How much influence do we have on a child's development? | INFJ Forum

How much influence do we have on a child's development?


Right the First Time!
Jun 12, 2008
Now I'm thinking about this mostly in mbti terms. As parents and teachers people often think they are playing a crucial role in how that child will be as an adult. I'm making the assumption that type is inherent, we are born as that type and will always be that type, we can always grow within that personality be we will always be that personality.

We tend to see children as blank slates that through good parenting and educational practices can develop into whatever personality we wish. However perhaps we aren't blank slates, perhaps we are preprogrammed to a certain extent and any attempts to write over this program are essentially fruitless or more likely to cause confusion and harm to the child.

One example I am thinking of is spoiling a child, this is the idea that by spoiling a child they will grow into an adult with ever demanding needs. I was a fairly spoilt child, my parents had a fair bit of money and they spared no expense come christmas or birthdays, my fiance (esfj) on the other hand came from a fairly poor family and they could not and would not spoil her in any way. Now that we are both adults I am one of the least matierialistic people I know, I spend money only on neccessities and am usually happy with what I have. My fiance on the other hand is a big spender and she loves to spoil herself, she feels she is making up for lost time in a way and always feels a need for more everything.

Now it's my opinion that how we are as adults is much more of a reflection of our innate personality types than the methods used to bring us up. You can try and use all sorts of methods to teach children things like "the value of a dollar" but some will just get it as adults and some won't and I put that down to personality type.

Hmm I haven't fully worked this all out in my head yet, what do you think?
I think parents don't have as much role in the development of their child as they think. It all depends on the child's personality. Sure some things factor in I think it depends how impressionable someone is. Also, it's different how everyone takes different circumstances.
I think you're on to something.

While I don't think my mother (a highly intelligent, intuitive, sensitive but immensely private person) knew anything about MBTI, but she definitely felt as though my personality was not suited to "traditional" upbringing methods.

All families have issues throughout their lives together, and I won't go into mine, but I feel personally that my mothers' choices (the choices she had control over) were the best she could possibly have made in parenting me. When I was an adult, many years beyond my "crisis" years (and those lasted from about age 9 to about age 25 when I "took control" of myself), I expressed sympathy and gratitude for all she'd had to endure with me, without ever complaining or trying to "mold" me. She said that from the time I was an infant, she felt that I didn't seem to operate, mentally or emotionally, like anyone she'd ever met, and that she thought that was a beautiful thing, and despite my flailing and thrashing she trusted in my "innate sanity and goodwill" to set myself straight when the time came.

That's trust (and I suspect "Unconditional Love" *nod of acknowledgement*). I felt honored by her trust, and will always be deeply grateful to her.

I have always tried to maintain an awareness of the natures my children were born with, outside of the areas of genetics, environment and nurture (which I still think play a significant role), and let them - encourage them to be the individuals they were born to be.

Even though I consider myself fairly observant and intuitive, sometimes it's hard, when you don't always "get" them. But it's what I was taught, and it worked for my mother, so I'm going to keep on in this direction.

Great topic, Stone.
Wow, that is the kind of parenting and love I would like to see more of in this world. You have helped a lot in explaining what I was trying to get across.
She gets extra credit, because I was born in 1962. There wasn't a whole lot of "free psychology", "parenting", or other things that might be considered new-agey back then.
MBTI seems to be one of those things that a lot of us intuitively know but have never seen written down or collated before we come across it.
Of course some things are innate, very likely in personality traits too. However it´s often said that brain development is most rapid in the first three years, and my idea is that this is the crucial time for parenting, as every experience will be a new one, and first impressions really do count later on. So even though kids don´t communicate very well at that age, they watch and listen and learn.

And I also think MBTI types can change. The I has been there since the beginning, but I don´t think I´ve always been NTP.
@ Quinlan

A bit off topic, after all MBTI was based off the study and research of a INFJ by a name of Carl Jung.

Even if the type might be inherent or in favor of that doesn't mean you know the end result, color or shade. Everything will effect that from the dealings of fate and luck, down to what kind of parent you are.

The influence we have on a child is tremendous, especially if said person is dependant on us almost every breathing moment. My personal choice would be to raise a child as a individual and a person. Let he/she shape him or herself while supporting he/she as a parent.

Mixture of life as beautiful as any other, fusion of you and him/herself.
Following on from OP and using wealth as an example, I think things such as our treatment of money is environmental, a parent teaches their child the worth and value of money, often without knowing, it is such an everyday topic and children take this in on a subconscious level, maybe your fiancé grew up hearing it was a hard thing to hold on to maybe you were taught the opposite. I believe our temperaments dictate how we view the world but environment is the most important part of our development.

Besides that I believe temperaments are innate, it's clear looking at my 2+ year old nephew what path he's headed down in terms of type. His parents need to work around the frame he already has in place in order to achieve the productive result they want. In very crass terms a SJ child will learn through right and wrong rules, a SP will learn through experiencing things, a NT will learn through reasoning with their logic and a NF will learn by reasoning with their emotions. Like I said very crass so don't take my examples too literally but look at kids and you'll see they have a method that best gets through to them.

I guess what I’d say is parents build our views of the world and everything in it while our type interprets that information into what works for us. A good parent child relationship will take into consideration what methods are most productive.
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I think it really depends on you. You can choose to be who you want to be. Now that I am older I choose to be angry sad or upset. When I was a kid I was always in check by my parents. And had to follow there rules but now that I look back I always followed my own tune and said screw everybody! I still do even today. So I think for the most part your right but I also think reasoning also comes into play the older you get.
Oh man, there was a HUGE thread on this on MBTIc where I debated with someone...
Here's generally what we concluded, and I have asked an expert that gave me some insight as well (although there are still a few things I'm questioning, and I'll have to ask her some more stuff):

Type is founded on genetics (identical twin studies). However, there is a correlation between the way someone acts and their birth order (taking also into account whether or not the change was before age 5 and the birth order of the parent).
SO, concluding from this: even if someone does have a founding type that's already pre-determined, nurture still plays a very large part of who you are. Stimuli is very important as a child; type determines predominantly how someone organizes information and makes decisions, but if they are not properly raised then it is possible that they will not have very well-developed functions. There are instances of "healthy" and "unhealthy" people in each type.
It is important that a parent raises their child with all the affection and learning environment that child needs, regardless of type. What sort of beliefs you expose a child to will also affect how they act later on in life; beliefs are not specific to type. In fact, the only way type really comes into play with that is how they react to and with those beliefs; some may be more solid in one type, and others less in another. In either case, the way a child is reared will help them create their value system, understand (but not necessarily follow) proper social etiquette, and generally what "angle" they view the world from.

Type determines how they would take in information. However, if a child is learning all the wrong things about society, or if they aren't taught about a society at all (as in, someone being moved to a totally different environment), then no matter what their type they are still going to be socially deficient. In that regards, people really are "blank slates."

In other words, regardless of what type you're born with, how you are raised might be the difference from having undeveloped or extreme preference to being a well-rounded individual. It helps you determine what sort of beliefs you might have, from where you approach the world, and how open you are to further developing yourself as a person.
That, I would say, is EXTREMELY important.
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I was thinking about this the other day and summed it up in my head as;

People have influence over whether a child grows to be a healthy or unhealthy but they can't influence the child's true nature and type.

So for example you can ensure a INFJ child grows into a healthy INFJ but you can't change an INFJ into an ESTP adult.
I was thinking about this the other day and summed it up in my head as;

People have influence over whether a child grows to be a healthy or unhealthy but they can't influence the child's true nature and type.

So for example you can ensure a INFJ child grows into a healthy INFJ but you can't change an INFJ into an ESTP adult.

I agree with that. You can be a stressed, unhealthy, depressed, angry INFJ. Or a healthy one who is able to exercise his/her potential.

All depending on your environment.

It's both nature and nurture. They influence each other.

I'm taking developmental psyc. :)

Kids influence parents and parents influence kids. It goes both ways.