How Your Personality Type Impacts Your Parenting

personality type

Parenting is completely out of my comfort zone. I’m in love with efficiency, strategy, metrics, annual reviews, and sleep. You know, all the things that motherhood is not. When I first became a parent, I felt like I was the worst mom ever. Why couldn’t I be more nurturing? Why did I care so much about efficiency and achieving goals?

It wasn’t until I knew my Enneagram personality type that I understood why motherhood was so difficult for me.

The Enneagram is is an ancient personality typing system designed to help people understand who they are and what makes them tick.

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If you’re struggling in motherhood, I highly recommend finding out your Enneagram type first, then reading this post. You’ll learn where you shine and struggle as a mama and healthy habits for becoming the mom God created you to be.

Click here for a listing of 31 truths that you’ll want to share with your kids no matter your personality type.

Please know that I’m not an Enneagram expert, merely a lover of it. What I present to you is based on my own research, feedback from moms, and peer review.

personality type

Personality Type 1: The Perfectionist

Ones are ethical, principled, and serve with integrity. You get mad at yourself for not measuring up and become resentful when you feel you could have done better. Your inner critic is the loudest of all the types.

Where you shine: As a mama, you’re organized, consistent, and fair. You instill a sense of right, wrong, and moral duty into your children. You’re on the constant search for goodness.

Where you struggle: Because you want everything to be just right, you have a hard time handling imperfections, including all those Legos left out on the floor. To handle the external chaos, you cling to rules as a security blanket, desperately try to control your circumstances and the behavior of others, and you’re less likely to err on the side of grace.

Healthy Habits:
1. Remember daily that you’re not designed to be perfect but to know Perfect. God delights in you and sings over you, even in your less-than-perfect moments (Zechariah 3:17).
2. Take 10 minutes each day for fun + play with your kids. Take a walk around the block, have a dance party in the living room, or play basketball in the driveway.
3. Practice giving grace to those who leave Legos on the floor and to yourself as you navigate days that don’t go as planned.

Words to encourage you:
How to stop beating yourself up after you make a mistake
When being right is wrong
Six things we miss when we’re too busy being perfect

Personality Type 2: The Helper

Twos are gracious and generous, and they easily give of themselves. As a two, you’ve got an intuitive ability to recognize the needs of those around you. However, you have a hard time naming your own needs because acknowledging them can trigger shame that you have needs at all.

Where you shine: As a mama, you’re kind, warm, and empathetic. There is no doubt in your child’s mind that they are loved, heard, and valued. Of all the Enneagram types, you form the strongest connections with people, which means that you know your kids inside and out.

Where you struggle: Because you want to help and do All The Things, you can become overwhelmed and exhausted. You also have a hard time taking stock of your own needs, so you can feel deflated and resentful when others don’t appreciate all you’re doing for them. Lastly, your kids may interpret all your attention as smothering, which can cause you to double down and become even more controlling.

Healthy Habits:
1. Take time to remember daily that God designed us to have needs, not to be self-sufficient or constantly giving. (Acts 17:24-25)
2. Review All The Things you’re doing. What can be cut out? What will you not say “yes” to in the future? What current request can you say “no” to? When are you spending time with God? If not, set a routine just for you right now.
3. Spend time with a safe person in your life to talk about what needs you have and outline a plan to help meet those needs.

Words to encourage you:
Why disregarding your own needs is the worst
Three destructive lies people-pleasers believe
When doing All The Things for God wears you out

Personality Type 3: The Achiever

Threes are all about truth and integrity. Your competitive nature allows you to achieve virtually anything you set your mind to. However, you believe that achievement equals worth, so you’re always on the hunt to validate your importance.

Where you shine: As a mama, you’re consistent, optimistic, dependable, organized, and responsible. Threes are excellent at knowing the end result they want (like what kind of children you want to raise), and you’ll strategize ways to move your kids that direction. You also instill a sense of hard work in your children.

Where you struggle: Because you have an inner drive to make progress, you can push your kids to the limit with an over-committed schedule. The term “Tiger Mom” may have been created for you. It’s hard for threes to view their children as gifts when they seem like impediments to all you want to do today. Parenting can be a struggle for you because there are no measurable signs of success. If you work outside the home, you may find yourself disengaging with your kids because work can give you the recognition and approval you crave.

Healthy Habits:
1. Remember daily that God doesn’t value you for your achievements but for the fact that you’re His daughter. Nothing you can do or not do can change His love for you. (Ephesians 3:16-18)
2. Take time to have fun! It’s so easy to obsess about the checklist, so relax and enjoy your people as God’s gifts to you.
3. Ease up on the pressure you put yourself under to accomplish everything on your to-do list.

Words to encourage you:
Why motherhood is hard for me
5 things I really don’t want you to know about me
If you think productivity proves your worth, you’re wrong

Personality Type 4: The Individualist

Fours are all about individuality, emotions, and expression. You are constantly on the lookout for beauty, and you can see it wherever you look. However, you ache to be understood and can over-identify with your flaws, so you feel like you never quite fit in.

Where you shine: As a mama, you are empathetic, honest, and eager to show physical affection. You instill a love of creativity and imagination in your children. You’re not afraid of a mess or a hard conversation, and you love to help your children navigate their emotions.

Where you struggle: Because you feel so deeply, your children may be overwhelmed by your emotional displays. You also cannot stand being interrupted. Your kids’ schedules plus a disdain for routine can lead you to feeling overwhelmed, which can cause you to shut down completely.

Healthy Habits:
1. Learn how to experience your God-given emotions while you’re tethered to Him so you can discern whether what you’re feeling is truth or not. (Malachi 2:15-16)
2. Be present with your kids, and stay curious about who they are.
3. Since your children don’t need to see you express every emotion you’re feeling, find a friend, counselor or listening ear.

Words to encourage you:

How we tragically misunderstand Jesus’ command to deny ourselves

5 questions to ask when you’re overwhelmed by basic life responsibilities

Questions to help you assess where you are right now

Personality Type 5: The Investigator

Fives are all about information, knowledge and wisdom. You love understanding reality and how things work. You’re a minimalist by nature, but your brain is filled with problem-solving and analytical thoughts.

Where you shine: As a mama, you critically think through your children’s problems, and you’re a wonderful teacher. You instill in your child a love for learning and how to think outside the box. You’re great at connecting with older kids.

Where you struggle: Because your mind is always going at warp speed, you struggle to make connecting with your kids a priority. You also feel protective of your energy, which may manifest itself in withdrawing from others and social commitments. It’s easy for you to feel drained by the demands on your time, space, and energy, so parenting littles is especially hard for you.

Healthy Habits:
1. Take time to remember daily that God is the only one who is omniscient, and He has every answer you need. (Psalm 139)
2. Prioritize pockets of time for you to recharge. If possible, build alone time into your daily routine.
3. Remember that when things don’t go as you planned or you can’t figure out a solution, it’s good to give yourself grace.

Words to encourage you:

The working mom’s guide to a quiet time

Why is her’s bigger than mine?

Personality Type 6: The Loyalist

Sixes are all about determination, strength, and support. You are constantly on the lookout for threats, so you prepare and develop support systems to feel safe.

Where you shine: As a mama, you’re nurturing, sensitive, and compassionate. You instill in your children the ability to think through a problem from all sides. Your decisions are never capricious, and your children know how much they’re cared for.

Where you struggle: Because you fear so strongly, you have a hard time allowing your children to fail. The term “Helicopter Parent” may be created for you. You struggle managing the tension between your desire for control and your understanding that failing is how kids learn.

Healthy Habits:
1. Remember daily that God is our ultimate protector and that we can cast every care on Him. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
2. Allow your children to fail, and help them navigate that failure while they’re still at home with you.
3. Trust that God alone is responsible for your child’s outcome and that they are never out of His reach…God’s got this!

Words to encourage you:
4 truths to abandon the weight of worry

A prayer for the worrier

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Personality Type 7: The Enthusiast

Sevens are all about imagination, hope, freedom, and joy. You’re the most energetic of all nine Enneagram Types. You are very busy, which has much to do with your need to avoid pain, and you tend to hate endings and commitment.

Where you shine: As a mama, you love planning fun adventures for your kids. You instill in your children a sense of whimsy and joy. More than any other type, you remember what it’s like to be a kid.

Where you struggle: Because you seek to avoid pain, you choose having adventures and staying busy. You may overreach your children’s ability to keep up with you. Your children may also find you unavailable because you’re always on the go, ready for the next big thing. You have a hard time setting boundaries because you never want to see your kids hurt or disappointed.

Healthy Habits:
1. Remember daily that you don’t have to run from your pain because God is always available to take care of you. (Psalm 50:7-12)
2. Take some time to reflect on your schedule. What are you involved in? Are these activities life-giving to all the different personality types in your family? Is there something you could cut back on?
3. Learn how to set boundaries with consequences—that’s how kids learn grit and how they feel safe. Consequences better equip your children for life.

Words to encourage you:
Aren’t we all this tired?

Busyness isn’t your problem

The unthankful Thanksgiving post

Personality Type 8: The Challenger

Eights are all about strength, determination, and protecting others. You’re a force to be reckoned with. You test the trustworthiness of others by pushing back so you can see what they’re made of. It’s hard for you to not be in control, and you’re prone to outbursts of anger, which aren’t so easily forgotten by others.

Where you shine: As a mama, you’re passionate about your kids and have a strong desire to advocate for their needs. You instill in your children a sense of safety. The term “Mama Bear” may have been created for you. You love to train up your kids, and you’re consistent in your parenting.

Where you struggle: Because your personality is so big, you may overshadow your children and bulldoze them into doing what you want. You have a low tolerance for whining or incompetence, which is a difficult place to be when you have toddlers. Your powerhouse style may prevent your children from expressing their own emotions.

Healthy Habits:
1. Take time every day to remember that only God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, so you don’t have to be. (1 Kings 8:27)
2. Ask yourself if you view your children as projects or gifts. If it’s the former, ask God for the grace to accept them where they are and to love them as they are.
3. Learn how to be okay with others disagreeing with you and with not being in control. If you find that you’re prone to angry outbursts, talk to a trusted friend or counselor for solutions.

Words to encourage you:

Two things that keep me from trusting God

When self-control becomes self-bullying 

Why self-sufficiency is a big old fat lie

Personality Type 9: The Peacemaker

Nines are all about being calm, understanding, and gentle. You’re an excellent referee, but you’d prefer to leave discipline to your spouse. Below your cool exterior is anger that unexpectedly rises to the surface, leaving you embarrassed and stuffing your emotions down even further. You have an incredible ability to see where each side of a situation is coming from, causing you difficulty in forming your own opinion.

Where you shine: As a mama, you are tender, loving, and fun. You instill in your children a sense of safety because you strive for a peaceful home and are very attentive. You’re an excellent listener.

Where you struggle: Because you love peace, you easily overlook offenses and behaviors that actually need to be addressed. You have a low tolerance for chaos, and you’re prone to anger. Enforcing boundaries is hard for you because you want your children to be peaceful and happy, which they won’t be when consequences are put in place.

Healthy Habits:
1. Take time to remember every day that you are fully known and loved by God. (John 4:1-38)
2. Take a course or read a book about conflict resolution so your fear of chaos and discipline is assuaged by practical information.
3. Learn to be okay with the fact that not everyone will be—or needs to be—happy all the time. It’s okay for your children to get upset when you enforce a consequence or confront them on behavior you won’t tolerate.

Words to encourage you
Three destructive lies people-pleasers believe

Why disregarding your needs is the worst

How never disappointing others hurts you

So what’d you think? Was your personality type accurately described? What type are you? Comment below. I love hearing from my people.

And don’t forget: click here for a listing of 31 truths that you’ll want to share with your kids no matter your personality type.

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This article originally appeared at JillEMcCormick.com.


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Jill McCormick
Jill McCormick is the writer behind jillemccormick.com, a blog where she shares common-sense grace with the try-hard girl. Jill’s married to her high school sweetheart Ryan. They live in South Texas with their two daughters, born 18 months apart. Most days you’ll find her with a book in her hand or a podcast in her ears. She starts and ends everyday with sprinkles: on oatmeal for breakfast and on ice cream for dessert.