“My instinct is to protect my children from pain. But adversity is often the thing that gives us character and backbone.”
As parents, Advocates (INFJs) have a clear vision for what matters to them: raising their children to be independent and all-around good people. Advocate personalities take their responsibilities seriously, and if they become parents, they think deeply about how they can shape their children’s lives and experiences in positive ways.
Parenthood isn’t easy, but few Advocates expect it to be. These personalities know that many of life’s most worthwhile pursuits are also the most challenging – a mindset that helps Advocates keep sight of joy and fulfillment amid the daily struggles of raising children. In many ways, parenting allows Advocates to make wonderful use of their strengths, including creativity, compassion, and the incredible strength of devotion that they feel toward those they love.
Be Unique, Just Like Me
Caring and loyal, Advocate parents are willing to do pretty much whatever it takes to better their children’s lives. But it would be a mistake to think that parents with this personality type are pushovers. In fact, Advocates can be quite strict, because their commitment to building their children’s character in the long term is rarely outweighed by momentary considerations (such as giving their child a piece of candy to help stop a tantrum).
While Advocates bring many gifts to raising children, it’s important to note that no parent is perfect. At times, Advocates may hold their children to unrealistic standards that don’t take into account each child’s personality or stage of development. For example, they might expect their child to model the same integrity and honesty that they expect from themselves, becoming dismayed whenever their child behaves in a way that they perceive to be ungenerous or unethical. Or they might push their child to be independent and creative and unique, seeing it as a sign of weakness if their child craves external structure and guidance.
To a child, all of these expectations can feel contradictory and impossible to fulfill – and, depending on the child’s personality and their developmental stage, these expectations might actually be impossible to fulfill. In adolescence, children might rebel by flouting these standards or by espousing beliefs that go against their Advocate parent’s values. In this situation, Advocates may feel that their children are criticizing or rejecting them – a hurtful thing to such a sensitive personality type.
A Job Well Done
Advocates strive to make sure that their children grow up with a firm understanding of the difference between right and wrong. Parents with this personality type encourage their children to fight for a cause that they believe in and to be the best they can be. Whatever age their children might be, Advocates can find a great deal of fulfillment and meaning simply in helping their children learn to be true to themselves.
Ultimately, Advocate parents tend to realize that it isn’t a sign of failure if their children turn out differently than they’d expected. Instead, they come to see this as a sign that they’ve successfully raised someone who has the ability to form their own ideals. Advocates’ children often come to appreciate the combination of independence and integrity with which they were raised – especially as they get older.