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Dealing with the Artisan's Delinquency Game

Tuesday May 5, 2015

From “Survival Games Personalities Play,” by Eve Delunas, Ph.D.

Delinquency is one form of the “Blackmail” game that Artisans play when they feel anxious, intimidated, not good enough, or scared. The two purposes of the delinquency game are to excite one’s self and to punish others.

Typical Cycle of Delinquency in the ISTP, ISFP, ESFP, ESTP child (also known as the Artisan or SP)

  1. Artisan child misbehaves
  2. Parent nags or criticizes them about it
  3. Artisan (observing that he is succeeding at exciting himself and punishing others) continues to misbehave


  1. First, it is important to stop any criticism, nagging, or emotional outbursts from the critical parent, which Delunas terms “commercializing.” The parent should immediately stop “showing the child commercials” about why it is bad to misbehave.
  2. Enforce “logical consequences.” These are unemotional, “A follows B” consequences. For example, the child hits his sibling, then he is placed in time out for N minutes. Or if the child leaves his bicycle on the driveway overnight, he cannot ride it the next day.
  3. “Very often” it is possible to get SP children to stop playing their delinquency game by placing them in isolation for three to twenty minutes, depending on age. This is effective because it takes these “little performers” out of the spotlight they feed on.
  4. After coming up with a consequence, it is important to use it consistently, and without emotion or any “commercials.”
  5. These children are gamblers and risk takers and envelope pushers by nature. If they can see that they are pushing you, they will push more. If they can see they are testing a boundary, they will test it further. If they have one warning, they will tend to shoot for two or three or four. If they get commercials, they will become determined to continue misbehaving.
  6. It may help to do the unexpected.
    1. One method is to have parents take notes on the child’s behavior rather than respond verbally. Without the usual reaction from the parents, the child will abandon the game. This gives the parents the opportunity to communicate their feelings, too.
    2. Oddly enough, thanking an Artisan for an outburst is sometimes a way to shut down the behavior. Giving them a positive reward like fake money that can be saved and used toward some fun event has actually resulted in the tantrums stopping after a week. This is because the Artisan’s goal was to misbehave—that is the game they were attempting to play (purpose: excite self, punish others) to exploit the situation, and it did not work.
  7. One parent learned that while they could not nag their Artisan child into cleaning their room, they eventually got the child to clean the room by intentionally “absent-mindedly” littering and dropping garbage (soda can, spilling the laundry all over the floor) in the room whenever they entered. Then they would leave. Soon the child was asking them to stop and keeping the room clean on his own.
  8. Beneficiary consequences: You can give the child the opportunity to do something good as an alternative to the punishment. For example, yard work for the neighbor instead of depriving them of the use of their bicycle.
  9. Therapeutic contests: Artisans love contests. They love the attention, the risk, the competition, and the opportunity to impress others. One ESFJ mother was tired of her Artisan son’s misbehavior at dinner, so she would set a timer for a different time during the meal every night. When the buzzer went off, every child who was behaving well would get a small prize. This corrected the behavior.

Monitoring the solution

  1. It is important to follow up to make sure the “logical consequences” stay logical. They should be unemotional and natural, like the law of gravity. One family complained that their “logical consequences” weren’t working, but on further questioning it turned out that the father was completely blowing his stack, punching holes in walls, etc. every time the consequences were handed down. This was just returning the ISTP to a desire for more delinquency.
  2. Also remember to provide emotion and good outbursts and spotlighting for positive events.

Reinforcing the positive

  1. Artisan children (in fact all artisans) need creative challenges. ISTP children need time alone to create and think.
  2. Artisans are graceful, bold, and impressive in whatever type of artistry they pick up—in running marathons, performing music, building houses, whatever it might be.
  3. In relationships, Artisans are open-minded, colorful, clever, generous, kind, hardworking, and forgiving.
  4. Artisans remind us to enjoy the present, and show us how to laugh. They are inherently optimistic.

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