Raising Confident, Quiet Kids in a Noisy World | Deborah Farmer Kris | 3 Min Read

May 18. 2022

A couple of years ago, I let my elementary-age daughter read through her progress report. It was full of positive feedback, so I thought she’d find it encouraging. 

But her face fell when she read that she needed to work on “class participation.”

“I don’t understand. I always participate,” she said. “I listen and I do every single activity and assignment.”

She was genuinely confused.

“Oh,” I said lightly. “Class participation is just code for ‘talk more in class.’” 

She nodded.

“Yeah, I don’t love doing that,” she said. “But if everyone talked, it’d be so noisy. And it’s already too noisy.”

My two children have fundamentally different temperaments: one tends toward introversion and the other toward extroversion. One treasures her quiet time after school: reading, writing, art, and snuggling with the dog. The other is energized by activity, noise, and large-group social interaction. Thankfully, temperament and character are not synonyms. Introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts can all become kind, hard-working, compassionate, and brave people.

As caregivers, sometimes we struggle to parent children who are temperamentally different from us. I see this more with extroverted parents and teachers who think that part of our job is to…

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Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology. Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (https://www.parenthood365.com/)