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Now, when Maria looks back on her daughter's childhood, she thinks she should have recognized the signs.At church, parishioners would pass her perfectly calm and quiet baby girl around.

But when they got her home, her daughter would cry the rest of the day and night.When her daughter was in preschool, the family moved to Spain for a time.

The girl wouldn't say a word at preschool, and her teacher was shocked to learn that she spoke Spanish.Back in the States in elementary school, when her teacher called on her, she opened her mouth, but nothing would come out.

But at home, she was a chatterbox.Maria's daughter is a classic introvert.

She speaks softly, is quiet in new situations, needs to be alone to restore her mental and physical energy, is observant and has only one or two good friends.Is your child an introvert?Click here for questions to consider help you decide.And there's nothing wrong with being an introvert, except to extroverts, who look upon introverts as either snotty, timid or strange.Since about 75 percent of people are gabby and vivacious extroverts, it can be harder for their more thoughtful counterparts to blend into the social scene."Extroverts think that introverts are withholding or mysterious or too serious," said Dr.

Marti Olsen Laney, a psychologist for child and adult introverts and author of "The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child: Helping Your Child Thrive in an Extroverted World" and "The Introvert Advantage." "Sometimes, there are no words there.

It's difficult because we have a culture that doesn't value reflection."Understanding temperamentSo what's a parent of an introverted child to do? The first thing, said child psychologist Dr.

Tamar Chansky of Children's Center for OCD and Anxiety in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., is to realize there is nothing wrong with being an introvert.The second thing is then to accept your child's temperament.

If you don't, she says, the child will grow angry or resistant.

"If you expect your child to go against their grain, they will dig in their heels," said Chansky.And, likely, withdraw some more.Both Chansky and Laney point out that to draw out an introvert, it's necessary to make allowances for their temperament.

By doing that, it is easier for them to become more secure in the world at large."You have to strike a balance," said Chansky.

"You can say to them that you think it is great that they can play with Legos by themselves for hours, but tonight we have to go to a picnic."There are other times, said Laney, who is a self-described introvert, when parents should need to recognize the signs that a child is overwhelmed.

This manifests in becoming cranky or irritable, often at a party or social event, when the child has little time alone.

She recalled one child she was counseling who had a large, extroverted family.

They wanted to go out for a day and their introverted child didn't want to go."I suggested that she stay with a grandparent or a friend.

And the rest of the family acted shocked.

'She would miss all the fun,' they said.

They don't understand that introverts are worn out by activity."Laney said the difference is physiological.

Extroverts thrive on a dopamine high from a flurry of activity.

The introvert's brain runs on acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that tells the brain to "put on the brakes" before they act.

That is why introverts are less likely to engage in risky behavior and are more thoughtful about any situation.

It also is the reason that introverts tend to be late bloomers.This tendency to slowly immerse themselves into new situations is also important to note, said Chansky.

Some of the things parents can help their child do are simple.

For example, when their child goes to a party, they should allow them to hang back before they jump into the fun.

They can speak up for a child who is at a loss for words.

They can also discuss with their child what a new situation will look like, for example a visit to a friend's house or a new school.

Parents can then role play with their child, practicing what to say and do in various situations, from saying hi to people at a barbecue to working with a group on a class project."Sometimes, they are afraid of what is going to happen," said Chansky.

"Talk to them about what they are worried about and what they can expect."You can also encourage them to become involved in activities, of their choosing, outside the home.Laney also suggests that parents speak with their child each night, just 10 or 15 minutes, to help them build a good rapport, which can ultimately be transferred to other relationships.

Here, they can further hone their usually excellent listening skills and practice conversation, something they might have more difficulty with.In many cases, a casual observer could not point out the introverts from the extroverts in a group of children.

At a play date or on the playground, introverts mix as seamlessly as others.

The only difference is that afterward, they will be worn out and need to restore themselves.

An extrovert will be ready for more."One reason extroverts don't tire is they don't have to adapt.

The world is made for extroverts.

Introverts have to cope with the world made by extroverts."And as they grow more comfortable in the social situations, the more extroverted an introvert will become.Still, said Chansky, don't expect changes overnight."Parents think they have to fix this now," she said.

"They can't.

They have to think of things changing next year or the year after that."Getting teachers on boardEven if a parent does everything right at home, school might pose a problem.

Teachers, not surprisingly, are mainly extroverts.

And they find dealing with introverts as frustrating.

So introverts tend to be overlooked for their more animated classmates."People don't appreciate an introvert's intelligence because we associate speed with intelligence," said Laney.

"But it's really quite the opposite.

Most gifted children are introverts."If a teacher seems to be ignoring your introvert, Laney suggests talking to the teacher.

"Teachers have amazed me.

If you tell them that introverts like one-on-one time, teachers might set aside time with your child.

I've seen it happen where a teacher ate lunch once a month with a child.

The teacher told me she had no idea how much was in the child's head until she had lunch with him."All in all, Chansky said parenting an introvert isn't any harder or easier than parenting an extrovert."On the other extreme, I see kids who can't spend any time alone with themselves.

They need to be entertained constantly," said Chansky.

"Being an introvert or extrovert is a child's nature.

Parents need to balance their needs and accept their basic nature.

Most important, they don't want the to give their child the impression they are broken because they are not."
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