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Myers-Briggs Personality Types of Children—Extraverted Kids

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.

Rambunctious Kids
ESTP: Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving

estp-kidESTP 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.

Responsible Kids
ESTJ: Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging

estj-kidESTJ 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.

Affectionate Kids
ESFP: Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving

esfp-kidChildren 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.

Generous Kids
ESFJ: Extraverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging

esfj-kidChildren 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.

Creative Kids
ENFP: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving

enfp-kidThe 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.

Sociable Kids
ENFJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging

enfj-kidENFJ 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.

Risk-Taking Kids
ENTP: Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving

entp-kidENTPs 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.

Goal-Driven Kids
ENTJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging

entj-kidENTJ 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.

Myers-Briggs Personality Types of Children—Part 1: Introverted Kids

If your baby comes home from the hospital quiet and easy-going, will the peace last? What about the toddler who enjoys nothing more than turning the pages of a book, while another is scaling every surface in sight? Will their personalities change over the years?

Parents who dreamed of their child becoming a celebrated athlete may be disappointed when he or she prefers staying inside taking a clock apart to playing outdoors with friends. Parents hoping for a Rhodes scholar may be let down when their child would rather climb trees than read books.

Many experts believe that Myers-Briggs personality tests are unreliable in children. Others claim that infants have their basic personalities in place from the time they take their first breath. Personality scores may shift over the years, but they rarely make an about face.

This is about introverted (I) children. There are eight types of introverts 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.

ISFJ: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Judging

isfj-stickAs children, ISFJs are generally well behaved. They’re little trouble to their parents and teachers. They want to know what’s expected of then, and they quietly follow through. Even when asked to make sacrifices, ISFJ kids take pride doing the right thing. In school, they stick with a few close friends and avoid conflict.

Because ISFJ children try to be certain about their duties, they tend to do only what they’re told. With their inward focus, they have a tendency to worry about things. For this reason, they may perform below their potential. They need encouragement to stretch themselves.

ISFP: Introverted, Sensing, Feeling and Perceiving

isfp-stickISFP kids are quiet and kind. Because they avoid the spotlight, their many gifts may be overlooked. They are compassionate not only with other people, but also with animals—and indeed with all living things. They’re easy to like and attract other kids as friends. When arguments arise, they act as peacemakers.

ISFP children appreciate beauty, often making unique gifts for others that are colorful and beautiful. They enjoy the feeling of their bodies in motion—skating, dancing, and simply moving gracefully.

INFJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Judging

infj-stickINFJs are complex, even as young children. While they can be outgoing at times and involved with other kids, they’re also quiet and creative, caught up in their private worlds. They’re gentle and dislike violence and cruelty, whether in games or in real life.

It’s not uncommon for INFJ children to make frequent trips to the library, bringing home many books at a time and spending hours in their rooms reading. The next day, they’re outdoors having adventures with friends. INFJ kids can be a challenge to parents who find their inconsistency hard to understand.

INFP: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving

infp-stickINFP children are daydreamers, creating their own fantasy worlds. They are quiet, especially in new situations. Sometimes their parents worry whether they’re sufficiently grounded in reality. These kids enjoy getting lost in books. They learn to write at an early age.

Before INFPs even start school, they know what’s important to them. They sense where they’re headed and seldom ask for guidance. They’d rather do things for themselves than get help—to be sure they’re done right. They’re often careful not to reveal their mistakes to others. INFP children benefit from gentle handling and understanding.

INTJ: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Judging

intj-stickThe independent natures of INTJ children are apparent early in life. They like to daydream and get caught up in ideas of how the world should be. They can be rebellious when told things that contradict what they believe. INTJs make their own rules and boundaries.

The life of the mind is important to INTJs, so they value their education. They‘re creative and innovative, finding their own efficient ways of doing and making things. These children can be a challenge to parents who would prefer easy-going, compliant children.

INTP: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking and Perceiving

intp-stick1As children, INTPs often enjoy their own thoughts more than the company of other kids. They generally read a lot, going out to play only when invited. INTPs are full of questions, many times challenging parents and teachers with their observations. More than most children, INTPs enjoy inventing things and finding unusual pastimes not typical of kids their age.

INTP tastes are not dictated by popular trends. When these children disagree with conventional ideas, they’re quick to find fault in people’s logic, no matter how important the person. Some parents are baffled by the complexity of children who seem to have such a rich inner life.

ISTP: Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Perceiving

istp-stickISTP children have two sides—one that observes the world and one that takes action. The observer likes to sit quietly and watch what’s going on, absorbing all the details. These kids want to know what make things tick, taking them apart to see how they work. Children of this type who play outdoors a lot are frequently experts on bugs, snakes, and other wildlife.

Usually, ISTPs are good with their hands and can fix things. They aren’t afraid to take risks with such sports as rock-climbing and backpacking. Parents who enjoy quiet children will find much to treasure in the ISTP.

ISTJ: Introverted, Sensing, Thinking and Judging

istj-stickAs children, ISTJs are well behaved and quiet. They function best in an environment that’s ordered and structured. With their well-developed sense of responsibility, ISTJs do best when given schedules to follow. They want to get their work done before they play. Around new people, they’re cautious and often uneasy until they get to know them. When ISTJs know what to expect, they’re more relaxed.

People of this personality type take a conventional view of life. While they enjoy solitary pastimes at home, they also appreciate traditional group activities such as scouting. Parents of these conscientious children can help them develop a more playful side of their personalities.

 

Part 2 of this series describes the eight types of extraverted children. 

 

Extraverted or Introverted? A Test for Partners


Sometimes it’s hard to tell an extravert from an introvert. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Many introverts have a public persona that seems to say, “I’m a people person!” Yet being sociable is something the introvert can’t maintain for long. After an hour or two in a group, the introvert is ready to head home. Extraverts, on the other hand, are just getting started. They are energized by social contacts. It’s too much solitude that wears them down.

Introverts

Introverts are private by nature. They may have one or two close friends but don’t enjoy doing things in crowds. They require time alone. They’re also independent thinkers who don’t need others to help them make decisions. They dislike conflicts but they’ll stand up for what they believe in. If the issue is important, they can be surprisingly forceful.

Extraverts

Extraverts recharge their batteries by relaxing with other people. They’re outspoken most of the time, not just when they have strong feelings. They often prefer talking to listening. When the phone rings, the extravert is likely to jump up to answer. The introvert is glad to let him or her do it. If left on their own for long, extraverts get jumpy and start looking for people to talk to.

Where Do You Fit In?

If you’re wondering where you and your partner stand on the extravert-introvert scale, take these two quizzes. When an answer seems neither totally true nor totally false, pick the more correct of the two answers. Using the scoring key below, figure out the total points for both of you. A score of 8-10 indicates pronounced introversion. The introvert may have a couple of close friends but generally dislikes being in  crowds. A score of 4-7 means the person enjoys spending some time alone but likes to socialize, too. The person who scores 1-3 needs to be around people a lot of the time and may get uneasy if without company for a long period.

TEST A

TEST B

TEST 3

It’s Hard To Be an INFJ: The Author’s Personal Story

Since posting “It’s Hard To Be an INFJ” on this blog, I’ve received hundreds of e-mails from other INFJs. Their main theme has been how disconnected they’ve felt surrounded by extraverts and more sensible, earthbound types. Their posts and my responses appear after that blog.

This is my personal account of what it feels like to be an INFJ.

Growing up

As a child, I felt like an outsider. I’ve felt this way most of my life. Even though all evidence suggests that I was successful and respected by my peers in school, I knew that I was an odd duck. I never liked large groups of kids. I preferred being alone or in the company of one friend—a typical preference of INFJs. Most introverts tend to feel insecure about their preference for privacy because of the high value our culture places on extraversion. People who enjoy being alone are considered odd.

As a student in elementary and high school, I did well academically and had two close friends. For an INFJ, I was surprisingly active in extracurricular activities: acting in community theatre, studying the piano accordion and sometimes performing publicly, editing the school paper, and so on. I was like two people—one who appeared successful and the other who always felt a little lost.

When I left home for college at the age of 17 and began to date, my relationships with boys were fragile. If I fell in love, I couldn’t figure out how to hang onto the boy. He usually tired of my neediness and left. If a boy I didn’t care for kept pursuing me, I couldn’t figure out how to escape without hurting him. With my overactive feeling function, relationships with boyfriends put me on emotional rollercoaster rides.

Personality Traits

Like most judging types, I’ve always been highly focused. I’ll stay up all night working on a project, never miss a deadline, and be punctual for appointments. I like closure, not uncertainty. I make decisions quickly. Thanks to my highly developed intuition, they tend to turn out well.

My opinions on social and political issues are pretty unshakeable, without shades of gray. I recognize the problems my inflexible positions can cause, however, and try to open my mind to other perspectives. When I have strong feelings about an issue, I share them with only one or two trusted friends. I am generally not a leader of causes in public. I write about them passionately, though.

My intuitive, feeling, and judging functions, acting in concert, make me quick to respond to emergencies, especially those involving injury or danger to people or animals. Even at age 82, I still rush into threatening situations. I always emerge unharmed because my intuitive function steers me away from personal danger while my emotions give me the courage and force to act.

Career Experience

Like me, many INFJs are writers. We make good investigative journalists, science editors, and nonfiction writers. The social sciences interest us more than physics, mathematics, electronics and other theoretical and physical sciences. The social sciences engage our feeling function. On aptitude tests, we excel on the verbal portions. However, our thoughts usually have a strong visual component. What we describe in words we see in pictures. We’re more concrete than abstract. Highly creative INFJs are drawn to careers like acting, painting, designing, and so on. However, they are more concerned with pursuing truth than creating art.

Because of their creativity, many INFJs are successful entrepreneurs. They’re good at coming up with fresh ideas, taking risks, introducing new products, marketing to the public, and trouble-shooting. All the while, they maintain their idealism and desire to make life better for those around them. If they get too caught up in the profit motive and are seduced by materialistic goals, they end up demoralized. They suffer from stagnation, burnout, and loss of creativity.

In my early 60s, I earned over $250,000 a year for three years in a row. (I saved most of it and am now enjoying the fruits of my intuitively guided investments.) The problem with all that money was that I became too attached to it. It made me feel very important. Ultimately, my confidence and self-esteem relied on my six-figure income. Approaching retirement, I realized that money could be a trap. I needed to release this attachment and start volunteering. I began to give more money to causes I believed in—mostly animal welfare, education of children in developing countries, and women’s rights. Now, at 82, I have all the money I need to feel safe and enjoy myself. When I work, I don’t accept money for my professional services. Charging money would spoil my pleasure.

Life Can Be Hard

Life can be difficult for those of us who share INFJ traits. First, we’re often misunderstood—perhaps because we make up only one percent of the population. There aren’t enough of us around. Although we often don’t recognize a fellow INFJ when we meet, we’re likely to become fast friends once we recognize the common ground we stand on. Here’s how each of the four traits challenges us:

Introversion: Our preference for privacy can isolate us. We retreat into our thoughts too much and can find ourselves in a cycle of brooding.

Intuition: While well-developed intuition is a gift, it seldom makes us popular. Because the intuitive individual can seem almost clairvoyant, he or she can make others feel uncomfortable. Our forecasts usually turn out to be true, but in the passage of time they’re usually forgotten so we go without credit. We may become so confident of our insights as the years pass that we’re shaken by the rare occasions when they’ve led us down the wrong path.

Feeling: The truths that underlie our accurate insights can wound us. For example, if I have a hunch a friend is lying to me, the chances are I’m right. Knowing this and having it confirmed can be more painful than it is for people whose dominant function is thinking. Although our feelings often bring us joy, when they’re negative we suffer, particularly when rejection is involved. Many of us are prone to depression.

Judging: Our judging function can lead us into premature decisions with uncomfortable consequences, especially in relationships. Many a marriage has foundered because an INFJ didn’t take enough time to understand his or her partner fully before the wedding. (I’m an example of this—more than once.) As the saying goes, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure.” In groups of people, INFJs may appear aloof, even arrogant, because they’re concentrating on sizing up others before they can relax.

We’re in Good Company

INFJs are in good company. Famous INFJs of the past and present are Mahatma Gandhi, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Carl Jung, Simone de Beauvoir, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Noah Chomsky, and Oprah Winfrey.

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