# Thread: Children don't need MBTI.

1. I could see it being used for good or for bad. I can see teachers or parents using it as a way to help understand and foster their childrens learning styles or behavior patterns. And I can see it being abused for tracking and stereotyping. I suppose children themselves could use and abuse it similar ways. I kind of wish I had known about it when I was younger because It may have helped me understand a little bit better why I felt so profoundly different. I am certain I would have loved to know about this when I was younger, if I could have learned about it on my own. But I can also understand how it can be hurtful to children. I have told the story here before how it was administered to me in high school in a way that I think was inappropriate where immediately following the scoring the instructor would call out a type and everyone who tested as that would have to stand in front of everyone and then walk en masse to form a group. It was really unpleasant for me to be singled out that way and I still remember feeling the dread and exposure which was unfair.

2. Nobody "needs" MBTI but people might "want" to use it. I want a structure to start from. To me, it's like using a coordinate system to characterize points in space.

In space, no point is more special than any other point. All points are equal. If you use coordinates, you choose one point as your king (the zero) and you choose three straight lines as the king's ministers (the x, y and z axis). Now you can call a point by it's relation to the zero and the axes - eg. (2,-1, 5). Is now (1,1,1) a better (more "positive") point than(-1,-1,-1)? Is (0,0,0) a REALLY special point? Is (1,1,1) closer to (99,99,99) than to (-1,-1,-1)? Of course not! You can choose another sign for the axes, you can choose another zero point, and no matter where you place your zero and your axes; (1,1,1) is always closer to (-1,-1,-1) than to (99,99,99).

Now MBTI sets a "zero" (xxxx) somewhere in the "space" of characters... it designates four axes... and we can do the same. Is an ESTJ better than an INFP (in my test I used negative numbers for I, N, F and P). Is an xxxx a really special type? Are two ESTJs always more alike than one of those ESTJs and an INFP?
If you understand my analogy, you know my answer...

The space isn't less beautiful or wonderful when you put some axes in it.

3. Originally Posted by skin
Why do adults have the need to compartmentalize every concept into something intellectually understandable?

...

Not being able to verbalize an idea, don't exclude the understanding of it

...

Does the popularity of MBTI and other similar systems stem from the fact that adults fear nothing more than chaos and the uncontrollable?
Spoken like a true P

4. Originally Posted by skin
Why do adults have the need to compartmentalize every concept into something intellectually understandable?

As an example you can throw around a word like communism, and the underlying theories, yet ask any citizen of a communist country and they know what it entails with a lot more clarity than your average educated economist.

Not being able to verbalize an idea, don't exclude the understanding of it

Most healthy children who interact with others know who the ESTP or the INFJ is in the flock, intuitively.
Does the popularity of MBTI and other similar systems stem from the fact that adults distrust their intuitive instincts and try to apply 'logical and rational' systems wherever possible?
Does the popularity of MBTI and other similar systems stem from the fact that adults fear nothing more than chaos and the uncontrollable?

A system like MBTI strips away the direct and transcendental character of a personality type, and place it into an easy computable and understandable, yet faulty idea, for rational, western adult consumption.

Which brings me back to the thought that personality types simply transcend for children. And healthy adults.
Yes. This is the way the brain developes. So sad.

5. Nobody needs MBTI.

6. Originally Posted by skin
.
Which brings me back to the thought that personality types simply transcend for children. And healthy adults.
How do you get to be a healthy adult and what does that even look like?
Is a healthy adult the child that was accepted for who they were by their parents, teachers and peers? And does a 'healthy' adult then automatically accept and understand others who are nothing like them in personality and function?
If nothing else I think the MBTI can be one of many valuable tools in teaching tolerance and acceptance of ourselves and others.
'Hey I am OK and you're not weird!'
'I accept you but I don't still don't understand you'
'Ah! Now I have a better idea of 'you' and 'me', how can we accommodate each other?'
That is a recipe for growth. Individually and for society.

I think that that should be started in childhood.
I wouldn't sit a child down and get them to take the test and then expect them to study the concepts. I would use what I've learned as the parent and adult to understand where I can help and guide the child to firstly, accept and understand themselves and then to realize that others will be different and to accept and understand why and how to deal with others.
It's not the be all and end all but just another useful little tool in the kit of life.
Unfortunately, as with most things, there is a positive use and a negative use for it.

I also agree with InsatiableCuriosity that the concepts in MBTI could be invaluable in the education system, not sure how they would integrate it under a school system that by its nature can only function if it caters for the majority, but if they could tailor a set of curriculum standards to suit children based on their type and have it taught by those who understand that type then I believe that children who currently don't want to be taught or are considered 'unteachable' could be helped greatly.

7. Originally Posted by Victor
Even in his own words, Carl was not a man of the Enlightenment. He, himself, says his work, "Personality Types", was not based on evidence and reason but he received inspiration from a 'guide'.

Carl was an ardent follower of the Führer. And Führer in German means 'guide'.
I thought Führer meant something more like emperor??

Originally Posted by skin
Why do adults have the need to compartmentalize every concept into something intellectually understandable?

As an example you can throw around a word like communism, and the underlying theories, yet ask any citizen of a communist country and they know what it entails with a lot more clarity than your average educated economist.
Well, the benefit of an average educated economist is that you can hire him/her within your own country and use his/her knowledge to benefit your country and it's people.

Not being able to verbalize an idea, don't exclude the understanding of it

Most healthy children who interact with others know who the ESTP or the INFJ is in the flock, intuitively.
Does the popularity of MBTI and other similar systems stem from the fact that adults distrust their intuitive instincts and try to apply 'logical and rational' systems wherever possible?
Does the popularity of MBTI and other similar systems stem from the fact that adults fear nothing more than chaos and the uncontrollable?

A system like MBTI strips away the direct and transcendental character of a personality type, and place it into an easy computable and understandable, yet faulty idea, for rational, western adult consumption.

Which brings me back to the thought that personality types simply transcend for children. And healthy adults.
In thermodynamics, there is a quantity that is called work. For work to take place, a system must be organized from chaos. For example, getting children to line up and hold hands so that they can safely cross the street is work. That's what MBTI does, and as far as I can tell, that's its only function. It's a tool, just like your watch, or your cell phone, and, as a consequence, a tool is only necessary if it's useful to you in some way. You're right though, MBTI isn't really useful to us at all, it's more like a toy for adults

8. Originally Posted by LunaLuminosity
What do you mean by a 'jargon'? Isn't jargon simply a subset of vocabulary?
George Orwell taught us, "Never use a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent".

9. Originally Posted by Victor
George Orwell taught us, "Never use a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent".
Good jargon is like a good painting, if used correctly, it will describe a thousand words, right?

10. wrt the OP, I think there is value in the typing of children-not to trap them in boxes or explain theories to them-but to teach their teachers about how children can differ.

It seems that SFJs are very often found in elementary education and have very little natural understanding of why the outlier children behave differently.

My 14 yo was on ritalin from 1st to 5th grade. While I debate the actual existence of ADHD as a disorder, having him labeled did give him some amount of breathing room to not fit into the confines of the SFJ world.

(His best year was in 2nd grade with an ENFP with no meds. He sat under his desk and played legos after finishing work. He would also work in the tee-pee sometimes. The children sat in the "family circle" and sang the "we are all together today" song to take attendance. Instead of christmas they celebrated the winter solstice. As an ENFP, this craziness worked very well for him.)

It is less about classifying the kids-which as the OP points out they already do naturally-and more about educating the teachers. That way children are not classified as "bad" but instead "different".

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