Raising An INFP


This precious little man of mine is an INFP. When I realized what his personality was, I told my friend, Jerry Hurley, also an INFP, about it. He responded laughingly, “I’m so sorry.” If you are curious about those four CAPITAL letters and want to know what in the heck I’m talking about, I’ll tell you. Those four letters label someone’s personality according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. If you’d like to take a test to find out what your letters are, click HERE. I took the test years ago and found out that I’m an ESFJ and the Hubby is an ENTJ. And we’re raising an INFP. Sweet Jesus. Here’s the gist of the letters: E/I – Extrovert/Introvert S/N – Sensing/Intuitive (How you take in information) F/T – Feeler/Thinker J/P – Judging/Perceiving Basically, Noah is an introvert who is very intuitive and feels very deeply but could really care less about anything organized. And for this spreadsheet-lovin’ momma, that’s just not right. But, we absolutely adore him and believe that he, in his INFP world, will bring just as much importance and joy as any ESFJ or ENTJ would. We know he’ll be a world changer for Christ. If you know what your letters are, do share!

55 thoughts on “Raising An INFP”

  1. I believe I am an INFP. It has been 12 years since I have taken it šŸ™‚ but some things you never forget. I am most definetly an introvert. Married to an extrovert šŸ™‚

  2. i just took the test on your blog and it said in was am ISFP – i hope that is good because i have no idea still what the combination means šŸ˜‰

  3. okay i just read about it and it said i was artist – that is RIGHT ON – i love to dance, write peoms and stories – i have a art room in my house, i work in the paseo– the artist community in OKC – wow that is cool how right on that was

  4. I love these kinds of tests…and my husband radically dislikes them! I am very similar to you, Cindy, but I am exactly borderline on the E/I…and the rest is SFJ. My husband is the exact opposite I(very clearly)NTP. We balance each other out so well! šŸ™‚

  5. I just took the test and I am a ISTJ. By the way, I really enjoy your blog. I have been lurking for awhile. šŸ™‚

  6. I am an ESFJ too! I knew there was somethin’ about you! Hubby ISTJ. I am pretty sure Mikala is an ESFJ too. She is a drama queen like me. Miranda is a little more subdued. They are toddlers though, so we shall see as they get older.

  7. I love those test. I wonder if I could tell what my boys are at 3 years and 20 months? Tim and I are so different on those letters=) I think thats why it works for us!

  8. That is a beautiful picture of Noah!! (Moms can call their boys beautiful) šŸ™‚ I just took the test and I am an INFP as well! I’m going to have Matthew take it, too.

  9. I’m an ESFJ also. I would love to do the test on Merrick (8 years old). We have been struggling with trying to figure out where that little guy is coming from so maybe we can understand more by taking this! Thanks!

  10. this is me…


    Extroverted (E) 75% Introverted (I) 25%
    Sensing (S) 75% Intuitive (N) 25%
    Thinking (T) 54.17% Feeling (F) 45.83%
    Judging (J) 58.33% Perceiving (P) 41.67%

    im having my kids do it next!

  11. ISTJ – I used to be bothered by the “I” thinking it was something to be ashamed of. I’d think, how can I do God’s work as an introvert – the answer is quietly and thoughtfully.

  12. I’m also an ESTJ raising an INFP! Thanks for reminding me–I’d forgotten and she was starting to drive me crazy! Love her!

  13. I’m a ESFP!
    however the “Performer” title I wouln’t give myself everything else suits me to a T.

  14. INFJ! Though the J & P were at 51% vs. 49% … seems i can’t make up my mind. must be all of the emotions … ha.

    i wonder if it will change when i’m not preggz!?

  15. I got ESTJ…which sounds about like what I’ve gotten in the past. The J and the P were very close (I don’t want to be judged for being a J). šŸ˜€

  16. well, Me and Noah are very similar! I’m an ENFP!!
    I try to find cool little tools the J’s of the world create to organize my life, but seriously have issues with the whole organized world…I’m trying…I think I was actually living as a J in middle school…obviously, that had to change!

  17. ok I’m a little saddened…I didn’t see one other ENFP respond…any extroverted feelers out there who have issues with spread sheets but try anyway…HELLO?!?!?

  18. This is funny because my best friend and I have been talking the last few days about our parents myers briggs and how that influenced us growing up.

    I am an enfp (sometimes j) and both of my parents are eSTj. I think they see me as an alien. šŸ™‚ We are very different in the way we think so it really helps to look at the myers briggs for better understanding!

    I’m actually doing research right now on children with opposite myers briggs of their parents…

  19. I’m so out of the loop, although I’ve heard some friends talk about it. Gonna have to take the test then post on a completely unrelated blog! And, it’s very cool that you’ve identified your boys’ personalities. Knowing how and why they respond to various situations will be a great resource for being goooood momma.

  20. ESFJ here.
    If anyone is interested in a little extra reading to go along with this blog, there is a book called Your Personality and the Spiritual Life by Reginald Johnson.

    It says the ESFJ’s and the ENFJ’s are the Encouragers. Each chapter also has a case study from the Bible to go along with your personality type. (Mine is Ruth) Each Chapter also talks about your Creation Gifts, Infirmities, and Natural Ways for (personality type) to Nourish their Faith all with scripture to reflect on.

    INFP’s are the Enhancers, and their case study is Luke.

    I hadn’t thought about my letters in a long time, and am surprised I have not had my husband find out his! Will have to have him do that tonight!

  21. Ok, I don’t remember mine (I’m thinking that it was ENFP) and probably not the best time to retake it.

    I am just blown away with that picture of Noah! Too long, too long since I’ve seen him. Scares me a bit at how big he’s gotten in a short amount of time…makes so much sense what you say about not wishing their days away!

  22. I knew I liked you. ENFJ (you want to know the terrible way we remember…Enough Jezebel. Terrible, I know but still makes me laugh). It’s good to see some others E’s in blog world. In my blog circle I think I’m the only E….until now. I recently did posts on personality as well.

    My oldest is pretty close to me personality wise. And my youngest…I’m still figuring her out since she’s not a year yet, but she’s an I-somethin’-somethin’. Lord. It’s good that I have you, Cindy, you can shoot me some E-parenting-I tips. Oh…but do I love her! Sweet little bear.

  23. Interestingly I always thought I’m an extrovert…don’t know where my “I” comes from. Also interestingly I read somewhere that INFP people make up only less than 10% of the population…most of them post on this blog it seems šŸ™‚

  24. I’m an INTP; apparently less than 5% of the population is INTP – that probably makes me wierd…(!)

    it does explain why teachers always had a hard time understanding what was going through my head most of the time…

  25. I’m an INFP….and the way you described your son describes me accurately as well: “introvert who is very intuitive and feels very deeply but could really care less about anything organized.”

  26. I am an ENFP and my son is I believe an INFP. He is only 12 but understood the questions and his results are really accurate. I was 16 when I took the test and recently took it again and got the same results.

    I believe that God gives you the children that you are supposed to have. I think it’s great that my son and I are so much alike I can really connect with him and he doesn’t get tired of me loving all over him.

    The only thing is because I am an ENFP I always want to know what is wrong, or what he is thinking and sometimes you have to just leave an Introvert to themselves. I allow him to be him and let him know that I am always here for him no matter what.

    Oh…. and someone was dissapointed that she did not see that many ENFP’s. That’s because there is truly only about 2 or 3% of us walking around….. we are pretty damn unique.

  27. I am an INFP, and I can’t even imagine having that particular combination of parents. That might be challenging for everyone involved.

    My advice is that you give the boy plenty of time alone when he wants it while being there for him when he wishes to talk to someone. If you have friends over, allow him to retreat if he feels like doing so instead of forcing him to be social.

    Be careful about how you word things, and validate him frequently by saying encouraging things about his positive behavior, especially if he does something personally meaningful or creative. He will need to be reminded frequently that he is loved and that you think he is a special and unique individual.

    Never yell or use physical forms of punishment, and don’t ever use criticism, sarcasm, or name-calling to shame him out of negative behavior. That kind of treatment can damage an INFP for life. Discussion and appeals to empathy work much better, because the dominant process of the INFP is the Fi (introverted feeling), which is a rational judging process. My parents never had to spank me or yell at me, because I naturally wanted to please them as long as the methods for doing so did not run counter to my internalized value system. I followed all rules that I actually agreed with, and if I thought the rules were arbitrary, unnecessary, or unfair, I was allowed to openly question them until I could understand them enough to either reject them or incorporate them into my own internalized framework. If my parents had used even mild violence or threats, I would have become discouraged and would have eventually stopped trying, as many INFPs do in such situations.

    Even if you find his idealism strange, accept it as a very important part of who he is. Reminding him that his ideals are impractical will serve no positive purpose and will only make him feel hopeless and alone. Let him have his perfect world in his head, because it is the source of his mental organizational system and will allow him to easily compare what “is” with what “should be,” in order to determine what is right.

    Allow him to express his emotions openly and don’t ever encourage him to “toughen up” or “stop being so sensitive.” That is one of the most discouraging things you could possibly do to an INFP. Don’t expect him to conform to the traditional masculine stereotype because he probably never will. If he does, it will undoubtedly be detrimental to him, since the two most popular masculine stereotypes are ESTJ and ESTP, not INFP.

    Don’t push him to be more organized than he feels comfortable being in his own room, although the rest of the house can be yours to rule as you please. This will give him a place where he can feel comfortable and secure and will enhance his creative potential. Also, be careful not to expect him to plan ahead too much unless it is important for a specific reason, because you run the risk of crushing his spontaneity, which is an important part of the creative process. If you ever want him to excel at art, music, writing, or other typical INFP pursuits, take this warning seriously no matter how hard this may be for someone of your type. It will be difficult, but not impossible.

    If he is bullied at school, my recommendation is home schooling, because it never gets any better and can damage him for life. I wish that I had never gone to school, because I am capable of self-teaching, gained nothing that I couldn’t have gained on my own, and was ruthlessly tormented by bullies on a daily basis for being “weird,” and for crying easily when they called me names and beat me up.

    You have a very special blessing, to be given one of the rare types. Our diversity gives us the potential to be valuable members of the body of Christ, each with our individual uses. I hope this advice helps.

  28. I’m INFP and I was raised by two ESTJs. We are still complete enigmas to eachother, and I’m about to turn 30!

    My biggest piece of advice for any parant of an INFP is to avoid placing the child in a conflict situation. If you need to dicipline an INFP child you should be aware that the biggest punishment by far is your disapproval of the wrong behaviour. INFPs hate conflict, it seems to tear then apart from the inside out, and the hurt that is causes (especially in childhood) is hard to express. Whenever I’ve tried to explain how I feel about conflict (even as an adult) only INFPs seem to understand. Not to say that INFP children should not be told off when they are naughty. Avoid shouting, avoid being judgemental about their quirks and beliefs.

    Second, praise creativity. All INFPs will get much more than other children from creative outlets. I was told off for my own creativity as a child, I was only allowed to be creative when my parents could see a point to the creativity eg where it lead to qualifications, but I needed to enjoy creativity rather than it being something that I was scored for. But I’d say that free creativity is central to INFPs self image and health.

    INFPs often feel like aliens growing up, I certainly did. Any way that you can show INFP children that their quirkiness is accepted, even if it is not understood, will do far more good than most people would appreciate.

    I read somewhere that INFP children often feel like ugly ducklings but need to realise that they are beautiful swans, roses among thorns. Acceptance from parents is more important to INFP children that most other “types”.

  29. I’m an INFP, 18 years old. Yeah, growing up was very difficult for me, but the most difficult thing in my life is accepting the world. I’m still working on it (I started when I was 12).

    “When I realized what his personality was, I told my friend, Jerry Hurley, also an INFP, about it. He responded laughingly, ā€œIā€™m so sorry.ā€”

    That’s so true šŸ˜‰

  30. Another INFP here. 48 years old. Allow me to toss in my two cents worth. It took me a long time to realize that the “lack of organization” that I had been tagged with growing up was an INTEGRAL part of who I am.

    I enjoy woodworking, but my shop is a mess. My sweet, well-intentioned wife ‘surprised’ me one day by going in and completely organizing my shop. It was spotless, organized, made perfect sense, and looked like it came out of a magazine. It also stifled my creativity for about a week. I could not work in such an organized environment. My mind couldn’t create beyond the boundries that had been laid out in front of me.

    I gave myself about a week to fiddle around and get things messy, then the work started being productive again.

    Thank you for being so attuned to your child. He will be blessed because of it. Happy New Year.

  31. I thought i might share my bit too – im an INFP raised by an ENTJ and INTJ.

    Even though my mother (ENTJ) is the opposite, i get along with her really well.
    however my father (INTJ) doesnt understand me at all – he has told me to ‘toughen up’ and that i’m too sensitive etc..i suppose when you also feel like the odd one out whilst growing up it doesnt help much, so its not surprising that we really dont get along AT ALL.

    anyway, i find these sorts of tests interesting šŸ™‚
    good luck raising your little man!!

  32. That picture of your son is so beautiful, and so revealing, even. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and that really does seem to capture the essence of what it is to be INFP. I know…

    Speaking as one myself, I will say the best possible thing you could do for your child is to build a relationship based on mutual understanding – be consistent, and try to make sure he knows the reasons behind the things you do. The rest should follow on that much more easily.

    Growing up was not particularly easy, especially not at school. There was so much wanton cruelty, lack of intelligence from kids everywhere, and as I had all the social skills of a doormat I clearly came off as a weirdo, and probably still do. (By the way, being an introvert =/= being shy – and if your son seems to have just a few friends yet is happy, don’t push him to socialise more than he’s comfortable with)

    The defining factor in my… well, sanity, was a warm and supportive relationship with my parents during my childhood. It would seem that INFPs are particularly sensitive to the trials and tribulations of life, but then, aren’t we all really?

    Surprised as I am to have seen Snail post already, there is nothing more I can really say. I wish your family a wonderful future together.

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