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  1. #11

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    From Coaxing Back the Spirit of the Introverted Child:

    INFP children rarely care about physical reality, surroundings or possessions. Because of this they may misplace personal property, leave possessions lying out, scuff or mar furniture, mess up party clothes, etc. These things donít even get on their radar screen. However, they have undoubtedly learned that these things are important to you and therein lies the conflict and it is a severe and ongoing one.

    Letís say they canít find something and think they might have left it at school or in the car on the way home. Normally theyíd pause a second and then move on to something else. Their love for you, however, says go look for it and act like you really care. Since they arenít plugged into physical reality, the search for the object quickly becomes stressful. They donít really care about finding it, so they donít do a good job of looking (and they never will). This results in greater stress, self-criticism and conflict. Eventually the world spins and they stand still. When asked a direct question about the matter, they answer something abstract and seemingly unrelated. These are all clues that your INFP child is in inner turmoil and utterly miserable. These are the people who later on buy cheap umbrellas so when they leave them on the plane or in the cab on the way home, it doesnít matter.
    From Parenting Skill:

    Regardless of Your Type Mom and Dad-Here Are Some Things You Can Do to Nurture the INFP Child and Improve Parenting Skill

    * Read to them all the timeÖbegin as early as possible
    * Most INFPs love the libraryÖtake them often
    * Speak softly to the INFP, a gentle voice does it
    * This is hard but if you lose itÖapologize quicklyÖ.your anger can really hurt the INFP child
    * Acknowledge their very strong imaginary ways
    * Support them to talk about how they feelÖespecially if you think something has hurt them
    * Related to that, respect the intensity of how they feel at times
    * The INFP child, youngster, teen is not very organized nor aware of timeÖhelp them gently and support their efforts at organization and time
    * During times of conflict and argumentÖmake a plea to their feelings donít try to ďlogicĒ anything
    * Let them know at times that things can be changedÖ.most things are flexible
    The bolded point I take some issue with. I think it's important as an ENTP parent to instill your values as well into your children and teaching them the value of logic is not something to be avoided. It's just the presentation of said value that should be softened. Children need to know that there are many sets of values and ways of decision-making; you just have to illustrate the benefit to him of utilizing this.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #12
    Buddhist Misanthrope Samvega's Avatar
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    I read the first few posts and wanted to get this out of my head so I will go back and finish reading as well as the links posted.

    I will add upfront his mother and I divorced more than 2 years ago so his life has been about a lot of change and adjusting.

    I just want to explain him a little and see if anybody relates. My heart bleeds for this child in a way I didn't know was possible, him sad, makes my heart hurt on the most core level possible. He's an incredibly emotional child, he cries if he gets sent to his room for hurting his sister, he cries if he gets punished to do yard work, he cries if I push him to do something you doesn't think he can physically do even if it's well within his limits. He cries if his sister hits him even though he's 45 pounds heavier and she clearly didn't cause him any actual pain.

    He's the middle of three so he's always had somebody there to keep him company, the worst punishment I can give him seems to be alienating him from the other kids. However after he gets over it and or course cries about being punished he normally goes off into his own world and does fine.

    I can see his mind always working and at 8 he's already too good of a debater for his ISFJ mother to handle. He can deduce the logical work around for most problems and he is excellent at trying to work the system or find a loophole. I cause him some serious frustration in that area as this is the foundation of an ENTP so he clearly can't do it or come even close with me. Normally in these situations he'll get upset and cry saying something like "I just want a normal dad" something else I know isn't the real issue.

    He doesn't care about school, drags his feet nonstop, would rather play a video game (not allowed at my house) than go to a store or do something outside. He's social but if we leave the house he wants to know where we're going, how long we'll be and if we deviate from that plan he notices. He also has an INSANE memory about little facts such as if you owe him something.

    Oh and he also seems to not be having fun often. We'll go to the park to fly kites and everybody will be having a good time but sometimes he'll just sit and have a bad time. He's also fairly stubborn and digs his heals in a lot saying things like "you can't make me".

    That's all I can think of at the moment and the reality is I want to handle him in a way that he learns, grows and finds some balance without causing him any damage at the same time. I don't know if any or all of this seems INFP like but he's clearly IFP as I'm thinking about it and thinks way too outside of the box to be a Sensor though I haven't really known many ISFPs.

  3. #13
    „Āę„āÉ„āď runvardh's Avatar
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    I'm the eldest of 5 so this may factor in, but I only relate to the facts memorization and "pouting" in the corner while everyone else has fun - I like time alone, some people don't get that I guess... The rest I don't relate too; it almost sounds like my younger brother whom myself and my father ended up whipping into shape (dad and I are INFPs, he's ESFP). The only thing that doesn't fit there is the debater part, he'd just pull mom's heart strings and that would be it, but she's the same type as him.
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

    INFP, 6w7, IEI

    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

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  4. #14
    Senior Member whimsical's Avatar
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    When I was a child I was very quiet and cautious of everything. I wanted safety in my environment and I enjoyed time alone where I could wander around in my imagination. Whenever I went anywhere social, I would always need a source of protection or security, and I would be very anxious if left alone.

    The best thing you can do for kids of this type is to realize that they need private time, time alone to explore their minds, and please do try to keep your anger down to minimums.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #15
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    Has he always been emotional and prone to crying when he's upset, or is that a more recent development?

    I had an ISFJ mother who I could probably have cornered in a debate, but I was too non-confrontational to do so. (However, I grew up in a very religiously dominated home and had it drilled into my head that God didn't want me to be rebellious, so that might have something to do with it.)

    Almost everything you described sounds exactly like my ISFP friend when she was younger. She also had to adjust to a lot of change in her life when her parents split up, was very emotional and prone to tears in situations others would not have been, often stubbornly sulked when others were having fun, doubted her own capabilities and detested being pushed to do something she thought she couldn't, found loopholes, debated circles around her authorities, remembered exactly what people promised or owed, etc. (She enjoyed school, however.) An ESFP I know always sweet talked or debated to get his way with parents and school teachers, and often outsmarted most adults around him.

    Of course, you know your son the best, but maybe you shouldn't rule out S just yet. I'd think an INFP child would likely be more caught up in fantasy and daydreaming than an ISFP, though the ISFP's I know are still creative and don't have trouble entertaining themselves -- they're just more into "hands on" stuff.
    I-71%, N-80%, F-74%, P-96%

  6. #16
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Somehow, I wrote my life story . I will add that I don't relate much to the description of your son....

    What were you like as a child?

    I was a very quiet and shy child, especially with people I did not know well. My family would call me ornery, stubborn, feisty, shameless, and very temperamental. I was not an affectionate child with most of my family, but I could be with my mom and grandma. I was not emotionally expressive, especially with "soft" emotions. I mostly cried when I was criticized or frustrated. I got embarrassed easily and hated being the center of attention. I was very private about my thoughts & feelings, even with my family.

    I was creative and enjoyed drawing, writing poetry and reading from very young ages. I had a big imagination, and preferred my own games to existing ones (and I already hated "rules"). I didn't watch much TV and disliked video games. I had a major autonomous streak. I was extremely daydreamy. Interaction with others tired me and I was overwhelmed by large groups of people. I liked to ride a bike alone or play handball, but athletic things mostly bored me. I hated competition of any kind. I was generally light-hearted and easily had fun, except in my stubborn moods.
    I did tend to disappoint easily, as I already had huge, idealistic expectations.

    I liked to spend time with friends one-on-one, and I tended to dominate the play and decide what we would do. I usually had one "best friend" that I depended on a lot. When they were absent, I felt lost. I felt intimidated by other kids at school, like I was not good enough, and so I never initiated friendships and had a hard time making friends. Most of the friends I made were from being thrown together in some way.

    I had a sense of being awkward and dorky. I had a lot of difficulty relating to anyone around me and always felt like a square peg. I never wanted to be like everyone else, but at the same time it pained me to feel outside of the "group". I would never compromise myself to fit in though.

    In group projects at school, I tended to have a loud voice and would dominate the direction of it and push my ideas. I could be a know-it-all.
    As I got older, I went more with the flow. I was never a door mat though, and would always speak up for something I felt strongly about.

    I had a strong sense of morality at a young age. Unfairness and untruth upset me greatly. I was stubborn about my ideals and critical of those who fell very far outside them. Hypocrisy made me mad. I was very opinionated. I rarely liked people immediately, as they had to grow on me in order to overlook their faults. I've mellowed a lot since .

    The older I got, the more school I would miss, as the social aspect drained me, and my ISFJ mom kept me on track less. I'd stay at home and listen to music or read instead, which was more stimulating to me. The academic part of school was a breeze for me though. I would procrastinate terribly on projects/reports, and even be absent the day they were due to get more time, but I'd always get a good grade.

    Contrary to what INFP profiles say, I especially excelled in math and science, but they didn't interest me much. Art, literature and language always interested me more. I didn't participate in class much, because I was shy and hated being the center of attention. I never got in trouble because I was quiet, kept to myself, and saw no real need to break rules. I was almost never openly rebellious, even if some arbitrary rule made me seethe. I got in trouble at home mostly for "talking back" and being messy. I felt a need to be perfect at times, and would feel bad if I fell short.

    I did have a good memory for things people said (and found contradictions easily) and where items were left. I always knew when someone had gone in my room when I was not home.


    What would have/was the most constructive and damaging parenting for you a child?

    My parents divorce was very damaging to me. My dad left when I was 2, and my mom said I was scared she would leave me also. I felt hesitant to form close relationships with people for fear of them leaving/rejecting me. I never felt secure in friendships, and always felt I was a last resort for people if they couldn't find anyone better to hang out with.

    My dad is an ENTP also, and I never felt emotionally connected to him. He felt like some sort of uncle or distant relative. My personality puzzles him to this day. He had no idea how to open me up. When I was small, I would whisper to my older sister and she'd have to communicate my needs to him, as I didn't feel comfortable talking to him. He also happened to be very self-absorbed though. Being a musician, if he would have taken a creative interest in me as my cartoonist step-dad did, then we might have been closer. I don't think it's a coincidence that I took more to drawing than playing an instrument....

    The other thing that stung me was my ESFJ grandmother and ISFJ mom's criticism of me being "cold", as they are very demonstrative. My ESFP sister would also make cracks about how nothing affected me and I was like a "stone". This bothered me because I did not feel cold internally. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me and like no one understood me.

    To some degree, my ISFJ mom understood my shyness. She knew why it was hard for me to make friends. My other family members would nitpick little things though, mostly to do with polite social protocol, which I had a major blind spot in. It made me upset when people would assume I was unfriendly when I was just feeling awkward.

    She and my step-dad were also very encouraging about my artistic pursuits, always praising the things I would make and ideas I had, never saying it was unrealistic to pursue an artistic career. In some ways this was bad, as it might have been useful to be grounded at times. My mom was the "You can be whatever you want to be!" kind of parent. Overall, she was extremely nurturing and rarely criticized me for being "different" in some ways. I think this is why I was mostly confident about my intellect, creative talent, and individuality as a child.

    Verbal communication could be hard with my sensor mom & sis. They'd completely misinterpret my view or miss the point. I tended to use hypothetical situations to explain things, and my sister would snap that it "wasn't real", which would invalidate my point of view. It would have helped to have someone who could listen to me and grasp what I was trying to say. Instead, I clammed up and withdrew. My mother got much better about making an attempt to understand my view as I got older though.

    My parents struggled a lot financially and had a rocky marriage, and this also felt like a burden on me.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

  7. #17
    See Right Through Me Bubbles's Avatar
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    Well, I'll try and share my experiences.

    Growing up I acted a bit like an ENFP. I was loud, I was obnoxious, always wanted attention, absolutely loved getting my way, bossed my baby sister around like no tomorrow, and just loved life. I firmly believed in my parents, doctors, police officers, and God as perfect--except I still found ways to argue with my parents and still keep this mindset. ^^;

    I had this crazy imagination and I'd always be forcing my little sisters to do plays with me or play ridiculous complex Barbie games and I totally did the make-believe thing a LOT. Luckily my parents didn't do anything to discourage that, and in fact encouraged me for it. I got hooked into reading by their love of books, and I became a bona fide bookworm. Soon that led to me writing my own stories, haha. And forcing my captive parent audience to listen. >.>

    Despite being stubborn and silly and loud, I was really sensitive to other people. My best friend growing up was ENTJ, and in retrospect I was often manipulated for being "too nice" and "too passive" and "too desperate to keep the peace." Also if I watched a movie and someone acted stupid in it, I had to leave the room, because I felt embarrassed for them. I absolutely despised criticism, and often would just burst into emotional fits to express that uncomfortable feeling I got from failing. Like I couldn't organize my room/schoolwork well, and constantly messing up made me worry that something was wrong with me. I also didn't like to be in large groups if I could help it, and picked my friends carefully. I would have a lot of acquaintances, but only a few close buddies.

    I was lucky parents-wise. My mom is an ISFJ and my father is an ENFP, and they have had a happy, long marriage. My mom tended to bring me down to earth and keep my stubborn streak in check, while my dad knew how to handle my emotional states. They were loving and supportive, always offered to listen to my problems, and tried their hardest to help me. They were very affectionate and I loved that. My only complaint is sometimes my parents loved me to the point of protecting me too much. They'd make me paranoid about things that I didn't need to be paranoid about, and gave me irrational worry when I found myself in those sorts of situations--not to mention massive guilt. (ex: posting on a forum in an online world of danger! )

    I can't give you any advice that hasn't been given before, I don't think. But embrace your child's emotional side. Don't let it run wild, but let him sort himself out a bit. And especially when adolescence comes along, woo, good luck. My worst emotional state occurred then, most definitely.

    Also! Iwaker's finding was very very true of me and still is:

    Letís say they canít find something and think they might have left it at school or in the car on the way home. Normally theyíd pause a second and then move on to something else. Their love for you, however, says go look for it and act like you really care. Since they arenít plugged into physical reality, the search for the object quickly becomes stressful. They donít really care about finding it, so they donít do a good job of looking (and they never will). This results in greater stress, self-criticism and conflict. Eventually the world spins and they stand still. When asked a direct question about the matter, they answer something abstract and seemingly unrelated. These are all clues that your INFP child is in inner turmoil and utterly miserable. These are the people who later on buy cheap umbrellas so when they leave them on the plane or in the cab on the way home, it doesnít matter.
    It's true.
    4w3, IEI, so/sx/sp, female, and Cancer sign.

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    DISCLAIMER: If I offend you, I'm 99.9% sure it's unintentional. So be sure to let me know, m'kay? (And yes, an INFP would stick this in their signature, lol.)

  8. #18
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    My youngest son may also be infp as far as I understand this type. So I'm interested in hearing the discussion. As a parent he seems so self sufficient, emotionally, doesn't give out many signals, but he always surprises me by his wonderful compassion for others and his own take on the dynamics of others close to him. Very quiet until he doesn't like something! This should make me relaxed, knowing he will tell if something is bothering him, but still I don't hear much complaining or expressiveness, yet it is underneath the surface. He's the calmest child I ever met too, unflappable would be good descriptor for him. Not sure how much enneagram type plays into this, I believe him to be a type 9. Doesn't take criticism well, even when it's constructive, nor does he like disharmony between him and others, though withstands it outside of himself.

  9. #19
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Samvega, he may be a sensitive INTP. Tough to tell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Samvega View Post
    I will add upfront his mother and I divorced more than 2 years ago so his life has been about a lot of change and adjusting.

    I just want to explain him a little and see if anybody relates. My heart bleeds for this child in a way I didn't know was possible, him sad, makes my heart hurt on the most core level possible. He's an incredibly emotional child, he cries if he gets sent to his room for hurting his sister, he cries if he gets punished to do yard work, he cries if I push him to do something you doesn't think he can physically do even if it's well within his limits. He cries if his sister hits him even though he's 45 pounds heavier and she clearly didn't cause him any actual pain.
    He's reacting to the emotion. An angry parent is a very overwhelming thing to a sensitive child, and everything else becomes a haze. Once you have calmed down, it's very important to tell him that you still love him, and give him a hug or something to show that.

    He needs to know that your anger is a reflection on an unacceptable action, not as a judgment of him.

    Oh and he also seems to not be having fun often. We'll go to the park to fly kites and everybody will be having a good time but sometimes he'll just sit and have a bad time. He's also fairly stubborn and digs his heals in a lot saying things like "you can't make me".
    He's probably very sensitive to the family dynamic, and that can affect him to the core. If he's unhappy within, it will seep out in everything he does.
    Last edited by Udog; 07-10-2009 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Clarification

  10. #20
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udog View Post
    He may be a sensitive INTP. Tough to tell.
    I thought maybe a sensitive INTP too . He sounds like my INTx male cousin, but more prone to tears (could be the divorce...my cousin acted out a lot when his parents separated). I don't hear the whimsy of an INFP....
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

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