complete tasks themselves. #bigpinklink

  4. Interesting. My daughter normally thinks out loud :-) (which I love) the way small people's minds work is fascinating. #FartGlitter

  5. This sounds like a wonderful book! My youngest son and I are introverts so will definitely be taking a look into this book. Thanks for sharing, and for hosting the party! Hope you have an amazing week :)

    1. Let me know your thoughts! She has a whole chapter for how to raise introverted children :)

  6. I am an Introvert. I agree that everyone should learn to be alone. I though really like outgoing people too. I have often been drawn to them. In the end we can only be who we are. I am going to look into the book for sure. #bigpinklink

  7. I am quite guilty of trying to entertain my tots at all times and I have recently tried to become a bit more aware of their need for some quiet "down time" too. You are so right in what you say about rushing them along with tasks. I need to slap my own hand as I am not the most patient and often end up chivying them along which is doing them no favours in the long run. Interesting post. x

    1. we're all a bit guilty of that! In fact I set aside some 'playing time' and 'time to get dressed' every morning so I don't rush my little boy!

  8. Yes, I think balance is key. A healthy dollop of both, which is true for most people I think.


  9. I am just in awe of this post, probably because I am an introvert. I am married to an introvert, and have 3 introverted children. That TED talk was amazing, it just made so much sense to me. Funnily enough when I started my blog (a very difficult thing for me to do as I hate any attention on me) I chose to call it Reflections From Me, because essentially it is what it is, a collection of my thoughts my feelings, my views of the world. And before I started it I had completely lost myself, I was deeply unhappy despite every reason to be happy. It was wintertime and I stared walking everyday amongst the hills, through the fog and my own mental fog too. I stood and watched birds, I watched the leaves, I turned over stones and studied them. I went home and I wrote a poem, which lead to writing a book, which lead to starting a blog even though I had never even read a blog! I thought no one would notice, I even blog under a pseudonym because I don't like attention. But people started noticing, commenting, sharing and subscribing, emailing me with how I was changing their lives, I cried so hard, I was so overwhelmed! So this post speaks to me so deeply, I thank you for sharing this, and I will have to her this TED talk, it is amazing! #dreamteam

    1. That's wonderful! Like I said, true introverts LOVE Susan cain and the book!

      Changing lives....well, that's something :)

  10. This is a very interesting post-mainly because me and my eldest child are VERY introverted, and my husband and youngest child, quite the opposite. I can remember being soooo happy in my own company as a child, and playing on my own and always enjoying doing my own thing. It hasn't affected me as an adult, I'm still very shy, but I have good friends, and a social life. I can find a lot of stuff and conversations nonsensical, but like you say, you need to be looking at the bigger picture, and what is nonsensical to you may not be to others, and has a lot of dependant factors!! My husband however, is concerned by our eldests introvert behaviour. He says things like 'he's picked that up from you,' like it's an affliction. He can't seem to see that he is married to someone who was once the same as a child, who has now turned out OK!! And I think we can all take the advice of not rushing our children-I think there'd be a struggle to find someone who doesn't do that...!

    1. Extroverts tend to force and nag introverts into ‘opening up’, because they cannot fathom introversion- so i can imagine the reason behind your husband saying so. Whereas Introverts are okay with the way extroverts are- as long as they leave them alone. It could be tricky in families when you want to ‘do stuff together, differently"! Thanks for stopping by!

  11. I couldn't agree more with this! I really try to let my daughter be in her own world when she gets into it, although it is so hard to get a handle on yourself and do this...just another facet of being mindful I guess! Great post and thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely x

  12. An interesting read, I have read something completely different but in a way the same called 'The Art of Shouting Quietly'. You are right that we need to help our little ones to be able to be happy in their own company. It's not always easy, but in the long run it will make such a difference if they do find themselves having to make do with their own company for a while. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam

  13. I think every person, not even a child, should stay for a while in a solitude, we should be afraid of getting alone, because it's time for thinking about the life. I use for understanding who I am and what I want from my being!