Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Enneagram of Parenting - A Review

A friend recently recommended I read "The Enneagram of Parenting" by Elizabeth Wagele because I was struggling with the fact that discipline strategies that I use on one kid do not work well with the other kid. The book helps you to identify your child as one of nine different types and gives a little insight their habits and behaviors. The point of the book is not to pigeon-hole your child into a static, limited identity, but, as my friend pointed out, it helps to understand that your way is not the only way to relate to the world.

The nine types are:
1. The Perfectionist
2. The Helper
3. The Achiever
4. The Romantic
5. The Observer
6. The Questioner
7. The Adventurer
8. The Asserter
9. The Peacemaker

Each type gets a chapter and the book starts each chapter with a quiz that helps you determine whether you or your child are that type. After the eight-question quiz, there are plenty of cartoons that illustrate each type in humerus ways. Toward the end of the chapter there is a section called "Approaching Ten Common Problems with a Child in the _______ Style". This section talks about each type's challenges with such topics as getting to school on time, study habits, manners, getting along with others, decision making, and more.

It turns out that I am a Perfectionist and my husband laughed out loud when I read the quiz that acts as a description for it. As a child I willingly did chores, cleaned my plate and took school work seriously without external pressure. I was (and am) an idealistic leader who likes to share knowledge with others.

My older son is a Romantic, who tends to be melancholy and has feelings that are easily hurt. He has a strong sense of the dramatic and likes to engage in fantasy play. He is a creative, soulful humanitarian. He reacts well to a rational heart-to-heart talk after a cooling down period and I have learned to ride out his dramatic side without getting sucked into it.

My younger son was harder to peg and I read the book for the express purpose of learning how to better parent him! He was a little bit of everything, which didn't help me. A time out for him only serves to fuel his anger, not cool it off. He is also very physical and is not one to talk it out - he'd rather duke it out. But he is also very loving and loves to be with his family the most.

The book is a quick, interesting read that helps to understand others and relate to them in better ways. I would have preferred a lot more examples of kids in each type and more specific strategies for dealing with each type, but I did enjoy the book and it spurred a lot of good conversation about parenting and personalities in our house.

1 comment:

  1. Your son can be an 8, the Asserter - and sometimes 6s, particularly males, can look very much like 8s. There are many books out there that go into more depth and can bring clarity. Even though it isn't advisable to try to peg your children (better to give them the tools to come to it on their own later on!) it is VERY helpful to see that there are many approaches to life and many ways to view the world, and that not everyone needs the same things. So true!