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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    Default Need advice on grumpy INT child

    I'm asking NT's for advice about my son.

    He is an INTx. He is grumpy and complains about absolutely EVERYTHING! He doesn't like anything our family does for activities, but he gets bored if we just stay at home. He doesn't like anything we eat for food, but when I ask him what he wants me to buy at the grocery store, he can't think of any ideas.

    Going out for ice cream? Ice cream makes my teeth hurt! Not going out for ice cream? We never get to eat ice cream!

    Going to a football game? Football is boring! Staying at home. Home is boring! Going to a movie? That movie looks like it will be boring! Going to the library? I hate reading! Books are boring! Going swimming? We went swimming last week! Going on vacation? I hate riding in the car!

    My question is...is this a natural personality trait, a symptom or depression or just a bad attitude?

    Is there any way to cheer him up or make him more pleasant? I think life is going to be very hard on him if he continues to be this negative, because his future employers, girlfriends, friends, etc. are not going to respond well to it.

    I should note that he has a very nice life. He has a loving family with two parents who love him and love each other. He is well provided for (meals, house, toys, etc.). He is in a very positive community where he is safe. He is not being bullied or anything that would cause him emotional or physical harm.

    Also, we have several children and the rest are all sunny and pleasant, so I don't think it has anything to do with our parenting.

    Advice?

  2. #2
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    I don't think it's an INT thing at all. I mean, I could be grumpy or bored, but there was always something I could find to occupy my mind. Something excited me.

    I'm wondering if it's an attention getting device. If you have several children, and the focus is on him when he dissents, maybe that's his way of keeping the attention on him? I'm not sure.
    Something Witty

  3. #3
    Listening Oaky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    My question is...is this a natural personality trait, a symptom or depression or just a bad attitude?
    That's what I think it is. What age are we speaking here? Sounds like someone going through puberty.
    I suggest, if he is indeed an INTX, to try and converse with him on his thoughts and ideas. To be brief, appeal to his mind theories and what he likes to envision. Develop ideas of his thoughts and apply them to a certain activity in reality.
    There would be a chance he thinks he is more intelligent than you are. Play with his perceptions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    He's 9, but he has been this way for a long time.

    He definitely thinks he is more intelligent than I am. My adult logic makes no sense to him, and I am an NF, so I imagine my values are different from his.

    (We just recently had a discussion about the dentist where I explained that the dentist gets plaque off his teeth and therefore prevents him from getting cavities. This makes no "logical sense" to him, because he says that he cleans his teeth twice a day, and therefore already gets enough plaque off his teeth. So once again, he sees me as being irrational because I insist on taking him to the dentist, and he adds it to his brain as one more way that he is smarter than I am. )

  5. #5
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    ^^

    This is why I don't have kids. That sounds exhausting.
    Something Witty

  6. #6
    half mystic, half skeksis jenocyde's Avatar
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    Explain to him, in detail, why the dentist is able to remove more plaque than he can. Show him one of those flip head things that prove that he cannot reach certain angles in his mouth. In addition, the explain that the dentist also checks for other abnormalities and examines the xrays to make sure that his teeth are growing in properly. Be thorough. Your logic is fine, it probably just isn't detailed enough.

    As far as his whining goes, it could just be his age, but more than likely it's the way he's used to communicating with you. He probably senses that you want him to be all cheery and that annoys him, so he does the opposite to annoy you.

  7. #7
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    I agree that it very well could be a way of getting attention. I hate to say it, but the majority of the time INT's just want to be left the heck alone. I really love my family, but I remember sometimes in that 10 to 16 age range just thinking, "Please, just get out of my room and leave me alone. I don't want to talk about the dentist, I don't want to talk about x, y, or z. I just want to be left alone. If I need anything, I'll let you know. Go ahead and book the dentist appointment for whatever time suits your schedule and I'll go. As long as we don't have to keep talking about it right now and as long as it will get you out of my room." And going on vacation or going out to ice cream can sometimes even be a negative distraction because we might be engaged mentally in something and getting ice cream just seems really lame in comparison to whatever we might be doing.

    My gut instinct tells me that in this situation I would try to find that balance between "letting him be a loner when he wants to", but also "cracking the whip when I, as the parent, need to." The kid needs a certain amount of structure whether he likes it or not and sometimes you just have to say, "Too bad buddy, get in the car cuz we're going to the ice cream parlor. Suck it up! If you don't want ice cream cuz it makes your teeth hurt, then don't order any. You can sit and watch us eat. But, stop complaining!" It's logical, it's reasonable, and it will resonate with him that he's acting like a butthole. Be sharp with him.

    The other side of this is when you guys are all at home and he wants to be a loner, let him go do that sometimes. Leave him alone for hours at a time - all night sometimes. Sometimes the constant interaction, loudness, etc. in a household can stress an introvert out. Let him delve into whatever projects/thinking/pondering that he wants to. Let him spend time developing his imagination - on his own. Any INT will truly appreciate that space. Again, it's about balance. Give him 3 nights each week alone in his room. The other 2 nights, make him go to the ice cream parlor or to his sibling's soccer game or whatever. Make him be a part of the family, but also recognize that he's a bit different.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Explain why you want him to do something, why it is important. If he refuses, request alternatives from him. If the alternatives don't suit the purpose you had in mind, criticize them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Saslou's Avatar
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    You wait till he becomes a teenager, lol .. I'm an SF with an NT son and the biggest realisation i have come to is that 'don't instil your beliefs onto him'. Allow him to come to his own conclusions.

    My son is 13 and always been the 'black sheep' of the family but now i quite enjoy his quirkiness. I've learned to give him space because the more i back him into a corner the more he rebels, the school has yet to realise this so in the last 5 weeks, i've had meeting with the teachers 4 times, lol. He doesn't like to eat, doesn't like to do family things together unless it suits him, changes his mind continuously so now i just embrace his uniqueness.

    Obviously my kid is older but i've pretty much given him my digital camera as he takes some amazing pictures, i've brought him a nice book to write his poems which are very impressive, he's musically gifted so i've managed to get him extra lessons in school so he can pursue this and he's always on my laptop for which he gets free rein to explore his creative/thinking side.

    Work it to your advantage without it looking so

    Hope this helps.
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
    ― Georgia O'Keeffe

  10. #10
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    IME, kids will try the debate stuff to try to get out of doing something they don't want to do. I always explain stuff as much as I can, but if they are just being butts, I tell them I'm explaining so that they will understand why they are going to do it, not so we can argue about it. If they need more info than I can give them or my info sounds bogus to them, they can google it.

    I don't know what type my older son is, but the only thing he is really interested in is video games. He doesn't want to go out to dinner with the family, doesn't want to go to the movies, etc. He knows better than to tell me he is bored, though, because that is a sure way to get assigned some chores. Generally if he doesn't want to go, I don't make him but he is thirteen and old enough to leave at home. If I think he needs to go with us, I make sure he understands he is not allowed to ruin everybody elses' experience by complaining or acting like a little freak or I will make his life a living hell when we get home -- grounding, chores, etc. Sometimes I offer an incentive because I know he's probably kind of miserable and I'm asking to suck it up because I don't want to hear about it.

    The best thing to do with almost all unwanted behaviors is the carrot/stick. He is somehow experiencing a reward from this behavior, even if it's only that it annoys you. In order to cancel it, the reward has to go away or the negative consequences need to be increased. But if he's an INT, you have to expect him to be introverted and grumpy about things he thinks are stupid -- sometimes I tell my kids that I know that it's stupid, but I need them to humor me. But he also can't make everyone else miserable.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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