Known as “The Helpers,” Enneagram Twos make an impact on the world with their generosity and personable natures. Twos enjoy helping people, being needed and stepping in when someone unfortunate needs a protector or confidante. But what’s it really like to be a Two child? What strengths and weaknesses follow them through life? Let’s take a look!
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An Overview of the Two Enneatype:
- Part of the Heart triad (along with Enneatypes 3 and 4)
- Can have a One or Three wing (2w1 or 2w3)
- Vice: Pride
- Virtue: Humility
- Integrates to Four (the Individualist) under growth
- Disintegrates to Eight (the Challenger) under stress
- Basic Fear: To feel unwanted or unneeded by others
- Basic Desire: To feel loved
Signs That Your Child Might Be an Enneagram Two Type:
- Their relationships are the most important thing to them
- They notice what people need or want
- They put others before themselves
- They easily feel rejected when there are interpersonal problems
- They enjoy giving advice to friends who have problems
- They often compliment people
- They try to get good grades and please their teachers
- They try to get attention by pleasing people or showing off
- They have compassion for vulnerable or hurting people or animals
Strengths of the Enneagram Two Child:
Kind and friendly, Twos believe that they should put other people’s needs ahead of their own. They are often generous with their time, energy, and resources. These are the children who don’t have to be told twice to do their chores or get on with their homework. These are the children who draw pictures of their family and give them as presents, who make breakfast in bed for their mothers on Mother’s Day. They tend to have an innate, built-in sense of responsibility. This follows them through life, particularly if they are raised in a kind and nurturing family.
Twos have a strong sense of intuition about people. They seem to instinctively know what people need in an emotional or physical sense. They also tend to know what people want to hear. This makes them adept at giving proper compliments and encouraging those who are struggling. They often become confidantes for their friends – hearing every secret and being privy to every struggle or bit of drama that’s going on in their lives. As Twos get older and mature, many find that counseling roles come naturally to them and, whether professionally or casually, they wind up being mentors to others.
The Struggles of the Enneagram Two Child:
The same things that make Twos stand out can also be enormous burdens for them. Putting others first isn’t always a good thing. Young Twos have a tendency to run over their own desires and needs in an effort to be selfless. Many Twos who are brought up in religious families are taught that selflessness is a part of morality. So when they are not selfless they berate themselves – and when they are selfless, they develop a sense of pride. As a result, many Twos give and give until they are depleted and have lost sight of who they are. They often run into exhaustion and can get overwhelmed by even the slightest disharmony in their lives.
Many Twos as children believe that “Good people do not have needs.” They believe that asking for help – asking for anything – is wrong. Thus they often carry heavy inner struggles that nobody knows about. They exert themselves and try to repress their needs, hurts, and inner struggles. Always the listening ear, they often fail to allow others to listen to their problems. Instead of focusing on their own problems, they instead focus on other people. Solving other people’s problems becomes their goal. Helping other people thrive becomes their focus.
The truth that many Twos fail to admit out loud is that they hope by giving to others, somehow the gift will be returned in kind. Yet when it is, they almost don’t know how to receive it. They feel guilty accepting help from others and they may try to even deny gifts or offers for help. But even worse, if their generosity is not reciprocated, many Twos will harbor resentment, anger, and bitterness. In turn they may try to draw attention to themselves and what they’ve done. Twos who feel taken advantage of can become boastful and superior, always reminding others of how much they need them.
It’s crucial for parents to recognize the sometimes self-sabotaging nature of their Two. To remind them that it’s okay to have needs – that it’s human to have needs.
Tips for Parenting an Enneagram 2 Child:
- Whenever you find your child pouring themselves into other people, stop them for a moment, pull them aside, and ask them what they need.
- Frequently remind them that they are loved for who they are, not for what they give.
- Help your child role-play situations where they should say “no.” It’s crucial for them to get comfortable setting boundaries so they don’t overwhelm themselves or go against their values.
- Practice mindfulness techniques with them. Teach them to listen to their body, to rest, and to nurture themselves. Mindfulness Games for Kids is an excellent resource that helps children to handle complex emotions and find calm.
- Help them not to become addicted to praise and appreciation from others. Explain to them that people show appreciation in different ways. Some are more vocal about it while others might offer a simple, “thanks.” It can mean the same thing coming from an exuberant or less-exuberant type. But help them to learn the satisfaction of taking care of their own needs and pursuing their own interests.
- Twos integrate to Four. Help them with this process by buying them a journal and giving them quiet time each day to write in it. Provide creative materials that they can play with throughout the day and encourage and praise them when they stand up for themselves, create something, or notice something new about themselves they’ve never noticed before.
- Model sincerity and authenticity. Twos can fall prey to flattery, both giving and receiving. Let them know that a sincere compliment is worth so much more than flattery.
- Teach your child that they are not responsible for everyone else’s feelings. They can get so preoccupied with other people’s emotions that they get overwhelmed or out of touch with their own. Remind them that it’s not their job to make everyone happy. Remind them that true friends will be true even when their friends are going through hard times.
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