Children and Football Safety



What do you think about the future of football? John Moffitt, who played football for nearly 20 years, recently gave up $1million and quit the NFL because he didn’t want to further risk his health. He had concluded he was a pawn in a machine that controlled his life and no longer wanted to play for the money and to please others.




17-year old Kendrick Calkins wrote, “I visited a practice with my old team, the Castro Valley Trojans, where I saw some head butting going on. It’s been illegal to ram someone with the top of your helmet in high school football for years, but it still happens because with your head down you can get more leverage and more power behind your hit. Coaches find it’s hard to teach against effectiveness. But a hard tackle can have a price. According to a survey by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, young athletes across all sports suffer 300,000 concussionseach year.




Now, with a growing body of evidence linking football to chronic brain injury and the recent publication of the book League of Denial, there’s more concern about the safety of the game. Some high schools are trying to change how teams play and practice, but they have a long way to go…” Calkins’ article, Is your school protecting your head? was in the SF Chronicle October 29, 2013. “I’ve been around football my whole life. My family loves the game, and started me in a Pop Warner league when I was 7. At that age, I just liked having a sport that gave me permission to hit.




“While comparing high school football safety and new NFL standards, I went to local schools and found many stories about injuries, and even a high school football commissioner questioning whether he would let his own kids play.”




 Recently I saw the excellent PBS Frontline documentary on the NFL and brain damage. And I read that children with brain injuries are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression, published in an article by the American Academy of Neurology October 26. Researchers sought to identify the prevalence of depression in children with brain injuries, including concussions, in the U.S.“15 percent of those with brain injuries or concussions in 2007 were diagnosed as depressed—a 4.9 fold increase compared to other children. Study author Matthew C. Wylie, MD, said, ‘After adjustment for known predictors of depression in children like family structure, developmental delay and poor physical health, depression remained two times more likely in children with brain injury or concussion.’”




17-year old Kendrick Calkins continued, “In California, which has the second-largest number of high school football players in America, there is no limit on tackling in practice, even though that’s what the NFL does to protect players. And when a player has a concussion, it can be hard to identify…. The injury won’t even show up on an X-ray. So how do we know when someone has this kind of injury to the brain?




“One teenager I talked to… got a concussion during a practice, but it was not immediately diagnosed. During the next game, he kicked three successful field goals, but on the fourth he didn’t know which direction he was supposed to be kicking. His coach pulled him from the game and he was later diagnosed with a concussion.




“If it’s up to us players, we’ll stay on the field as long as we can. You never want to get pulled out of a game or practice.




“Football is a tough sport, and the game prizes toughness in its players. You feel weak when you sit out, and your injury hurts more when you let your team down. But football is not just about physical sacrifice; it’s also about smarts. You have to be able to read the plays, and you have to know when it’s safe.




“That’s something parents and teenagers have to think through together. Does your school’s team have a medically trained person on staff? Does the team limit tackling in practice? Do players get a baseline medical exam before the season starts? It’s worth asking these questions before you join a team. However you look at it, football’s a dangerous game. Even so, it’s my favorite sport by far.”






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Sibling Aggression and Its Damage

Jump on baby's tummyWhen I was an infant, my sister jumped up and down on my stomach in my crib trying to kill me, she told me years later. I don’t remember that, of course. When I was a toddler I idolized her; my big sister could do everything. Before I started kindergarten I began to fear her bullying and to realize she wasn’t on my side. She would humiliate me by teasing, hitting, hurtful tickling, and addressing me as Stupid and other derogatory names. Coming home from grammar school, I’d listen at the front door for where she was. If she was to the right, I’d go left. If she was to the left, I’d go right.


An article in the New York Times, When the Bully Is a Sibling, by Anahad O’Connor validated some of the feelings I had as a child. According to a new study of 3,600, children and teenagers attacked, threatened or intimidated by a sibling have increased depression, anger and anxiety. Researchers conducted interviews with children and their parents, looking at physical assaults, destroying or stealing property, and threats, name-calling and other forms of psychological intimidation. “They also measured the same types of behaviors perpetrated by peers outside the home… in order to tease out the specific roll of sibling violence,” wrote O’Connor.


This subject has rarely been studied because fighting among siblings has been seen as beneficial or unimportant. But “chronic physical and verbal abuse is particularly damaging when it is directed at one sibling.”


Corinna Jenkins Tucker, lead author of the study published in the journal Pediatrics, said, “Behaviors among siblings that cross the line into abuse deserve more recognition. The programs… aimed at stopping bullying and violence in schools and other settings should include a focus on sibling relationships.”


Clinical psychologist John V. Caffaro said, “While normal rivalries with siblings can encourage healthy competition, the line between healthy relations and abuse is crossed when one child is consistently the victim of another and the aggression is intended to cause harm and humiliation… It can erode their sense of identity and their self-esteem.”


Parents who don’t intervene, play favorites, or give their children labels that show division inadvertently encourage conflict. According to Catherine Bradshaw, an expert on bullying, “Parents [think] their kids can fight it out or that a little bit of victimization might not be so bad, but these findings suggest the threshold is pretty low. It’s not just the rough stuff you have to keep an eye out for.”  


Was my sister put in a position where it was inevitable she’d hate a sibling—or was she somehow the source of her own hostility? She seemed dissatisfied a lot and had severe mood swings. Her envy, angst, and investment in the dramatic suggest she was type 4, the Romantic in the Enneagram system. Her blaming and her perception that threats were bigger than they really were suggest type 6, the Questioner. I am a conflict-averse 5, the Observer.



Years ago, my mother and I lived in the same town. She was in her late 70’s and had the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. One night, my sister, who lived over an hour away, came with moving vans and took our mother and her houseful of belongings to live with her. I can only imagine the planning and intrigue that went into pulling this off and keeping it a secret from me.

The next day I tried to reach my mother about getting together as we had planned and was distressed when she didn’t answer my phone calls. When I discovered what had happened, I felt baffled—and angry about the plotting behind my back. This episode was the final blow. I hope my sister is healthy and happy, but I no longer see her or talk to her.


I’m glad this topic is getting attention. Ms. Tucker’s research is sure to save some sibling relationships.


Please read my blog on Death Cafes in Psychology Today.


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“Questioners” (Type 6) as Children

From "The Enneagram of Parenting" by E. Wagele

Now read about all the nine Enneagram types as children on this WordPress blog under the category “Enneagram Books and Children.”   

Personality typology explains why we frustrate each other. It’s not always because we don’t think straight or don’t have common sense, it’s often because we’re born with different ways of looking at the world. This produces different values. When we try to walk in others’ shoes (when we learn the Enneagram), our frustration eases and dealing with our family members, students, teachers, or fellow students becomes easier.

The Enneagram personality system had been around for about twenty years. At first it was kept a secret. Its leaders thought the world couldn’t handle it. Then the positive ones among them exerted more influence. They wanted to share their newfound prize and tell the world about it. Classes and books about the Enneagram sprang up starting mainly in 1987.

In 1997, I wrote the first book for using the Enneagram with children in families and schools, The Enneagram of Parenting. Each type has a different learning style, for example, and different paces, outlooks on life, and needs to nurture and be nurtured. In 2007, I wrote the first book for young children to learn the Enneagram by reading it themselves or having it read to them, Finding the Birthday Cake. Both books are full of cartoons and are easily accessible.

Questioner children have busy, alert minds, are suspicious of flattery, and are always on the lookout for danger. They can be quick-tempered, brave, and anti-authoritarian. Some are assertive, others are timid. Stevie Six is a character from Finding the Birthday Cake:

Here is a test from Finding the Birthday Cake:

See my list of Famous People’s Enneagram and MBTI types.

More Famous People are on my Psychology Today blog and my WordPress blog.

See my Happy Introvert and Creative Enneagram on You Tube.

Buy The Enneagram of Parenting

Kindle edition

Buy Finding the Birthday Cake

9 Ways to Raise Kids Perfectly

The best way to raise children is to study the nine types of people so your mind will be open to how different we are from each other. What children need is to be listened to and heard. They need to be heard by someone who has self-knowledge! If you don’t know your own limitations you will be likely to expect unreasonable things from your child. The Enneagram can help you and your child’s teachers. It teaches acceptance. Understanding that 9 types of children are equally valuable leads to learning different learning styles. Nobody raises “perfect kids” (perfect kids would not be human kids), but being open to your kid being a completely new person never seen before would be wonderful. I would wish that on everyone instead of the way some parents usually try to pour their children into molds. Wouldn’t you like that if you were starting life over?

Now to Adrienne Williams, a 6-Questioner who talks about the Enneagram on She has a new web site called Enneagram Life. You can find out a little about the Questioner personality in my blog in Psychology Today. She has worked with children of all ages in her professional career—from 4-years-old up. Some have had behavioral and mental challenges and have been deaf. She believes a person’s Enneagram type is clearly visible and that there are clues in finding them.

Amy the 8-Asserter

Amy the 8-Asserter

In a recent column she wrote about Ingrid Stabb’s video with children. “As an Enneagram Six, I can remember the time at age 4, when my fears and anxieties affected me in positive and negative ways. If only I’d had the tools the children on this video do today… I remember working with this child who I believed showed characteristics of an Enneagram Eight [Asserter]. His mother would come to me in tears, not understanding. “Why is my child always pushing, hitting, attacking children, not getting along with others, and wanting to control me and other children?” She didn’t understand why her child needed to direct others, [why he] always tried to lead the shy children… and why he saw himself as their protector…” Adrienne wished she could have used the Enneagram with the children in that classroom but at the time she didn’t have the authority to do so.

I don’t know if The Enneagram of Parenting, which is used by many teachers in elementary schools, had been published yet when Adrienne wanted to use the Enneagram with children. As far as I know, this was the first book that addressed using the Enneagram with children. Several years later, my little book that teaches children the Enneagram, Finding the Birthday Cake, was published. Parents and teachers like the short test adults can use to assess their children’s types. Kids like the animal characters. The Happy Introvert has a chapter on children as well. See the covers below.

If you look to the left you will see some other blogs about Enneagram types as children. All of my books are full of my cartoons too.

Buy The Enneagram of Parenting: Amazon

Enneagram of Parenting

The Enneagram of Parenting

Buy Finding the Birthday Cake: Amazon

Finding the Birthday Cake

Finding the Birthday Cake











Buy Enneagram Made Easy:  Amazon

The Enneagram Made Easy

Buy The Beethoven Enneagram

Are You My Type, Am I Yours?


The Beethoven Enneagram CD

Buy The Career Within You: Amazon


The Career Within You

To buy Are You My Type, Am I Yours? click here.

“Adventurers” as Children (Type Seven)

The Adventurer, from "The Enneagram of Parenting" by E. Wagele

This cartoon shows an Adventurer child giving a sparkling performance, cheered on and supported. Adventurer children are usually curious, lively, charming, and have many interests. They often do best when they can pick and choose from a rich learning environment, since having many options appeals to them. Routine does not. Adventurers tend to be extraverted, sociable, and talkative, but there are exceptions. Freedom is good; boredom and restrictions are bad from their point of view. Adventurer Norris said he felt like a grasshopper in a world of ants when he was a child.

Adventurer children are usually positive, happy, optimistic, have many friends, and think well of themselves. They may sign themselves up to do too much, but they’re usually resourceful and learn fast. They like to be spontaneous.

Likely variations on this type are those who resemble the Observer type and are studious and focus well and those who resemble the Perfectionist and try to do things right. These two types are at the Adventurer’s “arrows,” the lines that radiate out from the 7th point in the Enneagram. The wings, the Questioner and the Asserter also frequently influence Adventurers, in the first case by adding a more light or jittery feeling to the personality and in the second by adding a heavier, more or definite feeling.

With this post, I will have covered all nine Enneagram styles as children in my WordPress blogs in the past six months. Often, I feature the same type as an adult the next week in my longer, alternating “Psychology Today” blog.

Reminder: Ingrid Stabb and I will give a presentation on our Wagele-Stabb Career Finder from “The Career Within You” on Saturday, July 31, at the International Enneagram Association conference in San Francisco.

We’re also hosting a party for our book at Maxfield’s in the Palace Hotel at 5:30 on the same day, to which all are welcome.

To buy “The Enneagram of Parenting”: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

“Perfectionists” as Children (Type One)

Three fish from "The Enneagram of Parenting"

One parent reported his son would line up grains of sand in his crib in perfect lines as a baby. He grew up to become a Perfectionist airplane pilot, a good occupation along with dentist, surgeon and other careers where being exact is important. Some Perfectionist children become teachers’ pets for being obedient, turning in assignments on time, and encouraging their peers to do what’s expected of them. When I taught piano lessons, I tried to downplay the importance of getting every note right. Some children applied their own pressure to themselves, though, and I couldn’t convince them that a wrong note here and there was nothing to be ashamed of. I suspect it was most often the Perfectionists who were most likely to burst out in tears when they made mistakes.

Walter One from "Finding the Birthday Cake"

As is often the case in the Enneagram, there are two kinds of Perfectionists: the meticulous one featured in these two cartoons and the kind that pays more attention to principals, ideals, and causes. This second type might grow up to be an ecologist, consumer activist, or minister. Of course, both aspects can be combined in the same person. Perfectionists want to do what is right and usually strive to improve themselves throughout their lives.

In order to reduce the stress of Perfectionist children, parents and teachers do well to encourage creativity and free play. Creativity and having fun get children in touch with their own desires and beauty so they have less time to focus on what they “should” or “ought to” be doing. It helps to schedule in these times, especially for the most serious Perfectionists.

To Buy “The Enneagram of Parenting:” Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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For more information about all of Wagele’s books and tape: http://www.wagele.

See If You Have an Achiever-Style Child (Type 3)

This Santa cartoon and the stroller cartoon below are from my book, “The Enneagram of Parenting.”

The check-list below is helps you see if your child might have the Achiever personality. It comes from the back of my book for children, “Finding the Birthday Cake.”

While we usually think of Achievers as an extraverted personality, they can also be introverted. Introverted Achievers are likely to work hard behind the scenes and/or to excel at sports, music, writing or other activities that aren’t based on social skills.

Since Achievers naturally depend on praise from others, it’s helpful for parents and teachers to be aware of encouraging them to tune in to their own worlds of priorities, feelings, and thoughts. If you ask them to tell you their favorite color combinations in paintings or nature, for example, they will learn to place more importance on what they truly feel about things instead of taking many of their cues from other people.

“Finding the Birthday Cake” is for teaching the Enneagram to children from about 6 to 12 years old, though any age can enjoy it.

Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

“The Enneagram of Parenting” is for parents and teachers, older children, and teenagers.  It encourages acceptance and understanding of different types of children and suggests methods of dealing with different behavior and learning styles and helping parents and children of different types get along.

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Romantic-Style Children (Type 4)

Romantic children

find special

meaning where

others may not.

Six examples of where Romantic children express special meaning to their friends follow this cartoon on page 57 of my “Enneagram of Parenting” book, ending with a Romantic kid telling a friend he has noticed the expressive and poetic way his friend speaks. Romantics can be especially compassionate.

This is one of the most sensitive types of children. They often have easily hurt feelings and strong emotions. Many are interested in the arts or literature, tend to express themselves dramatically, and engage in imaginative fantasy play. Howard loved to look for treasures such as beautiful jewels, rocks, or colors when he was a child and became an artist and psychotherapist when he grew up. Beauty, ideals, and meaning were important to him.

There are more introverted than extraverted Romantic children. Franny Four, the Romantic horse in “Finding the Birthday Cake,” my book for teaching the Enneagram to children, wants to help get the cake back but she wants to do it in her own way. ”I’ll write a beautiful, fancy song,” she says, “and sing it all through the land. When the cake hears it, he will come running to me because he loves my music. After I find the cake I’ll dress up for the party in my best silk and velvet clothes. We’ll have the most special party in the world!”

Lunch box

This child from “The Happy Introvert” could easily be a Romantic type.

Be sensitive of your Romantic children’s sensitivity and treat them gently. Romantics easily feel shamed. Give them plenty of stimulation and take an interest in what they’re interested in. Remember they may have a tendency toward feeling melancholy. It can be helpful to talk with them about how they would prefer for you to react when this happens.

To buy “The Enneagram of Parenting”: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

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To buy “The Happy Introvert”: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Next week I’ll post a blog about Romantics as adults on Psychology Today’s blogs.

“Peace Seekers” as Children (Type 9)

The Peace Seeker child
From “The Enneagram of Parenting” by Elizabeth Wagele

The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about Peace Seeker style children I know is their desire to connect with others in a positive way. Most try to avoid conflict as much as possible. Trying to understand others’ points of view makes them good mediators. They prefer staying in a pleasant zone where things are going along smoothly and they can remain accepting of different people’s opinions and styles of doing things. It’s good to remember that Peace Seekers are often quite sensitive; one reason they like harmony is because they can’t stand disharmony. Strong discipline is not only unnecessary but can be harmful.

Peace Seekers are often slow to recognize their own anger (this is something they share with many Perfectionist children), so parents and teachers can be helpful by giving them permission to express some anger when appropriate. As the drawing shows, Peace Seeker children often have a natural affinity for nature and/or the spiritual side of life.

In “Finding the Birthday Cake,” the Ninosaur is a Peace Seeker who generously wants to give back to everyone on his birthday rather than thinking about receiving gifts himself. This is the foundation for the plot for this book that teaches the Enneagram to children. (It can be purchased at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound.)

Some music in the style of the Peace Seeker is “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Dock of the Bay,” and the Beethoven sonata examples in the Peace Seeker or Nine Chapter of The Beethoven Enneagram {

“The Enneagram of Parenting” (HarperCollins) can be purchased at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Which Enneagram Type Makes the Best Friend? (Type 2)

Tina TwoIn “Finding the Birthday Cake,” Tina Two is helping the hostess with the birthday party she’s giving for the Ninosaur. Tina is trying to make it the friendliest party in the world. She’s likely to grow up to choose a career from “The Career Within You” that has something to do with working with people. She’ll be a good harmonizer in any case because Helpers thrive on creating ways to help others feel comfortable.

Helper type children usually try to be good, especially at school, and sometimes become the teacher’s pet. They like to be with other kids or grownups and enjoy getting attention either by pleasing or by entertaining. They start to know what others need without being told at a young age.

Helper children may be social at the expense of developing their own individual interests, so parents and teachers can help by encouraging the arts, computers, sciences, reading, and/or whatever Helper children show curiosity about in addition to people.

Sally’s mother preferred working to being a housewife so Sally, as the oldest of three, took over many of her mother’s duties, such as the cooking and cleaning the house. This freed the two younger children to lead the socially active lives they preferred. Sally, who was artistically talented, didn’t realize she was missing out on learning skills that could have helped her with her career by being tied down to household duties. Unfortunately, this situation was allowed to continue for many years.

The advantage of studying the nine types of children is that it both points out the strengths of each type, for example pleasing others and the ability to create harmony, and also cautions us about some of the pitfalls to look out for.

Please see my blog of 5-18-10 on Psychology Today, “Why You Should Hire a “Helper” Personality” for  information on adult Helpers, careers, etc.

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