In this article and video, I’m going to talk about how INTJs act as children. INTJs begin to exhibit their core traits very early in life. An INTJ child is likely to have a thirst for knowledge. He or she will probably spend considerable time reading books, asking questions, and pondering how life works. INTJs are also very independent from an early age.
INTJ Childhood Social Interaction and Friends
In David Keirsey’s book Please Understand Me, he wrote that “Socially, the INT child can be somewhat retarded, although intellectually he [or she] may seem precocious” (116). I can remember feeling very socially awkward around people, and I rarely initiated conversations with people as a child. I joined school with no known friends, so everyone was a stranger. I was very quiet and kept to myself. I was very much a loner and always felt extremely awkward. I would go into observation mode and rarely talk unless someone asked me a question.
Another thing you’ll likely notice is that INTJ children are likely to have few friends, and this often carries into adulthood. I had very few friends growing up. My friends in school were the people who sat next to me or approached me to talk to me regularly. I rarely had friends over or went to other friends’ houses, although I did this some when I became a teenager. I also had a couple of guys I made friends with in my neighborhood, and I’d ride bikes up and down the street with them, but it was very superficial.
INTJ children will likely prefer quiet birthdays and holidays. Elaborate parties may turn them off. I would get frustrated when my mother would try to organize parties for me.
INTJ Childhood Behaviors and Tendencies
Here are a few traits that you may observe in an INTJ child:
- INTJs show a desire for knowledge at an early age. David Keirsey also wrote that “The NT child is apt to keep at a parent with ‘why’ questions” (114). I would always want to know why and how things worked. I would ponder philosophical questions like, “What is the meaning of life?” or “Why does anything even exist?”
- INTJ children tend to do well in school, especially in subjects that interest them. I usually made A’s and B’s. However, I felt like I never really fit in socially until I was in like 7th or 8th grade. Then I went to high school and that was extremely awkward because I didn’t know anyone. I hated the forced social nature of school. I finally came out of my shell more in my last two years of high school and made some friends.
- INTJs can also become exhausted by school. After school, I would often go home, plop on my bed, and listen to music or watch TV. I was very tired after all of that social stimulation and generally wanted to remain alone in my room. I also had little energy to do homework because I was drained from the day.
- INTJs will be skeptical. I was always very skeptical of things that other people were quick to believe, such as superstitions, ghost stories, etc.
- INTJs will likely be fairly obedient children. I rarely got into serious trouble in school or in the home. However, some INTJ children may have trouble if they are bullied or under peer pressure.
- INTJ children are known for being stubborn about some things. I could be stubborn about being forced into a situation I didn’t like. I hated doing group work in school. Sometimes my mom would make me go to some social event, and I’d be very stubborn about it.
- INTJs are very independent children. I always did my own thing and enjoyed spending time by myself. I was ironing my own clothes and doing my own laundry when I was around 12 or 13 years old. When I bought my first car, I tried to learn how to do basic maintenance on it. INTJs are likely to be the type of child you can trust, and they may become self-sufficient and mature faster than other types.
- INTJs can be funny pranksters. I was also a bit of a prankster. I would take those zip ties and tie people’s backpack zippers together so that they couldn’t open it. I would secretly put “kick me” signs on people’s backs, and I had a bad habit of making fun of other people, too. I was good at imitating people by picking out their peculiarities.
INTJ Child Hobbies
Here are a few thoughts about what an INTJ child will likely do for fun or leisure.
- INTJs may like to collect action figures or items that interest them. I would collect action figures like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I would recreate scenes from cartoons I’d watch.
- INTJs may enjoy outdoors leisure. I would love to ride my bicycle outside or throw a baseball in the air and catch it.
- Many INTJs enjoy watching movies. I loved to watch movies, and I would often want to be like the characters. I watched Batman with Michael Keaton in it. I had to have a Batman mask and some of those toys. When I watched Superman, I’d have to tie a cape around my neck and jump off the couch in my house.
- INTJ children will likely enjoy video games. I would play video games like Mario Bros., Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, etc.
- INTJ children enjoy building or creating things. I liked to build things with Lego’s or model cars. I also got a chemistry set one year and I enjoyed that.
- INTJs love to read or learn. I would also read books like encyclopedias or whatever books we had. In fact, I actually developed a phobia of tornadoes because I studied about them and they absolutely terrified me. Every time we had a tornado watch, I’d be stressed.
- INTJs may play sports or engage in the arts. I also started playing baseball. I was the pitcher, and I was pretty good. I enjoyed listening to music a lot when I was a teenager.
- INTJ children will love gadgets and technology. When I got my first computer and AOL dial-up internet, I thought I was in heaven. I remember creating a list of things I wanted to learn and master. I thought I had tapped into this great source of unlimited knowledge, and I wanted to absorb it all.
INTJ Kids are Sensitive to Criticism
David Keirsey again wrote that “The NT child is devastated by ridicule and sarcasm regarding ability. He [or she] more than others is self-doubting, and he [or she] badly needs an abundance of success” (115). This does ring true for me. I can remember a time when I joined a basketball team. I felt like an alien and didn’t know anyone else on the team. The coach yelled at me a few times, and I got very discouraged and quit the team.
In addition, INTJs can develop low self-esteem. Because INTJ children may struggle with social situations, this can lead to self-esteem problems or a lack of confidence. Kids would make fun of me in school about clothing, appearance, or whatever. I became extremely self-conscious and had very low self-esteem regarding my appearance.