Do You Have an “Asserter” Style Child? (Type 8)

In my Enneagram book for kids, “Finding the Birthday Cake,” I decided to stop by my house as we looked here and there for the missing cake:

Amy Eight was so insistent that something be done about the problem of the missing cake for the evening’s party, she said we’d have it even if she had to bake it herself! She was impatient to celebrate both the Ninosaur’s birthday and finding the cake: “We’ll have the most EXHUBERANT party in the world!” She may be tiny but she’s powerful in word and deed. Asserter children are so energetic, they may tire their care-givers out and are sometimes misunderstood or blamed wrongly.

Some of the questions in the Personality Quiz in the Asserter chapter in my

“Enneagram of Parenting” book are:

Does your child

* have a great deal of energy?

* always make his or her presence known?

* show anger or disagreement freely?

* have a fast-running motor and need down time?

* speak and act with authority?

* behave enthusiastically?

Followed by some cartoons about how protective Asserter children can be. Read also about the other eight styles of children in both books.

For more on “Finding the Birthday Cake:”

To buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

For more on “The Enneagram of Parenting:”

To buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

5/4/10 Please see today’s Psychology Today blog by me: “How-Does-It-Feel-to Have-an Assertive-Personality-Type?” for the adult Asserter personality and a cartoon from “The Enneagram Made Easy.”

“Finding the Birthday Cake” Teaches Acceptance to Children

After I wrote “The Enneagram of Parenting,” I decided to write a book for teaching children the Enneagram. Children had been learning the Enneagram from my Enneagram of Parenting book from looking at the many cartoons, but I wanted to write a book specifically for younger children from six or younger to ten. My first dilemma was: how would kids see my drawings as representing types of people? I was afraid if I drew human characters they might resemble someone a child might know, a neighbor kid for example, which could confuse them. So I decided to use animals.

I wanted to have a mystery to keep the children’s attention, so I had the birthday cake go missing and the animals look for it in ways characteristic of their type. One example is the Romantic who sings a song that so beautifully she is sure the cake will hear it and come running to see who is making this wonderful music. A romantic idea, indeed. You can see a drawing of this dressed up Romantic horse on my Psychology Today blog of April 13, 2010:

I wondered if I should have a fierce animal for the most assertive type and a gentle animal for a gentle personality. I decided to go against stereotyping, so I made a tiny goldfish represent the most assertive type. At the end of each type’s section we hear the character that represents that type say something like, “I hope we find the cake soon so we can have the most PERFECT party!” – or whatever adjective best describes its type’s idea of a great party. Freddy Five, the Observer rabbit, wants to have the most INTERESTING party in the world.

By the end of the book we have met all the characters and the mystery of the missing cake has been solved. You won’t guess what happened to the cake in a million years. It does turn up, though, so the party goes on. There’s a moral to the story, too. In addition, the Enneagram does its own magic by showing children nine different styles of behaving that are all perfectly acceptable and honored. Children will recognize themselves and friends and family in this book and they’ll notice that personality differences really do exist and that they’re okay. Even good! It’s an excellent book to use in schoolrooms and families to further the value of tolerance.

For Reviews and more information: “Finding the Birthday Cake; Helping Children Raise Their Self-esteem”

Buy “Finding the Birthday Cake” now:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Peace from the Inside Out, Part I

The Enneagram shows how different our own world-view can be from the world-views of our family members and neighbors. The importance of this for individuals and their relationships has implications for what can be achieved between countries and nationalities. Using this system of describing nine basic types of people usually begins as a tool for individual self-discovery and self-growth. When we find our main type, our relationship to the other eight types inside us begins to change. Little by little we realize that we connect easily with some of these internal types yet we cannot easily access others. The same is true externally—there are some types of people we have trouble understanding. By studying the system, we try to understand all the world-views with the goal of acceptance, which eventually leads to realizing they are universal. The concept of “us and them” weakens. We can’t see people in Iraq or Afghanistan, nor can we see any group, as “other” because we see they have personalities like ours. Only their cultural style is different. To see all humans the way we see ourselves is crucial to peace. Self-acceptance begins inside and spreads outward.

Each of us has the potential to understand the other types, but shadow issues or unfamiliarity can present a challenge. We hope to grow more healthy in our type: the Perfectionist learns that it’s common to be self-critical in order to be perfect, so she works on being good to herself instead of hitting herself over the head. This is the self-acceptance the system encourages. For example, Edith was an Adventurer and avoided the most fearful type, the Questioner, both internally in the form of denying her fear and as represented by Questioners she met. As her attitude toward fear became healthier, she increasingly accepted live Questioners as well as her own fear.

Nine Ways to Make Peace

If a team of nine, one of each type, were sent on a mission of peace, they might contribute these gifts, according to their type:

1 The Perfectionist  – fairness

2 The Helper – harmony

3 The Achiever – can-do

4 The Romantic – compassion

5 The Observer – new angles

6 The Questioner – loyalty to the cause

7 The Adventurer – enthusiasm

8 The Asserter – protectiveness

9 The Peace Seeker – conciliation

Perfectionists are motivated to improve things. If you understand this type, you will realize they are trying to help you when they give advice, more than to criticize you. Most value being a fair, logical, and level-headed force for peace.

Helpers also give advice, as they are motivated to meet others’ needs. In order to accomplish this, they empathize in order to find out about you. Helpers excel in the role of harmonizer.

Achievers are motivated to attain a successful image. Knowing this, you may not be offended if they boast about their car, house, or accomplishments. They are energetic, work hard. get things done, and will follow through. I would call upon an Achiever to come up with a plan for peace that works.

Romantics are motivated to express their individuality. They are compassionate, deep feelers—they can go to someone’s heart space and can be excellent communicators.

Observers are motivated to acquire knowledge and tend to be quiet and sensitive. Some are creative and able to think up new ways of putting things together. An Observer might come up with an original plan for peace.

Questioners are motivated to reduce risk, though some act daring in order to prove they aren’t afraid. Many comedians are of this type because they’re good at scanning for danger, information to help them stay safe, and what will amuse audiences. Questioners will crusade for causes they believe in, including peace.

Adventurers are motivated to explore possibilities. They’re fun loving, optimistic, and like to keep their options open. As some of the most idealistic of the types, they treasure life. Many want to save the earth and end war.

Asserters are motivated to set clear boundaries and are protective of the underdog and those they love. They have a great deal of energy, often prefer to be independent or to be the boss, and want you to be worthy of their respect. They have tough exteriors but soft hearts and can make excellent warriors for peace and for those in need.

Peace Seekers are motivated to maintain inner calm. Sometimes this necessitates mediating when people are in conflict. They’re good at negotiating because they can see many points of view. They connect well with people and can work for peace among nature, humans, and the technology and superstructures we have created that are now harming the earth.

Part II is now on my blog on Psychology Today. Please click here: