Sharon spent thousands of dollars working through her past with a counselor. She wanted to be a great mom to her kids. They often found her at night behind a pile of books or on the internet planning a vacation or researching a topic that she wanted to teach them about. She’d put her impressive creativity and ingenuity to work and spend hours crafting original curriculums and studies to help them grow.
But the best part about Sharon was that she was always available to listen and advise. Her girls new that. In fact, they still call her up for advice, even though they’ve started families of their own.
Sharon is a remarkable parent similar to many INFJs I know. But are all INFJs like her?
How do INFJ parents care for their children? And how does their parenting style differ from those of other personality types? Here’re 7 unique ways INFJ parents care for their children.
1. INFJ parents appreciate each child’s strengths.
With introverted intuition (Ni) and extroverted feeling (Fe) driving their personalities, INFJs naturally appreciate and empathize with other people’s perspectives.
They enjoy learning what makes other people tick as well as helping them develop their unique gifts and abilities. And this is especially true of INFJ parents who care deeply for their kids.
INFJs tend to enjoy figuring out their children’s personalities and learning how to relate to each of their kids. They will even go out of their way to give their children special opportunities to cultivate their strengths and grow as people.
2. INFJ parents cultivate quiet play.
INFJs are easily overstimulated. Bright lights and colors, clutter, and loud noises flood their fragile sensing faculties and quickly put them in “shutdown mode.” For this reason, INFJ parents usually encourage their children to play quietly, while they strive to maintain organized play areas whenever possible.
One INFJ I know purchases only noiseless toys and limits the number of playthings available to her children at one time. In her house, every toy has a place, and it goes back in its place when playtime ends. At our house, the living room is a cornucopia of second-hand play items and garage sale deals, which is permissible so long as ISTJ mom is able to accomplish her tasks.
3. INFJ parents observe carefully.
As a general rule, INFJ parents tend to be more observant than they are hands-on. While they’ll teach their kids to read, show them how to arrange a puzzle, model a proper introduction, and so on, they’re most content watching.
This too is a product of the function stack. Ni inclines us to study and contemplate our world, while Fe draws our attention toward people. And, as introverts, we’re at home in our heads, mulling over how the world works. So watching our kids play and thinking about why they do what they do can be as enjoyable – or more enjoyable – than actually playing with them.
4. INFJ parents study child development.
It follows, then, that many INFJs enjoy child development and child psychology. My mother-in-law, for instance, has collected boxes of toys and organized them into developmental stages. I have another INFJ friend who coordinated and supervised the church nursery for years, even before she had kids of her own.
While I was studying education, I enjoyed learning about child development from Piaget, Vygotsky, Erikson, and other theorists. They were exploring human growth and development in a way that seemed natural to me, looking for patterns and stages that could be used to help children grow.
5. INFJ parents engage their child’s silly side.
It’s been said that INFJs are, at times, walking contradictions. My own life experience and research confirm this statement.
Even though INFJs enjoy calm most of the time, we also have a playful side that loves to imagine, create, and goof around. My inner “fun” parent periodically comes out in spontaneous tickle attacks, games of hide and go seek, extemporaneous songs and raps, silly puppetry, and bad puns.
While INFJs focus on the intuitive part of their personality, the introverted sensing (Se) aspect still plays an important role: It helps us connect with our children in a fun-loving, down-to-earth, hands-on way – something every child needs.
6. INFJ parents think ahead.
When you can take in your surroundings and connect the dots without thinking, it’s not hard to envision what could go wrong. And this is what INFJs do.
We can look at a campfire, for instance, and imagine many of the potential hazards for small children. So, when we’re at our best, we use the same mental capacity to create safe boundaries and clear expectations and see that they’re followed.
This is all well and good when parents are on the same page, but more often than not, parents approach child rearing differently. Someone will inevitably give the kids more freedom to explore and investigate.
I’ve learned that I can save myself a few headaches by verbalizing my behavior expectations for our kids. Turns out, it works way better than expecting my wife to read my mind.
7. INFJ parents care deeply.
Finally, INFJ parents care deeply about their children’s holistic growth and development. They want their children to become mature, independent, socio-emotionally healthy adults, and they do their best to equip them for that end.
INFJs don’t mind talking about deep matters; they actually cherish those conversations. Many give of their time, energy, and hearts, pouring into their kids long after they’ve left home and entered adulthood. INFJs like Sharon are always happy to listen.