The Enneagram has been all the buzz in my group of Mom friends, work partners, and in my home. Have you taken a test or typed yourself? I’m of the camp that our world can only grow as much as we are willing to stretch ourselves. Who doesn’t want to be a healthy Momma?! Tip on typing yourself: whichever number makes you cringe is most likely yours!
Parenting with Personality: Enneagram Parenting Styles written by fellow contributor Dawn is my most favorite blog of the year so far! It was so helpful to me as an Eight; it helped me look into how my tone, with a single statement, can crush my sensitive middle child, yet motivate my oldest. It’s not foolproof to type your child, but it can give you insight into their behaviors. I find that my Eight child and I bump heads — go figure! We both have a “fight for what’s right mentality,” that when healthy, roots for the underdog and speaks up to leaders about injustice. However, when unhealthy, it’s our way or the highway. “Don’t talk back to me. Just respect” is not a phrase that can be repeated over and over.
Now, let’s look at examples of other numbers. You might be raising a type (insert a number) if:
Type 1: Perfectionist
Your child is constantly asking, “Why?” A type One thrives on missions. They might be the child in the classroom making sure every student has the same amount of crayons. A One thrives on words of affirmation. The inner voice they create as a teen and adult is formed in childhood. Even when they don’t understand your words, speak affirmations over them. Especially as a teen, help them to know that their feelings matter. Give them space to be heard. Answer their “Why?” questions, because they aren’t questioning their authority, they are seeing their limits in their world. Give a One type more “Yes!” responses than “No.”
Type 2: Helper
You have a child who loves to help and is also constantly reminding siblings to get their lunchbox before school. You might find a type Two in the kitchen under your feet. Find something for even the young ones to do. Constantly telling a Two that they aren’t needed can develop their greatest fear: being unloved. My type Two middle child is so easy to ask to do things because she will almost always, even if she has something else she wants to do. They put others first and are usually the “Angel child” because of their eagerness to please. This child will grow up to be the teen who joins you at the movies and still likes to talk with you over dinner.
Type 3: Achiever
You have a child that fouls out of basketball in the first quarter. Type Threes can be the quarterback and chess club president, the driven children that thrive on competition. Fun games to play with a Three are obstacle courses on the playground or for homework, beating the timer for math facts. Give a Three a task with a deadline and they will thrive. Help a Three out by reminding them to view others outside of themselves and to prioritize when they fall into a workaholic mode. A Three as a young child that is edified in their talents will grow into a great role model.
Type 4: Individualist
Your child takes twice as long to tell you a simple story because they needed to add all the feelings and drama. A young type Four child might attach themselves strongly to an adult that lets them express their individuality the most. Temper tantrums can characterize their every day. When managed with asking “How are you feeling?” versus “Quit crying!” they will grow into healthy teens that are less temperamental despite the changing hormones. My type Four youngest thrives on dressing herself. Simple expressions go a long way in helping a Four see that they make a significant impact on their world.
Type 5: Thinker
Your child is constantly lagging behind to investigate a rock they found on the ground. A type Five could grow up to be the valedictorian or a scientist. It’s easy for a Five to become socially isolated. This would be an unhealthy state where their smart minds would be lost. While you might not be putting their artwork up on the fridge, do put their schoolwork up with good words of affirmation! Don’t push a Five to do sports or they could inwardly create the idea that they are useless without living up to your standard.
Type 6: Loyalist
Your child has trouble picking out a pair of shoes before asking you, “Well, which ones do you think I should wear?” The trouble with a young type Six could be that they don’t know the question to ask to get the security they need. A Six would be a great leader if they have a team of people with them. Help your Six child by having play dates with friends they love. As they age, validate the things to which they are loyal.
Type 7: Enthusiast
Your child requires you to entertain them 24/7. “What are we doing today, Mom?” Hear that often? As a young type Seven they will need some guidance for their spontaneous personality. Free range, “unschooling,” and hands off parenting might just be their jam! Sensory boxes and rock climbing gym memberships could fill a Seven’s time. Have a child that’s always smiling? They could be a Seven with their optimistic views. Don’t joke too much with a Seven about their far out ideas or you might see that smile fade over time.
Type 8: Challenger
Your child fights hard and loves even harder. They spot injustices at a young age and are most likely to invite the child left out on the playground to join in a game. As a young girl, a type Eight could be told that they are being too bossy. It’s my personal experience that telling your little girl Eight that she can be anything when she grows up will foster a sense of security. Same for a boy Eight; let them lead but give them examples of men like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who used his vitality to bring change. Eights are self-confident and have a fear of being controlled by others. Don’t try to break their spirit, or as the saying goes, “You’ll be paying for their therapy” later on in life.
Type 9: Peacemaker
Your child is a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. This could be seen as a child that leaves out half-built castle blocks as they daydream about the next thing they will make. A type Nine can envelope characteristics of all the different personality types. However, something that can set their optimism and zest for life apart is that they have a tendency to be naive in order to protect themselves. How does a small child do this? They zone out if you’re correcting their behavior with long talks or develop a negative behavior to cope with negatives of life. Help out your Nine child by leading them to journaling. Some of the greatest storytellers are a Nine!