Back to School Parenting Tips for Each Enneagram Type

Blog Post Graphic Back to School Parenting Tips for Each Enneagram Type

Today we are going to be talking all about the back to school strengths that the nine different types bring, and some of the potential hangups to watch out for! So I hope you’re excited for this! As I was thinking about the strengths and struggles that we might have as we get into the back to school routine, I was kind of broad-brush thinking about families and the adults in the families who are helping the kids in the families. If this doesn’t apply to you, take what serves; leave what doesn’t. I’m sure you’ll get something out of this, though, either way. Let’s dive into type one.

Type One

A strength that you have, Type One, is probably the organization and preparation piece of back to school; having a process in place and lists on lists on lists… all the lists! Organization, in general, can be a really big strength for a type one.

Where that can become a struggle is when that organization becomes rigid and has no bend or flow to it, because life is probably not going to look the way that you might imagine and envision it going into this season, where things are going to fall perfectly into place. There’s going to be frustration! So learn to bend to what the family needs, and adjust the routine, fill in the cracks, go with the flow a little bit…All of that can be really helpful for a type one.

Type Two

One of the strengths that a type two can really have is making sure that everyone feels supported and encouraged heading back to school. Twos often ask themselves things like, how is this going to look for them? How can I support them? How can I make this an experience, and a beautiful one? How can I help this person feel ready and excited and encouraged as they’re going into that?
And that’s a beautiful strength!

Sometimes that strength, though, can turn into the struggle of over-volunteering, spending too much personal energy, taking the load off of everyone else even if they’re able to (and should!) take on some of these other responsibilities of their own. If there is something that they are able, and even have the desire, to do as they’re growing up and gaining a little more of that autonomy. As a type two, it will be really important this school year to be careful to share that load and create appropriate boundaries/expectations that fit the needs of the family without trying to be all (even when that has a beautiful reason.)

Type Three

Type three has a lot of strengths when it comes to this back to school routine: efficiency, being your kids’ cheerleader, and helping people get excited for what’s to come, and encouraging your family to just do their best.

One of the struggles that a type three can have is moving too quickly to the next thing, being “on mission” and and letting efficiency and speed take over when some of the people in your family might need to go at a slower pace, or might want to ponder and think about and make the slower choices.

As a type three, accommodating different speeds as appropriate is going to be really important, and letting everybody have the speed that they want to have, recognizing that your speed is not always the right speed, even if there is a deadline (and keep in mind, you might be making up some of these deadlines yourself, so knowing where they are made up and where they are fixed is going to help everybody move at their own pace and still get everything done when it actually needs to be done.)

Type Four

I think that there’s something beautiful about a type four moving into a new season, because as your children are growing, or as something in your family has changed, you are able to help your kids express themselves and feel out who they are. As kids grow up in school there is so much different from one year to the next, and a type four is able to be that support and allow that change, letting the children just be themselves, and that is a really beautiful strength.

As a type four, you might feel yourself able to move into that new thing with them instead of trying to hold them back. There may still be some of that nostalgia as you remember how they were when they were younger, but type four’s strength is the ability to see and celebrate who they are right now.

Fours also make space for all of the back-to-school emotions that come up and are really empathetic for their kids’ feelings in the transition.

One of the struggles a four might have would be losing track of all the tiny things that need to happen, the more boring or monotonous things, like signing papers; because of the big picture, which is so beautiful, that can sometimes keep your eyes off of the little things. And so for type four, it can really help to create a plan of how to manage and accomplish those things while you focus on the beautiful things. The boring things are there, so remember to mind your “B’s and B’s”, the “Beautifuls and the Borings” and give yourself a plan to be able to do all of it.

Type Five

Some of the strengths that type five brings into back to school season is helping kids find new interests and follow the threads of those interests, whether it’s history or musical theater or STEM, and helping them figure out where they want to go in this next season in following those interests. Helping kids get excited about learning is a really great strength that a type five can bring!

Some of the struggles could be feeling overwhelmed by all the energy it takes to not only keep up with school, but a new routine! There is more energy expenditure in getting the hang of things and the learning curve of figuring out how all of the pieces of life going to fit together again.

Stripping back extra stuff as you can, or adding on in layers, if you can, can be a big help for type fives in this season. Looking ahead, what are going to be some of the things you are going to need to have in place? Is there a way for you to start practicing that routine, or parts of it, as appropriate? Many people will do a practice day before school starts, and that could be really helpful for you as a type five as you think about what it is going to take out of you to start the new season.

Type Six

Type Six, some of the strengths that you bring to the table is knowing where people need to be, when. You are probably a walking calendar, working out a plan to keep everybody on track, reminding people and making sure they know where they need to be. This is good and helpful! Sometimes, though, this is taking on mental labor that is not yours, or it is continuing to hold that mental labor, even after someone is available and capable of taking on that mental labor and the responsibility for it. And so , Type Six, you might start to feel overwhelmed by responsibility, resenting that it’s all on you, especially that mental load of “just making sure”, which probably feels really heavy! So type six, I want to remind you that you’ve got this; you’re probably very, very good at the mental labor… but you don’t have to do it. You don’t have to do it all.

It can feel like if you don’t do it, it won’t be done, but trusting yourself and your people, delegating well and letting some things get messed up as the people in your family learn, can be really helpful! Trust yourself, and trust them that even when you, or they, mess up or something falls through the cracks, things will still be okay. Everybody will learn, and everybody, as a family unit, will get better at holding up what’s theirs to hold up. You don’t have to hold it all up!

We can all get stuck in the mindset that “everything is all up to me”, but the truth is that we likely have an incredible village just waiting to support us and help us! Another helpful schooltime practice for you could be just listing out who your support people are, and who do you have to turn to if you do start feeling that overwhelm. You’ve got this; but it, it isn’t all on you.

Type Seven

Type Seven, some of the strengths that you probably naturally gravitate towards is getting hyped! Planning for things like spirit week, extracurriculars, group projects…helping kids look forward to some of the things that might need to happen, and getting into it, being your kid’s like biggest cheerleader as they’re doing it! You are very good at helping them feel ready and excited.

Some of the struggles that a type seven might have is feeling overwhelmed by all of the different things brought home and all of the different communication that needs to happen. All of the details of school, life, those extracurriculars, and having to plan all this stuff can feel really overwhelming when you stop and look at it, so you might find yourself not wanting to look at it! But then the pile of things that you are not looking at can start to get bigger, and even more overwhelming.

So, Type Seven, work on not avoiding the overwhelm, but instead deter and mitigate. Figure out what is important and try to do those things early in the process when it comes to your attention, not leaving it, or trying not to do it. There will be a whole bunch of stuff you won’t know if you can let go of unless you look at it and categorize it, so keep that overwhelm “mountain” down by not even letting things get there. That’s my hope for you, Type Seven; to avoid that overwhelm and make back to school something that’s enjoyable.

Type Eight

Type eight, your strength is delegating, being able to know how people fit into the puzzle of what needs doing and assigning them to their place. You are also very good at getting everyone where they need to be. You can probably just look at the schedule and automatically know exactly how to get everyone where they need to be without a problem.

Where that can turn into a struggle is when you become a bit of a task master, especially when other people aren’t on the same wavelength or they don’t understand the setup, or even question your way of doing things. If a type eight is not in the best place, that can turn into a push-and-pull.

So as a type eight, try to accommodate the different ways that people in the family might do things, the different speeds or priorities that they might have as it allows for what needs doing. Everybody, especially as they get older, will have really valid perspectives of how things need to go, and the give and take can be really fruitful in creating something that works for the whole family, as long as you’re allowing for those different perspectives to not only be said and understood, but actually influence the plan.

Type Nine

One of the strengths that a type nine has is letting the little things go: when the routine gets overwhelming, when someone is nitpicking or having a bad day, Type Nine’s are great at letting those little things go and moving forward.

There is this beautiful absorbency that you can have sometimes…but when you are bombarded with so many little tiny pricks, it does eventually start to bleed. Sometimes there are things that should be brought up, or boundaries that should be put in place. My encouragement to type nine is that while being able to go with the flow and help people feel accommodated, seen, and heard is a beautiful strength, it can be helpful to have some boundaries and hold them so that, so that those tiny pokes don’t turn into attacks that are not addressed. Being safe for the safe people is going to be really important, but don’t force yourself to be safe for unsafe behavior. You don’t need to be the punching bag of everybody who’s trying to learn this new routine and is feeling the friction and discomfort of a new routine. You can be someone who is a safe space for them without being safe to punch. That’s my hope for you, Type Nine.

Encouragement for All Types

As an additional encouragement for every type as you enter this back-to-school season, remember that you are often the safe space for your kids to vent their emotions at. You being their safe space for them to vent those unwanted emotions to (while we may not want those pointed at us!) says something pretty cool about being their safe space.

You are not doing something wrong if your kids do this; honestly, you’re probably doing something right, because they feel safe to honestly tell you how they are feeling about all of the changes and emotions that come with a new school year!

And as a last reminder for all types, it is easy for anybody to forget, in the craziness of all the school things, that each of our people are going to have different perspectives, needs, and energy levels. There are times to just do what’s best for the majority, but it can be such a gift if we just pause for a moment and tune in to each family member and find a way to make sure that nobody is getting consistently sacrificed to the needs of the routine/plan.

Finally, as you enter this new school year, remember that each of you are so important, and you are the MVPs! It can be hard to believe in the early weeks of school, when everything is upside down, inside out, and just topsy-turvy, but remember that God chose you to be these kids’ parents, in this season, with this school, and you are probably doing better than you think. All the best; we hope it is a beautiful back to school time for each of you.

Mentioned in the episode:

Mary’s Loving Lately – Canva

Kim’s Loving Lately – EltaMD Sunscreen


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