Notes from chapter 8 of David Keirsey’s book, Please Understand Me II.
In our natural zeal to discourage moral weeds from springing up we risk discouraging mental flowers from growing, our parental herbicides killing the good and the bad indiscriminately. The root of the problem is that parents tend to assume that their children are pretty much the same as they are—extensions of their own personality who will naturally follow in their footsteps. But the temperament hypothesis suggests that, in many cases, children are fundamentally different from their parents and need to develop in entirely different directions, so that their mature personalities can take their rightful form. Indeed, parents of other temperament who assume that they share their child’s experience of life—that they know what their child wants or needs, thinks or feels—are usually quite wrong. Or worse.
Parents fail to realize that, from the beginning, their children are very much their own persons and that no amount of disconfirmation, attribution, or intrusion can change their inborn structure. We must allow our children to become actually what they are potentially; in other words, we must let nature take its course by giving our children ample room to grow into their true, mature character.
A mature individual is one whose latent attitudes and actions have become fully developed and habitual. Let us remember that maturation in all [of the] facets of character is an evolving, unfolding, branching, differentiating, expanding process. Organismic psychology [teaches us] that we do not mature as a function of time alone, but that maturation is stimulus induced, which is to say that our character growth must be stimulated, aroused, awakened, and beckoned to come forth into the social environment. Indeed, in the absence of stimulation there is no maturation. This means that the task of the parent is stimulation. But stimulation of a special kind: stimulation that is both timely and relevant to whatever attitudes and actions are ready to emerge. In psychology this is called “the teachable moment; in enterprise, “the window of opportunity.”
This means that overseeing Mother Nature’s project—maturation—requires parents to become child watchers, not child shapers, acting only when they detect a teachable moment or opportunity to encourage the growth of some attitude or action that is consistent with the child’s temperament. To do this, however, parents must understand what these latent attitudes and actions are. Only then can they find ways to help them unfold and develop. If parents do not know what end to seek—their child’s innate character structure—then they cannot know what means will help stimulate it.
In trying to understand children of any age we must bear in mind that they, like their parents, will lean toward becoming either utilitarian or cooperative in how they use myriad tools of civilization, and either concrete or abstract in how they communicate the continuous messages of civil life.
First consider tool use. When bid by parents and teachers to use tools in a conventional way, utilitarian children (Artisan SPs and Rational NTs) usually wonder—and some of the bolder ones even venture to ask—“why that way?” or “what’s the use of doing it that way?” For example, to use their knives and forks in a socially correct manner at dinner means little to SP and NT children, so if they act that way it is to keep out of trouble and not an admission that it makes sense to them. Conventions in eating are, after all, arbitrary, and differ radically in different cultures. The mere fact that a given tool is used in a conventional way is not sufficient reason for the utilitarians to use it that way; indeed, it doesn’t bother SP and NT children at all to use tools in unconventional ways, and they don’t give a second thought to ignoring traditions if they can get away with it.
On the other hand, that a given tool is to be used in a conventional or traditional way, or simply because such use is looked upon with favor by their elders, is usually sufficient reason for Guardian SJ and Idealist NF children to conform. Cooperative children are not at all comfortable with questioning authority and testing limits, and they seem to want to know that they are pleasing others with their respect for convention. Little SJs and NFs want to do what’s expected of them, and to fit in with people around them, and so they are inclined to give great power to adults and their rules, and are chary of going their own way and trying out what might be useful changes in how to do things.
The development of word usage looks a lot different from the development of tool usage. Artisan SP children, their word usage predominately concrete, are very much like the Guardian SJ children in this respect, and nothing like their utilitarian counterparts, the Rational NT children. Also, both SPs and SJs tend to speak primarily to other children rather than to adults, and they talk about toys and tools, and how to play with them and make things with them. On the abstract side, Idealist NF children are not at all similar to their cooperative cousins, the Guardian SJ children, in the way they talk, but are more like Rational NT children in showing interest in talking about imaginative thing, in hearing and reading stories, and in talking and listening to adults. Stories especially are the NT and NF children’s joy—and from very early in their lives—but particularly stories of fantasy and far-flung imagination, stories such as fables, myths, and fairy tales, stories filled with magic and sorcery, and with metaphors and symbols. Rational and Idealist kids can be captured by such fanciful stories even before they have the vocabulary to understand what they are hearing, in some cases before the age of two, and will often ask for their parents to repeat them again and again.
The net effect of all this exposure to make-believe is that the fantasy life and abstract vocabulary of Rational and Idealist children grow faster than that of Artisan and Guardian children. Of course, concrete children want to hear stories too, but they tend to prefer straightforward stories about the familiar and the factual, stories with lots of action and realistic details, adventure stories and animal stories, folk tales and Mother Goose stories—“The Three Little Pigs” is a good example. And yet even these stories don’t have quite the pull for little SPs and SJs that any and all stories do for NTs and NFs. In fact, if given the chance, concrete children will rather easily abandon story time for playtime or activity time
In the same way, because Artisan and Guardian youngsters spend their time playing with toys and making things with tools, they acquire a concrete vocabulary and a repertoire of instrumental actions earlier than Idealists and Rationals do. Of course, the relatively few NT and NF children found here and there certainly enjoy toys and handicrafts, but their abstract style of play is markedly different fomr that of SPs and SJs. For example, toys for a concrete child are likely to retain their character—a truck remains a truck, to be used to move dirt, or to deliver things, or to run up and down a road. An NT or NF child, on the other hand, might well turn the truck into a submarine, or a dinosaur, or a flying chariot. And tricycle becomes an ice cream maker, and large cardboard boxes become architectural spaces, and a wardrobe becomes a passageway to a secret world (as in C. S. Lewis’s Narnia stories), and so on.
Again, what is the task—indeed, the responsibility—of parents? First, they must bring themselves to abandon the perspective that says, “my children are, underneath, just like me.” And then they must begin to acquaint themselves with the nature of the character differences in as much details as they can manage. Only by doing so can they hope to facilitate their children’s growth rather than impede it.
The Artisan Child
· SP children are indeed excitable, able to get excited more quickly and to stay excited longer than other types of children. But just as they are easily wound up, so too are they easily bored, and thus seem ever on the lookout for some sort of risky business or mischief to get into, just to keep things interesting.
· They need physical movement and novelty, and they love contests.
· Likely to give their attention for hours on end, and then to stop and move on to the next thing that interest them.
· To be proud of themselves Artisans must be graceful in some form of tactical behavior.
o Parents would do well to see to it that their little SPs have many chances to develop some kind of fluency of physical action, so that they can see themselves, and be seen by others, as artistic in some manner.
· As for self-respect, SP children regard themselves highly when in the degree that they are bold and daring.
o All things considered, boldness in Artisan children is better encouraged than put down, otherwise they will have little respect for themselves and may take up destructive habits.
· Self-confident in the degree they see themselves as being adaptable, able to fit smoothly into any situation that they care to enter, whether with their peer groups or with adults in charge.
o In their own families, however, Artisan from infancy can be seen testing the limits of their immediate environment—and not being very charming about it.
§ So there are two sides to the development of self-confidence in Artisan children; (1) they want to be smooth and sophisticated outside of the home, (2) but are often defiant and contrary with their parents.
· Little SPs respond to sensory details, noting vividness and variety of colors, sounds, tastes, and so on, which mean they are apt to enjoy coloring books, music, and to be what are called “good eaters.”
· They are likely to enjoy animals, although they will often be rough with them, just as they are usually rather hard on their toys and clothes, and should be given sturdy, well-made objects that can stand a lot of wear and tear.
· While showing off is gratifying to some of the other types of children, it is more than gratifying to Artisans—showing off is exhilarating to them. They hunger for chances to stand out, to make a big splash, to hot dog it, and they are more likely to brag about their accomplishments than others.
· The fun of living in the moment means not paying attention to schedules or planning for the future.
· Having a good time for an SP child also means getting into messes.
· Artisans are less likely than other types to understand demands for clean rooms or neat and orderly closets.
o This carefree, hedonic attitude often leads to a scolding from exasperated parents, but usually to no avail. Early on SP children learn to be indifferent to such reprimands, which usually come too many and too soon.
· Naturally impulsive and insubordinate.
· Need no encouragement to be bold and adventurous and to take up sports of all kinds.
The Guardian Child
· SJ children are concerned about many things, keeping their toys nice, picking up their rooms, helping around the house, pleasing their parents and teachers, and at times this concern can turn to worry and fear that they aren’t being responsible enough.
· Guardian children are proud of themselves when they show their elders that they can be depended on to do what is expected of them, that they are trustworthy and accountable for all that they should or should not.
· Guardian children build their self-esteem on their dependability.
· Doing their best loses appeal if adult approval is not forthcoming
o Far more than the other types, SJ children will respond to scolding and negative criticism, which can make them try all the more.
· Guardian self-respect seems to be enhanced when they are serving others.
o Self-respect can fade away rapidly and be replaced by guilt feelings if they have been less than helpful.
· Self-confidence depends in great part on being commended for good behavior.
· Guardian children are the most cautious, looking twice and even thrice before they leap, and therefore seldom leaping.
· There’s no place like home for Guardian children, and if they go on some sort of trip they are likely to feel homesick more quickly than the rest, and to want to cut the vacation short.
· SJ children respond happily to well-established, clearly defined routines that bring them predictability.
o Need to know what is so today will be so tomorrow.
· Put their trust in authority, and this trust never wanes.
· Most comfortable following the rules, doing what they’re told, meeting the expectations and the demands of those in authority.
· More than being secure and legitimate, Guardians, of any age, must belong. There are few loners among Guardian children. Indeed, SJs seem to have a lifelong hunger for belonging, and the more memberships—and the more recognized status in their social groups—they can collect along the path to maturity, the better.
· Take to family like ducks to water.
o Divorce is particularly devastating to them, and teenage and preteenage suicides are far more prevalent among Guardians than all the other types combined.
· Quite often the family’s worry warts.
· Pessimism is usually not apparent in Guardian children because they are likely to keep their fears to themselves.
The Idealist Child
· Whether positive or negative, their feelings are easily aroused and sometimes expressed with surprising vehemence. Even at an early age Idealist children seem to be fired with a passionate intensity, and are hardly able to keep quiet about their thoughts and feelings.
· NF children seem to have a natural talent for relating intimately with others.
· They look forward to learning in school with keen anticipation.
· Take pride in their ability to maintain and enhance empathetic relationships with their friends and loved ones.
· NF children are apt to be almost hypersensitive to the feelings of those closest to them.
· Devastated by conflict.
· If their parents spank them, NF children can be deeply hurt, and far more by the cruelty of the punishment than by the pain inflicted.
· Base their self-respect on their capacity for feeling benevolent toward others.
· Even as young as five, Idealist children build their self-confidence on being authentic.
· NF youngsters need their parents to recognize their uniqueness and to personally acknowledge their significance in order to feel they are a valuable family member in their own right.
o NF kids thrive on an abundance of personalized attention, and the messages they need most are those that say, “You are special; I value you; you are important to me.”
· The most trusting of all types.
o Trust authority to a great extent, though their participation tends to be personal and enthusiastic (as opposed to the SJs being more dutiful and solemn).
· Idealist kids trust the voice of their intuition more than any other of the guides to action.
· Will make up stories and recount them with vivid imagery.
o At times, indeed, they may be accused of lying when in fact they are only exercising their romantic imagination.
· Some caution should be exercised in monitoring the reading material of NF children who can easily become over-stimulated by the disturbing imagery in stories of dragons, witches, ogres, and monsters—all of which can resurface in their nightmares.
o Parents should try to steer their little Idealists toward stories that have happy endings, with heroes winning, and even villains having a change of heart in the end.
· Harmonious human relationships are more important to them than anything else.
· NFs are apt to enjoy non-mechanical toys—soft hand puppets, dolls, stuffed animals—to which they can attach human personality.
· Idealists are more likely than other types to have an invisible companion.
o And certainly the rejection or ridicule of this imaginary friend by others would especially crush an NF child, who would feel personally rejected.
· Peacemakers within their peer groups.
· Begin wondering about the meaning of life long before other types.
· Tend to get lost in abstraction and self-absorbed search for meanings and portents.
The Rational Child
· The calm, tranquil ones.
· Rational children, especially reserved ones, can seem distant and detached, as if unable or at least reluctant to express affection.
o But this does not mean that these children are unemotional, for behind their quiet self-possession can be mounting tension from the effort to control their emotions.
· NT children are erratic about the way they maintain their room and clothes.
· Apt to have extensive collections: rocks, animal artifacts, coins, stamps, butterflies, and the like; anything that can be collected and which requires technical documentation and classification is apt to have appeal for the NT child.
· Base their self-esteem on their cleverness and inventiveness.
· Have a special fondness for busy boards, for construction sets of all kinds (Legos, Lincoln Logs, etc.), and the males will turn almost any object into a weapon of some sort.
· NTs will spend days learning maps and defeating the enemies in the latest Nintendo adventure.
o Witness how proud NT children are of themselves when they have mastered any of these strategic operations, but also observe their total frustration when they find one of these high-tech activities beyond their grasp. How ashamed they feel, already blaming themselves for their stupidity.
§ Because of this, parents and teachers are unwise to set Rational children tasks which are beyond them, or to criticize their failures. More than all the other types, NT kids are self-doubting, and for them to feel proud of themselves they must feel smart. They are particularly vulnerable here, with too much failure undermining their self-esteem.
· Parents and teachers must thus take care: helping NT children when they ask for help, offering them encouragement (not praise), giving them play activities and material appropriate to their development level, these allow them to grow up with self-esteem intact.
· NTs have an entirely different base of self-respect: they must be autonomous. Rational children don’t like to be governed or directed by others—told how to think, or act, or feel—and they will stubbornly oppose parents or older siblings who try to manipulate them.
o This is why being spanked is so deeply violating to Rationals; they see this abuse of their body as an unforgiving assault on their autonomy, and their indignation is extreme and permanent.
o Rational kids want to think, act, feel for themselves, to be independent and self-sufficient, to figure out things for themselves, to go their own way.
o Rationals self-respect is diminished as long as they feel such dependency, and they experience a growing sense of guilt the longer they remain dependant.
· Family routines are arbitrary and as such are bound to be questioned by the budding Rational. Particularly as a child, the NT want to know the reason for doing something; if none is forthcoming, the child is at least hesitant, if not reluctant, to do it.
o Routinizing NT children takes longer than for the other types, so NTs can profit from coaching in the social niceties.
§ Rational kids don’t see, for instance, what a gold star on their work sheet has to do with them, or anyone else for that matter. And being in receipt of such trifles does not bolster their self-confidence in the least. But strength of will does, and it can show up in NT children very early in their lives.
· Rational children feel confident in the degree that when they resolve to do something they are able to hold to their resolve.
o Their self-doubt increases directly as their resolution decreases.
· Rational children wish to learn how things work.
· Rationals pursue knowledge, wondering “What would happen if…?” and attempting to find the answer, whether their parents approve or not.
o None of these explorations are designed to annoy their parents, but to satisfy their desire to find out.
· Parents do well to be patient and to provide Rational children with answers to their questions, but also to give them abundant opportunities to experiment, to find out, and to develop their own answers.
o To encourage logical investigation, parents should furnish the NT child with a variety of toys, but only a few at any one time, since the Rational tends to concentrate fully on one thing, explore it to his or her satisfaction, and then move on to the next.
o Shutting off investigation is likely to occasion disobedience, whether overt or covert.
· Most important of all, parents would do well to read to their Rational child.
o Though they will often need encouragement later on in life to put down their books and enjoy themselves—even risk themselves—now and then.
· Rational children remember every instance in which authority fails to be trustworthy, so that by the time their teens there has grown in many of them an active and permanent distrust of authority (as opposed to the Guardians), and in some cases a large measure of contempt.
o Neither do Rational children put much trust in their intuition (as do Idealists), nor their impulses (as do Artisans). For their part, Rationals learn to have more and more trust in reason as the basis of action.
· “Do it if, and only if, it makes sense” is the NT motto.
o Rational children will go along with a parent or teacher only if their demands make sense, and they quickly lose respect for those who are not reasonable in their rules and reprimands.
· NT kids can sometime demand more of themselves than they can deliver, so that tension builds as they struggle to rid themselves of error.
o Once calm and focused, they now become overly tense and high-strung, impatient with everything and everyone around them.
· Rational kids like nothing better than tinkering and experimenting with any and all devices—anything that can be activated, anything that stores energy which can be released by a touch or a turn or a yank or a pull.
· They seem to want to spend as little effort as possible in getting the desired result, already seeming to be frustrated with wasted effort.
o Though sometimes seen as laziness, this is a wrong assumption; rather, it is a focus on efficiency.
· NT kids have their doubts about almost everything told to them, and must look critically at any plan of action, particularly if based on custom or tradition.
o This means that rational children need help in understanding that customs and traditions are important to other people, and to the smooth operation of society.
Parent and Child
So: the first task of parents is to recognize the different characters of their children. But parents must also recognize the role their own character plays in their way of bringing up their children.
The Artisan Liberator
Artisans are usually more permissive with their children than other types, and prone to overindulge more than to overprotection, and to under-supervision more than to over-supervision.
Operator Artisans (ESTPs & ISTPs) pay less attention to their children’s decorum and physical and safety needs, and more attention to their fun and games and adventures. At times they can be over-extravagant with their children, quite unpredictably showering them with expensive toys and taking them on pleasure trips. At other time, they can be very strict, and even on occasion even harsh with their children, particularly when they tell them to do something—they want no questions asked and will tolerate no back talk.
Entertainer Artisans (ESFPs & ISFPs), in contrast, are usually obliging and easygoing with their children, themselves very much like children in wanting to have fun now and getting down to business later on. It is hard for them to be strict with their children, but they can compensate for this by being very clever in managing them so that they do not get too far out of line. Their children soon learn that they are not as cleaver as their parents and have a hard time fooling them, whereas they find it much easier to hoodwink adults of other types.
Artisan Parent—Artisan Child:
· SP children need no encouragement to be bold and adventurous and to take up sports of all kinds.
· Artisan parents can be so taken with their Artisan children that they fail to give them sufficient limits, reinforcing instead their children’s natural impulsiveness and insubordination.
o As a result, their children might puch too close to the edge and get into jams; or they might come to expect indulgence and lenience from adults, and thus have trouble with authority.
Artisan Parent—Guardian Child:
· If SP parents expect (or demand) boldness and impetuosity from their SJ children, they will only frighten and inhibit them, and teach them they are a failure.
Artisan Parent—Idealist Child:
· NF kids tend to get lost in abstraction and a self-absorbed search for meanings and portents, and the SP’s warm embrace of immediacy can be an important lesson for them.
· Artisan parents tend not to value in their Idealist children such important traits as authenticity, empathy, and altruism, and in the worst case the parent might show impatience with the child for being so soul-searching, so head-in-the-clouds, or so lost in fantasy, and might want the child to toughen up and take hold of reality.
Artisan Parent—Rational Child:
· The SP parents’ hands-off style is perfect for NT children, who, after all, want to be independent—to have no hand put on them. Moreover, both parent and child share in a strong and ever-present desire to function usefully and to increase their powers, however much their reasons for doing so differ
· Rational children need no encouragement to learn new skills and know-how; they’ll do that on their own.
o But they do need encouragement to put down their books and to enjoy themselves—even to risk themselves—now and then.
The Guardian Socializer
Guardian parents are mainly concerned with socializing their children. They want their children to do their best to do their duty, and thus to be increasingly helpful and productive at school, at church, at social functions, and certainly at gatherings of the extended family—to become fully a part of their communities. But Guardian parents also want their children to value their duty and want to obey.
Administrator Guardians (ESTJs & ISTJs) tend to be strict parents because their main concern is that their children do what is right and not do what is wrong. They regard it as their obligation to the family and the community to keep their children under watchful eye lest they stray from the fold. Their children must behave in a seemly manner and must not do things that reflect badly on the family. These are the parents who believe that punishment is the best way to keep their kids in line, and they will at times resort to corporal punishment to get their point across—to spare the rod, they believe, is to spoil the child.
Conservator Guardians (ESFJs & ISFJs) are usually less strict than Administrator Guardians, and this is because they are more concerned with looking after the children than they are in keeping them in the straight and narrow. First their children are to be well fed, clothed, and sheltered, and only then held to a strict standard of acceptable conduct. So conscientious are these parents in providing for the physical and safety needs of their children that they can sometimes be overprotective, willing to sacrifice their own comforts to safeguard their children from the world of hard knocks. For this reason Conservator Guardian parents are not given to spanking their children, though they are very likely to scold them when their conduct is improper or they are disobedient. If they do spank their kids (and often they must, to be good parents), they will say “this hurts me more than it hurts you,” with the little culprits wondering what on earth they mean by this.
Guardian Parent—Artisan Child:
· In most cases SJ parents and their SP children get along famously, especially while the kids are young, a short leash being just the thing for the normally impetuous little Artisan puppies. But the picture can change quickly.
o Scolding and spankings can usually backfire, as Artisan children get older, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Most of this antagonism can be avoided if SJ parents can support their SP children in productive activities—playing sports, forming a rock band, using tools—that allow them to shine in action.
Guardian Parent—Guardian Child:
· Guardian children rarely have a rebellious period, but seem to trust in authority, to follow rules, to be responsible, and so fit with their Guardian parents hand-in-glove.
· SJ kids would do well with a more carefree and optimistic model from at least one of their parents. Also, traditional, conservative Guardian parents often want their children to be quiet and in their place—to be seen and not heard—as if children’s obedience and modesty reflect on them as parents and show a proper upbringing.
o But such humility can only serve to further inhibit SJ children, who are over-controlled to begin with, and who often need encouragement to develop venturesomeness.
Guardian Parent—Idealist Child:
· NF kids are naturally moral and eminently cooperative.
· It can bee irritating when SJ parents come along and remind them to be reliable (which NFs naturally are), to do good deeds (which NFs do because they have good intentions), and to be respectable (which NFs are because they are naturally cooperative).
o The unintended result of such intrusion is that the SJ parent, and not the NF child, takes credit for the child’s good behavior, which can make the little Idealist feel dominated and manipulated.
Guardian Parent—Rational Child:
· This relationship works out quite well when SJ parents show regard for their little NTs’ fierce sense of autonomy.
o However, discipline can be a knotty problem. If the SJ parent tries to admonish or punish the Nt child into obedience, the child will feel personally violated and will likely respond with growing contempt.
The Idealist Harmonizer
NF parents want to be intimately involved in their children’s lives and the growth of a positive self-image, and so make every effort to keep themselves in touch and en rapport with their children, even into adult life. Idealists are the original touchy-feely parents, and always hope to help their children feel good about themselves.
For their part, Mentor Idealists (ENFJs & INFJs) tend to take on an active teaching and counseling role with their children, and can be quite energetic in encouraging them to develop in all three aspects of self-image—self-esteem, self-respect, and self-confidence.
Advocate Idealist (ENFPs & INFPs) are also determined to foster a healthy self-image in their children, and are ever alert for opportunities for cognitive and social growth. But these Idealists, perhaps more intensely than their counterparts, concern themselves with their children’s moral and spiritual development, and so work to establish an even closer bond of understanding with them, hoping to instill in their children the purity of their own ideals.
Idealist Parent—Artisan Child:
· Idealist parents tend to be puzzled by the Artisan child’s disinterest in fantasy and heart-to-heart sharing, and by the accompanying paucity of empathy for other members of the family.
Idealist Parent—Guardian Child:
· Unable to figure out the child’s nature, Idealist parents keep looking for signs of Idealism, convinced that the child is going to value what they value.
Idealist Parent—Idealist Child:
· Idealist parents want to enhance the traits of empathy, benevolence, and authenticity in all their offspring, and their Idealist children are happy to meet them more than half way.
o At the same time, NF kids and NF parents can easily rub each other the wrong way. Both tend to be touchy and prickly in their relations with others, and when their ideals come into conflict they can hardly avoid irritating each other.
Idealist Parent—Rational Child:
· There are many reported cases attesting to the strong tie that can form between Rational children and their Idealist parent.
o And yet this relationship is not quite made in heaven. Idealist parents can be dismayed by the Rational child’s sometimes ruthless pragmatism and calm autonomy.
· Rational children aren’t about to change their ways, and Idealist parents soon learn that they need to let their little Rationals be, and value them for what they admire in them, their ingenuity, imagination, curiosity, and calm reasonableness.
The Rational Individuator
Rational parents encourage an ever-increasing individuality in their children and do not impose unreasonable rules on them. It is of paramount importance to NT parents that each and every child in the family progressively increases his or her repertoire of capabilities, and is ever more self-reliant in conducting his or her life. Rational parents stand ready to assist their children in reaching their potential, whatever it might be, but they will neither nag their children nor shield them from the consequences of putting off the task of individual development.
Many Rationals figure out that, when their children abuse one of their privileges (eating with family, playing with toys, etc., seeing these things are privileges rather then rights), instead of scolding, admonishing, hitting, or even reasoning with them, all they need to do is simply remove the abused privilege immediately and unconditionally for a set period of time, making sure not to comment about their child’s behavior.
On the one hand, Coordinator Rational (ENTJs & INTJs) leave nothing to chance when it comes to watching over the maturation of their children. The parenting books have been read, the parenting magazines have been subscribed to, the parenting techniques have been researched and considered—the whole thing is planned out well in advance with all important contingencies factored in. After all, many of these NTs are capable of running large organizations, so running a family is done with little difficulty and with little doubt as to the right course to take.
On the other hand, Engineer Rationals (ENTPs & INTPs) are more puzzled by their children than they are certain of what to do with them. Unlike the pother Rationals, they have few if any set plans for raising their children, but simply wonder how it is with each of them, and try to find out by watching them and asking questions of them. These NTs are the least given to making their children like them—the only thing they expect of their children is that their children expect things of themselves. They figure that if they are reasonable with their children and do their best to help them grow they will turn out OK in the long run.
Rational Parent—Artisan Child:
· The pragmatic perspective of Rational parents serves them well in overseeing the maturation of an Artisan child.
· Rational parents follow along in the trail of their Artisan child’s impetuous doings and try their best to corral the child with firm limits which can stand up to the child’s inevitable and vigorous testing.
o It is in the case of the Artisan child that Rational parents can most effectively apply the principle of logical consequences and the method of immediate and unconditional removal of any privilege that the child abuses, however accidental.
Rational Parent—Guardian Child:
· Rationals find their relationship to Guardian children somewhat problematic and sometimes frustrating.
o Rational parents are, in fact, bothered by their Guardian child’s attempts to fit in socially.
· It is well that Rational parents step aside and let their mate oversee the maturation of the Guardian child into the pillar of society he or she is meant to become.
Rational Parent—Idealist Child:
· Given neither to scolding nor to spanking their children, Rational parents quickly learn that the thing to do with irritability is to back off and quietly observe what transpires, thus adding no fuel to the fire of temper.
· Such mutual delight in imagination is usually the basis of a strong bond of affection between Rational parent and Idealist child, one that is rarely severed.
Rational Parent—Rational Child:
· Rational children will listen to reason, and the older they get the more they will listen. So Rational parents have little, if any, difficulty in dealing with their Rational children, confident in the belief that, if they are reasonable in their requirements and expectations, their children will live up to them.
· Now, Rational parents might enjoy seeing their own characteristics mirrored in their offspring, but they must also recognize their Rational child’s need for social development. Better for NT children to have at least on SP, SJ, or NF parent to help show them how to get along smoothly and productively with others.
Without a doubt, increasing our success as parents requires us to understand both our children and ourselves, at least in outline. In the degree that we understand our children’s personalities, as well as our own pre-set ideas and intentions in raising them, we stand a good chance of being effective or functional parents, that is, we can succeed in our function of promoting a positive self-image in our children. If both parents are functional in this sense, then the family system becomes functional, with children having no difficulty in acquiring a self-image positive enough to enable them to become independent and self-affirming adults.