Elizabeth Wagele

The Career Within You

Parenting or Teaching the Curious Observer Child

5-Observers in the Enneagram are usually thoughtful & like to learn.

Posted Mar 15, 2016

Cartoon by Elizabeth Wagele
Source: Cartoon by Elizabeth Wagele

Drawing from The Enneagram of Parenting

Does your child like to be alone? Does he/she tend to hover around the edge of groups and seem uninterested in social norms? Does your child become annoyed when you push or intrude? Observer children are naturally curious, have active minds, and know what they think. They don’t like being talked down to or lectured.

This blog is based on information in my book, The Enneagram of Parenting.

5-Observer children are usually good at focusing and will follow their own interests, so try not to prod them to do things they don’t want to do. I’m an Observer in the Enneagram system. As a child I hated loud noises, valued my independence, and wished I could disappear when I felt on the spot. I’ve always had trouble being around people who are overly dramatic or emotional.

Invite Observer children to join in but don’t push them. They tend to prefer contact with one or a small number of others, to dislike conflict, and to be gentle. In some cases, however, they can be forceful presenting their arguments.

Extraverted parents are sometimes not satisfied with these usually introverted children and push them to be out in the world doing high-profile activities, like joining clubs, running for office, making a splash. You can honor the Observer kid or adult in your life by not demanding these things of them. Ask them if they would like to share their usually well-thought-out perspectives on the world with you.

Gus, an Observer, has four children. He said, “I want my children to do what they enjoy doing. I try to make them feel comfortable by not putting pressure on them. I don’t have the ability to make them do something they don’t want to do.”

When I presented Finding the Birthday Cake, my Enneagram book for children, to a class of 3rd and 4th graders, the teacher had given them each the quiz in the book for determining their type. When we asked them to let us interview them one type at a time, we noticed how much the children of each of the 9 types shared similar styles. When it was the 5-Observers’ turn, they were quieter than the others. When the teacher, their classmates, and I asked them questions about themselves, we discovered these Observers had been hiding the interesting things that went on in their minds. They didn’t toot their own horns at all, but when they felt listened to and comfortable they revealed themselves as thoughtful, interesting children. They were the surprise of the day for their classmates.

• Check out The Enneagram for Teens.

• Enneagram piano music for children includes 9 variations on Chop Sticks and 9 variations on Jack and Jill 

• Of 5 interest, my article, A 5 Speaks of Music, the Enneagram, and Infinity.

Elizabeth Wagele
Source: Elizabeth Wagele