Childhood to Maturity
Topics covered in this document:
What happens as the INTP grows from childhood through
As children, INTPs may be perceived as either socially
shy or terribly argumentative, with little in between.
In school they may be thought to be somewhat unfocused
... pursuing far too many thoughts and ideas unrelated to
the current curriculum. They may have trouble staying on
Worse yet, they are prone to asking the wrong questions
at the wrong times — though this may often be more
a reflection of the teacher's rigidness than an INTP student's
disorganization. Still, the INTP's behavior can be labeled
as disruptive, particularly when it appears in female
The result, inevitably, is that INTPs must work harder
than most students to tolerate and survive their grade
school years. When they are successful, however, they will
likely also thrive in the college environment. The inquisitiveness
that is encouraged in higher education is an INTP's dream
For INTPs, whatever the subject that catches their interest,
the joy is in the learning ... the journey being more important
than the goal. However, they still might have trouble sticking
to one major field of study, preferring to jump from one
subject to another as their interests and whims direct them.
The INTP as a Parent
Parenting for an INTP is seen as an opportunity to help
young minds grow and develop. Being very patient and accepting
of differences in their children, INTP parents want
their children to grow up enjoying life, expressing themselves,
and living through independent thought.
Clearly preferring that a child develop "mind over body,"
INTP parents have an amazing tolerance of, and support for,
each child's pursuit of his or her own identity. If anything,
the INTP may be too lenient and nondirective in
their children's development.
The INTP parent opens new possibilities to a child's
exploration by suggesting, not demanding or imposing,
multiple alternatives to whatever thought or action the
child may be pursuing at the moment. Subsequently, if the
child doesn't adopt any of the suggested alternatives, the
typical INTP response is simply, "Well, at least I tried."
But sometimes children, even when they seem rebellious,
welcome a parent's "laying down of the law." Those children
who fall into this category are out of luck if they have
INTP parents ... for "pushing" and "imposing" are two words
completely foreign to an INTP's vocabulary.
Family events for INTPs are generally fun because they
then get a chance to explore what makes such events —
and the people who attend them — tick. At the very
least, family occasions and get-togethers offer food for
thought about the ultimate meaning of "family" and its
place in the whole sequence of life. They are often found
sitting in the corner, simply observing and analyzing the
various interactions between the guests.
While an INTP may be remiss in remembering birthdays
and anniversaries, such events are still considered extremely
important — and forgetfulness is most often inadvertent.
And because they are extremely adverse to schedules, they
won't be seen carrying around calendars to remind them.
As an INTP grows and matures, even sleep may be a
stepping-off point for exploration ... for it opens the
door to dreams, which provide even more opportunities for
understanding and growth through dream interpretation.
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