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  1. #1
    Buddhist Misanthrope Samvega's Avatar
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    Default I think my Son may be an INFP, advice please.

    As an ENTP I have know a good number of INFPs and the dynamic has been taxing for both. It seems to be a mutual struggle though I feel it's more me that has to keep my personality reeled in.

    I have struggled pretty hard with typing my 8 year old and while I know typing kids isn't totally accurate nor scientific he's the child I struggle hardest with thus the one I would like insight on so I can better understand how he works. I was having a conversation today with somebody that has seriously impressed me at every corner and they stated as fact that my son was an INFP from nothing more than a picture. Somehow I totally overlooked INFP though once said it fits perfectly.

    So my question is two fold, firstly what were you like as a child, that would better help me figure out if he is in fact INFP. Secondly, what would have/was the most constructive and damaging parenting for you a child?

    Any insight you have would be a big help to me so thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Kudos to you for being such a good dad.

    I am sure I will think of more things as time goes on, but here are the things that come to mind. As a child I was very tender hearted. Always looking out for the underdog. Once when my parents were low on cash, I convinced half my female school mates to pound rocks into powder at recess so we could sell it as eyeshadow and help my parents pay their bills. I started a lemonade stand and sent all the money to help persecuted Christians in Russia. Etc. I made friends with all the kids and animals nobody wanted. I was kind to everybody except those who victimized others, and then I had no shortage of venom and wrath.

    I was always messy, late, slow and distracted, disorganized, "head in the clouds," and had a bit of a lazy streak. My parents and teachers bemoaned my famously disastrous bedroom and school locker. I used to try to set the table while reading a book. I had a good sense of humor, but it didn't come out as much in witty conversation as it did in writing or planned pranks. I used to set up life sized dummies on the toilet to scare my mother in the night, etc.

    I was oversensitive ... hypersensitive to criticism, especially. I had specific ideas about how humans should act and interact, and got quite bossy about my opinions. I also couldn't deal with certain things, like wildlife TV shows where one animal stalked and killed another. It made me burst into tears. It was very difficult to reason with me if I felt strong emotions about something. For instance, I hated my parents for giving our dog away, even though it was peeing all over the house, stealing food off the table, and chewing furniture.

    My T dad most hurt my feelings or upset me when I felt that he didn't consider my feelings valid. He tended to ignore anything I was saying about feelings and skip straight to the logical. I was able to hear his advice and learn from him the best when he listened to me talk about my feelings, and verbally acknowledged me before giving any advice, and it had to be genuine, not a rushed formula. (ie: "That must have really upset you. I'm sorry. (Hug, wait for more discussion or venting about feelings) Listen, maybe next time, it might be smart to [insert logical advice here].)

    My parents were very good at valuing the good parts of my personality while still having high expectations for my functioning in the "real world." For instance, they always let me know they appreciated my imagination, but there was no excuse for getting lost in thought and forgetting to do my chores around the house. (However, they did have to have a lot of patience with me and give reminders when I was small.) Additionally, they worked with me to find the best solutions for practically organizing my daily life in a way that worked for me, rather than trying to make me use the organizational systems that worked for them. It's probably the only reason I can function as a responsible adult now.

    The best thing my dad ever did was apologize when he was wrong or made a mistake. Also, it really helped me when my parents were occasionally vulnerable and tried to make me see things from their point of view, appealing to my sense of justice or empathy.

    A lot of my bad interpersonal experiences as a child came from people telling me to "get over it and grow up." Technically, it was good advice, but I needed time to come into my own maturity. Since I felt things SO strongly, that piece of advice seemed like people were rejecting me as a whole. I think you can teach INFP's to grow up and handle disillusionment/disappointment, but it works better to have heartfelt conversations and avoid blunt "sum it up" pieces of advice like the above.

    It really helped me feel validated when my parents recognized my strengths and let me put them to use to help the family. For instance, my mom let me write the family Christmas letter every year, or design a hand made card for somebody.

    I could usually sense what people were feeling, as well as the dynamics between specific individuals, even if nobody else in the room could. If I mentioned that I thought so-and-so had hurt feelings or so-and-so didn't like something, it always drove me crazy when my parents accused me of making up stuff in my own head and treated me like I was being ridiculous. They had no idea the intensity of emotion I felt with every slight facial expression others conveyed. Even if my parents thought I was wrong, it would have been nice for them to be a little more open minded and at least listen to my perspective based on what I was feeling and sensing.

    Finally, I'd suggest pairing criticisms with genuine praise, if you can. Since we're hard on ourselves anyway, it helps to be gentle and let us know we're appreciated. Words in general have always been important to me, and I tend to easily throw in the towel when I feel discouraged, so constant, genuine words of affirmation were always crucial to my self image and growth.

    Geesh, that was long. I hope some part of it helps.
    I-71%, N-80%, F-74%, P-96%

  3. #3
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    ^ Jewelchild offers lots of good advice.

    As a child, I was sociable, emotional, artistic (always drawing one thing or another), and very sensitive. My imagination was ever active. My youth and zeal gave me a bit of an ENFP streak. I was particularly sensitive to the mood of my parents, and when the marriage started going downhill in the third grade it took a huge toll on me. I'll never match the pure unadulterated joy and love of the world I had back then.

    Samvega, I'm going to be blunt with you here. I do this because I'm pretty sure you can take it, and may care enough about this issue to listen. If you treated the INFPs on here with the same respect and sensitivity you treated the INFJs, your communication with (at least some of) us would be much better. In your real life, don't let the nasty INFPs you've known be exemplary of all INFPs. To be an unapologetic cheater is not in your son's destiny simply because he's INFP.

    As such, a great place to start is to ask yourself how you would raise him if he was an INFJ child. That will likely feel much more natural to you, and it will be a HUGE step in the right direction. INFP/INFJ share the same sensitivity to the environment, same need for love and approval by our parents, the same ideals, and the same ability to dig deeply into topics. I think that would get you at least into the 80th percentile.

    You will most likely connect via Ne. Imagination, games, fun, humor. As such, encourage it whenever possible. While he is young and finding the world a very interesting place, you may be able to connect via your physical adventurous side as well. Just keep it fun.

    As for how do deal with that mysterious Fi? The thing about young, undeveloped Fi, is that it's a bit like Fe. We haven't learned our feelings and values yet, which makes it impossible for us to understand others with accuracy. (I constantly misread people when younger.) So a young INFP, much like any child honestly, needs to know that he's loved through explicit expression.

    Now, when he gets into his teenager years and embraces Fi full throttle, that's when the fun begins.

  4. #4
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Read this and see if it fits: Portrait of an IFP Child

    If your son is indeed an INFP, you need to honor his emotional development. He is likely surrounded by strong and variable feelings at this age that he cannot yet understand or interpret. It's like looking at another language in a book - you can see the words, and you know they mean something, and it makes you mad that you can't figure it all out yet. He will sometimes be needy, and other times seem to want to be alone. If you check in with his feelings at these times though, just ask him or give a hug, a squeeze, let him know he can talk to you and you won't just interrupt and tell him to get over whatever is bothering him, you will help establish a foundation to get through the teenage years.

    Practice active listening - look that up too. It works great as a parenting skill to help understand what's going on in your kid's lives.



    If as Udog says above, you carry a prejudice against the type, this is your wake-up call to get over it and help him become the strong, competent and caring man he most certainly can become.
    Last edited by PeaceBaby; 07-10-2009 at 08:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member The Outsider's Avatar
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    As a child, for one, I was very emotional. I was very easily hurt, took everything personally.
    I loved reading from early age and always had at least 3 books laying around, waiting for me to continue reading them in whatever random order.
    I was very reserved around strangers. I spent most of my time outdoors, just sitting on a field and daydreaming, or having battles with imaginary foes.
    I didn't really cause any trouble, unless I was drawn into them by friends.
    I loved nature. Reading about it, and being in it. I always loved animals as well.

    The hardest part of my childhood, I'd say, was my parents fighting. And they did it a lot. I retreated in my head and tried to show little emotion in those situations, but it was very traumatic for me.
    My father's drinking habits didn't help either of course. I still feel contempt towards alcohol and drunk people. I pretty much always hated it when other people visited us, because, then came out the alcohol again.

    As any child, I loved praise and feeling that I'm being appreciated. I always felt as if I am different than other people in some way. I really appreciated when my parents just let me do my own things, and trust me in my decisions. It is not to say that I was a decisive person, not at all, but I always loved it when my individuality was respected.

    In the things I did, i was generally quite slow, probably appeared lazy or really meticulous, but in fact, I just never wanted to rush things. I liked taking my time to think things through. It was a tad troublesome in school, as the work I did was really good, but I never really finished it. Luckily, I had good teachers who understood that and graded me based on the effort.

    Now for some advice.
    First off, I don't know you and I don't know how you are as a father. My father wasn't really a supportive one, so I'll base my advice on that.
    When he does bad in school, don't be harsh on him. Instead of trying harder next time, he'll probably learn to hide it better. Nonjudgmental help is a lot more... helpful.
    Let him have his own voice and give him freedom to do things that he likes and finds important.
    Be supportive and give him praise.
    Don't criticize him and the things he does.
    Let him express his emotions.

    Above all, just love him for who he is and be a good, supportive father.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Scott N Denver's Avatar
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    I strongly recomend checking out Tieger and Barron-Tiegers Nurture by Nature, its got like 10-20 page sections on each type and how they change during their childhood.

  7. #7
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    A half decent disciplinary structure is helpful, nothing draconian, but a structure to grow on. Let him know you love him even a little bit, as in more often than never till he's 18 and then only say it indirectly. Encourage discovery, between 9 and 11 I used to play with the wall outlet for experiments. It was fair that I got grounded for it, but they never gave me something to do with my need to discover till I was 13 and even then, it was too little too late. Quiet time in his room is good and should be allowed, but don't let him do it for weeks on end. If he has friends around his age and understanding, encourage him to hang out with them when he seems on the fence about heading out.
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

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    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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  8. #8
    almost nekkid scantilyclad's Avatar
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    I was extremely shy, afraid of getting in trouble, very, very sensitive, i was always sort of grumpy, because i could never get people to understand me, or accept me. I was very imaginative, i liked to make my cousins and sisters pretend and be in "plays" with me, even though they didn't like participating. I was also intelligent and questioned a lot of things. I started reading at an early age, and i never stopped.

    I had few friends, but it never seemed to bother me, i love playing by myself, even though i'm the oldest of 6 kids, and could have had plenty of people to play with. I hated going outside as a child. My mom would often punish me by making me spend a few minutes outside.

    Honestly, my mom was a horrible parent, so most of the things she did was damaging. she ruined my self esteem at an early age, which really upset me as a child, because i just wanted to be accepted for the way i was. i knew i was different, but my mom wanted me to be the same. I never got recognized for any of my achievements. I started school early, got accepted in the gifted and talented program, got perfect grades, among other things and my mom only cared about entering my prettier younger sister in beauty pageants. You can see why i had low self esteem. I was jealous of my sister for a long time, until i realized she wasn't very smart, so i felt accomplished.

    i think the most important thing about raising an INFP child, is making sure that they feel accepted, loved, wanted and recognized. Find out what makes your child unique and praise it.
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  9. #9
    Wild Card Atomic Fiend's Avatar
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    Beat him for things that aren't his fault, tell him lies, divorce your wife and claim that he made you stop loving her.

  10. #10
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    Beat him for things that aren't his fault, tell him lies, divorce your wife and claim that he made you stop loving her.
    I know this was meant to be funny, but the sad thing is this is almost what my mother did... That said, I still chuckled at it.
    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.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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