Safety-seeking, risk averse and sometimes lacking self-confidence – these are the qualities that define an Enneagram Six. But do their traits make them anxious parents?
Read on to learn how Enneagram 6s can be balanced and secure parents without feeling overwhelmed.
How do Enneagram 6s parent?
As parents, Enneagram Sixes go the extra mile to prepare for their baby’s arrival. They’re motivated to keep their family safe and will research the best prams, cribs and baby items to purchase. They’ll stay informed on the best ways to help their babies reach their growth milestones and ensure they child-proof their home (triple-checking that it’s safe!).
As their children grow, Sixes are supportive and always there for their children. They’re the reliable parents who’ll be on the sidelines of all their kids’ soccer games. And they won’t miss opportunities to show up for their children, even if this means rushing to the shops late at night to purchase art supplies or losing sleep to bake cookies for a school event.
As a parent who’s an Enneagram 6 type, you have many positive traits that make you a great mom or dad. But you have to ensure anxiety doesn’t get the better of you.
What turns Sixes into anxious parents?
As a Six, you tend to put your children’s needs over yours. While this can be good, it can also cause anxiety. You risk burning yourself out or neglecting your self-care.
This becomes more problematic if your protective streak causes you to be hands-on with your parenting all the time. For example, you may refuse to hire a babysitter or even let your partner or parents help you carry the parenting load.
As your children grow, your anxiety might also grow. At some point, your kids will begin to test their independence and crave more freedom. You might experience fears about your children getting into dangerous situations or making incorrect choices.
While this is normal for every parent, as a Six, you struggle to loosen the parenting reins because you feel comfortable in predictable situations. When something is uncertain, it makes alarm bells sound loudly. Although your need for security is grounded in good intentions, such as protecting your children, it can backfire. They could feel smothered or controlled, or they could take on your anxieties.
Areas for growth
As a Six, you might experience difficulty controlling your anxious thoughts, such as those related to worst-case scenarios. Over time, these anxious thoughts can become a habit, causing you to become pessimistic or controlling of your children.
Trying to be more mindful of your anxious or negative thoughts is healthy. Challenging them with positive and/or rational thoughts can help you gain more perspective on situations that cause stress.
For example, you might fear that allowing your 10-year-old to sleep over at their best friend’s house could be dangerous. Remind yourself that you know their best friend and you’ve spoken to their mom, who will be looking after them. This can help you see that there’s no reason to worry so much.
What Type 6s can learn from other Enneagram types
There are some helpful parenting tips you can learn from other Enneagram types.
Enneagram Fours are parents who strive to ensure their children are creative and free! They resist conformity. Although this is a great way to encourage greater individuality in their kids, it’s also important for children to have structure in their lives.
As a Six, you’ve nailed giving your children structure, but draw inspiration from a Four parent by allowing your kids to get in tune with their emotions and needs. Fours are skilled at doing this while encouraging their kids to turn to them when they require some guidance. Fours also try to expose their kids to different interests from an early age so that they grow up with open minds.
- Get into the daily habit of asking your children about their thoughts, opinions and feelings.
- Allow your kids to have freedom in small doses. For example, you might not feel ready to let your child spend the entire night at their best friend’s house, but perhaps you could start by letting them spend an afternoon there. Baby steps!
Type Sevens are the fun, easygoing parents who strive to be positive and enthusiastic around their kids. Sevens enjoy sharing new experiences with their kids, whether trying new foods or going on fun adventures. While Sevens could bring a bit more structure and routine into their kids’ lives, Sixes can learn from their enthusiastic and creative approach to parenting.
- Focus on the present moment. Don’t let a fear of the future get in the way of the present. Choose to engage in fun activities with your kids, so they can have new adventures while bonding with you.
- Tune into your gut feeling instead of anxiety. Although you might have strong instincts and intuition, fear can overshadow them. Meditate regularly so that you don’t let fear get in the way. Meditation stills your mind so you can better tune into your intuition.
Enneagram Nines are peaceful and accepting of their kids’ personalities and individualism. Sometimes, this is taken too far, causing Nines to lack boundaries. Sixes, by contrast. are skilled at securing boundaries - they can learn greater acceptance from Nines.
- Reach out for parenting help. If you can’t always silence your fears, you can prevent them from spilling over to your kids by letting another adult take the wheel sometimes. For example, you might not like the idea of giving your teen driving lessons, but your partner could do it instead.
- Ask questions. If your child wants to do something that you fear is dangerous or wrong, instead of immediately telling them “No!” ask open-ended questions to determine why they feel so strongly about it. This helps you become more mindful and accepting while ensuring your kids feel heard. And, when you can see that your child has thought through things properly, you’ll feel more trusting of them making their own decisions.
Enneagram 6s are loyal and reliable. This makes them caring parents, but sometimes their need for predictable, safe situations can turn them into anxious helicopter parents. By adopting healthy habits, such as learning how to deal with their anxieties, Sixes can raise healthy, happy children and enjoy the parenting journey.
Giulia Thompson is an Italian-South African freelance writer and editor with several years of experience in print and online media. She lives in a small town in South Africa with her husband and three cats. She loves reading, writing, and watching thrillers. As an Enneagram Type 4, she’s creative and loves surrounding herself with beauty.