We recently looked at Enneagram Type 7 — Enthusiast Moms. Today we are exploring the world of Enneagram Type 8 Challenger moms. These moms are the protectors of the group. Here are some ways Challenger Moms can use their naturally protective personalities to become the best versions of themselves.
Enneagram Type 8 Moms—The Challenger Mom
Enneagram 8s are usually decisive, aggressive, and confrontational, but they seek justice. They value protecting themselves and being in control of their destiny. They fear being weak, powerless, harmed, or controlled by others. Here are some helpful parenting tips for enneagram type 8s:
1. Accept that you are in charge of yourself (and no one else).
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
Enneagram 8s tend to fear losing control of their own lives and decisions and often try to control everything around them to protect themselves or their families. The sooner you realize that you only have responsibility for and control over your actions and decisions, the better. Trying to control anything beyond your own choices and circumstances will prove futile and exhausting for you and your kids.
2. Don’t overwhelm your kids with control.
“Listen to the desires of your children. Encourage them and then give them the autonomy to make their own decision.” – American motivational speaker, Denis Waitley
As protectors, Enneagram 8s often struggle to let go of control over uncertain situations, especially when they involve their family members. Remember that you will not always be around to watch over and make decisions for your children. Your primary role as their parent is to teach them how to care for themselves and make their own decisions one day. Gradually give your kids more autonomy to make bigger and bigger decisions for themselves as they grow in maturity and gain independence.
3. Get comfortable with disagreement.
“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill
Enneagram 8s are steadfast protectors. They enjoy a good argument for the sake of streamlining a decision and are uniquely able to be persistent in those arguments. Remember that disagreement is not synonymous with disrespect. You will never be able to make everyone, including your children, agree with your opinions or heed your advice, no matter how well-meaning, all the time. Learning to handle conflict and embrace diversity calmly is necessary for emotional maturity.
4. Learn to be patient.
“Patience is not passive, on the contrary, it is concentrated strength.” – Bruce Lee
As a parent who is an enneagram 8, learn to be patient. Your kids don’t always have to agree with you. Like the adults around you, children are entitled to their own differing opinions. Teach your kids how to calmly discuss contention points by treating them with respect and expecting them to treat you with respect in every conversation, heated or not. Patience will serve them well in building healthy relationships with others as they grow.
5. Teach your kids how to be vulnerable.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – Author, speaker, podcast host, social worker, shame researcher, and University of Houston professor, Brené Brown, Ph.D.
As Challengers, enneagram 8s tend to struggle with being vulnerable because they fear being weak or powerless. Remember that vulnerability is an outpouring of strength, not weakness. Only the bravest people can show their authentic selves, flaws and all, to others. Being honest and transparent about our fears and our feelings with our kids (in an appropriate amount for their age level) requires courage. Yet, it can also produce immense freedom and build mutual trust between you and your children.
6. Show your kids how to choose kindness.
“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” – American rabbi, Harold S. Kushner
Enneagram 8s value justice but can sometimes come across as aggressive and direct rather than gentle and warm. Model acting justly by always treating others with kindness and respect. Extend more grace than judgment whenever possible, beginning with your treatment of yourself. Your kids will likely follow your lead in their interactions with you and others, so teach by example. Kindness usually speaks louder than reproach.
Next, read about Enneagram Type 9–The Peacemaker Moms!
If you don’t know your Enneagram type yet and want to find out, it’s as easy as taking a test online here. You can read through The Enneagram Institute’s descriptions of the nine types here. There is also a free enneagram-type test available through Your Enneagram Coach here.