The Enneagram has been all the rage in the last few years, and as a personality-test junkie, I am on board.
The difference between the Enneagram and other personality tests is that the Enneagram looks at your personality based on how you interact with others. Not only is this a truly fascinating perspective, but it also is the perfect way to get to know yourself better as a parent–after all, as a mother, you’re interacting with (tiny) people all. day. long. Knowing your type can help you understand yourself, your motivations, and your triggers more.
This, in turn, can give you important insight into yourself as a parent and help you use your strengths efficiently. If you’re curious about what your Enneagram type might say about your parenting style, read on.
Ones, as Reformers, have an idealistic perspective of the world—they see it as it should be and strive for it to be that way. They want things to be done correctly and with purpose. As parents, ones can be perfectionists or have high expectations of their kids. Since they believe in order and rules, ones sometimes have strict perspectives on things like color schemes, toys outside of the playroom, or food in the car.
This also means they often instill a strong sense of responsibility in their kids, which sets them up for success later in life. While ones will excel at creating securities with boundaries and healthy discipline, they might struggle with spontaneity, temporary disorder or mess, and avoiding judgment towards other families with alternative perspective.
Twos, as Helpers, have a gift for emotional connection. They pour themselves into others. As parents, twos are caring, giving, and invested in the holistic success of their children. Twos are also warm, caring, and generous and tend to shower their children with treats and affection. They are great at playing with their children and really listening to what they have to say. Children of twos often feel valued and heard.
Twos are also excellent at doling out positive reinforcement in support of their child’s learning, and their children benefit from feeling loved and nurtured. As a result, twos might also have a hard time stepping back when it’s time for their children to step into their own. While they are natural empathizers, twos may step into the “fixer” role whenever their child comes to an obstacle—it’ll be important for them to step back and let their children learn how to endure. Twos also tend to neglect their own needs as it doesn’t come naturally for them to put themselves first—this can lead to burnout or frustration, so it’s vital to carve out time for yourself.
Threes, as Achievers, flourish when accomplishing things. They are driven to excel, love meeting goals and, yeah, achieving in their perceived view of success. As parents, threes are natural cheerleaders and coaches—always pushing their children to be their best. Children of threes are often organized, responsible, and are exposed to a variety of extracurriculars.
Threes are naturally success-oriented, and as a result, they can sometimes push their own goals or visions of success onto their children unwittingly. While some children enjoy pressure and achievement, others might find a hectic schedule exhausting—many others might also feel like they cannot live up to set expectations. It’s important for threes to always step back and reflect on who their cause is serving, especially as children become more aware of their unique desires and goals.
Fours, as Individualists, are exactly that—individualistic. They are imaginative and expressive with a knack for going against the grain. They tend to also fall into their “individualistic” identity, making them image-conscious in the process. As parents, Fours love sharing the things they love with their children and enjoying it alongside them. They are introspective and emotional and encourage their children to be the same way.
Children of fours tend to feel safe to express themselves in whatever way feels best. They grow up with a strong appreciation for arts and creative outlets and have a good grasp on their emotional states and how to discuss them. Fours can sometimes emotionally overwhelm their children though, who may not share the same characteristics as their parents. Four parents can also sometimes undermine how a child might have a need to fit into a social group—talking with your child about how it’s possible to be yourself and connect with others will make for a smoother transition into tween-hood.
Read more: 11 Books to Foster Creativity
Fives, as Investigators, seek deeper connections in the world. They are cerebral, over-thinkers (hi, it me!) and natural teachers. Fives love thinking, questioning, learning, and taking on new projects with their kids. As parents, fives tend to put an emphasis on exploration and discovery and make it a point to travel and expose their children to a variety of ideas and ways of thinking. Fives are usually very patient with curiosity.
Fives prefer toddler and childhood to babyhood, enjoying much of the conversation with the minds of their growing children over the neediness of babies. They can also be prone to introversion, which doesn’t always reflect in their kids (it me, again). Fives need to understand that their kids’ social needs may be different from their own and figure out a way to manage both sets of needs in a way that feels good. They also need to understand that their personal social limits and me-time allowances might ebb and flow during the kids’ younger years.
Read more: It’s OK to Not Love the Newborn Phase
Sixes, as Loyalists, are committed and steady. They strive to protect and secure. As parents, sixes are compassionate and supportive—their kids always feel safe and like they have someone to count on. The six parent is hard-working, dependable, and has a natural tendency towards parenthood.
Sixes can sometimes go overboard in the protection department (even with the greatest intentions), which may result in children feeling smothered. They can also resist letting in alternate caregivers (babysitters, nannies, etc.) or over-babyproof in the same vein of security and caution. When kids start pushing and testing limits, six parents need to work on overcoming their own personal fears and allow their children to grow their own sense of security and independence in order to avoid instilling feelings of mistrust towards others.
Sevens, as Enthusiasts, are fun-loving and and spontaneous. They are full of abundant joy and love creating happy, lasting memories. As parents, Sevens light up the room and always strive to create fun, memorable adventures for their children. They are always in for a good time, and their childlike nature allows them to connect to their children very deeply.
The kids of sevens usually are fearless and joyful, but the frenetic pace of Sevens can overwhelm quieter, less adventurous children. Sevens naturally enjoy taking risks, so if their children are not the same way, as parents, seven parents may have to adjust. Sevens also have a tendency to not be very interested in mundane tasks—cooking, cleaning, housework—and this can parle into a struggle with their partner. They tend to be the “good cop” or “fun parent” in a parenting relationship, which the other partner can view as unfair.
Read more: 6 Ways to Keep Your Family Organized
Eights, as Challengers, are powerful protectors. They are decisive and confident and won’t back down from a confrontation. As parents, eights are leaders—they are firm, and their children learn personal responsibility and accountability and know their parents always have their backs. Eights encourage their children to be tough in the face of challenges and relentless in their pursuit of dreams.
Eights are also natural disciplinarians but are prone to shy away from vulnerability—this becomes difficult if hoping to raise children in an emotionally safe space. Eights, as parents, have to make an effort towards emotional vulnerability as an example for their kids. They might see sensitivity in children as a weakness instead of a strength. Eights tend to have big personalities, and their kids can sometimes feel overshadowed—encouraging their individualities without judgment can go a long way in creating a household balance.
Nines, as Peacemakers, are agreeable and laid back. They tend to go with the flow and take things as they are. As parents, nines are preceptive and understanding and can empathize deeply with the world of their children. They approach problems with creative thinking and humor, and their kids are always free to be who they are. Children of nines always feel supported and understood.
Nines also lean towards peace, which means that they sometimes find it hard to follow through and say no. And in true Peacemaker fashion, they tend to take on the role of conflict-counselor for everyone in the house, which can be emotionally exhausting. Remembering that kids need boundaries and routine will help children of nines develop their sense of self and space to figure out who they are.
Read more: 10 Pieces of Parenting Advice I Actually Use
This article was originally published on July 25, 2019.