Tips for Nurturing Developing NF & NT Temperaments in Children

Written by Sheryl Doering

     Tips for Nurturing Developing NF & NT Temperaments in Children
By Sheryl Doering MFTI/Art Therapist at Laguna Counseling & Expressive Art Center
Email: MFTI # 78149 supervised & employed by LMFT Mary Felch MFC#36827

Working with children as an art therapist, school counselor, and teacher for over ten years has provided me many opportunities to see the exciting development of temperaments emerge. However, this experience also allowed me to see how a child’s natural preference can be suppressed or inadvertently stifled by well intentioned adults in their lives. In fact, sometimes our own temperament can influence how we interact with children unknowingly. It is important to consider how your temperament type may positively and negatively impact how you interact with children. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a mentor, or older sibling to an NF or NT child, you can be a significant influence in helping that child “embrace” their temperament in order to “thrive” and not merely “survive” in their academic and personal development. Before we get started on how you can nurture our leaders of tomorrow, let us take a look at how you can identify a child’s type:

Similarities in Learning

NT & NF Children: Both types like to engage by using their imagination and “out of the box” thinking skills. Often times these types of children don’t like routine or details. Rather, they enjoy variety and exploring new ways of doing things and learning about the world. Both types are very future oriented and like to look at the “big picture” when taking in information.

Differences in Learning

NT Children: NT Children are focused on gathering knowledge, obtaining truth, and pursuing individual achievement. These children are usually very logical and need to understand the rationale behind why things are done.
NF Children: NF children may also like to gather knowledge and consider new ways of doing things; however, they are often focused on harmony in relationships and seek to understand others. NF children are typically more interested in how people are impacted from an emotional perspective when taking in information and making decisions.

Be mindful that all children need praise and honest feedback, however each type of child has a very different reaction to adult feedback. Here are some tips to support your child’s developing preferences:

Praise & Feedback

NF child: NF children may be more sensitive to criticism and may need praise more often. If constructive criticism is offered too often or too early in a relationship, the NF child may shut down and tune you out. It may be more likely that they are personalizing your negative feedback. On the other hand, NF children can sometimes depend too much on external praise from others; in this case, I like to consider my response when they ask, “Do you like my picture?” I may answer with a question such as “Do you like your picture? I noticed you were eager to share it with me.” Often the child will look surprised and smile saying, “Yes, actually I like it”. “I like it also, what do you like about it?” And so on.

NT child: NT children may often dismiss your compliments if they are too frequent or if they disagree with your rationale. Since NT children value truth and logic highly, they may be more receptive to your input if you are direct and provide specific reasons. NT children still like praise and a positive approach; however, they may become confused if they do not get a direct answer about the expectations and results. Because of their need for competency and independence, NT children can often be perfectionists, and they can become highly frustrated if they’re unable to master a task. In this case, an NT child needs to learn the value of mistakes and the possible opportunities to gain knowledge through them. I may state, “You look frustrated. That means you really care about your work and that you are looking for a better way. How has this mistake helped you?”


NF Child: If you want to engage an NF child in a particular topic, you can try to stimulate their intuition and feeling by asking questions that consider how the topic affects people. For example, you can ask, “How do you think the characters felt in the story?” “What do you think you would do if you had to make this decision?” “How do you think this new law will affect society?”

NT Child: If you want to engage an NT child in a particular topic, you can try to stimulate their intuition and thinking by asking questions that consider the rationale. For example, you can ask, “Why do you think this law exists?” Should the law be changed?” “Why or why not?”

NF & NT Children: Both types will benefit greatly from invitations to utilize their “out of the box” or intuitive thinking. These children may enjoy brainstorming about ways to make things better. NF children may be stimulated by “acting out” a story or writing a personal reflection about it, whereas NT children may be engaged by writing out clusters of thoughts to deduce multiple logical solutions.
I hope this information was helpful in giving you some insight into temperament type development in children and how to support NF & NT children. When considering this information, it is important to take into account the developmental needs and unique situation of each child, which may fall outside of the generalizations explained here. If you feel that your child is experiencing significant distress that is out of the scope of this article, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation. Furthermore, consider that each child is unique, though they may need to be encouraged to see the world from a different perspective from time to time.

By Sheryl Doering MFTI/Art Therapist at Laguna Counseling & Expressive Art Center
Email: MFTI # 78149 supervised & employed by LMFT Mary Felch MFC#36827

About the author

Sheryl Doering

I am a marriage and family therapist intern/Art Therapist. I specialize in utilizing art and the creative process to help women and children overcome depression, grief, trauma, and anxiety. It gives me great joy to celebrate the successes and walk on the journey of healing for those I work with. I have worked with women and children in school, home, and clinical settings for over a decade. If you have any questions or would like a free consultation, feel free to contact me at; I would love to hear from you. I work at Laguna Counseling & Expressive Art Center (IMF # 78149 supervised & employed by LMFT Mary Felch)


  • Terquoise says:

    These are very helpful suggestions.Thank you!

  • As an INTP I was quite happy just left to myself. A lot. Clear goals were good and motivating, ie, school is important (even though it was drudgery) because it is a place to learn (the why), learn as much as possible (the goal). Result, good grades even though going to school, again, was drudgery. I loved learning, still do, my parents valued learning and encouraged it, so it was a win-win and it helped me tolerate the setting of the classroom. Had I been expected to bring in good grades solely to make my parents happy, it wouldn’t have been nearly as motivating and I am convinced I wouldn’t have been as tolerant or have acquired the grades that I did.

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