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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Son is an ENFP and reaching his teenage years. His behaviour for the first 9 years of his life revolved around many daily tantrums, whinging and moaning about most things, with bucket loads of defiance. He's improved so much since then as his capacity to understand how he affects others with his actions has increased along with the realisation that it's not all about him all the time.:shocked:

However, his attitude towards me swings from total lack of respect to expressing how much he loves me. He often demands things of me last minute and when it can't be done, throws a foot stamping tantrum with lots of verbal of how terribly unfair his life is. When he is asked to do something normal, like brush his teeth and go to bed, defiance kicks in. This occurs every evening. I had hoped that this may have stopped by his age as it's been going on since he could speak!

I would like to know from ENFP's the best way to communicate with him to help improve our relationship. It makes me sad that it gets as bad as it does and I'm sure he feels the same. He is the most important person I have had and will have in my life and I love him loads. I'd be grateful for your advice.

By the way he really seems to hate the word "no".:angry: With or without an explanation to follow if he lets me speak.
 

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Consistancy, rewards and positive reinforcement, ....ignoring bad behavior to the best of your ability (but punishing when necessary) but to an ENFP the worst punishment is getting no reaction.
 

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i'm 18 and i still behave like that! :proud:

that does remind me a lot of me when i was that age. if you want to stop him chucking tantrums, i'd suggest just saying "no" and ignoring his complaints completely, just pretend he's not there. At first it'll infuriate him even more but eventually he'll give up methinks.

it's difficult because the thing that made me obey my ISFJ mother growing up was gradually realising WHY she would make me do things like brush my teeth and realising the negative consequences of not doing what she said- figuring out that there was a valid REASON for her demands and she wasn't just making me do some pointless routines. but even now i HATE feeling like i'm being forced into something in any way- i like to have the choice in everything in life.

i would strongly suggest explaining WHY you make a certain decision, especially as he grows into his teens. otherwise he's going to assume you haven't got a "good" reason. i remember if i pushed my mother far enough sometimes she'd actually burst out with "BECAUSE... this this and this", and i'd say "well.. why didn't you say that in the first place? that's ok then".
 

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Hahaha...yeah, we ENFPs can be very headstrong as young 'uns. My mum will tell you: the first 6 years of my life were basically a screaming match between me and her (every morning, every night, with every thing she asked me to do). As a single mother working full time, I'm surprised she didn't drive us both off a cliff at some point. :crazy:

Anyway, as far as giving you advice concerning your son, I would say the best thing to do would be to not nag or preach. I'm not saying you do (I don't know what you do), but you're probably not going to get anywhere with either approach. When you say "no" say it in a way that makes it personal. Try to make things as personal as possible. We operate with Fi, not Fe, meaning we can sometimes overlook other people's needs, not because we don't care about others, but just because they don't introduce their needs into our worlds. We're very empathetic, but you gotta give us a hint of what to be empathetic about. Don't guilt your son, but be honest and straightforward about your feelings with him.

Another thing I suggest is to give him options. Don't tell him exactly what to do, he's only gonna want to do the exact opposite. Give him constructive, but flexible choices. Also, don't present them to him like "you have this choice, this choice and this choice, now choose." Let him come up with the options on his own, but guide them into your framework. Be open to what he wants to do and don't shut those suggestions down, just find out how you guys can compromise. He won't feel trapped and tantrum-y and you won't feel like you are being any less his mother.

About the last minute thing and the following tantrum, just sit him down next time it happens and explain to him that you would love to accommodate his desires, but if he wants something to happen, he's going to learn how to come and ask for it a good while before it can happen. Tell him that this is how things work in the world in general, not just with you. Let him know that you don't like telling him "no" and that that "no" could very well be a "yes" if he would just tell you in advance so you guys to work together to make it a reality. I can't stress enough putting the "let's do this together" spin on things. You guys are a team. For the team to work well, you gotta look out for each other. Reinvent your relationship with him.

With this, the bedtime and teeth thing will hopefully work itself out. Let him know you don't ask him to brush his teeth because you're a horrible monster set out to make his life unfun, let him know why it's important for him to do it. Let him know that you are the one who has to pay for his dental work and that it's expensive to fill cavities and that wouldn't he rather that money go towards a trip to the amusement park or a video game at Christmas or something. He can handle the big grownup talk about money and how it works...it will be a good chance for him to learn about responsibility. The best thing you can do for an ENFP is give us responsibility and support us as we take on those responsibility.

If you know anything about functions, you might know that we operate with Fi (while you, as an ESFJ work with Fe). Fi is all about personal values. However, for us, Fi comes secondary to Ne. That means it's not as developed as Ne. It's how we make decisions, not how we perceive the world. Often in our younger years (or when we are unhealthy) it can be neglected and pushed aside. More often than not, at your sons age, it's because he hasn't really had enough time to develop it. He needs to time to find out what it is that he considers moral, what it is he's passionate about, how he can harness his unique way of looking at the world into something that both helps him and those who he loves. That's what developing Fi is all about. How do you do this as his mother? Encourage him to go out and find those things. Open up the world to him through activities. Show him how volunteering could be something really fun and rewarding. That way he can really find out what it is that's important to him. It gives him a place in this world and a sense of purpose. This is good for ENFPs as we can get lost in the web of our world perception and lose touch with ourselves and what's important to us.

I know this is an awful lot. I really hope some of it helps a bit and I really hope that things improve between you and your son. I'm rooting for you!!! :proud:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for taking the time to reply. It's made things clearer. Plenty to think about and lots to remember. It's been just us two from when he was tiny and not easy. I think perhaps he realised he could get away with more as in his eyes it was him against me. Perhaps if there had been two adults in the house, the dynamics and his behaviour would have been different. I've tried most approaches over the years including referrals to child guidance when he was 5 and 7 years old and unmanageable but they were no help at all.

This is advice from the genuine article!
 
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