At what age can I accurately have my daughter tested? She’s 12.

In the MBTI Manual it advises to tell students under the age of 17 that the questions were designed with adults in mind. There are also tables that indicate the utility of the items in the MBTI were done with elementary school students. I could not find a definitive age as a lower age limit. Some practitioners and professional materials recommend age 14 as being an appropriate age for initial assessment.

My questions to you would be more along the line of your purpose for having her take the MBTI and under what circumstances? If you decide that this important to her, I would highly recommend a type professional who understands adolescent development. My experience of living with teens and preteens was that hormones and social-emotional factors superceded all else.

You know your daughter. What is your sense of the value of doing the MBTI at this time? The phrase “do no harm” comes to mind. It is always a challenge to balance letting children find their path in life in their own way and providing the support and guidance that good parenting requires.

A note to readers
If you have had experience with the MBTI or other assessments with youth perhaps you would be willing to share your insights. I know that some camps have found a temperament based assessment to be of great valuable for their youthful counsellors.

I sent out an invitation to people on Twitter and Facebook and through my blog to submit their burning MBTI questions for answer by Mike Jay. Mike is a Master Coach and a Global thinker – he may even be a one man think tank. He is a voracious learner and understands human dynamics and development which he teaches through his work at BCoach, coach training and Leadership University. Later on I will be posting some insights from the session with Mike but right now I wanted to answer these questions from my perspective as a type professional. I hope this sheds some light on these questions for you. Please ask anything that is on your mind about type in the comments below and I will do my best to answer or find another resource for you.

Category: MBTI Facts
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3 Responses to “Burning MBTI Questions Answered #3”

Jane Kise March 14, 2009

Since the MBTI is a sorting tool, not a diagnostic test, are you sure assessment is the best path to figuring out your child’s personality type? Correct interpretation requires that the child learn about the theory, self-select preferences, then see results, compare self-selection and instrument results, and then make up his or her own mind about which preferences fit best. http://www.capt.org publishes the MMTIC, an instrument that works better for children up to age 16 than the MBTI, anyway.

I teach type to students all the time. usually we spend 3-5 hours in engaging, interactive activities designed to help them “see” the preferences in action, counter any social stigmas about preferring one side or the other, and make their own self-determination of type. The students love the chance for self-exploration.

Consider picking up The Developing Child (Murphy) or Find Your Fit (Kise and Johnson, meant for use in churches by teens) and working with your daughter to discover her type. She’ll most likely be more accepting of the whole process if she’s involved. If you’re worried about having a good conversation with her about it, then consider pooling with the parents of several of her friends and having an MBTI Practitioner who frequently works with youth give and interpret the instrument with all of them at the same time. Way more fun and they might learn to appreciate each other’s quirks more, too!!!

Harriet Welch March 14, 2009

My 16 year old daughter took some version of the MBTI (called “Do What You Are”) given to her by her college counselor. I really don’t think she understood the questions. She is an intelligent girl, but not very insightful, which I think is typical of girls her age.

I’m 48 and it was hard for me to answer some of the questions! I tried to go with my first instinct in order to “do” the test correctly, but some of the questions were so intriguing to me that I spent literally months analyzing how I felt about them.