Personality tests have been all the rage for the past few years now. You’ve probably heard about popular tests like the Meyers-Briggs or DiSC, among others. But have you heard of the Enneagram? It has become one of the most popular tests and my personal favorite. I’ve been an Enneagram enthusiast for over two years since a friend raved about it and introduced me to it. The Enneagram differs from other personality typing systems because it encourages growth and identifies healthy and unhealthy behaviors within each Enneagram type.
Figuring out your type is just a matter of taking a test online. You can take the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) here for $12 or 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.
If you’re having trouble narrowing down your type after taking a test, look at each type’s core fear and core desire to see which combination resonates with you. This is how I was finally able to narrow down my type. If you’re still unsure, remember that you were probably truest to your type when you were in your twenties.
Knowing your Enneagram type is fun and can bring insight into how you act and react to other Enneagram types and situations. Learning about yourself in this way is also a great way to grow (or perhaps change for the better) as a parent. And we all could use good growth and change, right?
Parenting Tips Based on Your Enneagram Type
Once you’ve discovered yours, here’s the parenting advice you probably need to hear based on each Enneagram type:
Enneagram Type 1 – The Reformer
Enneagram 1s are usually idealistic, perfectionistic, and self-controlled. They are incredibly organized but not exceptionally flexible.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 1, let go of the relentless pursuit of perfection. Give your kids (and yourself) a lot of grace and plenty of space to make mistakes. Remember that we learn best through our failures, not our successes. Be humble and transparent. Always ask your kids for forgiveness when you mess up.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 1
Enneagram Type 2 – The Helper
Enneagram 2s are typically generous, possessive, and strive to please others. They consistently take care of everyone else.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 2, be sure to take care of yourself, too. Don’t neglect your own needs to make your kids and everyone else around you happy. (Because if mama isn’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!) Remember that your family members cannot and will not fill your needs if you never voice them.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 2
Enneagram Type 3 – The Achiever
Enneagram 3s are known to be driven, ambitious, and image-conscious. They live for success.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 3, remember that your worth is not based on what you achieve, nor are your kids’. Be sure to support your children as they follow their own paths. Always give them your recognition regardless of how much or how little public recognition they receive in their endeavors. Learn to love your kids (and yourself) for who they are and not what they accomplish.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 3
Enneagram Type 4 – The Individualist
Enneagram 4s tend to be dramatic, sensitive, and temperamental. They are the most emotionally honest of all the types.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 4, be honest, but don’t overwhelm your kids with your feelings. You are uniquely able to validate your children’s emotions. Be careful not to encourage them to make decisions based solely on those emotions, though. Teach your kids that it’s not healthy to withdraw when they’re in pain.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 4
Enneagram Type 5 – The Investigator
Enneagram 5s are known to be isolated, secretive, and introverted. They value truth and knowledge above all else.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 5, learn to communicate with your kids on their level. Children often need concrete examples that they can relate to, to understand abstract concepts. Break big ideas into smaller pieces and big tasks (like cleaning their rooms) and chores appropriate for their age into smaller steps.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 5
Enneagram Type 6 – The Loyalist
Enneagram 6s are almost always anxious, suspicious, and responsible. They anticipate potential problems before they happen and try to prevent them. (I know because I am a 6.)
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 6, trust your instincts, but don’t let your fear of something going wrong control your decisions. Don’t smother your kids to protect them. You won’t always be in charge. Your kids need to be able to make their own age-appropriate decisions without your fears hanging over them. Prepare them for challenges, but don’t scare your children away from taking healthy risks as they grow.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 6
Enneagram Type 7 – The Enthusiast
Enneagram 7s are typically fun-loving, easily distracted, and scattered. They are the risk-takers and the life of the party.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 7, be present. Your kids don’t need an endless schedule of activities to keep them busy. (In fact, a full itinerary is challenging for many of the other types to maintain.) More than any other extracurricular or social activity, your children need you and your undivided attention regularly. Make sure downtime with your kids is a regular part of your weekly schedule.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 7
Enneagram Type 8 – The Challenger
Enneagram 8s are usually decisive, aggressive, and confrontational, but they seek justice. They enjoy a good argument for the sake of streamlining a decision.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is an 8, 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. Remember that disagreement is not synonymous with disrespect. Teach your kids how to calmly discuss points of contention by treating them with respect and expecting them to treat you with respect in every conversation, heated or not.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 8
Enneagram Type 9 – The Peacemaker
Enneagram 9s tend to be optimistic, trusting, and passive. They, quite literally, keep the peace through their ability to see all perspectives.
Parenting Tip: As a parent who is a 9, stop caring about what other people, including your kids, think. It is okay to say “no” to your kids’ demands and ask for what you need. It’s okay to set boundaries and state your opinions and desires, even when this causes conflict. It’s also fine to rock the boat from time to time. Always be direct when voicing your concerns so your kids don’t have to guess what you mean.
Read more here: Enneagram Type 9
If you want to learn more about the Enneagram, there are many resources to guide you, including finding more of our Enneagram content here. Discovering more about your personality type, especially as it relates to motherhood, can be an invaluable tool in your parenting journey. Learning more about yourself as an individual will always help you become the best mama you can be!