Why are Introverted Teens Stigmatized by Their Peers and Sometimes Their Parents

Introverted Teens Have It TOUGH In High School

Introverted teens face more challenges & difficulties in high school than their extroverted peers. They can find the intense social interaction that's part of high school to be numbing, even unnerving. They're more comfortable in solitary activities.
Introverted teens face more challenges & difficulties in high school than their extroverted peers. They can find the intense social interaction that's part of high school to be numbing, even unnerving. They're more comfortable in solitary activities.
The high school social scene is not introverted teens' cup of tea. They'd rather do things & have friends that they're truly interested in & enjoy doing than to join activities & have acquaintances for popularity & social approval sake.
The high school social scene is not introverted teens' cup of tea. They'd rather do things & have friends that they're truly interested in & enjoy doing than to join activities & have acquaintances for popularity & social approval sake.
Many introverted teens mayn't be interested in social activities nor joining social groups. As a result, they can be considered to be antisocial, even losers by their extroverted peers who thrive on such things.
Many introverted teens mayn't be interested in social activities nor joining social groups. As a result, they can be considered to be antisocial, even losers by their extroverted peers who thrive on such things.

Introverted Teens Have It TOUGH In High School




Introverted teens have to face and/or endure more difficulties in high school than their extroverted peers. They oftentimes follow a different path than their extroverted peers. Oftentimes, they find the intense social interaction in high school to be quite numbing, even unnerving and immobilizing. They would rather pursue academic and/or other solitary activities such as reading, solving complex problems, sketching, painting, and/or writing than to pursue more extroverted activities.


Furthermore, they would rather prefer having fewer qualitative friends than to have lots of associates. To many introverted teens, being popular is a non-issue. They feel that popularity has been overrated. They further observe how many teens subvert their true personalities either to be fit in a crowd and/or to have as many people as possible like them. They would rather spend their time more constructively, doing what they are sincere about/like and with friends they genuinely like/care for than to be pretentious, doing things and acquiring people just for social approval.


Because of this attitude, many introverted teens are considered losers by extroverted students. They are oftentimes denigrated for being the odd ones out. They may be even called antisocial and excluded from informal high school happenings. They can even be ostracized or even worse, marginalized and thus scapegoated because they do not and/or will not see the importance of joining such activities and groups. They contend that there are far more important things in high school than to join some social club and group.

Introverted Teens in High School Society

High school society/culture are very hierarchical. Pecking orders exist in accordance to the desirability & undesirability of the social group involved.Popular students are at the top while unpopular students, including introverts, are at the bottom.
High school society/culture are very hierarchical. Pecking orders exist in accordance to the desirability & undesirability of the social group involved.Popular students are at the top while unpopular students, including introverts, are at the bottom.
High school society is difficult enough to navigate, especially for introverted teens.The high school environment is GEARED for extroverted teens w/emphases on social activities & groups. They oftentimes feel awash in such an environment.
High school society is difficult enough to navigate, especially for introverted teens.The high school environment is GEARED for extroverted teens w/emphases on social activities & groups. They oftentimes feel awash in such an environment.
Because they join very few activities &/or have very friend, if no, friends, they are considered odd people out. They're subjected to mobbing, even bullying because of their different typology & considered to be weak due to it.
Because they join very few activities &/or have very friend, if no, friends, they are considered odd people out. They're subjected to mobbing, even bullying because of their different typology & considered to be weak due to it.
Introverted teens are misunderstood only by peers. Teachers often find them to be odd in comparison to extroverted teens, even not up to par w/ them. Sadly, introverted teens are even puzzling to their parents.
Introverted teens are misunderstood only by peers. Teachers often find them to be odd in comparison to extroverted teens, even not up to par w/ them. Sadly, introverted teens are even puzzling to their parents.

Introverted Teens and High School Culture/Society

High school culture and/or society can be and/or is hierarchical in nature. There exists a pecking order in high school based upon the status and desirability of the said group. At the top of the high hierarchical structure is the popular group which includes cheerleaders, athletes, prom queens, and/or other popular teens. The middle group consists of average teens who are neither popular nor unpopular, having enough friends as not to be considered outcasts. Then at the bottom or periphery of the hierarchical culture, there the outcasts and other unpopular teens. Those relegated to the bottom or peripheral group include many introverted, smart/gifted, and/or other nerdy teens who fall below the high school cultural and societal radar.

High school culture and/or society can be quite perilous for teens to navigate, especially if they are introverts. High school culture and/or society are constructed for extroverts with its extracurricular activities and social groups. For many high school students, belonging to a social is one of the most important aspects of being in high school. They consider being in a social group a grave matter of life and death. Teens who do not belong to high school social groups oftentimes have a difficult time as they are classified as losers, being ostracized, even demonized and marginalized by their peers and sometimes their parents. Social consciousness in adolescence is at its highest level. Many teens feel that they must belong to a social group and/or be involved in social activities in order to be accepted.


Because they do not join very little or no social activities and have very few, if no, high school friends, they are oftentimes considered to be odd people out. Their introverted personalities make it easier for bullies and some of the more popular teens to torment and mob them. Such bullies and the more popular teens believe that they can do as they wish with introverted teens because they are not popular enough for anyone to assist them in confronting the former. Many introverted teens were bullied mercilessly in high school because they were divergently different from the majority of students at their high school. To some extroverted students, introversion means weakness and/or other negative characteristics which is not to be tolerated. Even some teachers view introverted teens as not up to par with their extroverted counterparts. Introverted teens are woefully misunderstood by their peers, teachers, and sadly even their parents.


Introverted Teens Are So Misunderstood By Their Parents

Many parents, especially extroverted parents, really can't fathom their introverted teens.  They wonder why their teens aren't doing the normal teenage things instead of always staying home, indulging in more solitary activities.
Many parents, especially extroverted parents, really can't fathom their introverted teens. They wonder why their teens aren't doing the normal teenage things instead of always staying home, indulging in more solitary activities.
They see their introverted teens as very peculiar.  They aren't aware that their introverted teens are on a different wavelength than their extroverted peers. All they want is for their introverted teen is to be.............NORMAL i.e. extroverted.
They see their introverted teens as very peculiar. They aren't aware that their introverted teens are on a different wavelength than their extroverted peers. All they want is for their introverted teen is to be.............NORMAL i.e. extroverted.
They may even be ashamed of their introverted teens as they'e UNLIKE the extroverted teens of their family members, peers, & associates. They feel that there's something seriously amiss w/their teens, even invalidating their introversion.
They may even be ashamed of their introverted teens as they'e UNLIKE the extroverted teens of their family members, peers, & associates. They feel that there's something seriously amiss w/their teens, even invalidating their introversion.

Introverted Teens and Their Parents


Many parents, especially extroverted parents clearly cannot fathom their introverted teens at all. The parent-child relationship in adolescence is contentious enough but the relationship between parents and their introverted teens oftentimes can veer into antagonistic and beyond. Many parents view their introverted teens as oddities. They wonder why out they out with their friends doing the normal teenage things instead of staying at home, reading and/or indulging in some solitary activity. Such parents often conclude that their introverted teens are withdrawn, shy, and has some very deep social issues. They want to transform their shy, introverted teens into normal, outgoing, and even popular, extroverted teens with activities and friends galore.

Some may even view their introverted teens as quite odd. They fail to understand that the needs of introverted teens are vastly different from that of extroverted teens. Introverted teens are very comfortable in their own skin. Such teens enjoy, even relish spending time alone, loving their own company. They do not need a plethora of activities nor a packed social calendar to keep them happy or to occupy their time. They are contented in their solitary activities, hobbies, and/or pursuits. They are quite resourceful, depending on their devices. However, this does not sit well with many parents. They view such as strange, even aberrantly abnormal. In their purview, normal teenagers are out and about with their friends, not sitting home indulging in solitary activities.

These parents are somewhat ashamed that their introverted teens are not normal like the extroverted teens of their family, friends, peers, and/or associates. They feel that something is seriously amiss with their introverted teens. They wish that their introverted teens would be more normal and acceptable. They even push their introverted teens into extroverted activities, hoping that they will become more extroverted in the process. This can result in the worsening of self-esteem in their introverted teens. They will feel that they are not good enough, even inferior because of their introversion. They can even become resentful, even hating their parents for making them extroverts thus invalidating their introvert typology.

Introverted Teens Loving Just The Way THEY Are

There's nothing wrong w/introversion. Introverted teens are very comfortable in their own skin.  They WON'T be made replicas of extroverted teens. For too long, their introversion have been vilified, even devalued in favor of extroversion.
There's nothing wrong w/introversion. Introverted teens are very comfortable in their own skin. They WON'T be made replicas of extroverted teens. For too long, their introversion have been vilified, even devalued in favor of extroversion.
Parents need not worry about their introverted teens fitting in at high school. Studies have shown that introverted teens tend to be more mature & individualistic than their extroverted peers. Introverted teens have higher incidences of being gifted.
Parents need not worry about their introverted teens fitting in at high school. Studies have shown that introverted teens tend to be more mature & individualistic than their extroverted peers. Introverted teens have higher incidences of being gifted.
Studies have shown that introverted teens are less likely to indulge in delinquent, irresponsible, &/or other reckless behaviors than their extroverted counterparts. Introverted teens are okay; they know that there's LIFE beyond high school.
Studies have shown that introverted teens are less likely to indulge in delinquent, irresponsible, &/or other reckless behaviors than their extroverted counterparts. Introverted teens are okay; they know that there's LIFE beyond high school.

Introverted Teens-ACCEPT, Even REJOICE in Yourselves


Introverted teens want to feel comfortable in their own skin and with their personality/typology.They refuse to be made into replicas of extroverted teens. Many introverted teens have their own circle of friends that they are comfortable with. Introverted teens for so long have been underestimated, undervalued, even demonized because they are not deemed as good as the extroverted teens around them. Many parents do their introverted teens an injustice by devaluing their introverted teens personality, oftentimes comparing them to extroverted siblings, peers, and/or other teens. As parents, you must realize that introversion is a legitimate, acceptable personality type as extroversion is.


Parents need not worry about their introverted teens conforming to their high school social environment. Studies have substantiated that introverted teens are oftentimes more mature and individualistic than their extroverted peers. Studies also confirm that many introverted teens can be categorized as gifted. Introverted teens, on average, are less likely to indulge in delinquent, irresponsible,and/or other reckless behaviors than their extroverted counterparts.


Richard Norvik, a fictional character in the movie, Peggy Sue Gets Married, exemplified the introverted teen. He was a science and math genius who preferred pursuing solitary, intellectual activities and hobbies than to socialized with the high school crowd. He was derided by the more popular students in high school. However, he subsequently became an extremely successful computer multimillionaire. Introverted teens need not worry about the social intricacies of high school for there is a better and exciting life after high school. They are just beginning as their lives are ahead of them.

Conclusion


High school can be a daunting endeavor for introverted teens as it is geared for extroverted students. Introverted teens can be quite unnerved by the plethora of social activities and groups in high school. Because they prefer quieter and more solitary activities and pursuits, they are oftentimes seen as odd people out by their extroverted peers. In some cases, they may be harassed, even bullied because of their introverted personality.


Not only peers, but even the adults around them such as teachers and parents misunderstand them. In their eyes, these introverted teens are atypical teens. They prefer to stay home and read than to gallivant with friends. Many parents feel that their introverted teens are abnormal because they are uninterested in more extroverted activities. They many even push their introverted teens into extroverted activities in order to be more acceptable and normal i.e. extroverts. However, this can make introverted teens feel even more inferior and may even cause resentment towards parents for not valuing their introversion.

However, introverted teens are fine the way they are. While they enjoy solitary activities, they socialize selectively. They also tend to be more independent and mature. Gifted people are more likely to be introverts. Introverted teens need never to be ashamed of their introversion. They should value and rejoice in their uniqueness.

© 2010 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 14 comments

observantmate profile image

observantmate 5 years ago

good read! I prefer to be alone too; there's no need to change one's identity and be "normal"


Jeanette 4 years ago

this post has helped understand my son. thanks. I feel better, less worried.


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

You're welcome, Jeanette.


Warwick 4 years ago

Thanks for that post ! I'm a single dad who is just now understanding how my 13 year old son is a classic introvert ! Iam thinking of the idea of taking him to a therapist who can help , not to change him , but to learn how best to navigate his who through school and all his extroverted fellow students


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

To Warwick, you are indeed welcome. So glad to be of help!


Esther  Strong profile image

Esther Strong 4 years ago from UK

Thank you for pointing out that in overly pushing an introverted teen to become more extravert, mistakenly you give the teen the message that they are not acceptable. I consider myself an introvert but still needed this to be pointed out to me!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Many exraverted parents fail to understand that some children are not gregarious and want to be around lots of people, have lots of friends, and always be social. According to them, children who are not social and/or gregarious are not "normal". Many extraverted parents assert that their introverted children are "backwards" and "withdrawn", often seeking psychological help for their children or enrolling them in endless activities with the purpose of making them "more outgoing' instead of appreciating them for what they are.


Kris 3 years ago

My son is a classic introvert. It took me till just recently to realize it, and he is 17. When he was in 6th grade the teachers asked if he was depressed. They urged me to seek a therapist...which I did. The therapist said, "nothing is wrong with your son. He is quiet, and chooses 1 or 2 friends, likes to be alone, and doesn't like big crowds"...he said, " so what?!" That's when I realized schools don't know what to do with the introverts. They immediately want to " fix" them. Then onto 7th and 8th grade...we were asked to have him tested for possible aspergers. The test was absolutely negative. The dr. was appalled that the teachers told us this. He was quiet, didn't make great eye contact, chose not to be called on, didn't answer the teachers loud enough when they called on him, and he didn't have enough friends....so they said. For us, his parents...we see a great kid, he causes us no problems, he is kind, gentle, and very well behaved. He is now 17, he has a couple great friends. They don't go out on weekends, they don't go to the school dances, yet he is happy, and content. He is smart,funny, and very comfortable and silly in this house with us and his 3 siblings. I just want everyone to know, our kids are OK. They are better than OK. They won't get into mischief before they should, they will stay home and choose the safe road. Sometimes, I really wished for more for him. I am very outgoing, and I felt like he was missing out on the high school experience that I had. Going out all the time, going to dances,etc. but, I am accepting now...this is who he is. He isn't sad, he isn't depressed, and he is a really GREAT kid. I don't worry anymore.


jojo 3 years ago

Kris, that was a great post and just what I need to hear. Your son sounds exactly like mine. Maybe be the problem is more mine than his. Being very outgoing myself, I just don't understand why my son chooses to isolate himself. Although he has many friends at school, he chooses not to seek them out afterwards. He says he is not depressed and thinks he is great and likes the person he is! At times I feel that his isolation isolates me in a way. Does that make any sense? I feel a little left out of the "loop" when my friends are talking about their kids' activities. I also worry about his future and how he will get along (he is an only child). Why do I refuse to accept this? I have sought therapy myself to accept the way he is, but it hasn't helped any. Just hearing someone else has the same concerns is comforting. Thank you.


deniseson 3 years ago

Kris, your post brought me to tears! Just last Thursday, a friend mentioned that my son sounds like an introvert- something I had not considered before! I, too, am an extroverted mom, and wondered why my 15 1/2 year old son, was not "out there" more- seizing opportunities and having more friends. He knows a lot of people, everyone seems to like him and he plays HS football and baseball. As both you and Jojo said, my son is a kind, sensitive, caring boy who does not get into any trouble. Why aren't we immensly grateful for that? Jojo, I can really relate to feeling "out of loop", but now that I know this about my son, I feel relieved and happy to accept him for who he is. He, too, is an only child, but the friends has are also nice kids who don't get into trouble. I will still help him by presenting and encouraging opportunities, but know that he knows himself best and will do the right thing - for him.


Hailey 3 years ago

This explains me so well! I'm 16 and VERY introverted. I'm in band, which is full of "excluded" kids, but even they don't understand me, and I'm often left out. It's very hard for me to communicate myself in all my classes. My dad is an extreme extrovert, and he doesn't understand why I don't want to join clubs, play sports, or do activities with other teens. I have two very close friends and that's all I want and need. Thanks for shedding some light on us introverts!


Ali 2 years ago

Thank you.. All of you! These posts are exactly like my 16 year old son. I too am an extrovert, and I have been sick with worry over him. I too was questioned by his teachers in jr high and went through testing for a dr to tell me NOTHING is wrong and teachers are not drs. Needless to say this info was extremely helpful. Maybe WE need a support group! :)


Dee 16 months ago

As I read these articles about introverted teens, my granddaughter who is 15 has the exact traits. My daughter is always telling her you need to make friends, you are smart (which she is very, always on high honors), great at volleyball (but she doesn't want to play), beautiful. How do I mention to my daughter that my granddaughter might be introverted. My granddaughter wants to go to different high school this year. Should they allow her to, is it going to be the same situation?


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 16 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Your daughter has to accept and nurture your granddaughter's introversion. There are teens who are very comfortable in their introverted skin. It is not good to force extroversion on introverted teens. Let them be comfortable in their own skin and encourage their interests.

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