Portrait of an IFP child

Portrait of an IFP Child

(Introverted Feeling Perceiving)

IFP traits

  1. Very idealistic
  2. Take things seriously and personally
  3. Quiet and gentle
  4. Extremely sensitive
  5. Shy and reserved with strangers
  6. Enjoy reading
  7. Service-oriented, they want to please others
  8. They love animals and small babies
  9. Likely to be messy and unstructured
  10. They need lots of love and affection

Potential strengths

  1. Deeply caring and empathic
  2. They're usually very kind and sweet
  3. Laidback and easygoing, they're not likely to create trouble
  4. They adapt well to new situations, and welcome change
  5. They're usually relaxed, peaceful and unrushed
  6. Usually extremely creative and artistic
  7. They are original and genuine
  8. Take things seriously, and aren't likely to be frivolous
  9. They need harmony, and can be good peacemakers
  10. They're faithful and devoted to people and causes
  11. They're often quite faithful to their religion

Potential weaknesses

  1. They're extremely sensitive and become hurt very easily
  2. They cannot use logic well at a young age
  3. They don't really have a concept of time or schedules, so they are frequently late
  4. May be reckless and irresponsible with money
  5. Tendency to let negative thoughts build up inside them until it becomes an unhealthy situation
  6. They cannot see things objectively - they see everything from their own point of view
  7. If they feel rejected or unloved, they may become very depressed and moody
  8. They are procrastinators and have trouble completing projects
  9. They are so internally focused that they are sometimes completely unaware of how anyone else is feeling
  10. They have difficulty expressing their deepest feelings, and are sometimes unaware of these feelings themselves
  11. Although they care deeply about others, they are self-absorbed and so may be seen as selfish
  12. They cannot take any kind of criticism, and will become defensive and emotional when criticised
  13. They don't like to make decisions, and will put it off as long as possible
  14. They often view decisions with absolute finality, and don't realize that they can change their mind later
  15. They naturally move slowly doing things, which makes them sometimes appear lazy
  16. 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 this tendency, 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 entire character.

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 ISFP "Artists" 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.