Children process difficult emotions in either one of two ways: Inwardly or Outwardly.
Inward Processors figure out life’s problems internally or rather on their own. Instead of asking for input, advice or direction, Inward Processors turn problems over and over in their minds until they come up with a solution. *When inward processors are struggling emotionally you will see behavior rather than words.
Outward Processors figure out life’s problems outwardly or by talking about them. Instead of looking for answers, Outward Processors figure out their own problems by verbalizing them. If you offer suggestions or help, Outward Processors will often not listen or seem to take in what you are saying. *When Outward Processors are struggling emotionally, they will talk about problems incessantly.
Many Inward Processors are considered outgoing kids but when they deal with difficult emotions, become Inward. Many Outward Processors are considered shy but become talkative (with a safe parent) when going through a difficult time.
As a parent, it’s important to know where your child fits. If your Inward Processing child is having a rough time at school, you should expect irritable behavior and very little information about what’s going on. If your Outward Processing child is having a rough time at school, you should expect lots of complaints and explanations about what’s going on.
Either way, it’s best to be prepared and know what to expect when your child is going through a rough time. Whether your child is an Inward or Outward Processor, all children want to figure out life’s problems on their own.