As an ENFP personality type, I have often felt that I don’t know how to be a “real adult”—as if there is such a thing. While I may be good at listening to others or expressing my feelings, I’m not so great at everyday things like folding laundry or figuring out how to sign up for healthcare benefits. While I always wanted children, I feared I wouldn’t be a natural at caring for them.
It’s scary that my kids are so radically different from me. For a person who lines up her cans alphabetically in the pantry, it’s pretty harsh. This ISTJ submitted identical genetic samples at conception, then raised them all in the same house with the same rules with unvaried routines…and they are from five different planets. And that’s only if Pluto counts. What you need to know is that your little one was born with a complete personality. And there’s nothing you can do about it.
Only children can't share. First-borns are bossy. And the youngest child gets away with murder. We all know the stereotypes connecting personality with birth order, and no matter where you sit in your family tree, you likely have some assumptions about how your position in your family helped to shape your personality.
Anyone who knows me (or even just talks to me for five minutes) knows of my deep, undying love for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) personality assessment. However, there are so many other people and things I love as well, and my mom is definitely up at the top of that list.
Do I give my baby a pacifier or let her cry herself to sleep? Should I force the defiant toddler into a coat or let him feel the pain? Shall I let my child make his own decisions or enforce the rules with an iron fist?
I'm a Judger, a.k.a a freakishly neat, compulsively organized, stressed out, OCD bore. Ditto my ENTJ husband.
So will someone please explain how we managed to produce an INTP teenager, emphasis on the "P"?
“Can you imagine what this will be like when they’re older?”
I heard it in my voice before I had a minute to say more. There we were, my husband and I, watching our kids play, carefree, on our last night of vacation and I was already living in the future. I was dreaming of something better than this, whatever that might be. We had planned and dreamt of this trip, our first time introducing our children to the beach, and still I was struggling to stay there, in the moment, with the people I loved the most.
Years ago, I was chatting with another mom at a play group, who had daughters just a few months older than mine. She was talking about how much she adored her kids. Possibly, she loved them to the exclusion of everything else. She could not imagine how dull and pointless a person's life would be without them.
The signs are as clear as the nose on your face: as a toddler, your daughter had extreme stranger anxiety and a great deal of trouble warming up to new people (even her grandparents); as a preschooler, your son came home from daycare and immediately escaped to the privacy of his room; as a teenager, your child could speak beautifully in front of the whole class but avoided the after-school social because she said she couldn't deal with large groups of people. Congratulations! You're raising an introvert. How on earth are you going to cope?
Picture the scene: Family reunion at home for the holidays. Turkey in the center. Questionable casserole on your left. Immediate family, cousins, and in-laws only inches apart at the long, rarely-used dining table. It seems to be going well. Then it starts.
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