Portrait of an INJ child

Portrait of an INJ Child

(Introverted iNtuitive Judging)

INJ traits

  1. They have vivid imaginations
  2. They're curious about everything, and are always asking "Why?"
  3. They enjoy spending time one-on-one with others, rather than in large groups
  4. They're often off in their own world, and have a dreamlike quality
  5. They enjoy art and music
  6. They love books, and especially enjoy fiction
  7. They're likely to hang back and watch before participating in a social situation
  8. They're intensely private, and don't always share their thought and feelings
  9. They like structure and are unsettled by chaos or unplanned events
  10. They prefer sports that focus on individual performance rather than team sports
  11. They are perfectionists
  12. They're serious and intense
  13. They often seem older than they are, and may have older friends
  14. They are original and independent, and value their uniqueness
  15. They're not overly concerned with grades, but they want to completely understand a subject that interests them

Potential strengths

  1. They're usually very intelligent
  2. They can grasp the big picture easily
  3. They can see any far-reaching consequences of their actions
  4. They're very resourceful
  5. They are extremely creative and imaginative
  6. They easily come up with good ideas
  7. They're usually well-liked by their peers
  8. They will completely master a subject that interests them
  9. Their desire to be in control of themselves makes them take responsibility for their actions
  10. They are usually confident in their ideas, and know instinctively when they are right about something

Potential weaknesses

  1. They have short attention spans
  2. They get bored easily with details or routine tasks
  3. They won't put any effort into doing something that doesn't interest them
  4. They frequently don't hear people
  5. Once they have made up their mind about something, they can be very stubborn about it
  6. They ignore details
  7. They are unsettled by change, and don't usually adapt well to new situations
  8. They're uncomfortable and somewhat overwhelmed by large groups
  9. They are rather unaware of their environment, and seem "out of it"
  10. They are rather self-centered, and may be unaware of how their actions or words affect others
  11. They can be controlling and bossy
  12. Although they come up with ideas easily, they don't do as well implementing their ideas

INJ learning style

INJs are extremely curious and intellectual children who need a wide variety of mental stimulation. When they are interested in a subject, they will naturally want to know everything about it. Teachers should be prepared to point INJ children towards sources where they can learn more about the subject.

INJ children don't do well with tasks that require following prescribed steps in a plan or rote memorization. They find these kinds of things extremely boring, and they will resist doing them. They also don't like to do things repetitively. Once they have done something once, they are done with it and want to move on to the next thing. To keep things interesting for the INJ, teachers should give them the basic theory and the desired outcome, and let them figure out how to get there on their own.

Teachers should realize the INJ's weakness of not always being aware of their environment, and recognize that if an INJ didn't hear the teacher, it doesn't necessarily mean that they weren't listening. Sometimes the INJ's private world overtakes the INJ to the point that they completely tune out their environment. As much patience as possible should be shown with this characteristic. INJs will develop some control over this as they grow older.

INJs love to come up with ideas, and naturally want to put their ideas into some kind of structure or plan. They want to do this on their own, with little or no direction. They highly prize their ideas and their competence at performing their projects, and are threatened by someone giving them too much direction. This is almost an insult to the INJ, who bases a great deal of their self-esteem on their independence.

INJs thrive doing independent projects that require creativity, such as science projects or writing projects. They will probably not enjoy group projects as much, although they are likely to be fine working with one partner on a project.

Answer the INJ's many questions as thoroughly as possible. If you don't know the answer to a question, be honest and tell them that you don't know. Offer possible avenues for discovering the answer, such as library research.

Present the rules and expectations clearly and consistently. INJs naturally crave structure and order. Although they don't want to be told exactly how to do something, they need to understand any rules clearly.

INJ special needs

INJ children need a good amount of time alone. They get most of their energy from within themselves and their rich imaginations, so they need adequate time alone to recharge their batteries. After a long day of school, the INJ may head to their room to spend some time alone. Respect this need of your child's, and understand that once they have spent time alone they will be ready to interact with you. Don't push them to be around yourself or others until they have spent some quality alone time. An INJ who doesn't get the chance to spend any time alone will be irritable, cranky and tired.

INJs who have made up their minds about something can be quite stubborn and unwilling to compromise. When faced with an INJ who has "dug in their heels" about something, take some time to present them with clear and valid alternatives to their way of thinking. This will help the INJ to not become overly rigid, pompous and unbending in their views.

Socially, pre-teen INJ's are usually fairly reserved and may be intimidated by large numbers of people. They like to watch for awhile before participating. It's best not to push the INJ to interact socially before they are ready. Allow them to watch first, and jump in when they want to. If you are a very extraverted or gregarious adult, don't expect the same behavior your INJ child. INJs usually prefer to interact with one person at a time, and enjoy having a couple of close friends rather than a number of acquaintances. As the INJ gets a bit older, they will probably become more social. In the meantime, understand that your child is probably uncomfortable with large groups of people, and don't make them feel guilty for that fear. If your child is afraid of walking into large social situations alone, you might arrange to walk in with your child, or have your child go to the event with a friend.

Too many suggestions or feedback on a project while it is still going on may interfere with the INJ's creative energy. Much of the interest in actually doing the project comes from the INJ's drive to prove their inner visions and independence. Any "interference" from the external world will confuse the INJ, and it may cause them to doubt themselves or their idea. In any event, it will usually cause them to lose interest in the project and abandon it. It's probably best to wait until an INJ's project is finished before commenting.

Talk through their ideas with them one-on-one. This will help the INJ to put their ideas into context within the external world. The INJ doesn't naturally have a high awareness of how their intensely personal visions fit into the world. Getting them into the habit of talking through their ideas while they are young will help them develop the ability to apply their ideas realistically and effectively.

The "missing" letter

Adult personality types have four letters, while for children 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. INJ kids will grow up to be either INTJ "Scientists" or INFJ "Protectors". At this stage in their development, it's not obvious whether they will choose Thinking or Feeling to complement their Intuition preference. You will see the child practicing both Thinking and Feeling 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.