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How to support an INTJ Daughter, as an INTJ parent?

Tuesday November 24, 2020

Sarah writes,

I’m an INTJ and I have an INTJ daughter. I love her but we’ve had some disagreements lately. I hate to say it but I lectured her a bit and I know she has heard it all before. What can I do to support her?

Man, I feel like I’ve been on both sides of this kind of question being a parent myself. That’s not fun at all, feeling uncool or ineffective as a parent.

Some things I would do pretty soon:

  • Stay as far away from criticism as possible while you shore things up.
    • Sometimes a parent’s best move is to throw their arms up and walk away. Parents need to recoup energy, too.
  • Calmly renew your focus on, and support for, her individuality.
    • Ask yourself: What does she do, or say, that helps her feel like she’s different, or that she stands out?
    • How can you support her efforts to understand herself through those activities, even if the specific activities may bother you?
  • Commit to building a positive interaction and messaging environment. Use objective activities and other objects:
    • Hey, let’s rent a movie we both want to watch.
    • Hey, let’s shop for a board game that sounds fun.
    • Hey, let’s shop for some new and interesting snacks, or a seasonal food we like.
    • These activities should help you both to talk happily about things that aren’t you guys, is the point.

Things I would never, ever avoid, that a lot of INTJ parents would try to avoid:

  • Apologizing
    • (If possible I wouldn’t do this while she’s in a bad mood…usually it’ll add even more negative memories for her to process)
  • Sharing regrets
    • “I have a lot of regrets as a parent. You know, a lot of days I think I’ve been just an awful parent. lmao.”
    • I know, I know, this may lead you into some conflict with your concept of self, and how great, yet unrecognized, you are. Treat it like an experiment.
    • If you’re feeling down, you can skip this one, or try it if you think a little sympathy play could help you move up and out.
    • This also requires harboring regrets, which may lead you through a learning experience
  • Asking how you can be a better parent
    • (don’t expect an immediate answer, or any answer)
    • Just asking the question is good. Like, “if there’s ever a time when you think I could be a better parent, I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me.”

Things I would do long-term:

  • Set up a formal area / file where you keep notes on what’s working and not working in this relationship
    • This will help you avoid making the same mistakes and regrets again. This happens to INTJs a LOT when they don’t set up a system or journal, so be careful.
    • Start writing down some fun memories here. Later on you can share them with her.
  • Set aside a gift and some examples of a kindly-worded note, for when they’re having a hard day
  • Support their friendships and relationships with other people in your family
  • Invest in listening-without-advice. Soak up and reflect emotion like a sponge. Nothing more. No execution, no plan, no conclusion.

Finally:

  • Take care of yourself as a parent. I know you are probably having a hard day yourself. Do something you enjoy today. Things will get better from here.

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