As-Salamu Alaykum. Both my daughter and I were raised in the West. I went to elementary school to university in the West and my daughter was born here. She is 7 years old. Therefore, our issue is not a cultural problem as we are both from the same culture. It is more a personality clash problem. I am an introvert and she is an extreme extrovert.
I like to relax and think after work and she wants a ton of people around. I try to balance her needs by taking her places but it is never enough. She wants constant company, laughter, talking and people to entertain. I get drained after 1 hour and really exhausted after 2 hours. My concern in our travel is how to deal with this issue as I feel worried she may keep demanding round the clock and socializing while I want to rest and relax over a cup of tea.
Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,
Regardless of whether you are mother and daughter, friends, or even acquaintances mixing with others who have a different personality to us can be incredibly challenging, especially when they are polar opposites such as being an introvert and an extrovert.
The introvert may be overwhelmed with the demands of the extrovert and the extrovert may be underwhelmed by the lack of interaction with the introvert. What makes things especially difficult in your situation is that the clash is between yourself and your daughter.
Your daughter depends on you so it is not something you can avoid in the way you could with a friend or acquaintance. Additionally, she is young and like most children of her age is in need of constant stimulation to avoid feeling bored and potentially causing trouble due to feeling they have nothing to do to keep themselves busy so naturally they turn to the parent or caregiver to have their needs met.
You do all you can to entertain her but run out of steam before her and take her to places as much as possible but it is still not enough for her. However, there are some alternative approaches you could take to try and meet both of your needs.
Definitely continue to give her some time as you have done already to maintain the bond between you, but find a way beyond that to still meet her needs whilst you quietly withdraw. Find something that you can do together that requires your input to start with to get her going and help her to get started on the task and have you to hand if she gets stuck and then encourage her to continue by herself as you take a step back but which letting her know if she gets stuck she can still call on you.
To encourage her more in enjoying completing these tasks independently give her lots of encouragement. Verbally reward when she has completed something by herself and this will encourage her to continue to find ways to manage her own high need to keep busy.
You could also encourage her to engage in outside sports and social clubs of interest that don’t require you to even be present. Support her by taking her and even watching her take part if possible, but then enjoy not having to take part whilst she has the opportunity to interact with others and keep busy with things that are of interest to her. If she makes some good friends then allow her to invite them over to your house every now and again Again, this gives her the opportunity to have her needs met whilst you also have the chance to have yours met too.
There may be times when you have to compromise and be more engaged when perhaps you don’t want to, but she is also young and it is not unusual for children of her age to be like this. She may lose this personality trait as she grows older. It may just be a product of her age as it is. Likewise, she also needs to learn to compromise at times too and this will be a good, valuable life skill that she needs to learn.
Perhaps you could even sit down together and write a schedule where you take it in turns to decide what you will do on each day. This way she is empowered to make some choices and have her high demand socialization met, but you will equally get the chance to suggest quieter and less demanding activities too.
This way you will both have to compromise on certain days and on others will have your needs met. It will also give her a chance to try out quieter activities that she may even come to enjoy and even if she doesn’t at first, she knows that it is her choice of activity next. This will teach her the skills to compromise and cooperate with others – a skill that children don’t always naturally have, but yet it is an important skill to learn to succeed in life.
May Allah make things easier for you moving forward and bring peace and happiness in the lives of you and your daughter in both this life and the next.
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.