Your Enneagram Parenting Type Can Tell You A Lot About How You & Your Kids Interact
I have an obsession with personality tests. I can tell you with certainty that I am an I/ENTJ, Ravenclaw or Horned Serpent, and that acts of service is my love language. (Thanks for doing the dishes, babe!) My newest obsession is the Enneagram test, which looks at your personality based on how you interact with others. It opened my eyes to more about myself than I thought was possible, given my love of these tests. It also told me a lot about how I parent, and how I can better use my strengths. Finding your parenting style by Enneagram Personality can really help you parse through your style, and help you be a better caregiver.
The Enneagram test evaluates how you interact with people, where your motivations are, and what triggers you, and then places you in one of nine personality types like achiever and reformer. I am a type six, which is a loyalist. Some test-takers might also be assigned a "wing," which is their next most dominant personality trait. It is always the personality type that proceeds your dominant type or the one that succeeds it. That means that you could be a six wing five or a six wing seven, but not a six wing three.
In my grand quest to learn all things enneagram, I read The Enneagram of Parenting by Elizabeth Wagele, and learned that there is much that can be ascertained by evaluating your own personality, and also that of your child. The more you know about yourself and how you interact with others, the more you can help your child succeed, learn how not to push each others' buttons, learn their stress triggers, and learn how those triggers interact with yours. Once you learn how your type parents, it's truly a benefit for the whole family.
Type 1, The Reformer/Perfectionist
Eclectic Energies Enneagram wrote of Type 1 that "people of this personality type are essentially looking to make things better, as they think nothing is ever quite good enough. This makes them perfectionists who desire to reform and improve; idealists who strive to make order out of the omnipresent chaos." As parents, this type is going to be the football coach, the dance mom — they might be even a little bit theatrical about all of it. They have chore charts and Marie Kondo would pass over in a dead faint at how well their children clean up after themselves.
Type 2, The Helper
The Enneagram Institute noted that a Helper personality is exactly what you're thinking. They're caregivers, generous — sometimes to a fault — and they're invested in the success of others.
These parents truly want their children to succeed. Since they're known for being demonstrative, hugs are abundant. But don't get it twisted — these parents aren't going to be pushovers for their kids. Help doesn't mean they're going to do everything for them, it means they will help their child learn to do things for themselves — with a ton of positive reinforcement and kisses.
Type 3, The Achiever / Performer
"The Achiever, as the name suggests, likes to set goals and hit targets. They are the success-oriented, image-conscious, and driven type. They are almost always excellent at everything that they do — there’s no other way to be, for Three," as per The World Counts.
This is actually my second most dominant trait. I've taken the test a few times, and sometimes I'm a six, and sometimes I'm a three. It's hard being a three parent because we have a tendency to put our goals on our children, even if their goals are much different. Threes need to step back and evaluate if they're helping or hurting when they do this.
Type 4, The Individualist
Individualists are their own people, and aren't afraid to show it. "People of this personality type tend to build their identities around their perception of themselves as being somehow different or unique; they are thus self-consciously individualistic," according to Eclectic Energies.
Elizabeth Wagele wrote in The Enneagrams of Parenting that "while Fours have a lot to give in terms of insight, creativity, and warmth, they also need to support their children’s interests, whatever they are. Fours can emotionally overwhelm children who are not at home in their world of feelings."
Type 5, The Investigator
Investigators are cerebral, inquisitive, and perceptive. They will be the ones who make sure that their kids aren't talking to jerks on Fortnite and what all the gossip is on the new karate teacher. This type is the one you went to when you wanted to find out about the guy you were dating, and now they're the one you call when your child overhears that a kid at school is allergic to citrus. They'll find out everything there is to know, educate their children on what's most important, and scare away random oranges from the fruit salad.
But they do have a tendency to go overboard, so it's a balance between safety and privacy for these parents.
Type 6, The Loyalist
The Enneagram Institute wrote that loyalists are "the committed, security-oriented type: engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious."
As parents, our baby gates have baby gates, and we're the only ones who can open them. My husband and I are both type sixes, and we can count on one hand the times we've hired a babysitter who wasn't related to us. Needless to say, this can be a bit smothering to our children. My son actually said to me yesterday, "I'm not actually going to die if I forget to brush my teeth." In my head, I was thinking, "but why risk it?"
Type 7, The Adventurer
Sevens are risk takers. They're always looking for adventure, and have a ton on fun during their time on this earth. Wagele wrote, "Sevens like having playful children. But if the children are very serious, worried, or aggressive, Seven parents have to make big adjustments." Not all kids will go with the flow or be as bombastic as Sevens tend to be.
Type 8, The Challenger
The World Counts wrote, "The Challenger or Warrior is the strong and dominating type. They are natural leaders, self-confident, and assertive. This Alpha-type personality depends on no one, and never shows signs of vulnerability."
This can be a hard place to be as a parent, especially when you're trying to raise well-rounded children in an emotionally safe space, where they feel they can be vulnerable. Eights will have a hard time leading by example in this arena.
Type 9, The Peacemaker
Nines want everyone to get along — they can be self-effacing and gentle. Agreeable caregivers, they are very in tune with their kids. Wagele noted that "many Nines have a knack for being able to perceive and enter the world of a child. They can provide enormous warmth and understanding." However, they have challenges with discipline. "Nine parents may need to work on following through with their children and being able to say no," she wrote.