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    Nurture by Nature: On Personality Typing my Children

    January 28, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    A while back, Mystie told me that personality typing her children was the best thing she ever did — that it really helped her understand her children better. So I googled around, found a test, and tried to type my children. But the tests and quizzes I found didn’t really work. A lot of the questions just weren’t applicable, or they felt like they were intended for very small children, or much older children. Or I was asked how a child would most likely respond, and given two possible options, neither of which sounded like my child.

    So I bothered Mystie about it, and this time she told me about a book. It’s called Nurture by Nature.

    Nurture by Nature: Personality Typing my Children

    How to Use This Book

    I feel like I started out badly with this book (I went straight to the personality pages), so I’m going to share how I would suggest you use it to type your children. It might keep you from feeling stumped for a number of days, which is what happened to me. If you’re like me, you’ll be really tempted to guess what your child is, and then go read the big, long profile to confirm. Don’t do this. I had a child that I thought was an introvert that I have since decided is actually an extrovert, just a more mild one than the extreme extrovert that is our youngest child.

    Instead, use chapter 2 and this chart:

    Personality Typing Chart

    This is what we ended up doing, and it worked really well. On Saturday, my husband and I went out to breakfast at Starbucks, and I brought the book and this chart. We went through chapter 2, reading the description of each letter pairing (for example, the first column is extrovert or introvert). The book has a chart that has around seven opposing characteristics. For example, extroverts think out loud while introverts think things through before speaking.

    We used tally marks for this. So, in the E/I column, our children who think out loud were given a tally on the left side of the dashed line, while our children who think before speaking got a tally mark on the right side. Does this make sense?

    What I found really helpful about this, versus just guessing, was that it also allowed me to see how extreme each child was. For example, my oldest child is extremely extreme. Yes, he gets two extremes to describe him. There was never any balance in his tally marks.

    We had times when we had a tie, or we felt like we just didn’t know that aspect of a child enough to give a tally. On those occasions, we just skipped it. We decided that everything else would give us enough information to type the child, and this ended up being true.

    At the end, we wrote out the letters in the final column (under the question mark) that were most heavily weighted.

    The next step after this was to go to chapter 3 and read the brief descriptions for each child, to make sure we thought we were right. Once we confirmed what we thought, we read through the big chapter on each child’s type. The chapters are lengthy, but they are divided into ages. What we decided to do was focus on the present. So we read the age group each child fell into, the “what works with this type” charts, and that sort of thing. We intend to use the book as a reference, going back and reading more as they move into other age groups.

    Finding Comfort in What’s “Normal” for a Type

    I know I joke about my youngest child, but truly I do not know what to do with him sometimes. This is the main reason I wanted to do something like this. As extreme as our oldest child is, I. get. him. My youngest is a whirlwind of mystery to me. He is hard for me to manage. He wears me out. And he has so much emotion that I, the heartless INTP that I am, cannot possibly understand.

    I mean, really?? Why are we crying right now??

    I don’t get it.


    I cannot tell you what a relief it was to read this about my child:

    …they are … exhausting … Their parents are often worn out by midday …

    Because ENFPs are so energized by interacting with other people, they often become so wound up that they lose control of themselves. … [W]ithout the maturity that will eventually help them regulate their energy, they tend to become louder, wilder, and more outrageous, the more excited they get.

    Life can be chaotic with an ENFP. They seem to create messes everywhere…

    Do you know what a relief it is to know that this is not my fault? I really thought that I hadn’t been as consistent with this child as with the other children and that was why he goes crazy — literally crazy — every Friday when Friend C. comes over.

    No. He’s just an ENFP.

    Which also means he needs a lot of help. And it means I need a lot of help. And thankfully a number of the tips in the book were things I hadn’t been deliberate about before, and they seem to be working a bit already.

    A House Full of Feelers

    My three younger children are all F’s. Two of them are pretty extreme F’s. I think this explains why I feel so overwhelmed by them by the end of the week. It’s just a lot of emotion for me. I have feelings, yes, but not on this level. I prefer to talk about ideas rather than feelings and why everyone takes everything so personally has been a great mystery to me.

    I mean.




    The first thing I did was have a talk with my oldest child and explain to him that this is why they frustrate him so much. I have no clue if this helped, but I certainly felt better. Ha.

    Do I Really Need to Know My Child’s Type?

    Well, of course not! People have parented for thousands of years without knowing their child’s MBTI. But for me, I felt up against a wall when it came to a couple children, and I really think this straightened things out for me. Probably the best reason to do this is if you have children who are confusing you or wearing you out.

    Also, we have one child who has had some things going on. Typing her was very helpful. It allowed us to see what was “normal” for her type … and what wasn’t. It helped us know how to help her better.

    In all, if you’ve been wanting to type your child, this worked really well for us. It was fun to do it together. This is the sort of thing my husband would never, ever do on his own. But talking through it at Starbucks was kind of fun, even for him.

    Which was nice.

    Want Another Resource?

    The Practical Personality Portfolio from Simplified Organization has been a huge help around here. Start with the workbook that helps you type yourself and your people. After that, move to the 13-page handbook explaining in simple and straightforward terms, with clear and insightful charts, not only the four-letter system of Myers-Briggs personalities, but also the underlying meaning.

    Also included is a library of tools — a veritable MBTI treasure trove! — full of helpful tools, videos, and more.

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  • Reply Know Your Child's Personality Type | Simply Convivial February 6, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    […] using Nurture By Nature to determine your child’s type, check it out before you try it yourself: Personality Typing My Children As you think through the descriptions, though, keep these things in […]

  • Reply Rochelle December 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Would you recommend this over The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias Ulrich?
    My DD11 is just so difficult right now. I’m an ENFP and I know we are opposites and this may be affecting the reason we are butting heads in school.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel December 6, 2017 at 6:28 am

      I am not familiar with that book (sorry!), but another good option that I’ve found SUPER helpful is Mystie’s Practical Personality Portfolio. Nurturing by Nature is going to cover what a personality looks like at different ages and stages, but the Practical Personality Portfolio is focused more on successfully relating regardless of age. They both have their place, but if you already know your child’s type, the Portfolio might be what you want.

    • Reply Kelly December 6, 2017 at 7:09 am

      I bought The Way They Learn when it first came out and it was very helpful. I also have Nurture by Nature and really like it, but it’s pretty different from Tobias’s book, so you might need one more than the other depending on your situation.

      For example, my husband is ENFP, so with Extroverted Intuition being his first function you’d think he’d be an abstract learner, but he’s not — he very much fits Tobias’s Concrete Random profile. I’m SiFe (which should be ISFJ, though that type’s profile doesn’t really describe me) so you’d think I’d be the concrete one, but I’m Abstract Sequential. I need the concept, the big picture first and then I can fill in the details, but the details don’t make any sense to me if I don’t know what they’re about.

      Nurture by Nature helps me understand how my children feel, but The Way They Learn really did give me practical ideas about teaching them, even before I knew their types.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel December 6, 2017 at 7:58 am

        ↑↑ Thanks for this, Kelly! ♥

      • Reply Rochelle December 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm

        Thank you!! That helps me a lot. I’ve taken the test twice because I felt like it wasn’t spot on and went from an ENFP to an ESFP — so, I’m confused apparently, or wait, becoming mature lol
        I’ll work through The Way They Learn again and then Nuture by Nature.

  • Reply Cassi February 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you so much. I’m an INFJ and I feel like a failure every day. Something like this may give me insight so I know I’m not as bad as I think I am.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 15, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      I highly doubt you are! I bet you do a great job. 🙂

  • Reply Ginny February 6, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Totally ordering this book TODAY. I’m an INFP with an INTJ (ew. feelings.) hubby, homeschooling our (I think) ESFJ only child. ?? Lawd give me strength.
    I just listened to the first Schole Sisters Podcast of season three. Yay! You’re back! I’ve geeked out over learning my personality type (a total INFP trait, btw. Buzzfeed creates silly quizzes for people like me.) and now I’m learning more about other types to help me navigate relationships outside of my own head. ?
    Thanks for all you do!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 6, 2017 at 8:31 am

      Aw. 🙂 This just warms my heart. My daughters are INFP and ESFJ and they are totally attached at the hip — so good for each other. But yes: the ESFJ will be pulling you out of your comfort zone! ♥ I figure *this* is why the Bible says motherhood is sanctifying. 😉 I’m so glad you enjoyed the show and found it helpful! ♥

  • Reply Mama Rachael January 29, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I think I need this book. Your bit about the ENFP child… that is my child. He goes wild, crazy, wound up exuberant if anyone is coming over. The mantra is “slow down, calm down” for those times. We’ve been thinking through how to help him gain control over the wild crazy energy of seeing friends, but are at a loss, b/c neither Hubby nor I are like this. At. All.

    Thank you for this. I”m so thankful when others have a child like mine, then I know I’m not a horrible parent nor is my child utterly crazy (though he does act like it plenty of the time).

    And, does your ENFP experience EMOTIONS like they are atomic bombs? or like he is having his intestines removed slowly through his belly button? Everything is a big deal to him, ups and downs. We have started using hand spacing (hold hands up together, like in a traditional prayer pose, and space between hands shows how big of a deal something is. big deals get lots of space, little deals get little or no space) to help him learn/internalize that something are just not a big deal. It seems to be helping him, but its a slow process.

  • Reply Annie January 13, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I LOVE this book as well!! After studying MBTI for many years, I purchased this and am so glad I did. Like you, I also have a child who is very likely an ENFP. As an INFJ, I do understand and relate to him as an intuitive feeler, but find myself overwhelmed with his incredible energy. This book, along with “I May Frustrate You, But I’m a Keeper (Parenting with Love and Confidence)” by Ray W. Lincoln has given very helpful insight in understanding and nurturing my childrens’ natural preferences and helping them to strengthen their weak points.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 13, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Ooh! I will have to look into that book. Thank you for the recommendation! 🙂

  • Reply Ariana July 24, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I just found this for $1 at my library bookstore and was super excited after having read this post previously! Now to find time to read it…

  • Reply Nelleke from P.E.I. July 2, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Brandy, this adventure (typing my children) you’ve got me started on has been so interesting! I’ve already renewed the book twice from my library and will unfortunately have to return it soon. 🙁
    One thing I wonder about is how this interacts with culture. Often whole cultures seem to value certain things over others (Of course this is stereotypical, but think of the British reserve, suggesting the culture values I over E, or the Latin American expressiveness, suggesting that they value E and F over I and T). I had a very hard time typing myself at first, and I think it may partly be because of what I was brought up to value. I am an ISFJ (and my middle letters S and F are fairly weak preferences.). I am also Dutch, and I think as a culture the Dutch tend to value Thinking over Feeling. I wonder if cultural nurture works to moderate certain tendencies and give others free reign.
    I am also fascinated by family culture in this regard, and how all the personalities work together…or not. In my family, all of us so far prefer S over N, and my third child is the first E in the family. This gives our family a certain flavour, I think. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel July 2, 2015 at 8:22 am

      I think there is a book that Mystie usually suggests — is it called Gifts Differing? — and I wonder if it touches on this. A friend and I were discussing yesterday the personality of Jesus and whether he embodied all the letters? It was an interesting thought… 🙂

      I definitely think that certain cultures, or even family cultures, can cause us to express certain letters that we might not naturally on our own…

  • Reply Melissa Nelson June 21, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Came across your blog post and wondered if you’d heard of or tried this:

    Looks very useful!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 21, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      I hadn’t seen this before, no. It was fairly easy to type my children, though, so I’m not sure I agree that it is the auxiliary types aren’t defined until ages 12 or 13. Of course, it is possible that when I have more teens, I will disagree with myself. 🙂 I do think that, generally, it is hard to type children under 4 or 5, though.

  • Reply Celeste June 12, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Brandy, I’m coming back to this topic now as I go through Nurture by Nature as one of my summer to-dos. 🙂 I’m curious since I know you deal with giftedness in your household too–in your experience, how much does a child’s giftedness affect his or her personality type? I know that’s a rather broad question. 🙂 But I find myself wondering as I go through some of the sections how many of my kids’ actions and preferences are personality characteristics that can be categorized neatly and that flow from a stable sense of identity and how much are muddied by their giftedness in various areas (and the extreme abilities and sensitivities that sometimes go along with that). In other words, could it be that a gifted might, because of their giftedness, masquerade as a ? And if so, how would that affect our understanding of “what works” with that child? Anyway, curious as to whether you have any insights. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel June 13, 2015 at 6:29 am

      This is such a good question! In general, I would say that I think that personality masquerading is a tendency of one specific type — I can’t remember which, but I think Mystie subscribed to these comments, and she’ll likely remember so maybe she’ll chime in and tell us. In general, I think that if a child is raised in a wholesome and stable environment, you’re going to be able to type them fairly easily.

      When I did this, it was super interesting. For example, my oldest is an ISTJ (extreme), and listed in his personality type for the younger years are things that basically sound like sensitivity issues — the way clothing feels, etc. A friend and I were discussing this — it’s like the line between being an extreme ISTJ and having Asperger’s is very fine! 😉 So I found that some of what I thought were weird and possibly neurological problems were, at least in their more tame forms, normal for that type.

      I guess what I’m saying is that I wouldn’t second guess it, at least not at first. I would see what you find first and then assess it from there. What I have found, at least, is that my children are more themselves than I ever realized. 🙂

      So…I’m not saying that giftedness can’t skew results, any more than things like chronic illness or learning disabilities could skew them, but just that I think it is still possible to type them well enough to gain a lot of insight. I did find that one of my children {one I thought wasn’t gifted but now I think is just severely 2e} had definitely outlier qualities — areas where she is not true to type. That was really helpful, too, because it pointed to places where she might need some extra help, especially since these are things I know she’s not happy about.

      I’d be curious to hear Mystie’s opinion if she’s around…

      • Reply Mystie June 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

        I’m around! 🙂

        However, I don’t really know anything about giftedness, so I’m not sure I can speak to that at all. I wouldn’t be surprised if giftedness includes being extreme in type (especially either the N or S – how information is perceived), because that would be a very-used, very-developed faculty.

        Generally the types that masquerade as other types are IxFx (because they want harmony with those around them and aren’t very expressive themselves) or types whose middle letters are more in the middle of the scale, so that it’s hard to tell which one they really prefer.

        I’m not sure that’s any help. Sorry!

        • Reply Brandy Vencel June 13, 2015 at 1:21 pm

          So the IxFx’s are the hard ones to type. That explains my INFP, I think. Sometimes I still think we’ve gotten her wrong, but the other options don’t really sound like her either.

          This whole thing is still so interesting to me…

        • Reply Celeste June 17, 2015 at 11:48 am

          Thank you for your thoughts too, Mystie! My second daughter is coming out as a INFJ/P (haven’t finished with her yet), so I’ll be considering this whole masquerading thing… 🙂

      • Reply Celeste June 17, 2015 at 11:47 am

        That’s really interesting about your son. I usually come out as an ISTJ, though not extreme (my S/N is very close) and I have mellowed over time. 😉 But what you described about how some of his quirks and peculiarities as a young child made you wonder if it was a neurological issue or just his personality rang true for my thoughts about my oldest son when he was little also. I think I have him typed as a ESTP, but he’s not as socially aware as it seems most ESTPs are…and that is the kind of thing that makes me think his giftedness might skew his results. He is very social and loves attention and being funny but tends to be a bit clueless too, which makes him socially awkward sometimes rather than charming (though I see that side too). He is also extremely intuitive when it comes to math–he doesn’t learn in a sensory way at all. I’m simplifying things, but it just had me thinking…

        Anyway, I really appreciate the conversation! I am going to be reading more about this and will get back to you if I find anything particularly interesting. 🙂

  • Reply Know Your Child's Personality Type » Simply Convivial May 5, 2015 at 6:24 am

    […] Brandy has an excellent method for using Nurture By Nature to determine your child’s type, check it out before you try it yourself: Personality Typing My Children […]

  • Reply SarahD April 30, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Ok, so I’m totally late to this discussion, but I’ve still been trying to wrap my brain around the fictions and how they work.

    I’m INFP whichever way I slice or dice it. Just last week I finally figured out WHY I am so go-with-the-flow on one hand but can be so very rigid on the other. It’s that niggling little inferior extroverted thinking function that I overuse, I think. That was a revelation.

    I’m still working on typing my kids. I’m will buy this book soon. The more I read, the clearer things get, and that’s taken some time, so I’m slow to solidly type them.

    Why is it that my husband is so hard to type? It’s almost impossible to peg him. He’s come out as 3 different types on different occasions. The most recent was ENTP, which seems fairly accurate but I’m not sure.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel April 30, 2015 at 11:24 am

      The book {and Mystie’s new series!} might help you with typing your husband. Mystie says that we moderate as we get older, so that might play a part in the difficulty typing him. My husband is an ESFJ but consistently types as ESTJ at work because he totally functions as a T there — he has to to get the job done.

      I think tests help a lot but ultimately understanding what the letters mean and how they work is the surest way to type. 🙂

  • Reply Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples March 20, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Brandy, I am just now getting to this post, and I am laughing because I am an ENFP. I totally get what you are saying here! And I suspect I have an ENFP in our home. I’ll let you guess which one. 😉 I am adding this book to my wish list. I would love to see where my children end up on this chart. I have always enjoyed personality profiling because it really can provide so much insight and help when relating to others. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      No way! Okay, this gives me hopes that he and I will be Best Buds when he is older because I really enjoy you. 🙂

      So don’t put this on your wishlist because *I* want to buy it for you, please!

      Also: I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s an ENFP. I actually wondered that after I read the description. 🙂

      • Reply Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples March 20, 2015 at 1:52 pm

        Yup. I think you might actually enjoy him, too, one day. 🙂 We ENFPs can grow up to be pretty likable. It just takes time…some require more time than others. Looking forward to that for my little ENFP, too!

        Ok fine. You can buy the book for me. Haha! Thanks!

        • Reply Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples March 20, 2015 at 1:54 pm

          And by the way, this totally makes sense now because your youngest and my oldest get along pretty well. I knew they would. They seem so much alike.

          • Brandy Vencel March 20, 2015 at 2:23 pm

            And now we know they could be trouble! 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel March 20, 2015 at 1:45 pm

      Oh, one other thing. I think we should type Alex. 🙂 When I was reading the INFP description for A-Age-10, I realized that it also described Aunt Alex! I think it’d be interesting to know for sure.

      • Reply Kristen @ Dem Golden Apples March 20, 2015 at 1:52 pm

        That would be FUN! I always enjoy typing people. Hehe

        • Reply Brandy Vencel March 20, 2015 at 2:21 pm

          I should email her and find out if she knows her type…

  • Reply Hannah February 5, 2015 at 8:01 am

    “As extreme as our oldest child is, I. get. him. My youngest is a whirlwind of mystery to me. He is hard for me to manage. He wears me out.”

    Yes. This. This is how it is for me with my eldest child and my middle child. The youngest, at less than a month old, remains to be seen. 😉 But even though you would think parenting my eldest would be more difficult, with his diagnosis of high-functioning autism, I. get. him. Sure, there are difficult days, but at least I understand the “why” behind them. I have a much more difficult time parenting my second. Part of that may be that he is a VERY TWO two-year-old at the moment, but even prior to that, it was just … different. I don’t understand him. I’ve known it was just a difference in personality, but your little blog post is helping me to feel less guilty about that.

    Did I mention I’m an xNTP, too? (I go back and forth every six months or so about whether my dominant function is introverted Thinking backed up by secondary extraverted iNtuition, or vice versa. One would make me an INTP, the other an ENTP. I’m not sure I’ll ever nail it down.)

    One thing I will say is this: even if you have a house full of Feelers, or even a house full of NFs, how they function may still vary. For example, and INFJ and and INFP are using completely different forms of Feeling and iNtuition. An INFP’s dominant form of processing is going to be introverted Feeling, backed up by extraverted iNtuition, whereas an INFJ is going to be leading with introverted iNtuition, with extraverted Feeling coming in secondary. Verrrrry different things. This is why I laugh when people say “I can’t decide if I’m a P or a J” – the P and the J are simply telling you which set of functions (the Perceiving or the Judging) is the extraverted one. The functions you use as an INFJ are completely different than the functions you use as an INFP. In fact, INFPs, from a function standpoint, are “more closely related” to ENFPs than they are to INFJs, despite what you would think from the “Extraverted/Introverted” bit. I digress.

    I’m going to include some essays that I found -very- enlightening about how the function hierarchy works, and how the different functions come together for each type. I generally try to avoid sharing them with “the general public” because usually when that happens, their eyes glaze over by the end of the first paragraph. Too. Much. Information. But you’re an INTP. An INTP that’s interested in MBTI. So. I’m going to go out on a limb that you’re like me, and you want to learn ALL THE THINGS. (Insert meme image here.) 😉


    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 5, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Oh yes. I LOVE to learn all the things. 🙂 You are a kindred spirit. I just stumbled upon the 16 types site the other day, and hadn’t had time yet to dig through it, so I’m so glad you gave me a starting place. Thank you! 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 5, 2015 at 10:28 am

      ps. Two year olds are very hard to type, I think, but in a couple more years, this book might be exactly what you need!

      • Reply Hannah February 5, 2015 at 6:49 pm

        Oh, yes. I haven’t tried to type either of them yet, because I know they are a bit young; I just know that parenting at this stage has been very different with each of them. 😉

        • Reply Brandy Vencel February 5, 2015 at 8:58 pm

          It is amazing to me that God can bring so much variety from two parents! 🙂

    • Reply Mystie February 5, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Yes! I have an INFJ and an INFP, and the function is very different. The introverted feeling is a whole lot easier for me to deal with than the extroverted feeling! The extraverted intuition means the INFP is much more likely to make leaps in school, but has a very hard time when he’s going through the slog phase, feeling like he’s dumb or the work is stupid. But I’m an INTJ, so I am looking forward next year to moving my INFJ to more conversation-style education – we’re going to have a great time together thinking through questions one-on-one. But my extroverted thinking and his extroverted feeling can get ugly quickly if I’m not paying attention. Thankfully, I learned that a hug diffuses things almost instantly for my two extraverted feelers. 🙂

      I understood P/J so much better when it was about how the functions are working rather than about being organized or scattered.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel February 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm

        I still blame my P for the state of disorganization on my desk. 😉

        • Reply dawn February 5, 2015 at 2:15 pm

          I wonder what my excuse is …

          • Brandy Vencel February 5, 2015 at 8:57 pm

            He he he.

        • Reply Hannah February 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm

          It’s organized. In piles. Piles count, right, if I know what’s in them?

          • Brandy Vencel February 5, 2015 at 8:59 pm

            Ohmygoodness. You are so right.

            We are actually organize! 🙂

  • Reply Lisa Winton February 1, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Wanna hear something interesting, Brandy? My new daughter-in-law is an ENFP as well. SO, my concrete ESTJ oldest married a girl just like his brother who drove him crazy growing up…lol! She made Thanksgiving THE BEST!! We adore her–and Jesse. SO, that means if Heidi is also an ENFP we have three in our family out of seven people.

    At different seasons I’ve gotten enough introverted time by rising early, going for long runs alone, and sports and music lessons… Sounds funny, but think about it. I could sit in the bleachers at swim team alone with a book for a good hour every day. Same at piano or fiddle, etc. I actually got more introverted time when I began to homeschool. The boys went to school through first and third grade at a private Christian school, but I spent so much time shuttling, volunteering, teaching math to the older grades, field trips, friends and class parties…it was exhausting. When they came home for school it was just the three of us home all day, and they were already pretty self-sufficient and spent much time reading or doing assignments quietly. Then when we did do work together, it was usually outloud reading and discussing ideas…right up my alley.

    So anyone who thinks it would be easier to have their kids in school for the introvert, it really depends on your level of involvement. For me, homeschooling provided much more opportunity to be myself. Then after a quiet day of school at home, we went and filled their E-tanks with sports, AWANA, music lessons, etc. It worked for us.

    Then when the boys were in their teens, they worked with Randy in landscape construction and then were gone often traveling performing music. So the three of them got lots of people interaction time and I got lots of alone time. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 1, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      So he married a girl like his brother. That really is funny! I could see that happening in our family, too. I haven’t met your new DIL, but all the photos are so fun to look at. She seems GREAT! I’ve been so happy for all of you. 🙂

      Your description of school involvement sounds like what I would have expected. You make me happy I homeschool. 🙂

  • Reply Amanda January 31, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    This post & thread have been awesome to read!! We discovered the book Do What You Are by the same authors this last summer and was an answered prayer for my husband. He is in the wrong career and now we know why he’s feeling the way he is.

    Then we found Nurture by Nature – Hubs got it for me as part of my anniversary gift in Dec (This was a perfect gift for me – we both love to analyze people. He’s INTJ and I’m ENFJ only 1% J so ENFP descriptions fit me too. And btw, I’m literally 100% E which explains a lot. So much for balancing…).

    About the I’s talking out loud, are you auditory learners? That’s another dimension to explain behavior. I would LOVE to see some research on if there is any connection between temperaments and learning modalities. And gender. And Gardner’s Intelligences. There’s so many dimensions to people!

    I enjoy subscribing to your blog, Brandy. And now knowing you’re an INTP makes sense!

    Also, I’m encouraged to hear so many of you are Ts. They say in the books how most men are R’s and most women are Fs. Though the hubs and I fit those, he’s only 1% T and I’m a low F.

    This book has been SO helpful! My oldest (6) is an ENFJ or P we’re almost positive. But so am I so I get him. #2 child is almost 4 so pretty young to type, but I’m pretty sure he’s ST. It’s pretty obvious. Oh boy…. Baby girl is 18 mths. No idea. She just loves climbing. Everything. All. The. Time.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 1, 2015 at 1:35 pm

      I have heard that “most men are T’s” generalization before, too, but in my marriage, the man is the F, so I completely relate. 🙂

      I am curious to hear more about the job thing with your husband. Is he actually going to change careers? I’m intrigued!

  • Reply Heidi @ Mt Hope January 31, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Brandy, this book is hands-down my favorite parenting book. I discovered it early because my oldest son (13) is an ENFP. 🙂 Let’s just say life has never been dull. It’s especially interesting when they are adolescents. Ha! I’ve met a few women ENFPs, but I think male ENFPs are less common. I’d like to meet one to know that they survived past age 18. Almost all of the description in Nurture by Nature applies to my son. It has always been difficult for me to be in public with him, and just plain exhausting at home!

    I am an introvert (ISFJ) in a house of 5 extroverts, four of those male. My 10 year old son is an ESFJ, and we actually get along great (now). My 8 year old son is an ESTJ (I *think*). I don’t know what my daughter is, but she is absolutely, positively an E. 😉 My husband is my polar opposite MB type, ENTP. Reading Nurture by Nature helped me realize that he wasn’t purposefully trying to be as difficult as possible, that’s actually how he processes ideas and acts on them. Ha!!

    I don’t label my kids just to label them. It is just *extremely* helpful to understand that God gave them these gifts of personality and that’s okay (even on the days when it does not feel okay).

    • Reply Heidi @ Mt Hope January 31, 2015 at 10:50 am

      Also, I typed my boys early (especially my older two) because they were extremes. All of my kids are extreme extroverts. Many kids are a little more, shall I say balanced? 🙂 , and are much more difficult to type.

      • Reply Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 3:05 pm

        Mystie says people become more balanced over time. I am trying to figure out how to accelerate that process. 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      I’ve been reading so many of your posts about your oldest lately and didn’t realize you were writing about my future. 🙂 I will have to use new eyes from now on. I hope you get some alone time! Goodness, that is a lot of E’s in your life! I totally hear you on helpful. I can see why it’s your favorite book. It’s only been a week and it’s already revolutionizing everything for me.

      • Reply Heidi @ Mt Hope January 31, 2015 at 4:11 pm

        If you ever need to chat (or a shoulder to cry on 😉 ), just let me know. I won’t tell you what I think about that whole “they become more balanced over time” idea though…

        As to the alone time, that doesn’t happen nearly as much as I’d like it to. My husband does take all the boys to swim practice every afternoon, but I usually have the (extroverted) 4 year old during that time. Add homeschooling and the amount of hours my husband works and you’ll understand if I’m a bit twitchy.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 5:59 pm

          TOTALLY understand. I would be, too!

      • Reply Heidi @ Mt Hope January 31, 2015 at 4:21 pm

        This is the post in which I shared the Nurture by Nature quotes that personify Levi. The most difficult ones are:

        “Because ENFPs rarely accept anything at face value and because they have such a remarkable ability to see alternatives, they naturally question most limits and rules.”

        “ENFPs are so good at bending rules that if there is any ambiguity in your message, they will find a way of continuing the action, but with a slight variation that wasn’t expressly prohibited. In general, the more you correct and limit, the less they pay attention.

        “ENFPs think out loud and do not censor or edit their thoughts. They actually need to hear what they’ve said before they can apply any judgment to it.”

        “They are easily embarrassed when their privacy is violated, and since they tend to perceive insensitivity as intentional meanness, they can wind up feeling emotionally abandoned when criticized.”

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 6:01 pm

          Ohmygosh. The rule bending! I KNOW. I feel like it is impossible to communicate a rule without him finding a loophole. And I’m like: just stop asking for food right now. That’s all I’m saying. It’s not even a Rule. It’s just for right now, today, STOP IT.

          Going to read your post!

          • Lena February 2, 2015 at 5:43 am

            Just so you know I have a little ENTP and he is like this too. “I am not poking the baby, I am kissing the baby!” And he is loud. And he can do his first grade sisters math homework. At age three.

          • Mystie February 2, 2015 at 6:36 am

            Lena, I have a 4yo ENTP, too! Fluent reader at 4. “Everything is negotiable” is the Nurture by Nature tagline for them and boy howdy is that true. 🙂 Except he doesn’t negotiate/argue with me, he simply reinterprets and does his own thing, thinking it’s totally fine.

          • Brandy Vencel February 2, 2015 at 8:30 am

            This is amusing to me. 🙂

          • Lena February 2, 2015 at 10:51 am

            My ENTP doesn’t argue with me either. He just goes back to what he was doing with a slight variation. Don’t touch the baby’s face, well I’ll touch his neck. Leave my brother alone, well then I’ll poke his block creation instead. What amazes me is his tenacity. Getting between Z and what Z wants is a twenty minute, sobbing hysterics, twelve intervention project.

  • Reply Catie January 30, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    I’m an ENFP.. I see there are others here too! Sometimes I feel a little out of place on the internet–it seems to chock-full of introverts!! HA! 🙂 This stuff is so very interesting. I think it helps SOOOO much to know our families types. My DH and I are opposite in absolutely everything, in terms of personality, and if I didn’t know what I do about him, I think we would have a lot of strife.

    I think my kids are a little too young to know for sure what type they are (my oldest is 6), but I still am going to check this book out again. I had it for a while last year, but didn’t finish it.

    Great post, Brandy! (again.) 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 30, 2015 at 10:15 pm

      Another ENFP! I’m clapping my hands. Every normal, grown up ENFP makes me jump for joy.

      We made it through another day and my ENFP did not kill himself or others, so we’re good. 🙂

      • Reply catie January 31, 2015 at 5:24 am

        When you say “normal”…. 😉

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 2:57 pm

          He he he… 😉

  • Reply dawn January 30, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    When I tested years ago, I came out as an E/INFP (right on the borderline of E and I). It never made sense to me, and reading it, my husband agreed that it didn’t fit. But his, his is like reading about him. He’s an INTJ (he says that he’s so T everyone else is shades of F to him …) So I knew it wasn’t really bunk.

    This fall I re-tested on one of those free internet sites and got INFJ. When I read it, ohmygoodness, I identified with it so much! Finally typing makes sense (and that borderline E/I).

    All that to say, when Anna returns our library’s copy (and whoever put it on hold before I did; no hurry, Anna!), I’ll look into typing my kiddos. I have one definite I and 2 probable E children. We’ll see how the rest shakes out.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 30, 2015 at 10:13 pm

      Ooh! INFJ! That is fascinating. I can’t wait to hear how your kids turn out. 🙂

  • Reply Lisa Winton January 29, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I LOVED this post! Can’t wait to buy the book! My oldest ESTJ son (Cody who is 22 now) became interested in personality typing two years ago while at his pastoral internship. I cannot tell you how helpful it has been to figure out our personality types as parents and adult children, but I wasn’t sure where to go to try and figure out my girls. Even though I knew nothing about personality typing when my boys were younger, the book “The Way They Learn” by Cynthia Tobias helped me a TON. I could get the concrete thinker (Cody the computer programmer) and my creative, artsy, reader/writer son (Jesse the filmmaker).

    Just to encourage you, Brandy, Jesse is an ENFP. He is our creative, idea guy..the songwriter, movie creator, musician, loads-of-fun guy. But I think he grew into this type because he wasn’t exhausting as a kid. He was really easy and very easy-going. HOWEVER, I think my Heidi, the baby, is an ENFP. She is absolutely loads of fun but she is DRAINING on this INTJ momma! Randy is an ENTJ, and since Cody is an ESTJ and Jesse grew into being an ENFP and wasn’t emotional as a kid, and Anna with her autism is not emotional over little things but just seriously BIG things in her world, I struggle to get the tears over everything! So you are not alone!

    Thanks for sharing this. I love everything y’all post. I just want to sit down and have coffee with you and Sarah and Mystie. Y’all are kindred spirits.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 30, 2015 at 7:59 am

      Is Jesse an ENFP?? Oh, that makes so much sense to me now. And I like him so much, so that really is encouraging. 🙂

      I am wondering how you have survived all the extroverts all these years, Lisa. That’s a lot of E’s in your world! 🙂

      I could totally see Heidi as an ENFP with what you have described on FB. They are definitely entertaining. Sometimes I tell my other children, when they come to me complaining about Son O. {which happened while I was typing this, actually}, I just tell them that when everyone is grown up, family events are going to be way more fun with him than they would have been had we not had a fourth child. 😀

  • Reply Lena January 29, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Thank you for this find! I had to kindle this today and what a revelation it was. First, it helped me to find my own type. I Always had two dimensions where I wasn’t quite sure. Please Understand Me was actually a little confusing to me. Their idealist type were always kind of hippie types. Since I didn’t identify with those causes, I didn’t see myself as that type. Second, I discovered the issue with connecting with my daughter, we are complete opposites. Opposite on every dimension. No wonder I have trouble getting her head space. My ENTP though, wow is he a trip.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 29, 2015 at 9:27 am

      I am so happy it helped! 🙂

  • Reply Sharon B January 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I just requested it from my library. The timing is so funny. My older girls and I have been playing around with personality tests this past week; just for fun. However, I have one child that I struggle with and it is getting more challenging as the child ages. I understand the way most of my children think but that one makes our days not as pleasant as I would like. Perhaps a bit of typing would be helpful. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      Oh, I hope it helps!

      I agree with what Mystie said above — there is something that diffuses some of the issues just to know the child’s type. I have definitely found that to be true already!

  • Reply Nelleke from P.E.I. January 28, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    This sounds fascinating! I just reserved the book at my library so I can read more. What age would you say is a good age to start “typing”? I know I have changed a lot, even since I was a teen. I guess what I’m concerned about is labeling a child and thereby locking him into a certain set of expectations… maybe good ones, but is it helpful? I was extremely introverted as a child, and I consider myself more balanced now. But I always thought of myself as a “shy” child, and I think it did affect the way I acted (if I hadn’t thought of myself as shy, perhaps my parents could have helped me change some of my shy habits?).

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      I don’t think I would type a child younger than 6 unless there was a specific reason. I feel like my children changed a lot in the preschool years, and I think that some things are stages, and so it is hard to know what is personality and what is a stage.

      I have thought that as our children get older, maybe the wisest thing to do is go through and retype to make sure we’re still “right.”

      I feel like I’ve changed a lot over the years, but when I went through and read the age groups, I sounded like an INTP all the way through, for the most part. So I wonder if people are more consistent than we think?The book definitely treats different ages differently, which I found interesting.

    • Reply Mystie January 28, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      I do my best to not use MBTI as a label (“This is how this person is going to be”), but as a tool for understanding what might be at play in a situation. Knowing what differences personality can play allows me to give the kids space to not march to my own tune.

      One caveat Isabel Briggs (the B in MBTI) has in her book is that the type descriptions are of healthy, stable individuals. When we go through stress, tumultuous times, or depression, we don’t exhibit our type. So some teen angst or family difficulties, I think, can make us go through those periods where we “change,” but usually we find our way back to healthy, to our preferences. Another caveat Briggs wrote was that generally what we call “maturation” is the strengthening of our weaker points and moving toward the middle of the spectrums. So she said a 60yo will usually show fewer distinctive preferences because he’s exercised his weaker points enough that he can flex to use whatever is called for in a situation. So, one way to use that in parenting is if you see an extreme preference, you can be aware and help them see that the opposite is still valid and not “stupid.” 🙂

      Extremes are going to be easier to type earlier, but more balanced types will be difficult and might even be more likely to swing to a different type if an area gets more exercised. I am actually not an extreme T, and I typed as an INFJ in high school. Now, I realize that was because I was emotionally needy. When I am sleep deprived or hormonally unstable, I swing into INFJ mode (but more the weaknesses of the type without the strengths). So part of my problem has been seeing INFJ as less healthy, because that’s what it is for me. But a healthy INFJ is possible, turns out. 🙂

      • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 11:20 pm

        That is all so fascinating, Mystie…

        I wonder…my husband and I have been arguing about his type. He tested as ESFJ until his current job. Now he tests as an ESTJ. But I still experience him as an ESFJ! I keep telling him he has just learned to wear his Thinking Hat at work. He disagrees. I think I’m right. 😉

      • Reply dawn January 30, 2015 at 7:00 pm

        Why yes. Yes it is. 🙂

  • Reply Celeste January 28, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Just requested this book from my library–sounds like it will be *very* helpful. I have to say that the most overwhelming thing about having a lot of children (besides the noise–ha!) is managing all the different personalities in my home. I have been interested in personality types ever since my two oldest, the “twins,” turned a year old. It amazed me how completely opposite two children than had been raised by the same people in the same environment at the same time could be! (They still are personality opposites.)

    I typed my husband (without his knowing–he humors me but thinks this type-stuff is a little strange) a couple years ago when I first read about the MBTI and I noticed a few elements of his personality that made it so much easier for me to accept his weaknesses and play on his strengths. Just understanding how he’s wired has really helped strengthen our relationship. So I am very motivated to see what my kids are… 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      I totally agree that typing helps our marriages. My husband and I are complete opposites in type, so every once in a while, I go read his to remind myself that he’s just being him. 🙂

    • Reply Mystie January 28, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      Celeste – is your husband an ISTJ? 🙂 Mine is, and whenever he protests about MBTI being hogwash, I tell him that’s just like his type. 😉

      • Reply Celeste January 28, 2015 at 1:29 pm

        Ha–believe it or not, he’s INTJ, Mystie! You would think he would eat this stuff up. LOL I think it’s actually that he thinks it’s beneath him, like an over-analysis? Of course, that might be partly a guy thing too. 😉 Anyway, *I* almost always come out between ISTJ and INTJ, and I find this stuff fascinating, so there it is. 🙂

      • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog January 28, 2015 at 5:15 pm

        LOL Mystie! That’s too funny. Brandy, my husband and I are opposites too in many ways. What’s that saying…opposites attract? LOL Learning about the different personality types helped me not only understand myself more, but also understand my husband more as well.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 30, 2015 at 7:54 am

          Opposites *definitely* attract. I also hope we balance each other out so that the children don’t have *too* much to talk about in therapy when they are grown. 😉

  • Reply Cristina January 28, 2015 at 10:35 am

    This is such excellent timing. I’ve been reading Please Understand Me II and after I figured myself (INTJ) and my husband (ESTJ) out I kept thinking that what I really needed was to figure out my kids (my oldest sounds a lot like your youngest)–I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that there might be another book for that 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Please Understand Me is a book I need to read! I keep meaning to. A lot of people are finding Nurture by Nature at their library, so you might be able to, also. 🙂

  • Reply Anna January 28, 2015 at 9:38 am

    I’ve been reading Nurture by Nature, too, and trying to figure out my three oldest. Actually, my oldest took an online test and came out INFJ, the same as my husband. I’m INFP, and I think the older boys may be T’s so I have the opposite problem as you. I think it’s going to be very helpful to know their type, and help this “feeler” mom be more objective. 😉

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Any tips for those of us mean types learning to raise an INFP? We’re all ears, Anna! 🙂

      • Reply Anna January 28, 2015 at 2:35 pm

        Just knowing your child’s type, and communicating that they’re normal and not “weird” will help immensely, especially during the teenage years. We INFP’s need lots of time and space to process our (many) feelings and make decisions, and someone we trust and know won’t just dismiss those feelings to talk to. We also need to be gently encouraged to step out of our comfort zone, i.e. our room 😉 from time to time. Too much time alone to “stew in our own juices” is as unhealthy as too little. I had a bit of a revelation when reading about the “leading” and “least” functions of each type in Nurture by Nature. Feeling is an INFP’s leading function, while thinking is the least-favored – that’s probably why I’ve felt “dumb” all my life. We have strengths, but they aren’t necessarily the ones lauded in our culture. I think recognizing those strengths while gently training your INFP’s weak areas will go a long way to helping him or her become a confident adult.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 3:11 pm

          Thank you SO MUCH for this! My INFP has started complaining that she feels dumb, and I’ve worried about that. I will have to figured out how to best communicate to her that she’s not.

          I think I need to save your thoughts here so I can read them over and over as the years go by!

          • Anna January 28, 2015 at 7:07 pm

            So glad it was helpful! 🙂

          • Lena January 29, 2015 at 8:45 am

            I am an INFP. I have found recently a way to help with hard decisions. When I don’t like my options, I have to pause and mourn the fact that I need to pick a suboptimal choice. If I don’t process the emotion of not liking my options, then the decision process is even harder and I tend to hold a grudge against my circumstances. But, if I can spend a little bit processing the sad about not loving my options, I can make a much clearer headed decision.

          • Brandy Vencel January 29, 2015 at 8:47 am

            Ooh! Thank you for sharing this. That totally makes sense. I will have to help my daughter learn to do that!

  • Reply Jen January 28, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Oh, Brandy! This is a topic near and dear to my heart! My husband and I were just talking about types last night! I am an ENFP, and it’s my favorite type! Haha. We are creative, ideas and ideas. We are optimistic, very empathetic, obsessive researchers, and want to make the world better. I am married to my exact opposite, an ISTJ. It works because we share the same values. I have 4 kids and typing them has been so helpful!! I love this book you recommended, I have shared it with many friends and typed them. The hardest type that I have found to understand and deal with is the INFP. Just one letter from me, but so sensitive! Thanks, I enjoyed this post.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 10:17 am

      This is what I look forward to with the ENFP! The ideas! INTPs are ideas people, too, and so I’m hoping that will be a bonding opportunity for me with this crazy child. And I cannot tell you how happy it makes me each time I encounter an adult ENFP — he really will survive his childhood. 🙂 Oh! And I agree with you in the INFP. My INFP is worlds apart from my ENFP…which is actually really strange to me.

  • Reply Mystie January 28, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I wonder, Kelly, if it has to do with the stacking preferences, too. The letters themselves are generalizations, but the combinations play off each other in different ways. For example, “socialness” tends to be a function of F (being more of a people-person) as well as E (having outwardly directed energy). And your talking through a paper and not being able to do an outline prior sounds like a way to cope with a P preference in a J world. If I have an outline, I can talk through something, but I do everything better with an outline thought through first. 🙂

    I had two INFP brothers, one INFP sister, and an ENFP sister (she was the crazy one – now she’s a wild-fire fighter, landscape worker, and award-winning (en plein aire) fine artist all at once). My mom is an ISTJ and my dad is an INTP – they didn’t get half their (7) children. 🙂 INFPs do require special treatment. I have an INFP son and I’m glad I know his type so I don’t try pushing him into a mold he won’t fit. And I am *so* thankful I have a pair of NF boys so that they have each other even when their NT mother and SJ father totally blow it. 🙂

  • Reply Queen of Carrots January 28, 2015 at 9:03 am

    This post cracks me up. In my experience, INTPs (and INTJs) looooooove typing people. What is with all these people and why do they seem to think *they’re* normal?

    According to one theory, children develop their cognitive functions over time, so you can’t fully type them for sure until their teen years. Some things are obvious early on . . . I could tell which twin was an extrovert (How do I get out of this bassinet?) and which an introvert (Ewww! Bright lights!) in the delivery room. But others are harder to tell. (I don’t know that I would agree with the thinking before speaking distinction, though–Deux is definitely an introvert, yet he speaks his thoughts. Maybe it’s that he’s such an introvert that he doesn’t realize other people are listening. :D)

    Nonetheless, we’ve kind of tentatively typed our children as ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP and one misunderstood and sidelined idealistic INFP. Poor dear. At least we didn’t get any S children–then we’d really be at a loss.

    This book looks fun and fortunately my library has it. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 9:19 am

      I am just jealous you got so many NT’s!! I didn’t get a single one. 🙂

      So you have an INFP, too? I think they require special care and gentleness. I have a SIL that I think is an INFP — my daughter reminds me of her all the time — and I like to ask her for parenting advice even though she only has a toddler. 🙂

      I hope you enjoy the book!

      By the way, I questioned the think aloud/think inside thing, too, because I think aloud sometimes and I’m an I, but I think I decided that maybe it means I’m just not an *extreme* I? Not sure, but it was a thought I had.

    • Reply Kelly January 28, 2015 at 9:22 am

      I sort of disagree with that thinking while speaking distinction, too. I’m definitely an introvert and I do my best thinking while talking through an idea. In high school whenever I had to write a paper I’d imagine myself giving a speech on the topic, and pace around my room either whispering it or just imagining myself saying it, then when I was done I’d sit down and write it. Always got an A. Of course, if we were required to turn in a topic sentence and outline ahead of time I’d lose points — I never knew what my paper was going to be about until after it was written.

      But conversations with flesh and blood people are a lot funner than talking to yourself, or to the conversation partner who lives in your head.

      I think maybe the distinction between an extraverted way of doing this and the introverted way is that the extravert doesn’t decide to think out loud. He just says everything that pops into his head — there’s no filter between the thought arising and it coming out of his mouth. That’s a skill he has to learn, not a built-in thing, like it is with introverts.

      • Reply Catie January 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm

        Sorry to butt in! But sometimes I wonder if the “thinking aloud” thing is part of being a woman? Not always obviously, but generally, that’s probably true. Thoughts?

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 30, 2015 at 10:13 pm

          Interesting! I wonder…

        • Reply Kelly January 31, 2015 at 10:31 am

          My main thought on that is that I’m not a good person to ask because so many of the generalities about women don’t fit me. Though I love CS Lewis deeply (he’s my mentor) I rather resent his character Mrs Dimble in That Hideous Strength, saying that it’s perfectly natural in a marriage for the wife to chatter incessantly and for the husband to tune her out. That kind of verbal diarrhea is so annoying to me, whether in a male or a female, because really, while I do enjoy a nice conversation I don’t talk just for the sound of it — talking takes too much energy to waste it like that.

          To further complicate matters, an awful lot of the generalities about men don’t fit my husband, so we don’t relate to each other in a typical male/female way. Have you seen that YouTube video, “It’s not about the nail”? When my oldest daughter (who’s 25 now) first watched it, she assumed the nail was a metaphor for mental illness and it wasn’t until she’d seen it another time or two, or heard other people discussing it, that she realized it was about male/female communication styles. Mike and I are so backwards that it’s become a joke in our family. He’ll come in complaining about something and I’ll impatiently interrupt him and say, “Here’s how you can fix that in three easy steps,” which will annoy him, and then my 25yod will say, “No, Mama, you forgot. You’re the guy and he’s the girl,” and then I’ll say, “Oh, right! Sorry! Do you want to talk about it? Here, have a hug!” and that makes him feel better. LOL.

          So I said all that to say this — in my case I think talking through an idea (or even typing through it like I just did) is my way of giving physical form to otherwise formless ideas in my head. When I speak I can feel the idea in my mouth and hear it with my own ears, which makes it clear enough that I can see it, get something like an actual mental image of it, and then I can fully understand it, instead of having this nebulous feeling about it.

          • Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 3:00 pm

            I wish I could be a fly on your wall…that is hilarious. I am imagining your husband needing a hug. That’s endearing! 🙂

          • Kelly January 31, 2015 at 3:26 pm

            My 25yod (the artist/writer, my right hand when it comes to managing the household, my sounding board and trusted adviser because she’s so analytical) is ISTP. She’s a really good go-between because she can tell what people meant to say and doesn’t get emotionally involved.

          • Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 5:59 pm

            That’s a good quality. 🙂

        • Reply Kelly January 31, 2015 at 10:48 am

          And after rereading this subthread I just realized that deciding to think out loud is the exact opposite of speaking before thinking. Maybe what I described is more like processing an idea out loud, than thinking out loud?

          • Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 3:04 pm

            Ooh. I like how you put that. I do that, and that makes sense. And you’re right. I make a decision to speak aloud.

  • Reply Mystie January 28, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Yay! Yes, typing my kids helped me figure out just why some kids were having the problems they were and why some of us always seemed to push each other’s buttons. In fact, I think I started trying to look into kids’ types when I was reading about my own (You think you’re heartless? Switch that P to a J and you have uber-heartless) personality type and it mentioned one type that INTJs surprisingly had a very difficult time with, and the description of the interplay sounded just like me and one of my children…. 🙂 Just knowing what was underlying the issue totally defused it. I know how to handle myself and him much better now.

    I also think it’s funny that as a J, I have the easiest time with my P children. They go along with my plans just fine, whereas my other Js make their own plans! But *I* am the Mastermind, thankyouverymuchandbequiet. I’m learning to let go and let them have some decision-making say.

    So glad you found the book and it was helpful! You’re totally right about the right way to do it. I did it the way you did it first – guessing and reading the long sections – and I mistyped two of mine (and I’m not typing the 2yo yet) doing it that way.

    God must like giving NTs F children. I have at least 3, too. I’m sure it’s pretty hilarious from an eternal perspective. You want sanctification? I’ll give you sanctification. 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 9:17 am

      Do we call this poetic justice, when T’s are forced to deal with F’s? 😉

      • Reply Lena January 29, 2015 at 10:06 pm

        I am a pretty pure N, a very abstract thinker. And I have two, maybe three S children. It definitely sanctifies the teaching mom, because they take turns of phrase literally….make no leaps of logic in math…. I have to explain all of those things that you are supposed to just….get. I had to explain ABAB patterns to my eldest. I didn’t know it was possible not to just SEE that. Ahhh sanctification.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 30, 2015 at 7:51 am

          Oh, how I feel your pain!

  • Reply Kelly January 28, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Oh, that book sounds really interesting — I love personality typing stuff. If you’re still having trouble figuring anyone out, this site might help — They have descriptions of the eight cognitive processes (i.e. Se, Extraverted Sensing, Si, Introverted Sensing, Ne, Extraverted Intuition, Ni, Introverted Intuition . . . ) so if you’re having trouble deciding between S and N, for example, this might be helpful reading.

    Personally, I’ve never found a good fit for myself under the Myers-Briggs system. I fit better in the Socionics scheme, which is also based on Jung’s work, but stacks the cognitive functions differently. My top two functions seem to be Si Te, which would make me an ISTJ in M-B, but their description isn’t really like me. M-B arranges the top four functions of an ISTJ like this: Si Te Fi Ne, but in Socionics, it’s Si Te Ni Fe, which is much more like me — Sensory Logical Intratim, they call it, or INTp, or Gabin (the types are all named after famous Russians — I have no idea who Gabin was). Anyway — I mention that in case anyone doesn’t find a good fit in MBTI and is interested in looking at socionics.

    By the way, I’m married to an ENFP. He’s a lot of fun but he drives me crazy but gosh I love him. He’s the god of chaos. He’s charming and can always make me laugh, especially when I want to be mad at him. I call him Dionysus to my Hestia. ENFPs move through life almost instinctively, so it’s vitally important that devotion to Christ and a strong moral code are instilled in them during early childhood — he’s blessed to have y’all for parents, and so are his future wife and children. Also, don’t expect him to actually be an adult until he’s about 40. :-p

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 9:16 am

      Oh my goodness, how I love your description of your husband, Kelly! Seriously, after reading the description, I told my husband, “So, basically he’s going to end up in jail.” And he says, “Like you hadn’t already asked yourself that question.” 😉

      I’ve known for a while that I’m raising “that guy.” The guy that was SO fun to hang around with in high school, but was causing a mental breakdown for his parents. I’m so glad to know that even “that guy” can be a good husband! 🙂

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 9:20 am

      ps. Kelly I am trying to resist clicking your link until later today. I need to go teach math, but it is so tempting!! 🙂

    • Reply Mystie January 28, 2015 at 9:34 am

      Oh, yes, Kelly’s link is a rabbit hole indeed! I remember when she sent me down it. Wasn’t there a different version of each type for women as opposed to men, too? I thought that was fascinating.

      • Reply Kelly January 28, 2015 at 10:04 am

        Mystie, the second link has that — the links in the sidebar go to pages with several descriptions of each type, including a pair of male/female portraits by a person named Beskova. A person named Stratiyevskaya does portraits that go into the eight cognitive functions, which is fascinating, but it’s a hard read since they’re mostly machine translated from Russian. O.o

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 10:19 am

          You realize you are derailing my afternoon… 😉

          • Kelly January 29, 2015 at 9:33 am

            Heh. Well, that’s my specialty — information overload. :p

    • Reply Kelly January 31, 2015 at 10:41 am

      Wish I could edit that comment above — I just noticed that I wrote “INTp” when I meant to write “ISTp.” I got used to thinking of myself as an N, but I think what I was seeing as N-type characteristics is actually because I’m right-brained on the inside. Actual iNtuitive types don’t usually mistype themselves, let alone misunderstand themselves, as badly as I do. :-p

      :p 😛 <<- – trying to figure out the code for your emoties

      • Reply Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 3:01 pm

        I don’t think I’ve ever met an ISTP before — at least not that I know of. I’ve never read about that type, so now I’m going to need to. AGAIN you derail my plans. 🙂

        • Reply Kelly January 31, 2015 at 3:21 pm

          Actually, in Myers-Briggs I’m somewhere between an ISTJ and and ISFJ. I don’t really fit any of their categories. ISTp is a Socionics designation, which is a little different from MB — they draw on the same source material, but arrange the cognitive functions differently. The lower case p/j is to show that it’s not really the same as the way MB does it. MB puts your extroverted function in that slot, which for an Extrovert is the strong function, but Introverts use their strong function internally and their weaker function to deal with the outside world, so that slot is reversed for Introverts in Socionics. If that makes sense.

          I’m much more like what Socionics calls the SLI — Sensory Logical Introvert, nicknamed Gabin (after a French actor/singer named Jean Gabin — just learned that!). If you’re interested, you can read about that type here:

          Sorry about derailing you! But it’s all so-o-o-o-o very interesting, isn’t it?

          • Brandy Vencel January 31, 2015 at 5:58 pm

            It really is!

  • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog January 28, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Oh my Brandy….your youngest sounds somewhat like my youngest! I totally understand how you feel!!!! It can definitely be wearing! And I’m an introvert. I usually need down time every.single.night. I need quiet to recharge. 🙂 Thanks for sharing about this book. I’m going to look into it for sure! I love reading about personalities and temperaments.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 7:01 am

      They should get together and wind each other up sometime. It’d be like watching a something out of a disaster movie. 😉

      I totally understand the need to recharge. Oh my, do I ever! 🙂

      • Reply Karen @ The Simply Blog January 28, 2015 at 4:38 pm

        Oh my! They would probably have loads of fun and you and I would need a serious nap and some chocolate afterwards! LOL

        • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 11:17 pm

          Chocolate first. Then, nap. 😉

          • Karen @ The Simply Blog January 29, 2015 at 5:41 am

            Yep – I think you’re right. And make it LOTS of chocolate. 🙂

  • Reply Mommy Chickadee January 28, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience! Coincidentally, I just tried the Meyers-Briggs test last night, and I was impressed at how accurate it was! I can see how typing my kids might help. My son is often a mystery to me as well!

    • Reply Brandy Vencel January 28, 2015 at 6:59 am

      What type did you end up being, MC?

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