Differentiating between Child Types

Each child that comes into the world is unique and has a different way of interacting with his/her world. Just like adults, children have various dispositions and personality traits.

Unlike adults, a child is an ongoing “work in progress,” and subject to change, based on the child’s observations and experiences throughout the formative years.

It is beneficial for parents to learn their child’s type in order to promote the best possible development, taking into consideration both strengths and weaknesses.

While becoming familiar with your child’s behavior patterns will assist in doing a more positive job of parenting, it is wise not to box children in exclusively to any one type, in order to avoid inhibiting their optimum overall potential.

Developing children will often fluctuate between types; dispositions and personality traits often overlap. It is best to use child types as a guideline, and tool for positive parenting, without labeling the child.

Knowing your own personality type is also helpful in order to understand your expectations of your child. If you are an introvert and your child exhibits extrovert tendencies, it is understandable that you might expect your child to be more introspective and perform quiet activities, but you would not want to act on that expectation in the face of his outgoing personality.

There are so many components to the disposition and personality of a developing child. Some children are independent and self-motivated, exhibiting natural leadership qualities. Other children, even in the same family, can be sensitive, timid, followers with artistic natures.

A book by Elizabeth Wagele titled, “The Enneagram of Parenting,” (The nine types of children and how to raise them successfully,) offers an overview of the nine possible child types and how each type interacts with the world:

* Asserters – aggressive, energetic children. Joiners and leaders.

* Peacemakers – children with happy dispositions; easy to please and apt to avoid conflict.

* Perfectionists – self-critical little worriers. Hold themselves to high standards.

* Helpers – children who want to please; they will often mask their own wants and needs in deference to others.

* Achievers – driven to perform, these children react to approval.

* Romantics – often dramatic in their behavior; needing to feel special.

* Observers – curious children and often shy and retiring.

* Questioners – alert to what is going on; want to know everything and often display fear of the unknown.

* Adventurers – likes to do new and fun things; sometimes have a short attention spans.

Obviously, no child is going to be the perfect prototype of any of the above outlined child types. Recognizing some of the traits in your child can, however, give you a clue for interacting in an appropriate way with your child to bring out his or her best qualities.

Understanding your child’s type can be the key to offering choices that will align with his natural abilities and enable him to partake of all the opportunities available to enable him to live up to his fullest potential in his adult life.

Differentiating between child types can enhance the parenting experience.