Is your child an EXTERNAL or INTERNAL processor? - Elena Paige

Is your child an EXTERNAL or INTERNAL processor?

Children and adults alike are either external or internal processors.

External processors are people that often think and talk everything out loud. I’m definitely one of those and can often drive my husband crazy!

Internal processors on the other hand need time alone to carefully think through situations or choices. So internal processors, process their feelings and thoughts internally first, rather than the external processor who is processing out aloud and with others listening and supporting as they do so.

Are you getting the picture here?

Have a think about which one you are? External processors can often seem contradictory because we say one thing one minute and then do something totally different. But we are processing our thoughts and feelings aloud. Internal processing people seem to be more stable and trustworthy as they only speak when they have thought through something. But the truth is, both type of processing is equally valid. We are who we are.

When it comes to children, knowing whether your child is an external or internal processor can be hugely helpful to you are a parent. An external processing child left alone with unanswered questions and racing thoughts and emotions can easily feel overwhelmed and frustrated. So you can best support such a child with having more talks with them. This gives them the opportunity to speak aloud how they feel, their fears and wants, and to feel heard and supported. If you’re an internal processing parent, you need to give your external processing child time to talk with you. Don’t assume they are working things out for themselves as you are used to doing.

In contrast, a child who internally processes, needs time alone to think things through. They need to quietly consider possible solutions in their own time and space. If you are an external processor parent it’s important not to back your internal processing child into a corner and force them to tell you what’s going on in their life. Forcing an internal processing child (or adult) to talk before they have had time to process can make them more confused, overwhelmed and frustrated.

I hope you find this hugely useful. I know I did with my two children.