Tips for Raising Kids as an Enneagram 8

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on January 05, 2023

For the control-loving Enneagram 8, having children can be one of the toughest challenges to face.

Children are the ultimate disrupter in Eights’ lives – they’re untamable, unpredictable and they grow up to be their own people, no matter what you do to try to influence them.

Here’s what it’s like to raise kids as an Enneagram 8 and some helpful tips on how to keep your sanity through the highs and lows.

What are Enneagram 8s like as parents?

Enneagram 8s tend to be firm but fair parents who believe strongly in justice and accountability. That means they won’t let their children get away lightly if they believe they’ve behaved badly, and they place a lot of weight on discipline and honesty. 

Children will challenge Eights to open up and be more vulnerable and this can be really healthy for them. For Eights, children can be a surprising avenue to help them get in touch with their own feelings, at least as far as their love for their children goes.

As powerful protectors, Enneagram 8s can often struggle with feelings of fear that are hard to shake once they have children. They’ll never stop being fiercely protective and they’ll always worry that they won’t be there for their children when they need them. This is something Eights have to learn how to manage as best as they can.

There’s no doubt about it, children will always be challenging for Eights. But there are some things you can do to help yourself through the process.

Here are 6 tips to help you be a better parent.

  1. Remember it’s ok to make mistakes

Many parents experience huge amounts of guilt on a daily basis. It’s normal to feel like you’re not doing enough for your children and many of us put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to be perfect parents all the time. 

For Enneagram 8s, this feeling can be exaggerated by the impulsive side of their personality. They tend to act instinctively based on their gut feelings and can be very self-critical if something doesn’t go the way they want it to.

To keep your sanity as a parent, you have to remember that it’s ok to make mistakes. You’re going to mess up sometimes. Don’t be too harsh on yourself when you do.

  1. You have to be vulnerable

Enneagram 8s avoid vulnerability and emotion as much as possible, often perceiving it as weakness. As parents, it’s impossible to avoid vulnerability and the more you can lean into your vulnerability and open up to being vulnerable in front of your children, the healthier your relationship with them will be.

If your children can see that you have emotions too, they’ll learn that it’s ok for them to show their emotions and share their inner thoughts and feelings with you. This trust is essential to be a better parent, so it’s time to get comfortable with sharing your emotions.

  1. Avoid judgment

Many Enneagram 8s are characterized by their big personalities. They take up a lot of space with their confident, charismatic and strongly independent core traits . This can sometimes be a lot for their families to deal with. 

To be a better parent, remember to leave room for your children to develop their own personalities with their own interests, ideas and needs. Your child’s personality may be completely different to yours, so it’s important to avoid judgment when it comes to your children’s choices. Give them the support they need to do things their way, which may not be the same as yours.  

  1. Pick your battles

Of all the Enneagram types, Eights are probably the most comfortable with confrontation. They don’t shy away from conflict, but when it comes to parenting, this isn’t necessarily a strength. 

While it’s important for children to know their boundaries and for parents to be clear on discipline, you should know when to pick your battles. To avoid your whole relationship with your children becoming a battleground, be selective about when to call your children out on their behavior and when you can let some things slide.

For example, stealing is wrong but jumping in a muddy puddle isn’t. There are things to be strict about, and some things that can just be kids being kids.

  1. Let children be children

Sometimes Enneagram 8s can focus too much on their children being tough and strong. Remember that children are children. All children cry, make mistakes and trip up. As parents, you can teach them how to be resilient without taking it to extremes. 

It’s important that your children can be sensitive in front of you. Remember that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness. Don’t let your own fears get in the way of their emotional development.

  1. Fairness is not guaranteed

At the core of the Enneagram 8 personality is their concern with protecting those who they perceive to be weaker than themselves and seeking justice. When it comes to parenting, these feelings are often amplified. Eights’ natural protectiveness is coupled with the natural protectiveness that many parents feel and so it can become an extremely powerful emotion.

As a parent, there will be times when your children go through experiences that aren’t fair. They will have to struggle against injustice of some kind or another. This may be as simple as another child taking their toy or as complex as the systemic injustices that are embedded in our society – and there’s only so much you can do to protect them.

Trust that you have given them the tools that they need to deal with unfairness and injustice on their own and acknowledge that, at some point, they have to face things without you. You can support them and advise them, but you can’t live their lives for them.

Being an Enneagram 8 parent is never going to be easy. But with patience, understanding and lots of deep breaths, Eights can turn raising kids into a beautiful, incredible adventure. So hang in their Eight moms and dads. You’ve got this!

Elizabeth Harris

Elizabeth is a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s an anthropologist at heart and loves using social theory to get deeper into the topics she writes about. Born in the UK, Elizabeth has lived in Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Dubai before moving most recently to Budapest, Hungary. She’s an ENTJ with ENFJ leanings. Find out more about her work at

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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