Parenting Woes And Relationship Advice #03
“Dear Cindy, I think my daughter is Type 4 and she might have suicidal tendencies. She can get into really foul moods at times and can be rather weepy. When I ask her what it is, on good days, she would tell me what bothers her. Usually it has to do with things that I feel do not deserve the emotions that she has poured over it. On bad days, she will just be holed up in her room. She seems just too emotional at times. I’m worried for her future because I don’t think her behavior and mood swings will help her at all in society.”
Type 4s happen to be the most connected to their emotions among all the other types. So much so that sometimes others perceive them as emotionally intense. When they are happy, they are intensely happy; when they are sad, they are intensely sad, etc. This is also why you might see it as “mood swings”, but to Type 4s, it just means that they are being authentic to their feelings, reflecting what they really feel inside. The strength of Type 4s would naturally be empathy. They are very good at understanding how other people feel and could connect with others on a very authentic level.
However, the downside is their actions are regularly tied to how they feel at the moment and this feeling, left unchecked, can lead to a spiral down towards suicide. One of the things you could do to help your daughter be more grounded is to start by listening to her. Take time to understand how she feels and acknowledge that her feelings are valid. After that, show her other perspectives too, and help her develop more objectivity in her thought processes; that sometimes, certain situations could benefit with less emotion but more logical reasoning.
Also, do not attempt to rush away her current state of emotion. Doing so would only put her off from opening up to you and might worsen
the situation. Ask her how much time she needs to process the emotions and gently remind her of the other necessary tasks at hand that needs to be achieved, so that she would be able to balance being authentic to her emotions and still be fruitful in her work and meet deadlines. Usually, Type 4s just need someone to listen to them and understand their feelings, so that they do not feel abandoned in life.
Hope this helps you!
“I have a rather “destructive” son at home. He can’t sit still, and he likes to crash any blocks or toys that his sister has built, just for kicks. (I think he likes the sound.) Yes, I know he is only 5 years old… but after learning the Enneagram from your workshop, I was wondering whether there is any way I could help manage this behavior. From my observation, I think he is a Type 7.”
It’s hard to tell if he is a Type 7 just by your description but let’s just presume that he is a 7 for now. Usually, Type 7s like to experience as much of life as possible. This includes having lots of fun, sensations, excitement, and whatever else the world has to offer. If they are adults, they would be the ones who are frequently busy joining classes to learn new things, meeting new people, trying out new foods, etc. While we do not usually use the Enneagram on little children (because they are too young to profile), you could use some educationally established strategies that do align with the strategies that we use to help Type 7s.
Firstly, you could use multi-sensory learning for your son to experience the sensations that he seems to go for. Doing so would help him satiate that desire to experience as many sensations as possible, and perhaps turn him away from the behavior of throwing down
blocks that his sister has built. There are many such resources online that you could gain ideas from. Secondly, let him take part in physical activities that allow him to roam and discover new things at the playground or park.
You will be surprised at what would catch his attention in such places. As much as possible, let him touch and have a feel of what the grass, leaves, tree barks, etc. feel like. It would delight the Type 7 mind immensely. Thirdly, teach him focus by letting him take up a particular skill, be it in sports or music or whichever task that interests him, and then motivate him to practice that skill until he does it well by giving him
rewards at various junctures of the process.
You would realise by now that these tips happen to be the common tips that most educators would give to young parents. This is because, Type 7s, if you could recall from class, are also known to be “eternal children” in their behaviour – curious, playful, fun-seeking and full
of creativity. With proper guidance, your son could grow up with the ability to use his inquisitive mind for the good in the future.