How Enneagram Can Help Your Parenting

Wonder why you’re going out with friends to eat sushi even though you hate sushi? You might be a 9 on the Enneagram, the peacemaker, the person in your group who goes along to get along and not make any waves. Sounds like a lot of moms we know.

Enneagram, the centuries-old practice that plots personality into nine distinct types, is having a moment right now. That hot new interest doesn’t surprise Colleen Reed, who has been teaching people how to use it to better understand themselves and others for more than 15 years.

“This is a time of great uncertainty. With so many global challenges … they are all looking for ways to resolve conflict and come together,” says Reed, a certified Enneagram teacher with Enneagram Chicago. “…People are so quick to judge these days. If you understand that everyone is different and they look at the world in a different way, nine different ways, it helps you be more understanding and compassionate.”

Moms can even use it to understand their kids better (though don’t use it on kids until they are older to avoid making them into someone they are not, Reed advises).

“The more you know about yourself, the better mom you can be for sure,” she says. “It truly is a transformative tool. It really does help you to understand other people.”

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Breakdown of the 9 Types

1. The Perfectionist

A strong self-critic who can control emotions. This type is also known for honesty, dependability and common sense, but can also be over-critical and not able to adapt.

2. The Helper

A caring, popular person who excels at supporting others and does what it takes to be liked even if it means changing herself to do it. This type doesn’t do as well with taking care of their own needs.

3. The Performer

Expect this type to be self-assured, ambitious charmers who value how they look to others. On the plus side, they tend to be role models; on the downside, they can be competitive and workaholics.

4. The Romantic

This passionate, emotional type often feels like something is missing, and when they compare themselves to others, they feel envy. They are usually very sensitive and value being authentic.

5. The Observer

This type can appear aloof, but are often very intelligent and analytical. They need lots of time alone to pursue their interests.

6. The Loyal Skeptic

Someone with this type tends to be anxious, over-imagining the worse that can happen, but is loyal, warm and thoughtful. They run on stress while complaining about it.

7. The Enthusiast

This optimistic, fun-loving person seeks adventure with new ideas and experiences and tends to make negatives into positives.

8. The Challenger

This self-confident person tends to be a take-charge person who challenges things seen in an unjust world and doesn’t want to appear vulnerable. They can appear domineering.

9. The Peacemaker

This type is trusting, accepting, usually creative and has a hard time saying “no.” Peacemakers are willing to go along with others to keep the peace.

3 things to extend your knowledge

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This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s August 2020 magazine

Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Chicago Parent Editorial Team
Since 1984, the Chicago Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for Chicagoland families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.
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