ENTJ: Leader of the Band
'She believes there's only one way to do things – her way!'
ENTJs are strong, opinionated, independent, and logical children who are driven by their intellectual curiosity and need to master everything they try. They are also creative and inventive and are the most stimulated and inspired by anything out of the ordinary and by all kinds of possibilities. The most important thing to remember about ENTJs at any age is their lifelong drive to acquire knowledge and then demonstrate their competency to the outside world. ENTJs are energetic, exciting, and challenging children to parent. They demand fairness in all things and need plenty of logical and accurate explanations and a wealth of learning experiences to keep them growing and thriving.
The examples that follow are drawn from stories of real children. But since all people are unique, your ENTJ may not demonstrate all of the characteristics described or may not demonstrate them with the same degree of intensity. But if your child really is an ENTJ, most of what you read should sound strikingly familiar.Preschool ENTJsBirth to Age 4
ENTJ babies are almost always active, busy, and very physical. They need to challenge themselves and their environment, even from the first few days of their lives. Often noisy, expressive infants, little ENTJs are eager to see and engage people around them. They tend to become bored quickly by the same stimulation or too familiar toys. They are much more intrigued with anything new or out of the ordinary, especially scientific or building toys or the raw materials they use to make props for their imaginative games.
- When Dillon was a few months old, he loved his parents to hold him up so he could look out the front window and watch the people walk by on the street and the traffic moving in front of his apartment building. If he was tired and cranky, his father could usually calm him by showing him something he had never seen before. Dillon never really played with usual baby toys like rattles until he was a few years old and his infant brother began playing with them. He was more interested in interacting with adults, playing with his parents' computer or the remote for the VCR or constructing spaceships out of cardboard boxes.
While not all ENTJs are early talkers, those who are seem to speak fluently and articulately from the start. Most ENTJs rarely use baby talk, and instead move right into more adult speech patterns. One common characteristic of young ENTJs, observable from their earliest years, is that they always seem so sure of themselves. Convinced they are right, they may become very demanding about being heard and insistent about getting others to see their point of view or agree with their positions. They may not know just how they know what they are sure they know, but they will argue very convincingly and with great authority in their voices. And most young ENTJs hold strong opinions that are not easily swayed by the reactions or conflicting beliefs of other.
- By age two, Hillary carried on in-depth conversations with adults – even strangers of people she had just met. She appeared totally confident, standing with her hands on her hips, insisting that people hear her out. She was never intimidated by older or bigger children or by adults, even those in positions of authority like the director of her preschool or the parish minister. At age three, she was perfectly comfortable asking a store clerk for assistance. Time and again her parents heard from other people that Hillary seemed older than her years. The fact that she was relatively petite made her strength and conviction all the more surprising, disarming, and delightful.
Most ENTJ toddlers and preschoolers are adventurous and energetic children. They like new challenges – physical ones like jumping off high places or intellectual ones like learning new words and expressions. Young ENTJs are often eager to try to do things on their own like carrying heavy things or getting themselves up onto a high chair. Fiercely independent, ENTJs like to show their parents they are big kids and can do things for themselves. They will often want to hold their bottles or spoons, try to dress themselves or pour their own juice, and may even struggle against learning how to use the toilet. Above all, they want to be in charge and in control of themselves, even when they aren't really big enough to do it.
- One day, three-year-old Trey went food shopping with his mother. When he became tired of shopping and told his mother he wanted to go home, his mother tried to reassure him that they were almost finished and as soon as they paid for their groceries, they would leave. Trey was not placated. He said, 'I'm going home now. I know where the bus is!'
Socially, preschool ENTJs make themselves at home in any situation. They are equally at ease in a group of children as with adults. They make friends very quickly and usually show no hesitation or clingy-ness to parents even when meeting strangers. Occasionally, they may hang back for a few minutes before getting involved in a game that started before they arrived. But that watchfulness is not born out of fear or shyness, but rather a desire to understand how to join in smoothly and competently. ENTJs will rarely risk looking stupid or inept. They pride themselves on their competence and ability to do things perfectly the first time. ENTJs like to be the boss and usually have strong ideas about the way they want the group to act or play. They can be quite persuasive because they sound so sure of themselves and can be very assertive about making sure their agenda is followed.
Even before they start school, ENTJs have already taught themselves to read. Books are usually great friends, and most ENTJs are both physically calmed and intellectually stimulated when they are read to. They have rich imaginations and love stories with high adventure, characters with special magic powers, or plots that complex and fantastic. Once they can read on their own, many ENTJs became voracious readers and may skim through books with amazing speed while still being able to glean, understand, and retain subtle meaning. They like to play pretend games and love to act out the drama or superheroes with great expression, complete with accents, sound effects, improvised costumes, weapons, or other props.
- Four-year-old Meredith liked to play with Barbie dolls, but not in the way many girls her age did. Instead of spending much of the play time dressing the dolls or brushing and arranging their hair, Meredith devised adventures for her dolls. She talked constantly as she played, and her dolls were always involved in some great drama and peril, forever falling off cliffs or using their wits to fight enemies from outer space.
The rich imaginations of ENTJs are also evident in their storytelling. They especially enjoy painting at an easel or creating big, colorful, and impressive pieces of art like collages or 'recycle sculptures', made out of outs and ends. ENTJs think big and like their work to reflect those big ideas. They also like to sing and dance and act out stories. Young ENTJs are fond of inventing games with all the essential and inviolate rules, especially those that let them be victorious at least most of the tim1 they generally have a wealth of ideas and are generally just as confident of the value and worth of their ideas as they are of everything else.
Preschool ENTJs are quite comfortable with order and structure. As long as they understand the rules, they are usually willing to obey them and even enforce them with other children. They like to know what is going to happen ahead of time, so they usually ask for a preview or agenda for the day. They like to have a plan and may protest and resist necessary changes. ENTJs like the task of getting themselves ready to go and have a clear preference for making choices for themselves. Less aware or concerned with the needs of others, once they are ready they often announce, 'It's time to go'!
The Joys and Challenges of Raising Preschool ENTJs
Honest, direct, and even blunt, most preschool ENTJs say exactly what is on their minds, without regard to how other people might be affected. They may find other people's reactions silly or not worth considering when they are in opposition to their own.
- Six-year-old Julie's mother explained, 'Julie believes there is basically only one way to do things: her way. She is so determined and strong-willed that she often refuses to compromise, back down, or share. She just doesn't see any point in giving to others unless she sees some present or future pay-off.
Putting themselves in another person's place is very difficult for most young ENTJs, who have not yet learned the finer skills of diplomacy, empathy, or gentleness. ENTJs tend to rush headlong into life and need to be taught to slow down and notice the impact their directness has on those around them. Parents of young ENTJs need to patiently and unemotionally appeal to their ENTJs' natural ability to see possibilities and encourage their children to use their imaginations to consider the impact of their behavior on other people. With practice, they will learn to turn their well-developed ability to read between the lines toward anticipating and understanding how other people feel. Eventually, they may learn to accept those feelings as valid, even if they still don't agree or relate to them.
While most young ENTJs generally like people and are quickly energized by being around them, they often do not like people touching them. They will frequently pull away or shun the well-meaning affection of other adults, blatantly wiping off kisses from a relative, or even tell people right to their faces that they don't like them. It may be embarrassing for their parents, but these children are merely voicing what so many other children feel but are too afraid to say. Parents of ENTJs get more frequent )and public) opportunities to stand up for their child's inviolate right not to be touched. It's one of the double standards in this culture that while adults would never consider patting, pinching, or ruffling the hair of another adult, they think nothing of taking the same liberties with children they hardly know. As parents, we may need to teach our preschool ENTJs a more polite way of refusing such shows of attention and affection, while at the same time supporting their right not to be touched. Respect is a central value of ENTJs. As parents we need to show our ENTJs (and all our children!) that we respect them and, by doing so, we expect them to show respect to others. But it is unfair and unrealistic to demand what we do not give first.
The basic questioning nature of ENTJs creates a challenge for parents who need to work hard to stay one step ahead of their precocious and curious children. It is both stimulating and sometimes exhausting to answer all their questions with the accuracy and logic they require. If you try to fake it, they will undoubtedly know, become indignant and insulted and lose respect for and trust in you. And because children need to trust their parents, this can be a frightening situation for young ENTJs. In such cases, it's wiser to just admit you don't know and then go find the answer.
ENTJs are always probing, always seeking to more fully understand why the world operates as it does and are not likely to accept answers that seem pat or arbitrary. So strong is their need to understand the underlying meaning and reason for things, they will press and prod far beyond what other children might, even in the face of displeasure from their parents. When adults give them answers that are even slightly illogical, it drives them crazy and they usually become even more insistent on getting a full and clear explanation.
- In church one Sunday, when the priest said, 'Let us pray', three-year-old Chelsea turned to her mother and said, 'Why do we have to? We just did that.' Instead of being put off or disapproving of her daughter's very natural question, her mother whispered that praying was one of the reasons people came to church, so that's why they did it a lot. Chelsea thought about it a second, nodded that she understood, and bowed her head.
- If four-year-old Hashim disagreed with his parents' answer or argument, he would simply dismiss the whole discussion and reject their answer out of hand. His parents found that giving their son time to calm down was always a smart move. After even a brief separation, he would seem more able to listen and more capable of reason. Once, after a heated struggle over why he could not wear his new shoes to jump in puddles Hashim disappeared for about fifteen minutes. His parents looked around the house and found him in his room. Hashim looked up at his father and said, 'I pleasant now, Daddy!' He had anticipated that they might give him some time alone and had applied the treatment to himself, by himself!
Fairness is absolutely essential to ENTJs. They spend a lot of time talking about it and demanding it and have an innate sense of justice for themselves and others. They understand and can apply this concept way before concept like sharing or the necessity of occasionally making exceptions for special circumstances. They tend to hold themselves and everyone else hard and fast to the rules.
ENTJs love to know about the future. They will count down the days in anticipation of a future event and look forward much more often than they look back. Since they tend to make decisions very quickly and like to know and stick with a plan of action, they are not usually very flexible and adaptable when those plans have to change. They may protest vociferously and refuse to accommodate the change. They have a very hard time leaving decisions open for long periods of time and will agitate toward a decision, even if it is not the one they really want, just to have the matter settled. It takes years of practice for them to learn to be patient and not rush the process in order to have the task completed.