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At its core, the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.
– The Enneagram Institute Website

In Episode 104, I’m chatting with my daughter Meredith who–like me–enjoys learning more about herself and other people. The tool we discuss most is the Enneagram, which Meredith discovered last year through her employer and introduced to me and the rest of our family.

Big Ideas

  • It is important for parents, and anyone who works with kids, to be self-aware.
  • Understanding personality types can help us to create healthier relationships because it affects the way we view the behavior of others, as well as our own reactions in different situations.
  • Empathy increases when we are more aware of other people’s tendencies.
  • Each relationship is unique based on personality types. It is the parent’s responsibility to adjust and to figure out where the child is coming from.
  • Noone can be defined by one personality test or type but learning about the different characteristics and identifying with types can be extremely informative.
  • We can’t accurately assess other people’s types just by observing their behavior. Personality test results are personal and best used for self-reflection.
  • Being self-aware helps us identify our weaknesses and strengths in relation to achieving our goals and in our relationships with others.

The Nine Enneagram Types in their Family Roles

Ones: family perfectionists

Twos: family helpers

Threes: family stars

Fours: Shed light on family problems

Fives: family experts

Sixes: move between building family unity and rebelling against the family unit

Sevens: family cheerleaders

Eights: family protectors

Nines: family peacemakers

 

Quotes

Audrey: “The theme of this podcast is about the importance for parents and anyone who works with kids to know themselves because your own self-awareness has a huge impact on how you view the behavior of others.”

Audrey: ” You can have more compassion when you understand where other people come from and it changes your view of why they do something that may annoy you or that kind of thing.”

Audrey: “As parents, we are different with each of our kids because our kids each have different personalities. It’s our responsibility to adjust and not our kids.”

Meredith: “I do think that the Enneagram, and with most personality quizzes once you find out what you are, you sometimes don’t want to be that. I think its easier to focus on the downsides of that personality type and look at the good sides of other personality types.”

Audrey: “Remember, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy.'”

Audrey: “The more I’ve read about my type, the more it has freed me from some of my frustrations with myself. It has given me a better understanding of why I’ve done some of the things I’ve done and why I am the way I am. It actually makes me feel a little better.”

Audrey: “I like the whole idea that there are some things that just make me kind of unique and just because I don’t do something the same way or view things the same way, it’s still okay.”

Audrey: “I just think that self-awareness is a really important part of social intelligence and a lot of us don’t have it. I really don’t think I did until a few years ago when I started doing more strengths testing, this Enneagram, and the four tendencies. It’s like all this stuff kind of comes together like a puzzle of self-awareness.”

Meredith: “It’s a tool for yourself and maybe for your close family members and friends so that they can understand you better. It’s not something that you go around asking people, ‘What’s your Enneagram number?’ because sharing your numbers, sharing how you think, your weaknesses, the different lies you believe about your self, is actually quite personal.”

Audrey: “You really have to read the book to understand for sure the one (type) you are because oftentimes depending on how healthy you are and what you’re doing, you may look like a different number.”

Audrey: “You really can’t tell about someone else because you don’t know what’s going on inside of them.”

Meredith: “Being aware of Enneagram numbers has helped me to empathize with the way other people were thinking and for them to understand me, as well. It has made me more aware of myself and for example, how I can come off to others, even when I don’t think I’m coming off as critical.”

Meredith: “It is helpful to be aware of the way my brain is wired, that I need to actively work to give myself grace, to be aware of my thought patterns so that I can see when I’m starting to be in a state of stress or a state of health because I’m taking on those qualities.”

Audrey: “For me, I’m prone to not rest in my emotions long or deep enough and that came out in the last few years with problems in my body. Like in my shoulder, my knee, I would always have some huge pain and it was because I had internal pain that I wasn’t dealing with.”

Meredith: “Read an introductory level book. It’s most helpful to read the descriptions in-depth and identify with one. I think that’s more helpful than just taking a quiz and having it spit out an answer for you.”

Meredith: “You move around on the Enneagram a lot, sometimes to lots of different ones depending on if you’re in a state of stress or security. So it’s not like your number is locked in. You move around to your wings and then to other numbers too. It’s normal to identify with lots of different qualities, but I think it’s when you really identify with one number, you found the right one.”

Audrey: “It’s fun to take them because any little insight that you gain is just more self-awareness.”

Meredith: “You have to give yourself grace because it’s not like you can know what Enneagram or personality types all your kids or family members have, especially when kids are changing and forming in different ways. I think it’s good just to be aware, but don’t be too hard on your self.”

Audrey: “There can be certain personalities that may bring out your not-great parts, like when your kid has a personality that’s so different from yours or one that clashes with yours. That can be really hard as a parent.”

Audrey: “A lot of parents have pain when they don’t feel their relationship is really strong with one of their kids. But there is always reparation, especially if you take the time to learn a little bit more about each other and figure it out.”

 

Books We Discussed

 

 


Different Personality, Strengths, and Tendencies Assessments

The Enneagram is one of many different assessments that can give you more self-awareness. Here are some other popular options:

Myers-Briggs

Read more about Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies or take her quiz to find out yours!

Related Posts & Podcast Episodes

Ep. 28: Focusing on our Kids’ Strengths

4 Ways to Focus on our Kids’ Strengths

Celebrating Strengths

Ep. 75: Begin with the (Parenting) End in Mind

Ep. 59: 5 Ways to Help Kids Thrive during their School Years and Beyond

Ep. 97: Parenting the Challenging Child

#oneword

My One Word for 2019: Focus

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“It is remarkable to witness what happens when kids think and talk about a strength, often for the first time identifying it in themselves, and then learn how they can use that strength in different settings. When given a name to a part of themselves they recognize and intuitively know, kids gain a vocabulary to talk about themselves more positively.”

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