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First off, I want to make it clear that I only suspect my oldest son is INTJ, and I do not make this known to him. I don't want him to live according to a "type" his Mom says he is, you know? I let him be him and I quietly observe.

So here is my question: when he is upset about something, I can read it on him (ENFP, it's kind of our thing :) so I will ask him what's wrong. He will say "nothing" even though he might be starting to cry. I will tell him that I can tell something is wrong and I can't help him with it unless he tells me what it is. Now, I have strong beliefs that holding things in is like supression and it can build up. I understand that isn't true for everyone, but it's very hard for me to accept. I also want him to know that he can always talk to me about anything. I do not want him to fear telling me something no matter how bad it is.

Also, I am very understanding, so I'm not the type of parent who will punish him for being honest...like if he were to confess he did something he shouldn't, I wouldn't start yelling at him and ground him...I'm not like that. I actually value honesty, and would express to him that I'm happy he fessed up; then I would explain to him why it wasn't a very good decision. I wouldn't feel the need to discipline him over it because IMO, if he was obviously upset and came to me about it on his own, then he's already disciplined himself.

So anyway, back on topic...when he's upset, I want him to tell me what's bothering him. He will fight at first and if I keep asking, he will finally tell me. I will talk with him about it, hug him, let him know it's fine and no need to worry anymore. When you were 7, and if you had a Mom like myself as I described, would this approach have been comforting for you, or more distressing?

It's hard because he's so young. Here's a example of a true scenario that happened: One morning before school he started to tell me he wanted the day off...he didn't want to go. That is very unlike him. So I asked why and he started to tear up a bit, but he kept insisting it was just because he wanted a day off. I kept asking because I could see him getting emotional. Finally he said a little boy pushed him and several other kids down at recess the day before. Another sign he's an INTJ is that he wasnt upset because the boy pushed him, he was upset that the boy is not behaving the way he should in school and the recess monitor didn't take the kids seriously when they told on the boy. He was disgusted with the recess monitor, haha! Ok, back to the story, sorry...so, obviously this is something I want him to tell me so I can help guide him through it. Do you think I'm doing ok with this approach, or should I accept when he denies anything is wrong and just inform him that if he would like to talk to me about it, he can any time? When he's a teen, I plan on using that approach...I'll ask what's wrong, but if he doesn't want to tell me, that's fine, but I will let him know he can come to me about anything if he needs. I just don't necessarily think that's the right approach for a 7 year old. Any thoughts? Advice?
 

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So anyway, back on topic...when he's upset, I want him to tell me what's bothering him. He will fight at first and if I keep asking, he will finally tell me. I will talk with him about it, hug him, let him know it's fine and no need to worry anymore. When you were 7, and if you had a Mom like myself as I described, would this approach have been comforting for you, or more distressing?
My mum always made it clear that I could tell her anything. But if it were me, badgering me to do so would really piss me off and make me reluctant to share anything with you. Ever.

I guess what would be nice is if you made it clear that if he ever wanted to talk about anything, no matter how embarrassing or anything, then he can (as you seem to have done already). But after that, leave it alone. If he is like me, he will come to you if he needs to. If he doesn't come to you, then he doesn't need to and pestering him will make him feel worse. Most of the time, I need to solve my problems by myself, in my own mind.
 

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Seconding @Blue Ocean. It's probably best not to pester him and let him open up on his own time, but you may have to apply this principle situationally. The example you gave seems like you made a good call since he was nearly in tears and otherwise acting out of character-- I can't speak for anyone else, but when I was little, that's the sort of thing I would have kept to myself unless it was dragged out of me, or I managed to get control over my feelings about it until I was ready to talk about it calmly. But for other things, accept that he's going to want to keep a certain amount to himself, and that he'll approach you if he feels comfortable enough to share or if he can't work through it on his own.
 

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Don't insist too much. Make sure he knows that he can trust you and he will come to you if he really needs your help. It's perfectly fine if that happens very rarely.

My mother used to insist too much on talking about how I felt about stuff and this sort of thing. I really didn't want to share most of my problems but of course answering "nothing" to "what's wrong?" did not work.
So, after a few times of tiring discussion regarding the very uninteresting topic of "why don't you want to tell me how you feel?", in order to be left alone, I started telling her problems that I didn't have but that did not take much time to solve. Basically I manipulated her into thinking there was a perfectly good communication between us while in reality I was just lying in order to get some privacy.
I would have preferred to have been simply left alone since making up coherent reasonable stories took some time but I guess that was too much to ask.
 

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Solving own problems for me, as a kid, was a matter of honor. Admitting, I couldn't find a solution, was equal to admitting being dumb and there would be nothing worse, if my parents learn, I was dumb. The 'crying' period was at primary school, when I knew, there was a girl in our class regularly stealing things from me but I couldn't prove it. It was dramatic, when my grandmom was trying to get the answer from me, and her "tell me" sounded like "admit, you're a helpless idiot, now". What a maximalist!

What helped was:
- my mom showing a lot of care in general. I can't describe it but I... how they call it... felt it, felt that I have a very good family and even if I fail at school completely, there is always a place to come back)
- my mom was telling the stories from her childhood period, making me confident that one can overcome this terrible moments and that she's a kind of expert in 'children' matters (this sounds strange but before, although I knew, the adults used to be kids, it was hard to imagine or I though they forgot everything)
- and yes, she briefly mentioned from time to time that I can talk any problems with her. I never did, solved them myself, but it was definitely less emotionally draining.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Don't insist too much. Make sure he knows that he can trust you and he will come to you if he really needs your help. It's perfectly fine if that happens very rarely.

My mother used to insist too much on talking about how I felt about stuff and this sort of thing. I really didn't want to share most of my problems but of course answering "nothing" to "what's wrong?" did not work.
So, after a few times of tiring discussion regarding the very uninteresting topic of "why don't you want to tell me how you feel?", in order to be left alone, I started telling her problems that I didn't have but that did not take much time to solve. Basically I manipulated her into thinking there was a perfectly good communication between us while in reality I was just lying in order to get some privacy.
I would have preferred to have been simply left alone since making up coherent reasonable stories took some time but I guess that was too much to ask.
Thank you, I definitely don't ask him how's he's feeling out of nowhere; it's only if I can see something is wrong. We also have established that anyone in the house can call for a family meeting at any time to discuss something that's bothering them (family and home related).

Seconding @Blue Ocean. It's probably best not to pester him and let him open up on his own time, but you may have to apply this principle situationally. The example you gave seems like you made a good call since he was nearly in tears and otherwise acting out of character-- I can't speak for anyone else, but when I was little, that's the sort of thing I would have kept to myself unless it was dragged out of me, or I managed to get control over my feelings about it until I was ready to talk about it calmly. But for other things, accept that he's going to want to keep a certain amount to himself, and that he'll approach you if he feels comfortable enough to share or if he can't work through it on his own.
Yeah, since he's so young, I do like the "situational" bit. I won't push anymore unless it seems serious, thank you :)

Solving own problems for me, as a kid, was a matter of honor. Admitting, I couldn't find a solution, was equal to admitting being dumb and there would be nothing worse, if my parents learn, I was dumb. The 'crying' period was at primary school, when I knew, there was a girl in our class regularly stealing things from me but I couldn't prove it. It was dramatic, when my grandmom was trying to get the answer from me, and her "tell me" sounded like "admit, you're a helpless idiot, now". What a maximalist!

What helped was:
- my mom showing a lot of care in general. I can't describe it but I... how they call it... felt it, felt that I have a very good family and even if I fail at school completely, there is always a place to come back)
- my mom was telling the stories from her childhood period, making me confident that one can overcome this terrible moments and that she's a kind of expert in 'children' matters (this sounds strange but before, although I knew, the adults used to be kids, it was hard to imagine or I though they forgot everything)
- and yes, she briefly mentioned from time to time that I can talk any problems with her. I never did, solved them myself, but it was definitely less emotionally draining.
What your Mom provided you with is "unconditional love", and it's not as common as you would think...sounds crazy huh? How many parents would show great disapproval if their child didn't win at everything? Didn't become what the parents had hoped? Didn't look or dress the way the parents wanted? Those are all major confidence destroyers in kids because it gives the child the impression that they are loved conditionally. Many Parents don't even realize this is the message the are delivering, and think their children realize that they do love them unconditionally. So anyway, she sounds like a great Mom :)
 

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Here is also an excerpt from the second link i posted, with emphasis (in bold) on what was most important for me growing up.

Recapping What Works with INTJs
Let them play alone or with one special friend as much as they like.
Don't push them into social situations, but follow their lead; they'll go when they're ready.
Offer information about what an event of experience may be like ahead of time.
Don't think that because they don't necessarily display affection, it means they don't love you.

Provide a constantly expanding source of intellectual stimulation.
Visit hands-on science displays and children's museums where your child can explore and discover at his or her own pace.
Offer increasingly sophisticated art supplies (good-quality drawing paper, colored pencils, different types of paint) as they get older, and secure a quiet, private place for creation.
Encourage their curiosity even if their questions surprise or embarrass you.
Provide building materials and other open-ended, creative materials; engage in creative craft projects or other common with with your child to foster closeness.
Respect their need to be alone after school; don't question them about their day until they've had time to relax.
Expect an analytical thinking style and don't take criticism personally.
Be fair and consistent in discipline; explain the logical, rational reason for discipline and rules.
Respect their desire to make their own decisions and develop plans.
Listen carefully and silently to their ideas and their feeling; respect their privacy and don't question them about their relationships.
Encourage them to find a physical outlet for their inner stress, especially that caused by the high pressure of early adolescence.
 

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other than articles, I suggest to let him do what he wants and watch after him from a distance, if you want to tell you son something explain it in logic and why, not because you said so. Don't push him to hard to talk, trust him.
 

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Sounds to me like you are the most awesome mom a child could ever hope for. The fact that you are taking the time to understand what makes him tick and how he reacts when he cracks, proves that :)
All this info brings me to a question though: how do you draw the line between letting a child "be themselves" and overindulging them? How do you allow them to have all this time to think and be by themselves (which I was never really allowed :/ ) and still make it clear that the world doesn't revolve around them? Or does that come by itself?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
treat him like a normal kid. if someone doesn't want to talk about something, don't coax it out of them. that's a violation of their boundaries.
I get what you're saying, however, it is not so simple with young kids. When we are young, that's also when we learn what is important to tell an adult, and what we can deal with on our own. Plus there are many situations where an adult NEEDS to be told, but the child is afraid...take for instance, chronic bullying and the bully threatened to beat him up if he told anyone, or even worse...molestation. What if someone hurt him and threatened him to keep him from telling? Sometimes with young children we have to pry, and it's always smart to err on the side of caution. I'd rather irritate the crap out of him then learn he didn't tell me about something traumatic happening to him. When he's older, he should then have a clearer idea as to what would be important to tell me, and what he can handle on his own, and I will most certainly give him that trust.

other than articles, I suggest to let him do what he wants and watch after him from a distance, if you want to tell you son something explain it in logic and why, not because you said so. Don't push him to hard to talk, trust him.
Thank you very much, this is what I follow for the most part...funny thing is, even as an NF I couldn't stand it when my parents said "because I said so" and didn't explain.

Sounds to me like you are the most awesome mom a child could ever hope for. The fact that you are taking the time to understand what makes him tick and how he reacts when he cracks, proves that :)
All this info brings me to a question though: how do you draw the line between letting a child "be themselves" and overindulging them? How do you allow them to have all this time to think and be by themselves (which I was never really allowed :/ ) and still make it clear that the world doesn't revolve around them? Or does that come by itself?
Thank you, I'm trying! My goal is to parent each of my kids according to their needs individually. Hopefully I can pull it off!
As far as overindulging them...here are my thoughts: don't over praise based on grades, looks, talents, etc. don't tell them they are better than anyone else ie: "you're the prettiest girl in your class", "you're the smartest kid in your class", "you are the best player on the team", because that starts the process of thinking they are better than others. Instead, praise them appropriately, ie: "you look so pretty", "you are smart", "you are a great team player/you are a great soccer player". I also read you shouldn't praise or discipline because of grades, it should be done according to effort. If your child tried very hard and failed, you praise for their efforts, don't punish, but rather help them figure out how they can improve. I agree with these ideas, so that's how I'm approaching parenthood :)
 

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you have a point. from my experience however, bahaha i was totally independent from the 'rents as a kid.
any attempt at my mothers part at an emotional connection or the, "what's wrong hunny? tell me all your problems!". would make me laugh, and ignore her. i don't know. even as a kid i found being pressured or harassed about to speak about things i was not ready to, bothersome and would always make me do the opposite.

telling me what to do wouldn't make me do it. you'd see me rebel. i cannot be told what to do.. unless you some how twist it into it being my idea than i will do it. "take the garbage outside" - grunts and walks away. "go to bed" - stays up for another 3 hours. "tell me what the matter is!" - walks away.

see? yeah it just doesn't work. being coaxed or told what to do automatically shuts me down and i have the instinct to do the exact opposite of a command. it's a lot different though.. regarding work. but even there, a lot of the women would tell me what to do, and i would ignore them entirely - i view it is as, 'i know my job. if i wanted a commentary, you'll be the first to know." lol!

ya. being harassed about, told what to do does not get you anywhere with me. it's also been a bold characteristic trait for me ever since i was a youngin'. i think if you let him know that you're interested in hearing his matters, and go for a gentle approach "im here kiddo, if you want to talk." he would be much more inclined - because you're giving him opportunity, to think for himself, in his mind it was HIS idea to speak to you, it wasn't forced upon him.


a huge tip for women, about men, we have pride, and huge ego's most of the time haha especially the intj male. a wife won't get anywhere when she nags, tells her husband "take out the trash" 8 times. he heard her once, after the first time, he's ignoring you. once she stops, he will most likely take the trash out lol.

so any nagging women out there who wonder why they can't get their man to "listen", he can hear you loud and clear he is not deaf, he just chooses to ignore you because you indirectly undermine his abilities. he will do what you ask when you frame the request in an open ended manner. instead of "take the trash out gerald!!! how many times do i need to say it? do you even care about my needs?!?!" followed by his groaning and the inevitable eye roll, turn that around and say, "gerald, when you have the time, could you take the trash out? thank you love." and walk away. don't repeat yourself or command him, he is not a dog lol.

see where this is going? haha!
 

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You sound like a great mom. I'm not much help in this department considering I'm not INTJ. I would have loved to have a mother like what you described above, though, if that means anything.
 

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You're doing great as a mom. It's nice to have a mom like you that a child could trust and lean on if he turned to you. I am thinking of the same way with my 5-year old kid because he is a very challenging child to rear. I plan on buying parenting book about different MBTI typology of children and how to raise them. Just let your child be himself and offer your support if he asks. It's too early to detect what personality type he is. he's just developing his dominant function.
 

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Buy him red overalls and a yellow shirt.


People here have provided some great advice I don't feel a need to add much for specifics. What I would advise is to take everything you read and are told with a grain of salt. Your son may appear to be an INTJ but one thing he is without question is your son and a boy trying to find his way in the world. Don't try to label how he acts or what he does, watch what he does and watch how he acts, respond to who he is and you will always be a little more right than wrong. Guidebooks are like maps, they are an attempt to depict reality but they are as far from it as a map is from a mountain. Love your son as you obviously do and make sure he knows that love in your way, allow him to love you in his way and he will love you forever for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Buy him red overalls and a yellow shirt.


People here have provided some great advice I don't feel a need to add much for specifics. What I would advise is to take everything you read and are told with a grain of salt. Your son may appear to be an INTJ but one thing he is without question is your son and a boy trying to find his way in the world. Don't try to label how he acts or what he does, watch what he does and watch how he acts, respond to who he is and you will always be a little more right than wrong. Guidebooks are like maps, they are an attempt to depict reality but they are as far from it as a map is from a mountain. Love your son as you obviously do and make sure he knows that love in your way, allow him to love you in his way and he will love you forever for that.
Yes, I agree thats why I said I suspect he is, and I would never reveal that to him. It just seems logical to me...to identify the way my kids think and parent them accordingly. It's not enjoyable to be hammered into a way of thinking that feels totally foreign, so I do not want to do that to them.

There are great things that can come from early exposure to their weaker functions...for instance, I learned to plan, organize and categorize everything at an early age because of my ENTJ parents. Utilizing Te buildng skills before I understood why I was even using them (Fi- believing the actions to be correct, just because) really helped my Te development IMO. If he really is an INTJ, or any NT for that matter, it will be interesting to see what kind of influence I might have on the development of his Fi...specifically being a Mother aware of cognitive functions. I guess I'll find out one day :)
 

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First off, I want to make it clear that I only suspect my oldest son is INTJ, and I do not make this known to him. I don't want him to live according to a "type" his Mom says he is, you know? I let him be him and I quietly observe.

So here is my question: when he is upset about something, I can read it on him (ENFP, it's kind of our thing :) so I will ask him what's wrong. He will say "nothing" even though he might be starting to cry. I will tell him that I can tell something is wrong and I can't help him with it unless he tells me what it is. Now, I have strong beliefs that holding things in is like supression and it can build up. I understand that isn't true for everyone, but it's very hard for me to accept. I also want him to know that he can always talk to me about anything. I do not want him to fear telling me something no matter how bad it is.

Also, I am very understanding, so I'm not the type of parent who will punish him for being honest...like if he were to confess he did something he shouldn't, I wouldn't start yelling at him and ground him...I'm not like that. I actually value honesty, and would express to him that I'm happy he fessed up; then I would explain to him why it wasn't a very good decision. I wouldn't feel the need to discipline him over it because IMO, if he was obviously upset and came to me about it on his own, then he's already disciplined himself.

So anyway, back on topic...when he's upset, I want him to tell me what's bothering him. He will fight at first and if I keep asking, he will finally tell me. I will talk with him about it, hug him, let him know it's fine and no need to worry anymore. When you were 7, and if you had a Mom like myself as I described, would this approach have been comforting for you, or more distressing?

It's hard because he's so young. Here's a example of a true scenario that happened: One morning before school he started to tell me he wanted the day off...he didn't want to go. That is very unlike him. So I asked why and he started to tear up a bit, but he kept insisting it was just because he wanted a day off. I kept asking because I could see him getting emotional. Finally he said a little boy pushed him and several other kids down at recess the day before. Another sign he's an INTJ is that he wasnt upset because the boy pushed him, he was upset that the boy is not behaving the way he should in school and the recess monitor didn't take the kids seriously when they told on the boy. He was disgusted with the recess monitor, haha! Ok, back to the story, sorry...so, obviously this is something I want him to tell me so I can help guide him through it. Do you think I'm doing ok with this approach, or should I accept when he denies anything is wrong and just inform him that if he would like to talk to me about it, he can any time? When he's a teen, I plan on using that approach...I'll ask what's wrong, but if he doesn't want to tell me, that's fine, but I will let him know he can come to me about anything if he needs. I just don't necessarily think that's the right approach for a 7 year old. Any thoughts? Advice?
touched (tcht)
adj.
1. Emotionally affected; moved

I am touched by your post.

My thoughts are as follows:

I think you are doing a good job so far.
The fact that he eventually tells you means you are doing something right.
If it were my personally and my Mother asked me "What's wrong?" I would say nothing every time because it's incredibly difficult to actually tell someone what is wrong. Usually it feels like everything is wrong when I am upset therefore I can't answer the question.

My advice is to ask different and more specific questions:
"Did something happen at school yesterday?"
"Was it a person?"
"Was the entire day bad?"
"Was it a teacher or a kid?"
"What did they do?"
"What happened when they did it?"

Notice that these questions become progressively more specific. It starts with an outline (Something happened at school) and begins to form around something (could be a teacher, an exam result, something after school) and then you can focus on what happened and what your child's reaction (feelings, thoughts, actions) was.

Asking "What's wrong?" is sort of like asking "Explain math to me."
While that might make sense to some types but for us INTJs at least I think that the amount of possible explanations results in inaction.
A better question is "If I were to learn math, should I start in algebra? What is the first thing you learnt about in Algebra? What do you think of Trigonometry? Is that too advanced for a beginner?" and so on.

Good answers follow good questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
touched (tcht)
adj.
1. Emotionally affected; moved

I am touched by your post.

My thoughts are as follows:

I think you are doing a good job so far.
The fact that he eventually tells you means you are doing something right.
If it were my personally and my Mother asked me "What's wrong?" I would say nothing every time because it's incredibly difficult to actually tell someone what is wrong. Usually it feels like everything is wrong when I am upset therefore I can't answer the question.

My advice is to ask different and more specific questions:
"Did something happen at school yesterday?"
"Was it a person?"
"Was the entire day bad?"
"Was it a teacher or a kid?"
"What did they do?"
"What happened when they did it?"

Notice that these questions become progressively more specific. It starts with an outline (Something happened at school) and begins to form around something (could be a teacher, an exam result, something after school) and then you can focus on what happened and what your child's reaction (feelings, thoughts, actions) was.

Asking "What's wrong?" is sort of like asking "Explain math to me."
While that might make sense to some types but for us INTJs at least I think that the amount of possible explanations results in inaction.
A better question is "If I were to learn math, should I start in algebra? What is the first thing you learnt about in Algebra? What do you think of Trigonometry? Is that too advanced for a beginner?" and so on.

Good answers follow good questions.
This is exactly what I ended up doing! This makes me smile because this is what made him start talking :)

When I asked "what's wrong?" he said "nothing". Even when I said "honey, I can see you're upset, but I can't help you if you don't tell me", he said "nothing, I just want the day off". So I started asking specific questions, starting with: "did something happen at school?" and then he got more emotional and nodded yes, so I knew I was getting somewhere. I asked questions from there until I got the story about the boy pushing kids at recess.

I tend to read and understand people well, so this process is normal for me, but I just perceived it as he should feel comfortable enough to tell me; I shouldn't have to drag it out like that. I understand now that it has nothing to do with ME as a parent if he's uncomfortable sharing things like this. I just don't ever want him to feel scared to tell me anything. I appreciate the insight from all of you because it helps me see that he might like to deal with some things on his own :)
 
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