Here are 3 ways three ways to parenting greatness using the Enneagram, even if you don’t know your child’s type. I only discovered the Enneagrams when my youngest was about six, so I missed having the valuable information I might have used to benefit my parenting skills in their earlier years. Still, even from that age, the Enneagrams were invaluable in helping us raise emotionally healthy children.
First of all, I normally advise against typing young children, although in some kids type is very obvious. Children often mimic their peers, and so may adopt characteristics that are not generally associated with their Enneagram type. Being impressionable, you could raise your Three child believing they are a Seven and have certain expectations as a result. (I confess that I have a few embarrassing mis-typings to my name.)
And what if you’re not sure of your child’s type? A Five with a four wing or visa versa? Can the Enneagram still be a helpful parenting tool if you don’t know? The answer is a definite “Yes!” Even more, it can be an extremely helpful guide to you when interacting with your child’s friends. Here’s why:
1: Become aware of your own type
If you know your own Enneagram type, you can see the lens through which you view the world. I can’t stress enough how helpful this is, if you’re up for some healthy self-reflection, (and let’s face it not everyone is). Because with the Enneagrams you’ll need to take the “good” parts of yourself with the well, let’s just say “less than flattering” parts. Understandably, this is probably not comfortable for most of us.
So yes, you may be a fun-loving, upbeat Seven enthusiast, who’ll rate highly as a parent who encourages their child to explore and adventure, but you may find the demands of daily routine of school requirements somewhat frustrating. If you know your type however, you can be aware of your problems with the details of supervising homework etc. and consciously create a plan that does work for you and your child.
2. Look for the positive traits of your type
We can spend so much time focusing on our shortfalls that we can forget all the positive parenting aspects of our type. As a result, it really helps to read up all you can about your type and realize how many gifts you can give your children.
For instance, some of the gifts if you’re a One parent, would be that you give your children structure and boundaries. A type Two, nurturing and the importance of being caring towards others. Threes show children the value in hard work and achievement as a result. Some of the gifts of a Four parent would be the appreciation of beauty and the ability to feel deeply. Fives show their children the importance of observing the world and knowledge, Sixes the ability to see another person’s viewpoint. Sevens show spontaneity and joy, while Eights demonstrate gentle power. Nines with their peaceful presence, acceptance and happiness.
3. Be aware of your negative aspects
In point two above we looked at some of the many positive aspects of each type. Being aware of the less positive ones is a great guide to realise when stress is affecting your level of wellbeing, and consequently your ability to be a great parent. Being conscious that you’re becoming reactive, objectifying your child, or behaving like a drama queen for example, should have your warning lights flashing. But, because of the Enneagram awareness you now can choose to behave differently.
As we grow and learn the Enneagram, this awareness of our behaviour become easier to detect. It becomes a skill if you like that gradually allows us to realise old negative stress-induced traits and conscientiously adopt habits that better serve us and our children. Using these 3 ways to parenting greatness using the Enneagram, we can reach our very best parenting ability.