Portrait of an IFP Child
(Introverted Feeling Perceiving)
- Very idealistic
- Take things seriously and personally
- Quiet and gentle
- Extremely sensitive
- Shy and reserved with strangers
- Enjoy reading
- Service-oriented, they want to please others
- They love animals and small babies
- Likely to be messy and unstructured
- They need lots of love and affection
- Deeply caring and empathic
- They're usually very kind and sweet
- Laidback and easygoing, they're not likely to create trouble
- They adapt well to new situations, and welcome change
- They're usually relaxed, peaceful and unrushed
- Usually extremely creative and artistic
- They are original and genuine
- Take things seriously, and aren't likely to be frivolous
- They need harmony, and can be good peacemakers
- They're faithful and devoted to people and causes
- They're often quite faithful to their religion
- They're extremely sensitive and become hurt very easily
- They cannot use logic well at a young age
- They don't really have a concept of time or schedules, so they are frequently late
- May be reckless and irresponsible with money
- Tendency to let negative thoughts build up inside them until it becomes an unhealthy situation
- They cannot see things objectively - they see everything from their own point of view
- If they feel rejected or unloved, they may become very depressed and moody
- They are procrastinators and have trouble completing projects
- They are so internally focused that they are sometimes completely unaware of how anyone else is feeling
- They have difficulty expressing their deepest feelings, and are sometimes unaware of these feelings themselves
- Although they care deeply about others, they are self-absorbed and so may be seen as selfish
- They cannot take any kind of criticism, and will become defensive and emotional when criticised
- They don't like to make decisions, and will put it off as long as possible
- They often view decisions with absolute finality, and don't realize that they can change their mind later
- They naturally move slowly doing things, which makes them sometimes appear lazy
- They have trouble asserting themselves
IFP Learning Style
IFPs often are dreamy and imaginative children, and may seem to be
off in their own world. They usually excel in the Humanities, such as
English (Writing), Music, Art, and History. They will be interested in
Science classes that have a clear human connection, such as Biology.
IFPs will resist doing tasks that seem impersonal, for which they can't see
how it affects the human element. Presenting sheerly logical tasks within
the framework of how performing the task helps humans will help the IFP
face the task more willingly. Logic is still not their strong point, so
patience learning these kinds of tasks will have to be shown. Since
they're not naturally logical and they don't naturally see the value
of sheer logic, the IFP is at a disadvantage with these kinds of lessons.
IFPs have trouble making decisions about which project they want to do,
or which class they want to take, etc. They are often fearful of making
decisions because they think that they are final and unalterable, and
they're afraid of making the wrong choice. IFP children should be helped
to make these kinds of decisions on their own, and they should be supported
and encouraged in the decisions that they make. Positive reinforcement will
help the IFP to trust their decision-making abilities.
IFP children have trouble following through on projects. They may lose interest
halfway through, and move onto the next exciting project. IFP children need
to learn the value of finishing what they start. They will not finish all of
their projects, but they can be expected to finish at least the larger, more
important projects that they have begun. This should be encouraged with a
reward system, rather than a punishment system. IFPs are often crushed by
punishment and criticism.
IFP children are frequently scattered in their priorities, and dislike
making decisions or commiting themselves to one particular idea. To combat
teachers and other adults should frequently tell IFP children to "pick one
thing and do it well". Engraining this idea in the IFP's mind will offer
a significant gift to the developing IFP, and the adult that they will become.
When giving constructive criticism or a poor grade to an IFP, also give some
positive feedback so that the IFP is not frightened off from doing that
type of task again in the future.
IFP Special Needs
The biggest stumbling block for IFP children (and for IFP adults) is their
extreme sensitivity. IFP kids need to learn and understand that conflict
is not something they should always take to heart. The IFP's opinion
of himself or herself is largely influenced by other people's
opinion of them. If the IFP feel unconditional love and acceptance,
they are more likely to feel self-confident, and will be able to handle
some criticism. However, IFP's will probably have a lifelong issue with
feeling things passionately, and with taking any criticism completely to
heart. When correcting an IFP, a parent should always include some
positive comment about the IFP along with the negative. This will help
the child to know that a specific criticism is not an indictment of their
Their strong service-oriented attitide is in some ways very sweet and
gratifying, but it also can create problems for the IFP child if they
are more interested in pleasing people than in anything else. There will
be situations presented to the child in which they will not be able to please
everyone. The child needs to understand that it's sometimes OK to do something
that might make someone else unhappy. They need to understand that if
someone is unhappy with something that the IFP has done, that doesn't mean
that they hate the IFP child. Avoiding making others upset or unhappy is an
admirable goal, but it can't always be done.
Parents and teachers of IFP kids should give positive feedback and affirmation
as often as possible. Some Thinking adults often don't express love or
admiration. They believe that their kids already know how they feel, so
there's no need to say it over and over again. Feeling children need to
hear this feedback. If an adult doesn't give them any feedback at all,
this is often equal to negative feedback in the Feeling child's mind.
IFP kids should be encouraged to show some healthy assertiveness. They
should be told that it's OK to express their opinions even if everyone
won't agree with them, or if their opinions make someone unhappy.
Encouraging your child to express their opinion, and then supporting
and complimenting their behavior will help them to become more assertive.
If you can't agree with the actual opinnion that they express, at least
you can compliment them on the fact that they are asserting themselves.
If your child has a problem with asserting himself or herself,
you should NOT criticize the opinions that they express until they
show that they are comfortable with asserting themselves.
The "Missing" Letter
Adult personality types contain four letters, while for kids aged 7-12 we use
three letter types. What happened to the missing letter? It's there, we just
can't usually determine what it is until after a person is 13 years old.
IFP kids will grow up to be either
or INFP "Idealists".
At this stage in their development, it's not obvious whether they will choose
Intuition or Sensing to complement their Feeling function. You will see the
child practicing both Intuition and Sensing as they settle down into their
preferred function. In some children, it's possible to distinguish their
"missing" letter, but for many kids we just have to wait a few years to be sure.
Copyright 2012 BSM Consulting, Inc.