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Being an INTJ parent

Tuesday August 2, 2016

I’ve been an INTJ parent now for almost seven years. Here are my notes and reflections:

  • I think INTJs make great parents.
    • We love to relax. Kids love it too.
      • It’s fun to relax with kids at the end of a long day.
      • I love my giggling videogame tournaments with my son
      • I love letting my daughter make me comfortable, she brings me pillows, puts a blanket on me, asks if I want something to drink. ENFPs are great at hospitality, it’s an inborn trait.
      • I enjoy taking photographs of my ISFJ son’s Lego creations. Yesterday he made…a printer. lolololol. But it was an awesome printer, you could slide the “paper” pieces right through it, very low friction. I tried to “print” with it and made a bunch of candy spill out—a simple magic trick. We laughed and ate candy.
    • We respect our children as unique individuals
      • I know my kids’ type so I can help them find their gifts!
      • I want them to be the best them they can be.
      • I have zero interest in my kids being like me
      • I just want my kids to enjoy life and humanity.
        • Holy crap, it rhymes like one of those old 1800s self-help books!
    • We can see the big picture
      • We’re good at putting mistakes in perspective
      • I can foresee relationship issues between my kids that will exist for the rest of their lives (thank you, Socionics). This informs my advice to them now. I help them keep distance from each other in areas that cause strong conflict, and I help them come together in areas that help them relax.
      • We’re good at planning for our kids’ future. Problem ahead? We already knew about it, figured out how we’d solve it, and prepared ourselves.
    • We love helping kids learn exciting new things
      • Even a new video game or a TV show can hold discoveries about life
      • I have stayed awake many nights answering questions from my kids: Where do babies come from? Where do teeth come from? Why is poop stinky? etc.
    • We love teaching kids to be independent.
      • Just last night: “Dad, I want to suck on an ice cube.” “OK, I want you to try to get it yourself now. I know you can do it.”
        • Now my kid knows how to get himself an ice cube, score.
        • It’s the little things, seriously.
  • So many INTJs don’t want to be parents.
    • Fine. But: Are you closing your mind to the thing, or really exploring it and then deciding it’s not the best path for you? Ni+Ni (yuck) vs. Te+Ni (well-informed). This is so often the typical INTJ thing: We can close our minds to a thing because of our vague, subjective perceptions, and then not even consider looking into objective data on the actual thing itself.
    • EVEN if we can find objective data that says it’s worth looking into and even good for us in a lot of ways, we sometimes convince ourselves we’ll hate it.
    • Sure, listen to that voice if you want, but understand that hallucinating about something and actually doing it, having an influence over it, are two different things.
    • You actually do control your life—things won’t go into a death spiral with an INTJ at the helm. Don’t worry about it.
    • So: Closing your mind as a habit is bad news if you are an INTJ
      • Take Bruce Lee’s advice: “Empty your cup.” Revert to the beginner’s mind.
      • Being continually open to objective data makes you an even smarter judge, not a dummy.
  • I didn’t really want kids super bad before getting married
    • When my wife asked me about kids I kind of went, “sure, I mean, I guess I could go either way. I don’t want a huge family or anything though.”
    • But part of me hoped inside that IF it happened, I could be an awesome dad somehow
      • I always liked the film Cheaper by the Dozen
        • This is the story of Frank Gilbreth Sr.. and his family. Gilbreth was an NT personality. (Right down to going to work rather than continuing with college :-)) INTJs should look up this guy and his work for inspiration and enlightenment regarding their own gifts.
  • In the beginning I was concerned about everything
    • Will I be a bad dad
    • Will I be neglectful
    • Will I be downright evil
      • I know I have a temper! (Spoiler: Everyone does)
    • Will I be able to feed all these mouths?!
      • ROFL. If anyone can do it, it’s an INTJ, the ultimate contingency planner
    • Etc.—too many to list, really.
  • I’m not really the evil dad I feared I might turn into
    • When you mess up with your kids, you apologize, you reflect, you slowly change and become a better person.
      • Which is how all of life works, with kids or without kids
  • Practicality: Kids turn you into a super productivity ninja
    • Suddenly when you’re not getting much sleep or when your kids need your time to do homework, you start getting much faster at getting things done.
      • Multiple third-party friends and acquaintances have mentioned this as well.
  • Have not noticed a huge burden on my finances
    • Sure, it’s probably measurable if I bothered to measure it.
    • Sure, I probably won’t be able to retire as early.
    • However, at this point I feel it is more than worth the tradeoff.
      • I have more close relations. Every INTJ basically has a relationship deficit from the get-go, so that’s really nice.
      • I will (probably) have some extra hands to take care of me when I’m elderly.
        • Yes, I have heard senior citizens without kids wish they had them. This is very sad to me. We all need to do better to support our elders.
  • Kids are super fun.
    • They want to be interested in the things that you like.
    • They actually cooperate with you the vast majority of the time
    • They might, genetically, even be little INTJs.
      • I don’t have any INTJs, but I know my children and their gifts, gifts that I don’t have, and they blow me away.
  • Your kids’ friends need a good example to look up to :-(
    • When your kids’ friends run up and give you a big hug when you’re dropping your kids off to school…and you always thought you were a big unemotional guy :’-( Wow.
      • One of the best feelings in life
  • This is all a natural part of life and as INTJs we can be a part of it, influence it, learn from it, benefit from it.

The notes above don’t even touch on the subject of adoption, and we adopted our first child. Again, the most helpful thing to remember is that closing your mind to various options is easy for an INTJ but often not the healthiest route.

Moving forward from here, I’m excited to apply my Te and Ti studies to parenting. I really want to have fun with my kids, and I see Te and Ti filling an important role in helping me minimize struggle and maximize chances of having a good influence.

If you’re an INTJ parent I’d love to know how your experience has been!

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