Do children’s personalities remain consistent over the years? If they’re happy babies, will they be happy adults? Or do experiences early in life play a major role in what they become?
Psychologists believe that both are true. According to experts in Myers-Briggs personality testing, people are born with certain traits or tendencies. Their attitudes and behaviors may be modified by the environment over time, but they don’t disappear entirely. The child who likes to play catch and climb trees will probably be an athletic grown-up. The one who reads books in her room for hours is more likely to be a scholar.
A previous blog described introverted children—quiet, shy types. This one is about extraverted (I) children—kids who are outgoing and enjoy social activities. There are eight types of extraverts according to Myers-Briggs theory. They differ in the combinations of the other three pairs of traits on the personality test: 1) sensing (S) and intuition (N); 2) feeling (F) and thinking (T); and 3) perceiving (P) and judging (J). The scores on four pairs range from one extreme to another, with some close to the middle.
Sensing (S) kids are observant and aware of all the details around them. Intuitive (N) types are more thoughtful and rely on hunches. Feeling (F) children make decisions based on how they’ll affect other people. Those of the thinking (T) type depend on logic and are less likely to focus on outcomes. Perceiving (P) children are easy-going and move from one activity to another. Those with a judging (J) preference are more focused and like to finish things.
ESTP: Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving
ESTP children are rambunctious kids. They think their lives should be action-packed and full of fun. When things get boring, they stir them up. Because of their outgoing personalities, they make friends easily and enjoy group activities.
Many are good at sports and work hard to improve their athletic skills. Dancing and other physical activities that involve cooperation also appeal to them. They appreciate nature and are curious about the things they find outdoors. They like being in the fresh air. School is less important to them than real-life experience and socializing. Parents who look for high academic achievement in their ESTP offspring may be disappointed by the grades they bring home.
ESTJ: Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging
ESTJ children are logical and organized. They’re responsible, obedient kids, respecting the standards set by adults. They get upset when grown-up rules are changed suddenly—unless they’re given a clear reason. For fun, they enjoy doing things that produce results, such as competing in games. Follow-through is their motto. They don’t understand people who go about things in a haphazard way.
When ESTJ kids take up sports or hobbies, they go to great pains to do them well. The child who wants to learn gymnastics, for example, is diligent about getting to all the practices. They like to have their skills tested. Indeed, they like to have all their accomplishments measured. Parents find that coaching and lessons usually pay off for these kids.
ESFP: Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving
Children of the ESFP personality type show their generous, caring nature from the time they’re toddlers. They’re warm, active and full of life. They like to be held and show affection by touching people. They want to bring happiness to those around them. Sometimes, though, they’re self-conscious whey they’re on the receiving end.
ESFPs have sharp eyes. Very little escapes their attention. They tune into the moods of people and notice subtleties in their behaviors. They like to include others in their activities. As observers of life, they point out interesting things to family and friends. These bright and sunny children sail though life with little caution. Parents sometimes worry about their willingness to take risks.
ESFJ: Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging
Children with ESFJ personalities are responsible and cooperative. They thrive on praise and personal attention. They’ll put forth considerable effort to gain approval from grown-ups and friends. ESFJs try to do the right thing. Always concerned about the well being of others, they go out of their way to help those in distress—even when it involves making personal sacrifices.
As children, they like order and structure. They follow the rules and generally accept them without question. They’re upset by out-of-bounds behavior in other children. People who tell lies also disturb them. When the rules seem unreasonable, ESFJ kids may feel let down by the grown-ups who made them.
ENFP: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving
The natural curiosity of ENFP children leads them into endless adventures. They are full of questions. Fueled by their creativity, the spend hours exploring new ways to spend their time—making sand castles, rearranging indoor furniture for their adventures, making up plays, and so on.
The charm and energy of ENFP kids attracts friends. Because they’re so persuasive, they’re often chosen as leaders by their peers. They like to experiment, even if it involves taking risks. If someone warns them that poison ivy is dangerous, they’re likely to test the person’s advice. Parents of ENFP offspring often worry about what they’ll get into next.
ENFJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging
ENFJ children are cooperative and lively. Once they learn to talk, they never seem to stop. These congenial extraverts need lots of social interaction. Conflict and arguments upset them.
Bright, and sunny, ENFJ kids are always on the go. At school, they sign up for many activities, not just for the experience, but also for a chance to socialize. They bring warmth and vision to whatever they take part in. They’re at their best in situations that call for sensitivity and tact. ENFJs are liberal with praise for others and are well liked. Parents find them a joy to be around.
ENTP: Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving
ENTPs are lively children who question routine ways of doing things. They rarely accept rules without question. If a requirement seems unreasonable, they try to get around it. Then they justify their behavior with logical explanations.
Because these children love challenges, they often engage in risky behaviors. Frequently, they try to outwit authority figures such as parents and teachers. Due to their appealing personal style, it’s easy for them to persuade other children to join them in projects and adventures. Organizers at heart, they even assign roles to them. Parents of ENTP kids do well to have logic on their side when challenged by their offspring.
ENTJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging
ENTJ children are driven by goals from the time they’re very young. They can be scholarly, athletic, and creative—all at the same time. They’re like to get straight As in school—as much to satisfy themselves as to please their parents. It’s important for them to win games and come in first in competitions. They like to win.
Kids of the ENTJ type tend to take charge of themselves and others in group activities. They’re born leaders. Power and control are important to them because they want to have an impact on what goes on. When authority figures become too dogmatic, ENTJs rebel. If a situation is acceptable to them, they’ll go along. For parents who’d prefer easy-going, compliant offspring, these children can be a challenge.
Part 1 of this two-part series described introverted children.