Sensing Perceiving Parents

Myers-Briggs® and Parenting – Part 3 – The Struggles of Sensing Perceiving (SP) Parents

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Today I’m excited to talk about the Adventurer (SP) parents. Adventurers make up 30-35% of the population, and are known for their optimism, creativity, and fun-loving nature. Adventurers love to live life in the moment and remain open to opportunities as they arise. They are often easy-going, flexible, and up for anything new and exciting. They also have a practical side; they are very focused on the world around them and are excellent at working with all kinds of tools; whether those tools be paintbrushes, a hammer and nails, a sewing machine, or a new lego kit! The Adventurer makes an exciting, open-minded parent who knows how to take care of their child’s practical needs while showing them the beauty of living in the moment.

This post is part three in a series about the struggles each personality type faces as a parent. If you want to see the Struggles of Intuitive Thinking (NT) Parents, Click Here. If you want to read about Intuitive Feeling (NF) parents, Click Here. I will be posting about Sensing-Judging (SJ) parents next week.

The ESFP Parent

ESFP Parent

ESFP parents are some of the most playful, fun-loving, open-minded parents you’ll find. They love to have kids around and enjoy getting the chance to indulge in the fun of childhood with their sons and daughters. They aim to always be there for their children, and to accept them no matter what. They have no problem dropping everything to read a story, play a game of tag, or listen to a child’s concerns. More than anything, they want their children to know that they are accepted for who they are and that they will always have a mom or dad who’s willing to go the extra mile for them.

The Struggles:

ESFPs are so determined to always be there for their children that they can sometimes burn out. They never want their children to feel that anything is more important than they are, and so they can get behind on things like household maintenance, their career, or their own personal needs. They need to be reminded that it’s okay to have their children wait now and then so that they can finish a project or have some time alone before attending to every single need. This also helps their children learn to be independent.

ESFPs are extremely attached to their children, and they often have amazing bonds with them as a result. Unfortunately, this also means that if their children are hurting, the ESFP is hurting as well. They take their children’s hurts very seriously and may really struggle with anxiety over the obstacles their children face.

Discipline is a difficult area for the ESFP parent. They are not naturally authoritative people and would rather try to see things from their child’s perspective than lay down the law. They can sometimes struggle with dishing out discipline or limits because they worry that they are being “mean” or that their children will feel bullied. It is hard for them to remain consistent in discipline.

A Tip for ESFP Parents:

ESFP parents often find relief from stress and answers to their struggles by socializing with other parents. They really enjoy being able to share experiences and swap advice with other moms and dads who know what they’re going through. Lots of ESFP moms enjoy playgroups and programs like MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) as a way to connect with other moms and get some consideration and feedback on their parenting struggles.

ESFPs also need to make sure they take time for themselves. They can get so caught up being there for their children 24/7 that they can miss out on time they need for self-care. They need to remind themselves that their needs matter and that it’s okay to take some time to rest, spend time with their spouse, go for a jog, or whatever helps them to relax and recharge.

The ISFP Parent

ISFP Parent

 The ISFP parent is abounding in compassion, gentleness, and devotion. ISFPs are determined to be there for their children in all the little ways that matter; whether it’s comforting them after a hard day, helping them learn to read, teaching them to bake, or curling up on the couch with a good story book. ISFPs are devoted and loyal to their children, and they want each of their children to experience their 100% support and acceptance.

ISFPs are gentle in their approach to parenting; they believe in teaching by example, and as such, they always strive to live a good life in front of their children. They have little interest in setting down rigid rules and structures; instead they wish to show a positive example that their children will then pick up on and follow. They guide with gentle integrity and empathy, being open to the ever-shifting interests of their children’s hearts.

The Struggles:

ISFP parents aim to be selfless in their interactions with their children, and in turn they can burn out. They are introverts who need time alone to recharge and refuel, and if they continually give, give, give to every need that comes up in their family, they may feel exhausted and resentful over time. It’s important for them to take time for themselves to build up their energy after a long day. They need to learn it’s okay to say “no” sometimes.

Routine and daily chores are frustrating for the ISFP parent to keep up with. They like to be spontaneous and prefer open-ended schedules. ISFPs tend to feel constrained by strict schedules and full to-do lists. Getting kids to school on time, getting dinner on the table, balancing home life and work, all these things can feel overwhelming to the ISFP. This may lead to insecurity on their part, as they wonder if they just aren’t “cut out” for parenting.

Assertiveness and discipline are areas of struggle for many ISFPs. They prefer to lead by example rather than set rules and boundaries. They are naturally gentle-natured and tend to feel conflicted when dishing out discipline or consequences for bad behavior. They naturally want to empathize with their child’s plight and understand where they are coming from. This is a wonderful quality of the ISFP parent, but it can also lead to trouble down the road if children start thinking they can get away with acting out and being disobedient repeatedly.

A Tip for ISFP Parents:

ISFP parents need a combination of alone time and support in their daily lives. They absolutely need to be able to get away and focus on themselves and their own interests each day so that they can regain energy. As introverts they will eventually tire themselves out if they are in the center of busy family life day in and day out.

ISFPs also tend to feel better when they can have support from other parents, a devoted partner, or even a counselor who can help them deal with some of the hardships of parenting. It’s important for the ISFP to recognize their unique strengths and contributions, and to learn that it’s okay to say no to their kids from time to time. A good friend can give new insights and ideas to the ISFP on how they candle things like discipline and routine; areas where the ISFP tends to have a hard time remaining consistent.

The ESTP Parent


ESTPs are the parents who know how to infuse every moment with excitement and possibilities for learning and exploration. These parents aren’t afraid to get a little wild with their kids; whether it’s playing football in the mud, splashing around in a lake, constructing a zip line, or going on a spur-of-the-moment road trip. They know how to have a good time, take advantage of new experiences, and show their kids the beauty and potential of every moment.

ESTPs are flexible, honest, practical parents who have an innate knowledge of the world around them and how to be creative in it. They are often excellent at physical, hands-on activities like sports, building, or creating. They love to get their kids involved in kinesthetic projects where they can work together to create something new and inspiring. This is one of the many ways they create strong bonds with their sons and daughters.

The Struggles:

ESTPs tend to dislike routine and structure, and may feel trapped or stifled by the demands of parenthood. While the ESTP enjoys a busy and fast-paced life, they tend to dislike things like getting the kids to school at a certain time, keeping up with the laundry, or getting dinner on the table at 5 PM. Strict timeframes and repetitive daily tasks make the naturally adventurous ESTP feel bored and sometimes depressed.

The quiet, slower moments of parenting can make the ESTP feel bored or restless. ESTPs like to be on the go and exploring and doing new things. In fact, the ESTP is often called The Doer by many typologists. Having to deal with staying home with a sick child, spending hours cooking and cleaning, or settling down with a good book, can over time feel stifling to the ESTP. They tend to get restless and want to be more active over time.

ESTP mothers, in particular, are at risk for feeling misunderstood in their communities. ESTP females make up only 3% of the population, and as a result, can feel like they don’t quite “fit in” with other mom’s. The majority of mothers are ISFJs (20%), ESFJs (17%), and ESFPs (10%) or ISFPs (10%). The ESTP may feel that their more straightforward, actions-oriented approach to parenting is looked down on by the strong Feeling mothers they come into contact with more regularly. It’s important for the ESTP mother to recognize and acknowledge the unique gifts they bring to the parent-child relationship. It’s not every mom that can play football with the kids, talk about the tough subjects, and bring as much excitement and hands-on learning to everyday life.

A Tip for ESTP Parents:

ESTPs can balance their need for activity and their children’s need for nurturing quality time by spending one-on-one time with each child doing a low-key activity together that can encourage communication. Whether it’s going for a hike and talking about life together, going fishing and sharing stories, or hitting the road and listening to their children tell them about their day. These kinds of activities balance the ESTPs desire to do something with their children’s need to share and communicate. This is especially important if the ESTPs children are introverted or feeling types who need that one-on-one time to open up.

The ISTP Parent


ISTP parents give their children the support and confidence they need to face the world as independently as possible. They believe in giving their children freedom to explore their own interests, and providing the tools they need to be self-sufficient and capable. ISTPs themselves are fiercely independent, so they encourage this same quality in their children. They honor their children’s unique personalities and don’t like to control or shape them too rigidly; they also enjoy teaching their children anything they want to know. Intellectual discussion or hands-on activities are all areas where the ISTP naturally excels in working with their children.

The Struggles:

ISTPs may not always know how to handle the emotional intensity of their children. Since ISTPs inferior function is Feeling, they don’t have ready access to their own emotions. If their children do have strong emotions, it can “trigger” the ISTPs inferior function and put them into a state of stress. While the ISTP wants very much to understand and relate to their child’s emotional needs, this can be a tough area for them to navigate. They may not know the right words to say, or how to coax and calm an emotionally distraught child.

Because ISTPs are very independent and like to have a schedule free from rules and rigid timelines, they may struggle with the routine demands of parenting. Having to keep up with school schedules, meal times, and daily chores may make them feel frustrated and trapped. They don’t naturally enjoy the domestic, repetitive tasks of parenting and can feel stifled as a result.

ISTP mothers, in particular, are at risk for feeling misunderstood in their communities. ISTP females make up only 2% of the population, with the majority of females being Sensing-Feeling types. Because of this, the ISTPs more independent, matter-of-fact personality may not “fit in” quit as well. It’s very important for ISTP mom’s to recognize and appreciate their own strengths and the unique qualities they have as parents. Many children of ISTPs appreciate the respect, the privacy, the freedom, and the hands-on teaching their parents provided. ISTP mothers have many unique gifts they can impart to their children, and they need to know that it’s okay if they don’t see things the same way as the majority of other mothers they come into contact with.

A Tip for ISTP Parents:

ISTP parents need to make sure they give themselves alone time every day. They are very independent and introverted, and if they are caught up in the hustle and bustle of family life all day they will feel drained over time. It’s important for ISTPs to be able to get some time daily to pursue their own interests and activities.

ISTP parents can form stronger emotional bonds and understanding with their children by finding an easy way for their children to reach out to them emotionally. Whether this is by having a quiet time every night where the child can talk to their parent freely, or whether it’s writing letters back and forth, ISTP parents can create deeper emotional bonds with their children if they can have a consistent way for their children to reach out to them on an emotional level and share deeper communication.


Sensing Perceiving Parents

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  1. Did you get to post about SJ parents? I do not seem to be able to find a Part 4 to this series. You nailed it with my husband’s parenting type, and I would love to get some insight myself. We are so sure that we have an ESTP boy…we need all the advice we can get. Thanks

    1. I need to finish that one! I have it in progress and hope to have it up later this month 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I have an esfp son and an estp husband so I love these types 🙂

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